Compiled by Mark Gillies

Travel agents often mistakenly sell Africa as a timeless, changeless place. They do so to appeal to a perceived need to escape from the pressures of modern life. They are of course utterly wrong, both in the case of Tanzania and any other African nation. However, what is correct is the connection between Tanzanian tourism and the sustainable management of the natural environment. In both these areas, there has been considerable activity over the first quarter of 2012.

The Serengeti road saga

Kenya’s Daily Nation reported how Tanzania’s appeal to block a case against the construction of a highway across the Serengeti National Park had been dismissed by the Appellate Division of the East African Court of Justice. It ruled that the court had full jurisdiction to hear the case because the park was part of the transnational ecosystem straddling Kenya and Tanzania and that matters pertaining to environmental conservation cut across nation states and were therefore included in the EAC Treaty.
The ruling came after the Tanznania’s Attorney-General had objected to the hearing of a case which was filed by the Nairobi-based NGO African Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW) in December 2010 and which was against the tarmac road project. The case was set to be heard at the court before Tanzania’s objection last year. Tanzania argued that the court had no jurisdiction to hear the case on grounds that it was a matter of a sovereign nature, not falling under the EAC protocols; and that any legal dispute on the Serengeti National Park should be handled by the Tanzania’s courts as the park was within Tanzania’s borders and managed locally. The ruling means that the main case can be heard at any time.

The concern generated by the proposed road (although the Tanzanian Government has now shelved the plan) by the tourism sector as well as environmentalists is an example as to how aware the sector is of the need to both maintain Tanzania’s natural resources and the country’s international reputation as a quality tourism destination in the ultra-competitive long-haul travel market.

Mounting insecurity in Zanzibar
Salma Said, writing in The Citizen, describes how mounting insecurity is threatening the tourism sector in Zanzibar, the island’s major foreign exchange earner. He reported that nearly 60% of the Zanzibar Association of Tourism Investors (ZATI) members were affected by robberies and other criminal incidents last year, prompting stakeholders to appeal for speedy government intervention. Other operational pressures were listed as erratic electric power, unreliable water supply, poor communication and visible refuse. The ZATI chairman stressed the importance of maintaining Zanzibar’s world-acclaimed historical sites. These concerns were echoed by Italian ambassador to Tanzania. Pierluigi Velardi, from whose country 36 per cent of tourists to Zanzibar originate. He also appealed to the Zanzibar government to improve the main airport.

Some tour operators have indicated that they do not sell Zanzibar as a paradise because it is not: it is part of a developing nation with a fascinating history located in the tropics. However, many agents do and ‘Paradise’ is what many tourists want; they don’t want litter, insecurity and warm beer. The provision of ‘Paradise’ (as a tourism product at least) is dependent upon a well- managed and protected natural environment. There will always be threats to this environment, for whatever reason, but the last three months have seen the launch of positive environmental protection initiatives.

The Daily News reported how the authorities have seized chain saw machines from illegal operators in Unguja Island. This follows the government ban against illegal use of machines in forests announced by Mr Sheha Hamdan, Director of Forestry in the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources. At a gathering to launch regulations against use of chain saw machines at Maruhubi, guests were treated to the burning in public of five confiscated chain saw machines. Use of a chain saw without a permit now carries a fine or a six month prison sentence.

Speaking at the gathering, Acting Minister for Agriculture and Natural Resources Mr Ramadhani Abdallah Shaaban stressed the need for a major re-forestation exercise, and joint efforts in reducing illegal chain saw operations. Mr Shaaban expressed his concern over alarming deforestation, estimating that about 950 hectares of trees had been cleared illegally between 1997, when the forestry laws were set, and 2007. He attributed the trend to growing demand for wood, ignorance, greater use of machines and population growth.

Sadly, the threat of deforestation looms over much of rural Tanzania due to increased subsistence farming, the growing need for charcoal and commercial logging. The Daily News reported from Arusha how this has pushed African sandalwood trees to the edge of extinction in Ngorongoro and Karatu districts, Arusha Region. Used for its scented wood and to extract oil for making perfumes and various pharmaceutical products, African sandalwood is in high demand in China, India, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates. A single one tonne pickup full of sandalwood logs can fetch up to TShs 1 million or more and the trade is big business.

Although the threats remain, it is encouraging to see community environmental protection initiatives continuing. The Daily News reported how 12 representatives from Olerienmagaiduru and Mgongomageri villages in Ngorongoro District have vowed to campaign against human activities threatening the survival of the Loliondo forest reserve after attending an intensive training course on forest assessment sponsored by the Frankfurt Zoological Society.

Loliondo is home to three crucial forest reserves covering about 10,000 hectares, which together form part of the Serengeti and Lake Natron ecosystem. The training aimed to broaden participatory forest management of the Sarian community forest reserve that is shared by the two villages. Six representatives from each village attended to be educated in and equipped with techniques to preserve and conserve the Sarian forest, in line with the national forest policy that gives communities wide opportunity to participate on forest management.

Further good news came from Iringa, where The Daily News reported that President Kikwete has said the government will not allow pastoralists or farmers to return to the Ihefu wetlands because the area is of great economic significance to the nation. The President said it was time for political leaders to take decisions that might anger the public but benefit the nation. He said the world is grappling with water scarcity and many people are scrambling for the little that is available due to climate change. The President said Ihefu pours its waters into the Great Ruaha from where the Mtera dam generates electricity.

The Rufiji basin, an important irrigated farming area, also depends on Ihefu. In celebrating Water Week, the President also inaugurated the Iringa Urban Water Project, expected to benefit 200,000 people in Iringa town, neighbouring communities and villages.

The project cost a total of Euro 33,458,000 (about TShs 73bn) and was implemented by Iringa Urban Water Supply Authority (IRUWASA). Euro 17,076,000 (about TShs 35) was donated by the European Union while the rest came from the Water Basket, the Federal Republic of Germany and IRUWASA.

And finally…
An experienced porter, Wilfred Moshi, who has been climbing Mount Kilimanjaro for decades, was set to become the first Tanzanian to conquer the highest peak in the world, Mount Everest, in May. Moshi raised the $100,000 required from mountain climbing enthusiasts in the UK, USA, Middle East, and New Zealand. The whole exercise was expected to take ten weeks. We wish him luck. Safari njema Bw. Moshi.


Compiled by Anne Samson

The quality of education
Government has published very little on education since the last edition of Tanzanian Affairs. However, opinion leaders and other commentators have provided some insight into what is happening – the publication of the Standard 7 and Form IV National Exams providing the catalyst and showing that Tanzanians are becoming more outspoken. The Guardian succinctly pointed out on 9 April that ‘rightly or wrongly, many observers argue that the quality of education and training at practically all levels is experiencing a slow but sure decline – that, particularly in public institutions of learning, the tendency now is to go for quantity rather than quality.’ Consultant Mosozi Nyirenda drew attention to the rapid change education has undergone over the past two decades. He called for stability rather than new policies every time a Minister is appointed. This contrasts to January editorials which called for a ‘major overhaul.’ University students, taking the initiative, sent Government a 90-page letter suggesting ways to reduce bureaucracy and improve the quality of university education (Guardian).

The growth of international and English medium schools has resulted in fewer parents sending their children to other countries. This suggests an improvement in the quality of education. The Deputy Minister for Education and Vocational Training, Mr Mulugo, said Government will ‘make sure that eligible pupils who complete primary school education proceed to secondary school’ and that Government will ‘expand vocational education colleges so as to enable many students to get skills and knowledge for self employment’ (Daily News). However, some concern exists over the standard of education that private institutions are providing (Guardian). Supporting this is Government’s announcement that all colleges which are not registered will be closed down (Citizen, 26 March 2012).

Prompted by the ‘nullification of 2011 national form four examination results for 3,303 students’, the outgoing Minister for Education and Vocational Training, Mr Shabaan, tabled plans for Zanzibar to establish its own examination board. According to NECTA this was due to ‘a number of bizarre incidents [which] were witnessed, including cases of blatant cheating by way of entering examination rooms armed with all manner of “missiles”.’ The conclusion was ‘little surprise in recent revelations that some primary school pupils “qualified” for secondary school enrolment when they were hardly literate or numerate’ (Daily News).

The revelation of illiteracy resulted in the Deputy Minister for Education and Vocational Training requesting the number of pupils in Dar es Salaam Primary Schools who cannot read or write (Guardian). In con¬trast, MP for Mwanga and Minister for Agriculture, Cooperatives and Food Security, Professor Maghembe, sponsored a visit for 857 primary teachers acknowledging their consistent improvement in Standard 7 national exams. 98% undertook the examination whilst 93% passed, placing the District first in regional and national tables (Citizen).

The Form IV pass rate was higher than previous years. However, according to Mr Mulugo, ‘the slight drop [in A level allocations – 31,658 in 2011 vs 36,366 in 2010] was caused by the fact that although the pass rate was better, students did not satisfy set standards’ (Citizen).

Government has been asked not to re-introduce Form II national exams as this would not benefit education. However, if they are to be introduced, they should be regionalised to assist teachers with identifying pupil progress (Citizen).

The School Calendar has been changed to enable teachers to help with the census later in the year: The new dates for 2012 are:
Term 1: 9 January – 30 March Term 2: 10 April – 22 June
Term 3: 9 July – 2 August Term 4: 10 September -14 December

Optical mark readers – The National Examinations Council (NECTA) announced that in June an experiment using Optical Mark Readers will be undertaken for Standard 7 examinations before they are used in the end of year examinations. The readers allow papers to be marked more quickly with less risk of human error, but require answers to be made on special paper and in a particular manner. Concerns are that there will be insufficient time to prepare pupils, that uneven desks could cause the answer papers to be damaged and that examinations will only be multiple choice. (Mwananchi)

Summary of other news items

President Kikwete requested the Masasi District Commissioner to conduct a house-to-house search identifying how many Standard 7 leavers have not reported to secondary school, following evidence that 35.6% of 12,843 registered students had not yet enrolled. Similar figures were registered in other districts (Citizen).

Eighty teachers in Singida District stormed Council Offices demanding their salaries which had not been paid for two months, apparently due to issues with employment forms. (Guardian and Sunday Citizen). Similar situations concerning 50 teachers in Mbozi District, Mbeya Region and Hai, Kilimanjaro Region were reported (; Daily News, 4 April).

Government’s decision to build one VETA college in each district has been lauded. The African Development Bank will support the first 28 (Guardian).

Mbeya Institute of Science and Technology (MIST) has begun the final phase for upgrading to University status (Daily News).

A new holistic Tanzanian educational website,, was launched during March, although it currently has limited content (Citizen).


Compiled by Donovan Mc Grath

To our readers: If you see an interesting mention of Tanzania in the newspapers and magazines you read, please let us know or send us a copy. Many thanks. Editor.

Best of ‘60s, ‘70s Tanzania music digitised
– East African (December 12-18, 2011)
This article is based on a review of a recently released CD by Vijana Jazz Band, comprising influential music from Tanzania (1975-1980).

Extract: ‘The years after independence in [the] 1960s and 70s witnessed a boom in East African music driven by Tanzanian bands, which benefited from State patronage. Musicians of groups like Nuta Jazz, Vijana Jazz, Jamhuri Jazz Band and Cuban Marimba were paid official salaries and some were even employees of government departments… The only recording facilities available on Mainland Tanzania were to be found at the State-run Radio Tanzania Dar Es Salaam (RTD)… From the late 60s the radio station consistently sponsored and exclusively featured Tanzanian bands on its programmes, contributing to the development of a Tanzanian music style known as Mtindo. . . Vijana Jazz is considered among the most influential band of the “dansi” (dance music) era. Formed in 1971 the name Vijana (Swahili for youth) was a reference to the sponsorship by the youth wing of Tanzania’s ruling party… At the beginning of 1975 the members of the band entered the Hi-Fidelity Studios in Nairobi and recorded an album under the name Koka Koka Sex Battalion… In Tanzania, the bands created dance styles called mtindo … and Vijana Jazz became synonymous with “Kamata Sukuma” (grab and push) … In East Africa, Vijana Jazz became a household name with the song Niliruka ukuta (I jumped over the wall) a hilarious story of a man who has to flee when the husband of his lover returns home in the middle of the night… For the uninitiated, the vintage sounds here are a lesson in solid musicianship from an era gone by…’

Rock Paintings. South African Archaeological Bulletin (June, Dec 2011)
‘Emmanuel Bwasiri of the Antiquities Division, Dar es Salaam and the Rock Art Research Centre, Witwatersrand University, Johannesburg, has written in the South African Archaeological Bulletin about the challenge of managing intangible heritage resources in Tanzania. He refers in particular to the rock paintings at Kondoa Irangi, the Amboni Caves, and Kilwa Kisiwani, where local practices make use of these sites and artefacts in their belief systems. They are therefore sacred, but not always exclusively so. Bwasiri makes the point that current Tanzanian legislation follows the old colonial model of being concerned with the protection of physical artefacts and denying local people any part in their management, in spite of their importance to their traditional beliefs. This may be ascribed to proselytization by Christians and Muslims which has left traditional beliefs behind in the ‘respectability’ stakes, particularly in the eyes of westernised bureaucrats and politi¬cians. It contrasts strongly with attitudes elsewhere in post-colonial Africa – even post-apartheid South Africa – which encourage local people whose core beliefs tend to be traditional even if they have been Christianised or converted to Islam, to play an active part in the management of protected sites. This allows them exclusive rights for traditional ceremonies at particular times, and restricts the numbers of tourists who may view such sites; often stipulating that tourist guides must be locals who understand, and can explain to the tourists, those traditional beliefs.’ Nice to know we have readers in France. Thanks to Dick Cripps, Domaine du Poujol, 34570 Vailhauques, France, for this item – Editor.

Filbert Bayi, conqueror of Christchurch, hero of Tanzania’s 50 years of freedom – East African (January 30 – February 5, 2012)
‘This man was mad, said the experts, exposing himself as he did, setting himself as the man to catch’. Extract continues: ‘The starting gun went off and the beanpole sprang forward, took the lead position and kept it, staying there all the way to the wire… The distance between the beanpole and the pursuing enemy started narrowing, but not enough to dislodge the frightened escapee from his number one slot… A world record lay shattered in the dust … The date was the second of February, the Year of Our Lord Nineteen Hundred and Seventy-Four; the venue, Christchurch New Zealand; the event, the Commonwealth Games 1,500 metres final … Christchurch, thus, is a high mark in Tanzanian sporting history … the young man had done more to promote Tanzania in those three-minutes-plus in Christchurch than the combined efforts of all the country’s diplomats since independence… Athletes who came to take over from him have been formally recognised by their countries – Sebastian Coe is an English lord – but the erstwhile beanpole, today a balding and rather paunchy Dar es Salaam gentleman, failed to even catch the attention of those conferring medals to mark the 50th anniversary of Independence…’

Global drugs groups unite to destroy tropical diseases -Times (January 31, 2012)
Extract: ‘Deadly tropical diseases such as leprosy, sleeping sickness and guinea worm could be conquered by the end of the decade, under a pledge by a coalition of 13 global drugs companies brought together by Bill Gates … in an initiative dubbed the “London Declaration” … Britain’s biggest drugs groups GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca are among the key players in the coalition, which will donate 1.4 billion treatments annually to impoverished countries and will spend $785 million (£500 million) making sure that medicines reach the right patients… The drugs industry has long been attacked by charities and developing countries for failing to invest in tropical diseases, as such medicines are rarely profitable. Investment has gone on “Western” ailments such as attention deficit disorder and irritable bowel syndrome. Health ministers from Tanzania, Brazil and Mozambique travelled to London to attend [the] launch …’

The true Tanzania: Discover balmy natural springs and booty-shaking African clubs away from the country’s uniform safari-and-khaki scene – TNT Magazine (March 12-18, 2012)
This amusing and witty piece by writer Adam Edwards foregrounds areas off the beaten track around Mount Kilimanjaro. Extract: ‘… My friends and I are cycling in Miwaleni Springs in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro – a meltwater aquifer about an hour’s ride from Tanzania’s main east-west motorway, along a sandy track that few outsiders have ventured down since the early Sixties, when the Union Jack was last lowered over this former British protectorate… “Let’s race!” cries Hereswida, one of our newfound Tanzanian friends … My friends and I have been in Tanzania for a couple of weeks, but until today we’d barely veered off the beaten track. We’re keen to discover more of this Tanzania … and beg our new local pals to show us more attractions the rest of the world has yet to discover. “Well, you’ve got to go to Pub Alberto,” says Jenifa … “They play the best bongo flava there.” … Pub Alberto’s raison d’être is its bongo flava, East Africa’s energetic, booty-shaking answer to hip-hop and R’n’B. The gyrating couples bump and grind to the sultry, intoxicating beat, making Rhianna look like a prude.’ Later on, Edwards humorously describes his experience riding in one of the local minibuses ‘towards a hand-hewn volcanic mine in Uchira … at the base of Kilimanjaro where Ernest, Jenifa and Hereswida live… Dala-dalas are designed to seat about 12 people, but anything up to 40 people, two goats and a dozen chickens can be crammed in these tiny vehicles… [I] manage to nab a seat opposite a couple of hefty nuns, chatting loudly to each other in Swahili. It’s not all plain sailing: the bus’s suspension seems to be on the blink and every jolt in the road has us bouncing like we’re on a fairground ride. One particularly nasty pothole sends me flying out of my seat towards the mother superior – I only narrowly avoid giving her a lap dance… Our next destination … [is a] huge caldera lake … the result of an enormous volcanic eruption some three-quarters-of-a-million years ago. It’s blissfully quiet; just us, a troupe of olive baboons … A peregrine falcon hunts stealthily overhead; tropical birds hum in the trees, a family of colobuses lounge by the lake’s lapping shore… My friends and I set up base in Marangu, former capital of Kilimanjaro’s Chagga [ethnic community], and explore the area. First on the list is a network of underground caves, hand-dug by the Chagga to protect against invasions by the Masai warriors, who used to regularly invade neighbouring [people’s] territory in pre-colonial times, plundering cattle and massacring entire communities in the process. A wizened old woman recounts in Swahili how [the Chagga] would lure marauding Masais into the network of tunnels before slipping out of specially designed escape routes and entombing the enemy inside… Intrigued, we decide to … [visit] the “Chagga Live Museum”, essen-tially a traditional hut built by local people to teach the now entirely Westernised [population] about their past. It’s a fascinating place – far superior to the tourist-trap Masai villages that line the motorway…’

Textbooks for Tanzania as BAE pays out over ‘bribery’ – Times (16 March 2012)
It began with a $40 million deal to supply an air traffic control system to an African country that could barely afford it. Thirteen years later, one of the most controversial episodes in recent British corporate history will end with BAE Systems buying new textbooks for eight million Tanzanian school children… After months of bureaucratic wrangling it had agreed the terms of a £29.5 million compensation payment to Tanzania… The Government of Tanzania and the Serious Fraud Office and Department for International Development, stipulates that the money will be used to fund education projects … Textbooks will be bought for each of the country’s 16,000 primary schools, and 175,000 teachers will receive upgraded equipment. Up to £5 million will be spent on buying new desks…’ Thanks to Betty Wells for this item – Editor.

Ex-Black Panther’s self-exile in Tanzania – East African (February 13-19, 2012)

Pete O’Neal

‘In America, was an angry man, an ex-con who found a kind of religion in 1960s black nationalism. In a Tanzanian village, he’s been a champion of children.’ Extract continues: ‘… He rarely leaves home anymore. Crowds jangle his nerves; traffic makes his hands shake. Yet nothing feels more urgent than readying his bus [a 20-year-old, 29-seater Toyota Coaster under repair] for an improbable 300-mile trip to the edge of his adopted continent… A group of American high school students, mostly white, is gathering in the dining pavilion. They’ve been coming by the busload for years, many drawn by the intrigue of staying with a former Panther. They pay him $30 a night for a bunk. The money … with sporadic donations … pays the bills.’ Back in the USA, ‘… a federal judge [had] sentenced him to a four-year prison term on a conviction of transporting a shotgun across state lines. Out on bail, he decided to run. He and [his wife] Charlotte fled in 1970 to Sweden, then to Algeria, and finally, in late 1972, to Tanzania, whose socialist government welcomed left-wing militants. The O’Neals had $700. After a few years they bought a patch of inhospitable brush and volcanic rock in Imbaseni, a cobra-infested village of thatched-roof shacks in the country’s remote northern interior… Exile was supposed to be temporary… O’Neal’s exile became permanent. His fury abated. Some of it with age. Some of it was Tanzania, where strangers always materialized to push your Land Rover out of the mud, and where conflicts were resolved in community meetings in which everyone got to speak, interminably… A few years back, an ambition seized him. The village had scores of … orphans … He collected donations and built a concrete-block bunkhouse … He spread the word that he had room for a few kids. More than 100 appeared at his door … He had to send the majority away. The most desperate, a couple dozen, he informally adopted… They call him Babu. Grandfather… His orphans have never left this inland region of cornfields and malarial swamps. They’ve never tasted salt water, or felt hot beach sand between their toes… The 29-seater is ready by late summer… One day soon, he hopes to take the children southeast across the country to the Swahili Coast, with its coral reefs and pale sand, and bright-painted old dhows…’

Look how Tanzania played catch-up after Mwalimu – East African (December 12-18, 2011)
The 50th anniversary of Independence is both a cause for celebration as well as a time for reflection on the reversals of so many of Mwalimu’s achievements that set Tanzania apart from so many of the post-Independent countries of Africa. Mwalimu’s influence went well beyond the territory that he led to Independence… As Tanzanian people today reel under the impact of the concessions subsequent governments have made to the international finance institutions, as they suffer assault of neo-liberal policies, as the commons that Nyerere fought so hard to retain as a public right is privatised, it is really only now that many have begun to realise the extraordinary achievements of the Nyerere years. Whatever criticism many of us may have had – and continue to have – about some of his policies during his lifetime, there is no getting away from the transformations that he brought about. One only has to look at the scale of theft and pillaging, the failure of the national project, the politicisation of ethnic identity, the open collusion with transnational corporations in the plunder of resources, that characterise neighbouring countries to understand what efforts Mwalimu had made to prevent the same happening in Tanzania… It is time both to celebrate Tanzania but also to reflect on the tragedy of the reversal of so many gains in the early years of Independence…’

Where a toothache can kill – Geographical Magazine (Royal Geographical Society, December 2011)
‘Dentists are thin on the ground in rural Tanzania and too expensive for most people… [Sutherland-born dentist Ian Wilson] has made it his mission to improve the state of the country’s dental care.’ Extract continues: ‘It was one of the worst cases Ian Wilson had ever seen. The man’s jaw had been broken in two places. And not by a wild punch, or an unlucky accident – but by a traditional healer. Pulling teeth… “They left him with a broken jaw for two-and-a-half years,” he says… in his role as founder and clinical director of the dental charity Bridge2Aid (B2A [founded in 2002]) based in Mwanza … All too often, it’s still to the traditional healers that locals turn… “Rural Tanzanians suffer, on average, for two years with often severe dental pain before they see someone. So they either pull out teeth themselves – or they pay one of these guys to do it.” … “It’s no joke,” he says, “In some parts of the world, it’s still possible to die of a toothache.” … When not treating his patients, Wilson is often out with his teams helping to train local clinical officers in the basic dental skills … Once B2A finishes training a clinical officer, it equips them with a basic dental toolkit, which they use to safely extract teeth and apply fillings without the need for electricity or water (or even chairs).’ Thank you David Kelly for informing us of this article. And thanks to the Geographical for sending in the relevant part of this issue – Editor.

So homosexuality is unAfrican? What about living on handouts?
– East African (November 7-13, 2011)
“No self-respecting African man would let another man pay for his wife’s and his children’s upkeep,” says columnist Jenerali Ulimwengu. Extract continues: ‘For a country that once had ambitions of becoming a self-reliant nation, Tanzania is a surprisingly donor-dependent place… Whereas loans and credit lines impose the responsibility of repayment, free money makes the recipient a virtual beggar and keeps him beholden to the donor. And yet Tanzania, even under the old man [Julius Nyerere] himself, went ahead and accepted foreign money, loans and grants in huge sums, especially in sectors such as education, health and water sanitation. The dependency grew so great that when Olof Palme, the Swedish social democrat who had underwritten Nyerere’s education programme, lost power, Tanzanians felt the impact probably more acutely than the Swedes… [A] few years ago we reached some benchmark that convinced our donor countries that we had become a highly indebted poor country (HIPC). And we celebrated with a beggar’s dance, bowl in hand… In the past, our beggar practices were streamlined in such a way that we could borrow or beg to meet capital or development programmes. Now we can borrow to pay government employees and other charges (OT), which gives dependency a new and menacing dynamic…’

The Malawi connection with Zanzibar – Habari (Sweden-Tanzania Society, August 2011)
This article was created from a web discussion about the connections between Malawi and Zanzibar. The distinguished Swahili professor, Maalim Abdulaziz Lodhi, gives background to the Zanzibar Revolution and to several politicians in Zanzibar. Extract: ‘I think the Malawi connection in Zanzibar is the disputed “zanzibariness” of Sheikh Abeid Aman Karume, the first President of Zanzibar (1964-1972) and father of Dr. Aman Abeid Aman Karume (6th President of Zanzibar 2000-2010). The Sheikh (also known as “Fadha Karume” by some) is believed to have been born in Malawi of Malawian Muslim parents who immigrated to Zanzibar. . . The Karume family also had close ties with Dr. Kamuzu Banda’s family and the Sepetu family. The family name Karume is from the old Nyasaland among the speakers of Chichewa … In Swahili, this language Chichewa/Chinyanja was called “Kinyasa” and its speakers were referred to as “Wanyasa”. Sheikh Karume was also referred to as “Mnyasa” by some people in Zanzibar before the Revolution… I’m told Issak Sepetu, who was born in Malawi and came to Zanzibar as a Malawi citizen, was never naturalized as a Zanzibar citizen, and therefore cannot be a Tanzanian citizen, but he was a Tanzanian Ambassador anyway! Several others like him, “Field Marshal” John Okello being the best example of those “revolutionaries” and other leaders or politicians in Zanzibar who were not Zanzibaris, rose to high ruling positions in Zanzibar after the Revolution. Okello did not even speak proper Swahili! … Issak Sepetu tried also to be nominated for the presidential election in Zanzibar, but the Zanzibar leadership opposed him on the grounds of not being a “Mzanzibari halisi” (genuine Zanzibari). To date, little is known or written [and] published about this Zanzibar-Malawi connection…’

Now late blooming Dar goes online, media grasps power of social sites – East African (February 20-26, 2012)
‘As Facebook and Twitter gain popularity, newsrooms are starting to appreciate their significance in media operations but a generational divide persists.’ Extract continues: ‘In Tanzania … media houses are starting to notice the potential of the web. The three most prominent print media organisations [Tanzanian Standard Newspapers, IPP Media, Mwananchi Communications]… all have a presence online… But when it comes to incorporating social media platforms such a Facebook and Twitter into their work patterns, the picture gets complicated… However, as Facebook and Twitter gain popularity in the country… newsrooms are starting to recognise the significance of utilising these tools in their news operations… Last month, the Daily News revealed its newly revamped website,, specifically designed to integrate social media…’

A land of many wonders – New African (December 2011)
‘Tanzania is famous for its tourism sites. Mount Kilimanjaro, the Ngorongoro Crater, the Olduvai Gorge, Lake Victoria, Zanzibar Oldoinyo Lengai – and there are 44 more such wonders! And Tanzania wants to be even more famous as a tourism destination by diversifying its tourism products. The next five years will be an exciting time in the land of Kilimanjaro!’ Extract continues: ‘… In 1959, a time when most of Africa was under the colonial yoke (with the exception of 8 countries – Liberia, Ethiopia, Egypt, Sudan, Ghana, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia), a fresh-faced young man of Tanganyikan origin addressed the Tanganyikan Legislative Assembly and promised the following: “We the people of Tanganyika would like to light a candle and put it on top of Mount Kilimanjaro which would shine beyond our borders, giving hope where there was despair, love where there was hate, and dignity where there was before only humiliation.” That young man was called Julius Kambarage Nyerere. On 9 December 1961, his wishes came true. On that day – Tanganyika’s Independence Day – Lt Alex Nyirenda, with a commission from Nyerere’s newly-installed government, went up to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, and with the new flag of the new nation fluttering proudly in his left hand, attached the Uhuru Torch to the flagpole to symbolically shine over the country and across its borders. The black and white photo of this historic event evokes memories of the American landing on the moon eight years later (in 1969). Perhaps the Americans stole the shot from the Tanzanians, and maybe Mrs Thatcher, Britain’s Iron Lady, was inspired even much later in 1979 when she became the UK’s first female prime minister, as she appeared to follow Nyerere’s lines on her arrival at No 10 Downing Street: “Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope,” Mrs Thatcher said, paraphrasing the “Prayer of Saint Francis” as Nyerere had done 20 years before her… As part of the celebrations, the [Tanzanian Tourist Board] is organising to prime events to remind the country and the outside world of Nyerere’s and Tanzania’s commitment to peace and freedom through tourism. In the main event, Dr Nzuki [managing director of TTB] will lead the TTB in a recreation that will see 200 climbers from across the world attempt to scale Africa’s highest mountain to the peak where Lt Nyirenda stood 50 years ago and planted the Uhuru Torch… The second event is a Special Walk from Mwanza on Lake Victoria to Butiama in Mara Region, where Nyerere was born and buried… Dr Nzuki proudly tells how Tanzanian tourism has grown from a small, government-run industry in the 1960s, to one where it now contributes 17% of the nation’s GDP…’

World’s highest lava tunnels found on Mt Kilimanjaro – East African (October 31 – November 6, 2011)
Extract: ‘A team of three Dutch cavers [Sjoerd Vander Schuit, Arjan Van Waardenburg and Bert Tindemans] have discovered the world’s highest lava tubes on Mt Kilimanjaro, giving the mountain an additional tourist attraction… The largest of the tubes is 150 metres long and between eight and 10 metres wide … The Dutch team found the tubes on the slopes of Kibo and Mawenzi peaks of the mountain… Lava tubes or lava tunnels are … natural conduits through which lava travels beneath the surface of a lava flow. When the lava flow ceases, the rock also cools, leaving a long, cave-like channel… The discovery will be circulated widely across the globe through magazines and websites… A tour guide, Gadiel Majefu, urged the Kilimanjaro National Park Authority to preserve the new tourist attractions… “Mt Kilimanjaro is among the 28 finalists for the New Seven Wonders of Nature,” [Rashid] Mtungi [managing director of Tanzania Rift Valley Tours], said, adding that the breakthrough would encourage more people to vote for Mt Kilimanjaro…’

Mafia Money allegedly sent to Tanzania. Il Messagero, Italy
The Italian newspaper Il Messagero was one of many which, over Easter, were full of allegations about money for election expenses being illegally sent to Tanzania for private investments.
The Northern League party, campaigning for independence for the Northern regions of Italy, has received legitimate funds from the outgoing Italian Government for electoral expenses. However the party treasurer, who enjoys a lot of freedom of action, has allegedly sent 6 million Euros (£5.4m) of these funds to Tanzania for investment in the diamond industry. The allegation, made by the Italian Government’s Anti Mafia Commission, came from evidence obtained by wire taps and links this money with money laundering by the Calabrian Mafia, the N’drangheta.

No details for the actual investments in Tanzania were revealed by the Italian newspapers but it begs the question of how much other “mafia” money has found its way to Tanzania. Thank you Tony Janes for sending this from Italy – Editor.


ERIC YOUNG OBE, a former member of the British diplomatic Service and a journalist, has died aged 87. After a series of eventful postings around the world his last posting was as High Commissioner in the Seychelles. He was there when there was an attempted mutiny by the army and the main island of Mahe was under curfew. With the Union flag flying on his official car he went out to see how the British tourists and residents were coping with the situation. He soon found himself at a roadblock with a group of Tanzanian troops pointing their AK47’s at him. However, his fluent Swahili got him through with an escort to accompany him around the island. Not long after a huge explosion went off behind his house where Young was serving drinks. The Russian ambassador looked at Young and winked saying “that will be my boys arriving here” and Young replied in fluent Russian: “they are late.” It turned out to be engineers blasting a mountain to make way for a new road. Thank you John Sankey for sending this from The Times – Editor.

Steven Kanumba

STEVEN KANUMBA, aged 28, popular actor and star of numerous local “Bongo” films, died on 7th April during an argument with his girlfriend Elizabeth Michael (known as Lulu) who was later charged with his murder. More than 30,000 mourners attended the funeral in Dar-es-Salaam. President Kikwete tweeted his condolences and was reported to have delayed a foreign trip when he heard the news of Mr Kanumba’s death. He praised the “talented young man who was playing a big role to develop the movie industry and marketing Tanzania abroad”. Nicknamed “The Great”, Mr Kanumba was a household name in Tanzania and had also recently become popular in Ghana and starred in Nigeria’s Nollywood films.


Compiled by Hugh Wenban-Smith

This is the summary report of development research in Tanzania, culled from journals in the library of the London School of Economics. It covers the period July to December 2011. The format is: Journal title; Volume and issue number; Author(s); Article title; Short abstract (in square brackets, sometimes abbreviated but otherwise as published).

Transport workers in Dar es Salaam

Development and Change, Vol 42(5) – Rizzo, M ‘Life is war’: Informal transport workers and neoliberalism in Tanzania 1998-2009”. [This article analyses how informal labourers fare under flexible labour markets and economic liberalization, through a case study of transport workers in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. It highlights the mainstream conceptualization of urban informality as self-employment and its influence on policy. The article stresses the importance of class differentiation in the Dar es Salaam transport sector and the predominance of informal wage employment, the uneven degree of power commanded by bus owners vis-à-vis informal unskilled wage workers and the pernicious consequences of the lack of regulation of the employment relationship on the workforce itself and on society. It then interrogates the criminalization of the workforce and shows how labour over-supply, the fragmentation and geographical dispersion explain workers lack of response to their plight. The longitudinal study of the rise and fall (1998-2005) of a labour association within the sector further highlights the tension among the workforce and the forms and limits of solidarity. The conclusion of this study suggest some policy implications.]

Poverty assessments
Development Policy Review, Vol 30(1): Shaffer, P “Demand-side challenges to monitoring and assessment systems: Illustrations from
Tanzania”. [Over the past decade, considerable attention and resources have been directed at Poverty Monitoring and Assessments Systems (PMASs), a core problem being the limited demand for, and use of, the data they generate. The article discusses the sources of these demand-side problems and explains the difficulties in trying to address them via PMAS-related processes, arguing that both institutional factors and design features have contributed to the disappointing performance of these systems … Tanzania’s PMAS experience is used to illustrate the argument.]

Revenue allocation
Journal of Development Studies, Vol 47(12): Allers, M A & Ishemoi, L J “Do formulas reduce political influence on intergovernmental grants? Evidence from Tanzania”. [Sub-national governments usually depend on the central government for a large share of their revenues. Therefore, a fair allocation of inter-government grants is essential for financing vital local services like education and healthcare. In Tanzania, and many other countries, regions that are better represented in the national parliament receive significantly more funds than others. Recently, Tanzania replaced the previously existing discretionary method of grant allocation by allocation formulas. We study whether this has reduced the effect of malapportionment on grant allocation. Surprisingly, we find that formula allocation does not significantly change this effect. This has important policy implications.]

Access to urban land for farming
Journal of Modern African Studies, Vol 49(4): McLees, L “Access to land for urban farming in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: Histories, benefits and insecure tenure”. [People in sub-Saharan Africa rely on a variety of informal mechanisms to gain access to land for urban farming. However, the literature on land tenure focuses on gaining access to land for housing, whereas farming, which is highly visible in the urban landscape of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, requires farmers to negotiate their access in ways distinct from housing. A close examination of four open-space farms in Dar es Salaam reveals that there are different methods of gaining access to land for farming as opposed to housing. Additionally, theorizing this access reveals that the landowners who allow farmers on their land for food production also derive benefits. This can provide a framework for current efforts to integrate urban agriculture into city zoning plans.]

Labour market statistics
World Bank Economic Review, Vol 25(3): Bardesi E, Beegle K, Dillon A & Serneels P “Do labour statistics depend on how and to whom the questions are asked? Results from a survey experiment in Tanzania”. [Labour market statistics are critical for assessing and understanding economic development. However widespread variation exists in how labour statistics are collected in household surveys. This paper analyses the effects of alternative survey design on employment statistics by implementing a randomized survey experiment in Tanzania. Two features of the survey design are assessed – the level of detail of the employment questions and the type of respondent. It turns out that both features have relevant and statistically significant effects on employment statistics.]


Edited by John Cooper-Poole

BODIES, POLITICS AND AFRICAN HEALING: THE MATTER OF MALADIES IN TANZANIA, Stacey A. Langwick. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, November 2010. 304 pp. ISBN 9780253222459 £16.99

Langwick’s rich ethnographic analysis of ‘traditional’ healing in South-Eastern Tanzania depicts a terrain of “ontological politics” where post-colonial contestations over the “matter” of healing reveal clefts of power as healers and oth¬ers engage in struggles to determine objects of therapy and sites of expertise. Theoretically influenced by anthropological and historical studies of African medicine, Science and Technology Studies, and critical post-colonial scholarship, Langwick’s account renders ‘traditional’ medicine a distinctly ‘modern’ category. Langwick draws a picture of ‘traditional’ medicine which is (in)formed as much by Tanzania’s colonial and postcolonial history, as by its relationships to ‘biomedicine’ and ‘witchcraft’, and through meetings between patients, healers and nonhuman actors such as mashetani and majini, who “climb upon the heads” of healers and engage them in relationships of therapy.

The first part of the book deals with the way in which the boundaries around the category ‘traditional medicine’ emerged and stabilised through the colonial and post-colonial periods. The second part focuses in detail upon the practices of healers who have been labelled as ‘traditional’ within the categorisation set out in the first section. The focus here is on the healing techniques of con¬trasting types of healers; including the predominately male faraki healers who use a range of techniques glossed locally as “medicine of the book”, and the predominately female healers whose “medicine of the bush” produces a healing potentiality located primarily in the power of the healer and her relations with nonhumans, rather than in the material properties of particular herbs. In the third section, Langwick looks in more detail at the intersections, gaps and frictions created through the juxtapositions of different forms of healing by focusing upon the ways in which the divergent therapeutic practices employed in this region bring objects of therapeutic intervention into being.

Although the blurb on the back cover describes the book as an examination of “African healing and its relationship to medical science”, Langwick’s analysis points towards the denial such a bifurcation in simple, unproblematic terms. ‘Traditional’ medicine as described by Langwick is a category partly defined by global connections, meetings and translations, for example in the movements of young medical students from Tanzania to China, and back, and in the jour¬neys of Chinese entrepreneurs to Tanzania. Later, she describes how normative understandings of ‘African communities’ and ‘traditional midwifery’ underpin¬ning WHO recommendations and ensuing interventions of the Tanzanian state were central to the configuration of an interpellation within which some women positioned themselves in a new hybrid role, the “Traditional Birth Attendant”. This category, Langwick maintains, did not exist prior to the development of these international interventions. These global connections undermine an easy alliance between the categories local/African/traditional which can be positioned against a globalised biomedicine.

The intimate and detailed descriptions of healing practices in this book form valuable ethnographic artefacts in and of themselves. However, it is in her analysis of the intersections between divergent therapeutic practices and the enactment of therapeutic objects that Langwick makes her most important contributions. Although the reader is left with the sense that Langwick’s research relationships to her ‘biomedical’ informants lacked the depth and intensity of those she formed with ‘traditional’ healers, she nevertheless presents a well-argued account of biomedicine as much more than a mere foil to ‘traditional’ medicine. For example, we see how biomedicine, too, “matters” through its locatedness when Langwick describes nurses who recommend ‘traditional’ healing to patients for whom biomedical treatments do not appear effective, or when ‘traditional’ healers “close” the body as a precursor to biomedical treatment for malaria. In her attempt to move beyond pluralism as a way of understanding African healing, Langwick resituates relationships between symptoms, diagnosis and treatment by reconfiguring these as entities which emerge through therapeutic practice. Langwick shows how this emergence creates a politics of therapeutic knowledge where practices do not fall easily into fixed categories, but are employed across existing matrices of power in ongoing attempts to delineate ways of knowing and intervening upon the world.

Hannah Brown

TANZANIA IN TRANSITION: FROM NYERERE TO MKAPA. Kjell Havnevik and Aida Isinika (eds), pub Mkuki wa Nyota, Dar es Salaam, 2010

Between Nyerere, the first President and founding father of Tanzania, and Mkapa, its first President under multiparty democracy, there was a major shift in policy, from socialism as political rhetoric and socioeconomic reconfiguration, to the embrace of neoliberalism and the International Financial Institutions (IFIs). This shift began before Mkapa took office and continued after he handed over to Kikwete in 2010, so he cannot be associated with this phase in Tanzania’s ‘transition’ as the title of this book implies. Nor do the editors want to claim neoliberalism itself as a progressive ‘transformational outcome’ of ‘transition’. Rather they reach for a broader definition of ‘transition’ which includes ‘genuine participation of citizens’ and the ‘creation of space for human agency’. They are equivocal as to whether any such ‘transition’ has taken place, and do not identify Mkapa as its champion. The title thus sets up an incoherent subject, and operates more as a research question than as a statement.

The articles that follow focus on various aspects of Tanzania’s changing political economy – its reliance on foreign aid, corruption, agrarian transformations and the implementation of multi-party democracy. Disappointingly, it has no analysis of Tanzania’s attempts to industrialise. In a rather uneven collection, and marred by poor editing, it contains some very useful overviews of development in the political economy as well as delivering a strong dose of realism about Tanzania’s limited progress towards limiting poverty or extending political participation. It is very useful to be reminded of the contradiction between Tanzania’s socialist call for ‘self-reliance’ and its heavy and continuing dependence on foreign aid, amounting at times to half the budget of the state. Simensen’s telling account illustrates the extent to which ‘socialism’ was funded by external backers, especially from Scandinavia, who in a period of economic collapse in the late 1970s were then able to put pressure on Tanzania to accept IMF terms of neoliberal economic reform as the condition for con¬tinuing aid.
Bryceson, Skarstein and other authors look at the checkered career of agrarian socialism as the cornerstone of Nyerere’s policies. On the one hand, agrarian livelihoods are still foundational and ‘agriculture provides a vital subsistence fallback for the poor and a common cultural frame of reference’. But collective production long ago fell by the way-side and the buffeting of world markets and withdrawal of state subsidies have forced peasants to look for non-agricultural incomes and wage labour to supplement farming. And land has become a commodity, albeit largely outside the formal system of registration. Additionally, gold mining (with its ‘exploitative labour practices’, in Bryceson’s terms) now contributes more to exports than Tanzania’s traditional cash crops. Bryceson offers some rich ethnography drawn from two villages, whilst Skarstein, in an excellent and informative piece, concludes that economic liberalisation has had a negative impact on food grain production and productivity and that real returns to peasant producers have declined. Deriding the promise of economic liberalisation, he calls for the reinstatement of an ‘accountable and determined developmental state’ willing to intervene in the agricultural sector. Isinika and Mutabazi’s chapter on land conflicts brings a welcome gender dimension, showing that women have begun to assert rights allocated to them both under customary law (which retains a strong place in Tanzanian legal system) and statutory law (which has extended additional rights to women over time). Sadly, many women are unaware of their rights at the same time as population growth has rendered land scarcity and resultant conflicts more common. A few more detailed case histories of court proceedings would have added more depth to these conclusions. A bleak picture is painted of the forestry sector by Monela and Abdallah, with degradation of the forest reserves and limited success of sustainable management initiatives. However commercial and especially illegal logging barely figured in this account, which was unexpected – as well as a bid for yet more donor aid to make forestry successful. Wangwe’s chapter, though heavy on the acronyms, concludes with a significant point: that deepening aid dependence is not sustainable for Tanzania and that ‘an exit strategy should be part of the dialogue between development partners and government’. How this might be achieved is left vague, however, given the ‘rent-seeking’ tendencies of corrupt state officials. Cooksey provides a schematic account of grand and petty corruption which shows that this tendency has not been stemmed by Mkapa’s claim to end corruption. Several authors note the lack of judicial proceedings brought against perpetrators. Finally, in a careful and comprehensive account, Ewald looks at the interaction between economic policies and the democratisation process, noting the limited level of political participation belied by a rhetoric of citizenship. ‘Poverty’ is still pervasive, despite a plethora of poverty eradication strategies and initiatives. It is worth noting that relative poverty is integral to capitalist development (which requires exploitation of the many to extract a surplus for the few) – and Ewald notes the political questions raised: ‘how long can the majority of the people endure a situation of little economic progress and poverty?’ They endure because the majority are still content with small advances in their conditions of life and unwilling to vote out the party – the Chama cha Mapinduzi – which has at least delivered peace and stability to Tanzania, resting on Nyerere’s inspirational legacy. No other party has been able effectively to challenge CCM, which is of course in a position to muzzle or interrupt challenging voices.

This book is a useful antidote to uncritical claims that Tanzania, with its currently high growth rates and adherence to programmes of structural reform sponsored by the IFIs, has become a model for other developing countries to emulate. It sets out candidly the gap between this model and the kind of society that Nyerere had in mind – independent, relatively egalitarian and non-exploitative, but it also allows for analysis of the very real barriers that lay in the way of achieving such a ‘transformational outcome’.

This review also appears in the Review of African Political Economy
Janet Bujra

TALES OF ABUNWAS AND OTHER STORIES. Suzi Barned-Lewis. ISBN 9789987080434. Available from African Books Collective. £15.95.

Reviewed by the pupils aged 7-11 at Taliesin Junior School, Shotton, Deeside. The Headmistress read the story of ‘How the turtle got his shell’ to the school this morning. All the children enjoyed this story and especially liked discussing the message behind the story. A number of the children related this story to other proverbs they knew. On discussing the book with other members of staff they commented that a number of the stories were exciting and entertaining but some were over complicated and would be suited for the older child. The stories vary in length and some were a little too long to hold the concentration of some of the younger children. The pictures were fantastic, bright, colourful and stimulating for some art work.

AFRICA’S ODIOUS DEBTS, by Leonce Ndikumana and James K Boyce. Zed Books, London and New York, 2011. xiv + 135 pages. Paperback £12.99, hardback £60.00.

Tanzania has few mentions in the text of this academic book which is, on balance, good as the publication deals primarily with the negatives of the continent as regards debt, outflow of funds by capital flight, round-tripping or money laundering, and downright fraud. The book is essentially a study of 33 African countries for which basic figures are available, by two professors of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, the first-named in the summary above hailing from Burundi.
Some tables put Tanzania in a good light. Though external debt of US$5.9bn is 29% of GDP, compared with Kenya’s 22% and Uganda’s 17%, the authors’ estimate of capital flight from Tanzania is put at $6.7bn as of 2008, compared with $7.1bn from Kenya, $13.9bn from Uganda and monumental levels of $71.5bn from Angola and $296bn from Nigeria! Tanzania’s infant mortality is less than the continent’s average, even though public health expenditure per capita is likewise less than average. Success in reducing deaths from malaria by some 50% in Tanzania, and some other countries, is an indicator of properly invested funds.

Published in Zed Books’ African Arguments series, the book’s thrust, however, is at linking debt, and hence the cost of servicing that debt, with capital flight in all its definitions, and in drawing attention principally to the huge levels of odious debt. This term, first coined in 1927, has some protection in international law but the authors maintain that more could be done, to the betterment of populations. Not the easiest book to read, given its academic and painstaking approach, but some countries suffering under high debt servicing costs could at least consider the options laid out.
David Kelly

BETWEEN SOCIAL SKILLS AND MARKETABLE SKILLS: THE POLITICS OF ISLAMIC EDUCATION IN 20TH CENTURY ZANZIBAR. Roman Loimeier. Leiden: Brill, 2009 (xxxi + 643 pp.). ISBN 9789004175426. 199Euro, US$ 295.

This is an enormously useful, scholarly and at times engrossing book that synthesises a great deal of hard-to-access published sources, such as locally-published biographies of Zanzibari scholars, with findings from British and Zanzibari archives. As the length of the tome indicates, it is very clearly in the continental tradition, in the sense that it intersperses its arguments with long narrative passages, including summary biographies of a number of scholars.

Nevertheless, some important points emerge quite clearly. There is, firstly, Zanzibar’s pre-colonial legacy as a maritime location of ‘peripheral’ (in Michael Lambeck’s phrase) Islam: a place where Islamic education was valued greatly and at the same time perceived as a scarce good in need of fostering and protection. This view conditioned a great deal of concern among scholars about any attempt to legislate on education. Still, to varying extents all branches of Islamic scholarship, rational as well as revealed, from Quran recitation to legal interpretation, were being taught. Next, there is the ambivalent influence of colonial policy on Islamic education in Zanzibar. British officials felt that they did not really know what they were dealing with and were sceptical of the value of established educational methods. They sought to ‘modernise’, but to do so with the approval of the Sultan and the scholarly establishment.

This was not made easier by the fact that the networks of scholars in Zanzibar were quite diverse, with ‘Alawi, Qadi ri, Salafi, Ibadhi and Shi’i scholars from a number of ethnic backgrounds. In effect, officials had no choice but to, in some sense, choose sides by cooperating with certain individuals, without being quite aware what the sides they chose stood for to the minds of Zanzibaris. Moreover, they did not control the way Zanzibaris perceived British officials and their policy. As is documented also for other parts of colonial Africa (most prominently in Louis Brenner’s study on Mali), forms of schooling that escaped community control were viewed with a great deal of concern, as potentially failing to instil essential moral values. Ultimately, the Islamic schooling provided was more limited and less carefully thought through than either the British or the Zanzibaris involved would have wanted, if in different ways. Although Loimeier carefully sets out the political context of late colonialism, he does not always explicate the political and increasingly racialised subtexts of different interest groups’ stances on education and community politics. To complete the picture, his book would profit from being read alongside Jonathon Glassman’s War of words, war of stones.

That this era of colonial schooling is today sometimes remembered with nostalgia is indicative of a further point: the massive impact of the 1964 revolution and its aftermath. Here, in particular, Loimeier documents processes which so far were accessible only through oral sources and guesswork. What becomes clear is that the marginalisation of religious education during the first couple of decades after the revolution was not merely an effect of the move into exile of numbers of scholars and a general attenuation of religious life, but the object of explicit government policy. Although this policy is no longer in place, it has not been possible to restore the status quo ante; textbooks have been simplified and content has changed. Nor would Zanzibaris necessarily want a previous state restored: one of the ramifications of the marginalisation of Islamic education in the early years of the revolution has been a raised interest in scholarship that positions itself explicitly as purist and fresh from the Arab centres of Islam.
Felicitas Becker

BIOFUELS, LAND GRABBING AND FOOD SECURITY IN AFRICA. Ed. Prosper Matondi, Kjell Havnevik and Atakilte Beyene. Zed Books in association with Nordic Africa Institute. 2011. ISBN 978 84813 878 0. p/b. pp230
All too often the debate over large scale foreign direct investment in agriculture in African countries tends to focus on what is increasingly referred to as “land grabbing”. So when a book title sandwiches “land grabbing” between biofuels and fuel security I am not surprised but perhaps somewhat frustrated that this pejorative term is now being used as a “useful and generic concept which (the editors) define to include exploration, negotiations, acquisitions or leasing, settlement and exploitation of the land resource, specifically to obtain energy and food security through export to investors’ countries and other markets”. The title notwithstanding, this is an important book that brings to the “land grabbing” and biofuels debate detailed case studies from many countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Chapter 6 provides interesting insights into what really goes on when a foreign company attempts to invest in large-scale land acquisitions. In painstaking detail the authors explore how the compulsory environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) was undertaken when SEKAB, a Swedish company was looking to invest in biofuel production in Tanzania. The chapter focuses on the process of anticipating the environmental consequences of the planned biofuel investments, and in doing so it provides an account of why large-scale land acquisitions and the requisite demands on water for irrigation are so tricky in many sub-Saharan African countries. A key issue in Tanzania and elsewhere is conflicting demand over natural resources that provide multiple “ecosystem services”, combined with complicated overlapping land institutions. The authors focus both on the many imperfections of the process of undertaking the ESIA, and the flaws of the proposed investment, which appeared to involve converting important miombo forests, over-exploiting water resources, and dispossessing smallholder farmers. Given that SEKAB is a Swedish municipal company, we are left wondering about their side of the story. From SEKAB’s perspective why did their intended investment in Tanzania go so wrong? Can large-scale foreign investments in biofuels, or agricultural crops in general, ever work in Tanzania, and if so, what lessons have been learnt from the SEKAB experience? These questions remain unanswered.
Elizabeth Robinson


Service in Tanganyika
Trevor Jaggar in his review of Charles Meek’s delightful book “Brief Authority” may perhaps have unintentionally misled your readers when he wrote, “Several (of those who ruled Tanzania while it was administered by Britain) felt moved to record their experiences. First there was Randall Sadleir in 1999…”

Your readers may wish to be reminded that Randall Sadleir was by no means the first to publish the story of his service in the district administration of Tanganyika in the years before Independence. The earliest of the series on my bookshelves is John Cairns who published his experiences in “Bush and Boma” in 1959. He was followed by E. K. Lumley with “Forgotten Mandate” in 1976, J. A. Golding with “The Golden Years” in 1987, Frank Burt with “Nakumbuka” in 1989, William Helean with “Bed in the Bush” in 1991, Tim Harris with “Donkey’s Gratitude” in 1992, and John Lewis-Barned with “A Fanfare of Trumpets” in 1993.
Then after Randall Sadleir’s admirable publication, there came Michael Longford with “The Flags change at Midnight” in 2001 – the fattest of all the books with some beautiful illustrations, and Donald Barton with “An Affair with Africa” in 2004. No doubt there are others, and together they demonstrate a deep love of the country and a profound commitment to its welfare in the years before Independence.
Dick Eberlie

Trevor Jaggar comments: ‘Excellent. I am delighted to learn about all these other books. In the time left to me, I must try and read some of them.’

Low birth weights
I appreciated No 101 Tanzania Affairs received today. Shedding light inter alia on Julius Nyere’s firm position re Whitehall policies towards independence movements in Southern Africa.

Addressing electricity deficits in Tanzania justifiably is well covered in your current issue. Less is generally known about the impact on low birth weight (LBW) of electricity black outs, reference abstract of paper below. LBW predicts subsequent short stature (stunting and underweight) and inferior adult productivity. Stunting for several reasons remains too high in Tanzania.

Abstract of paper on Transitory Shocks and Birth Weights: Evidence from a Blackout in Zanzibar. October 7, 2011: Do transitory economic shocks affect health? I show that an unexpected, month-long blackout in Tanzania caused a temporary drop in work hours for workers in electricity-dependent jobs. Using records from a maternity ward, I document a reduction in birth weights for children exposed in utero to the blackout, and an increase in the probability of low birth weight. The reduction is correlated with measures of maternal exposure to the blackout. Blackout-induced declines in maternal nutrition and maternal stress are the most likely causes. The blackout also increased births, but selection into pregnancy cannot fully explain the drop in weights.
Per Eklund (from Sweden)

A little comfort
My wife and I enjoy reading about Tanzania but feel that your scribes, mainly experts in their subjects, often forget, or do not appreciate, that the UK and Tanzania are essentially different. In the UK we are self-seeking individuals, even when trying to help others, while Tanzanians are members of groups; clans, tribes. They owe loyalty to others. Frequently we in the West complain about corruption, forgetting that in the Tanzanian culture the “big man” owes a debt to his supporters, what some writers refer to as “the politics of the belly”. The interesting discussion is as to the level at which this politics becomes genuine cor¬ruption. However after reading Paul Theroux’s Dark Star Safari, and various books by Alexander de Waal I am increasingly concerned about the effectiveness of large scale aid which provides much money but fails to ensure that local people are involved and trained.

On a recent visit I had the privilege to attend a child welfare clinic at a rural dispensary. The mothers, all of whom had been in their fields earlier, had been home, washed and changed themselves and the children and it was a delight to see the toddlers walking to the dispensary proudly carrying their medical records in plastic bags. While the checks were being made I wandered into the village. It was 11 am but the men of the village were already gathered around the beer pot, cheerfully solving the problems of the world. I was kindly invited to join them. During the course of our chat I remembered that local courts had been abolished after uhuru. I enquired as to how they solved disputes about field boundaries or repayments of dowry. I was interested to be told that they had three elders who dealt with such matters and that if they needed to appeal, there was another senior man who dealt with such matters for a larger area. And I did not have time to ask the next questions. How were they chosen? For how long did they serve? How were they remunerated? Were there similar groups in other areas? Would they be useful leaders in DEVELOPMENT situations where too often projects fail for lack of influential leadership.
Mention of development leads me to note that in the last two years the Tanzania Development Trust has supported a number of initiatives. I wonder whether it would be possible to review some of the earlier projects to see if they achieved their objects or what were the reasons for their failure.
Robert Wise

Professor Kim Howell (Dept of Zoology and Wildlife Conservation, University of Dar es Salaam) writes to inform readers that the journal “Tanganyika Notes and Records” which later became “Tanzania Notes and Records” is now available online at The project to make the journal available was funded by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), and is dedicated to the memory of Alan Rodgers who worked tirelessly to document Tanzania’s flora and fauna as well as serving on the editorial board of Tanzania Notes and Records.

Thomas Molony at the Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh, is looking to get in touch with anyone who personally knew Julius Nyerere during the period up to when he was teaching at St Francis College, Pugu. He is interested in the period when Mwalimu was in the United Kingdom (1949-1952), and before he left Tanganyika in 1949, and is restricting his research up to 1953. Please contact him at Thomas.Molony(AT>edac(DOT)uk, or leave a message with Seona Macintosh on XXXX, or write to Centre of African Studies, Chrystal Macmillan Building, 15A George Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9LD.


TA readers will have noted the recent increase in the number of regular volunteer contributors so that we now have quite a large editorial team. This is helping us to cover more adequately news about various areas of development in Tanzania and is also relieving the strain on me as editor. May I say how much I appreciate what you are all doing.

We now need one or two more volunteer reporters to cover other areas which are likely to be of interest to readers. The work involved is not unduly onerous. We need, from each volunteer, three contributions of about 1,000 words (two pages) each year. However, volunteers will need to be already engaged in the area selected or be able to refer to the media, professional journals, contacts or friends who can supply relevant information.

We urgently need contributors to cover the following areas:
• Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries,
• Health, and
• Leisure – music, art, sports or part of these.

We also need a Deputy Editor for Tanzanian Affairs. This would naturally lead on to the job of Editor as I wish to retire in the fairly near future. If anyone is interested but doesn’t want to commit immediately, please contact us.