Six Ministers Fall in Drive against Corruption
Malawi-Tanzania Border Dispute
The Mpemba Effect
Election Appeal Verdicts
A pdf of the issue can be downloaded here
Six Ministers Fall in Drive against Corruption
Malawi-Tanzania Border Dispute
The Mpemba Effect
Election Appeal Verdicts
A pdf of the issue can be downloaded here
The last issue of TA (No 102) detailed the growing tension in Tanzania following revelations in the reports of the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) about widespread corruption in institutions all over the country and the perception that the government was not doing much about it. The reports had highlighted cases of corruption, embezzlement of public funds, financial mismanagement and bureaucratic ineptitude.
As soon as President Kikwete returned from Brazil, an urgent meeting of the country’s top policy making body – the 30 member Central Committee of the ruling CCM party – was convened, and quickly authorised the President to take appropriate action.
A debate in Parliament had featured angry MPs from the CCM and the opposition parties, demanding the resignation of the ministers implicated in the irregularities, failing which they should be forced out of office. At the parliamentary sitting and subsequent CCM caucus meeting in Dodoma, the leaders went on to name eight ministers they wanted out immediately. At the same time, another group of MPs led by Chadema’s Zitto Kabwe MP filed a private members’ motion of no confidence in Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda because, as head of government business in Parliament, he had failed to rein in the non-performing ministers (see TA 102).
Matters were not eased as the public and various groups joined the fray, piling pressure on President Kikwete to crack the whip. There were also calls for the Speaker to convene an emergency session within 14 days to discuss Mr Kabwe’s motion.
On May 5 the President reshuffled his cabinet and this went a long way towards appeasing the critics. He dropped six ministers – Mustapha Mkulo (Finance), William Ngeleja (Energy & Minerals), Hadji Mponda (Health and Social Welfare), Dr Cyril Chami (Industry & Trade), Ezekiel Maige (Tourism & Natural Resources) and Omar Nundu (Transport).
He then appointed three new ministers – Dr William Mgimwa (Finance), Prof Sospeter Muhongo (Energy & Minerals) and Dr Abdallah Omar Kigoda (Industry & Trade), who were considered by most people to be very well qualified. Ten new deputy ministers were also appointed. Finance and Energy & Minerals were given two deputy ministers.
Big purge in local government
In June, Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda sacked twelve local government district executive directors, warned eleven and suspended three others pending investigations into allegations that some councils were failing to fulfil their obligations with swindling and misappropriation of public funds. Some of these were taken to court.
30 senior people charged
The President has indicated that some 30 persons in senior positions in government have been charged with corruption in the last few years. Their cases are slowly moving through the legal process. After the cabinet reshuffle, many more corruption cases have been revealed and several prominent people have been charged. In fact, so numerous are the cases now under examination by various authorities, that it would take up the whole of this issue of TA to give the full story. What follows is a very brief summary of the bold steps being taken in Tanzania to put a brake on corruption.
Former President Mkapa testifies in the Mahalu case
Former President Dr Mkapa made history on May 8 by becoming the first retired Head of State in the country to appear in person before a court and testify. He was a defence witness in the alleged TShs 2.5 billion theft case facing former Tanzanian Ambassador to Italy, Prof Costa Mahalu, which has been going on for over five years. The Ambassador has been accused of forging documents relating to the purchase of an embassy building in Rome, by using two separate contracts in the deal.
In his testimony, Mr Mkapa told the court that he was aware that the building was purchased at more than Euros 3 million and had approved the whole process. Paying the money through two contracts had been requested by the owner of the property. He said: “We had a big problem to agree to these conditions in order to make sure that we got the building.” When asked if there were other buildings where owners required the payment to be through two separate accounts, Mr Mkapa said that he was aware of some but could not divulge the information as doing so might hurt the relations between the two countries.
In his testimony, Mr Mkapa praised Prof. Mahalu: “I have known him as a person with a strong character, who is sincere, honest, obedient and a hard worker,” The court acquitted Mahalu on August 9, although the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions has expressed an intention to lodge an appeal.
For the first time senior officers in the Tanzania People’s Defence Force (TPDF) have been arraigned in a civilian court and charged with abuse of office. A group of seven, including the National Service Executive Director, several Lt. Colonels, two majors and a sergeant were charged. According to the Citizen, the matter revolved around procurement of used motor vehicles and heavy construction equipment, allegedly without following the relevant procurement laws. The accused were released on bail.
The Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco), which is repeatedly in trouble of one kind or another, now has new problems. The main one concerns its long-standing dispute with Dowans (fully reported over the years in TA) concerning a decision in November 2010 by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) to award Dowans Holdings SA (Costa Rica) and Dowans (Tanzania) Ltd $65 million for wrongful termination of a power generation contract in 2008. The ICC made the award in favour of Dowans after it was satisfied that Tanesco unlawfully terminated an emergency generating contract with Dowans.
Tanesco petitioned the court to block this order. But it seems that Tanesco might finally be forced pay the money due to its failure to appeal within the time set by the law. Dowans said: “No action has been taken by Tanesco in lodging the appeal or to follow up the matter, or take any other necessary steps to further the progress of the appeal, and more than 60 days have passed since the decision was pronounced.” If the High Court agrees with Dowans, it would be a double blow for Tanesco which would automatically lose $30 million it deposited at the London- based tribunal as security for costs as it struggled to block another application for execution of the ICC award.
In its defence, Tanesco alleged that public procurement rules were grossly flawed in 2006 when the government directed Tanesco to award the contract to the American Richmond Development Company, which later passed on the contract to Dowans. According to Tanesco, the ICC deliberately disregarded evidence that the procurement of the power agreement was carried out in the absence of a valid tender after Tanesco’s tender board cancelled the initial award.
Tanesco’s second problem is that in the 2009/2010 financial year it is alleged to have spent more than the sum set aside for revamping one of the facilities at the Mtera dam.
The new Minister for Energy, Prof. Muhongo, revealed the startling information that Tanesco employees had been sabotaging the company. Some electricity poles originating in Iringa had been transported to Mombasa before being brought back to Tanzania with documents stating that they originated in South Africa. Boxes of spare parts being imported from UK had contained only nails. The Minister revealed several other similar cases to Parliament.
The Citizen reported in August that, in a bid to fight corruption within the Police Force, any police officer who was caught asking for and receiving bribes would be named in public before appropriate legal measures were brought against him/her. The new Minister for Home Affairs, Dr Emmanuel Nchimbi, told MPs that his ministry was working hard to eradicate corruption from the Police Force.
MP in court on graft charge
The CCM MP for Bahi, Dodoma Region, who is also a member of the parliamentary Local Authorities Accounts Committee, was arrested in early June and charged with soliciting and receiving a bribe. His arraignment came two days after officials of the PCCB arrested and questioned him over allegations of being bribed TSh1 million by a senior government official. He was arrested at the Peacock Hotel in Dar es Salaam as he was reportedly receiving the amount from the Mkuranga District Executive Director. He was said to have asked for TShs 8 million to induce him to approve the district council’s 2011/12 financial report. The MP denied the charge, and was released on bail.
MP charged with forgery and abuse of office
On May 29 the Citizen reported that the Shirika la Usafiri Dar es Salaam (UDA) Board Chairman, a former cabinet minister, had been charged with eight counts of forgery and abuse of office, allegedly causing the public transport firm a TShs 2.4 billion loss. Two other UDA senior officials were also charged. The three denied the charges and were released on bail.
In one of the counts read by a prosecutor from the PCCB, the accused were said to have obtained for their own benefit TSh320 million intended to be an advance commitment and part payment for UDA shares. It was further alleged that in February 2011 the officials abused their positions by disposing of 7,880,330 unissued shares of UDA, a company owned jointly by the central government and the Dar es Salaam City Council. without conducting competitive tendering and in violation of the relevant regulations.
New minster exercises his power
The Citizen reported that on May 29 the newly appointed Minister for Industry & Trade, Dr Abdallah Kigoda, had suspended the Director of the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS), whose alleged poor performance was said to have contributed to the sacking of his (Kigoda’s) predecessor, Dr Cyril Chami. The Minister ordered investigations to be made into TShs 23 billion in fees that went allegedly to ‘ghost agents’ subcontracted to inspect Tanzanian imports. The scam was said to have led to the importation into Tanzania of thousands of substandard vehicles.
The EPA case
During the long standing External Payments Arrears (EPA) case, a businessman confessed on July 25 that 50 per cent of the money deposited in his company from the EPA had been transferred abroad. He was being charged with other two businessmen and Bank of Tanzania (BoT) employees. The hearing came two days after he was convicted in another EPA case and sentenced to three years in prison.
Ministry of Natural Resources & Tourism
According to the Citizen, among those allegedly involved in doubtful activities in this ministry were the Director of the Forestry and Beekeeping Division and the former Minister himself (Mr Ezekiel Maige), who was reported as failing to prevent illegal exports of live wildlife. The National Parks (Tanapa) Director General was believed to have allowed excessive expenditure on normal maintenance and installation of communication devices and other equipment in the Ministry’s library. Allegations were made in the CAG reports that this division of government had also failed to account for TShs 874 million royalty for forest products.
On August 12 the new Minister, Mr Khamis Kagasheki, sacked three officials and demoted and gave warnings to several others in connection with the smuggling of live animals. 116 animals and 16 birds were allegedly smuggled out of the country in November 2010 using a Qatar cargo plane. The sacked officials included the Director of Wildlife and the Assistant Director of Wildlife Promotion.
According to the East African, a major Chinese investment firm had procured two obsolete aircraft for Air Tanzania, one of which crashed in April at Kigoma airport injuring 35 passengers. The Controller and Auditor General recommended that the government officials who participated in the deal to buy the aircraft from a Lebanese company be taken to court.
Swiss bank accounts
In June Zitto Kabwe MP called on the government to determine who owned huge sums of money deposited in Swiss accounts believed to be from the gas industry. Apparently the Swiss National Bank released a story that some TSh303 billion had been stashed away by some Tanzanians in Swiss banks.
The long dormant border dispute between Malawi and Tanzania has been reignited in recent months by the issuing of a licence by the Malawi government to UK company Surestream to explore for oil in the north-eastern part of Lake Nyasa. Malawi is hoping to find oil reserves of similar magnitude to those currently being exploited in Lake Albert (Uganda), estimated at 2.5 billion barrels.
Malawi claims the whole of the surface of the lake that is not in Mozambique, and their claim is supported by the Anglo-German Heligoland Agreement of 1 July 1890 which defines the border as running along the Tanzanian shore. When the British colonial government captured Tanganyika from Germany, it placed all of the water under the jurisdiction of the territory of Nyasaland, without a separate administration for the Tanganyikan portion of the surface.
In the early 1960s, Malawi’s first president, Hastings Kamuzu Banda, claimed that Lake Nyasa was part of Malawi and this was reaffirmed at the 1963 Organisation of African Unity summit, where it was accepted reluctantly by Tanzania although the dispute re-ignited in 1967-8. The Tanzanian case is based on international law which stipulates that when two countries are separated by a body of water, the border is at the middle of that body.
After meeting in August with the new Malawi President, Joyce Mbanda, President Kikwete downplayed any rumours of war over the conflict, saying that Tanzania has over the years enjoyed a good relationship with Malawi and it has no intention to strain it in any way. Technical experts from the two countries met in August at the northern Malawian town of Mzuzu to discuss possible solutions to the dispute.
However, Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation Minister, Mr Bernard Membe, was quoted as saying that “After frank and spirited discussions between the two countries, we have concluded that our differences still remain,” adding “Neighbours must endure, neighbours must always remain neighbours, and we are here because of differences in positions.” Mr Membe confirmed that the parties have agreed to cease oil exploration in the disputed areas to allow space for negotiations to take place, and that there will be a fresh round of talks in Tanzania from September 10-14. If this does not lead to an agreement, the matter may be referred to the UN International Court of Justice.
Long standing TA readers will probably recall one of the more memorable articles published in TA in 1997 (No 57) on the Mpemba Effect and the Tanzanian boy Erasto Mpemba at its centre.
Now, years later The London Times has updated us on this fascinating story (Thank you John Sankey for alerting us to this – Editor). Extracts: ‘The problem, in its modern form, began life in 1968 when Physics Professor Denis Osbourne visited a Tanzania school near Lake Victoria. After his address, a student named Erasto Mpemba asked how can a cup of boiling water at 100C freeze faster than a cup of water at 35C? The next year the two published a joint paper on the phenomenon since known as the ‘Mpemba Effect’.
“Amid the things we know and the things we don’t yet know, there is the unknowable” – The Times, Leading Article 27/6/12
A whole plethora of articles have been published in scientific journals. Recent examples:
Physics World casts doubt on the story: “Even if the Mpemba effect is real — if hot water can sometimes freeze more quickly than cold — it is not clear whether the explanation would be trivial or illuminating.” Investigations of the phenomenon need to control a large number of initial parameters (including type and initial temperature of the water, dissolved gas and other impurities; the size, shape and material of the container;, and the temperature of the refrigerator) and need to settle on a particular method of establishing the time of freezing, all of which might affect the presence or absence of the Mpemba effect. The required vast multidimensional array of experiments might explain why the effect is not yet understood.
New Scientist recommends starting the experiment with containers at 35°C (95°F) and 5°C (41°F) to maximize the effect.
‘It’s True: Hot Water Really Can Freeze Faster than Cold Water … Mpemba has joined a distinguished group of people who had also noticed the effect: Aristotle, Francis Bacon and René Descartes had all made the same claim’ – Laura Sanders in Science News. This article confirms that James Brownridge of State University of New York at Binghamton has managed to reproduce the effect consistently, but only when comparing cold distilled water against hot tap water.
Now, the Royal Society of Chemistry in London is looking for ‘outside the box, inventive submissions to help explain one of the great chemistry conundrums’. Submissions to: www.hermes2012.org/ice. Reward £1,000 for anyone who can explain why hot water freezes faster than cold.
Question – in 1997 Mr Erasto Mpembe was working as a Game Office for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism – does anyone know where he is now? We would love to hear from him or about him – Editor.
The participation of President Kikwete at the G8 Summit in the USA in May gave the Citizen the opportunity to both praise and criticise his performance as Head of State.
Describing him as the ‘Darling of the West’ and as highly regarded in international circles, the writers said that this was in fairly sharp contrast with how he was viewed back home. (This is not exactly unusual! – Editor) The Tanzanian leader, they went on, has cause to believe that invitations to high-profile forums represent an acknowledgement by the world’s political and economic movers and shakers that his administration has delivered and deserves praise within the country and abroad.
Further extracts from the analysis: ‘President Kikwete is one of the few leaders in the African continent, as well as in the broader developing world, who catches the eye of those wielders of influence, the likes of whom he rubbed shoulders with at the Camp David gathering in Maryland., USA……
‘This latest trip also serves to consolidate the record of ….. Tanzania’s most travelled president – but a record that some quarters dismiss as a disgrace rather than as something praiseworthy…. Critics attribute Tanzania’s current economic and welfare woes to his frequent highly costly foreign trips, in spite of the shaky state of the economy, the growing rate of unemployment, occasional political uncertainties and social upheavals…. an inability by the Treasury to pay civil servants’ salaries on time, and the constant budgetary constraints. The usually big presidential entourages also raise eyebrows over whether they yield tangible benefits….
‘To this school of thought, Mr Kikwete has so far been a let-down and there is little hope of him turning into reality his much-touted election campaign slogan ‘prosperity for all’ within the remaining three years of his second and final tenure at State House. On an extreme note, the group has reached a point of dubbing him the ‘tourist head of state’…. they fail to understand why donors rate him so highly when many people in the country can hardly afford two decent meals in a day, despite the country possessing abundant natural resources. And despite Tanzania being the second top recipient of aid, the country is yet to mark the credible economic growth rates that are required to uplift the majority of people from abject poverty.’
‘Mr Kikwete became president through a popular vote in 2005 after he scooped a landslide victory of 80.2% but …. his popularity has since slipped. Going by the results of the 2010 General Election, that could be true since he won the presidential race by 60.2%, which is a huge percentage point slide.’
The Citizen and other media continue to provide Tanzanians with full coverage of political developments.
Ructions in parliament
It was drama after drama in Parliament on June 18, according to the Citizen, when Chadema MP John Mnyika was thrown out of the House after he refused to withdraw a statement that President Kikwete was a weak leader. Mnyika had said that the budget, which had been criticised by many MPs, was the result of President Kikwete’s weakness, Parliament’s laxity and the CCM’s “stupidity”.
At this point, Government Chief Whip William Lukuvi shot up and asked Deputy Speaker Job Ndugai to order Mnyika to withdraw his remarks. He added: “According to section 64 of our Standing Orders, it is forbidden to use abusive or unpalatable language, especially when referring to the President. And, to make things worse, Mr Mnyika has personally referred to President Kikwete, not the presidency. This is unacceptable.” Mr Ndugai concurred with Mr Lukuvi and asked Mr Mnyika to withdraw the statement, but the youthful MP refused to comply. “Mr Deputy Speaker, if you would listen to what I meant, you would see my point,” Mnyika retorted. But Ndugai intervened, saying: “Mr Mnyika, this is an order. You should withdraw the statement because you didn’t use decent language.” Mnyika responded that he would stand by his statement since he had not meant any harm.
The Deputy Speaker stood up, holding a copy of the Parliamentary Standing Orders, and said: “According to section 73(2) of our Standing Orders, if a member uses abusive, attacking or unpalatable language and he refuses to withdraw his statement after being ordered by the chair, the Speaker may order the Sergeant at Arms to send him out and he may remain outside for the remainder of the session on that day..I am taking that decision now. Sergeant at Arms, please escort Mr Mnyika out and make sure that he does not return until tomorrow at 9am.” But, having sensed what was coming, Mr Mnyika had already collected his documents and left the debating chamber.
The sniping along party lines started earlier when Tundu Lissu MP, (Singida East – Chadema) had dismissed the government and ruling party as useless and a group of silly people.
The President’s earlier comments
President Kikwete earlier saluted the seventh sitting of Parliament, saying that the fearless frankness with which MPs had discussed embezzlement of public funds was doubly advantageous. Firstly, it jolted him as Head of State into thinking how to set things right; secondly, it enhanced amongst the wananchi respect and confidence for MPs as genuine servants who seriously strove to promote the public interest.
Mr Kikwete dismissed the notion that he was angered by the discussions on the subject in the House, stressing that on the contrary, they excited him, since they demonstrated the resolve by the people’s representatives to press the government to book looters of public wealth.“ I found the frank and fearless discussions on sensitive issues that have a critical impact on the livelihood of wananchi most pleasant; this is the best way of practicing good governance.” He went on to assure his audience that the government would not be indifferent to the issues raised by MPs, remarking “I congratulate them for pushing the government to act on important issues….”. He was pleased that his efforts to strengthen the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), and his call for discussions on its reports to be more transparent, were beginning to bear fruit. When he had received the first CAG report in 2007, he was deeply shocked by the way public servants were embezzling public funds and he had vowed to make changes.
Kikwete picks Mbatia as an MP
President Kikwete has named the chairman of the small opposition NCCR-Mageuzi Party, James Mbatia, to be a nominated MP. Mbatia joins four elected NCCR-Mageuzi MPs in Parliament. He failed to win the Kawe seat in Dar es Salaam in the 2010 elections (Chadema won the seat). Others nominated as MPs are Prof Sospeter Muhongo and Ms Janeth Mbene.
This nomination takes to six the number of MPs nominated by President Kikwete since the 2010 elections. The constitution allows him to pick a maximum of ten nominated MPs. Earlier nominees were Shamsi Vuai Nahodha, Prof. Makame Mbarawa and former Finance Minister Ms Zakia Meghji. Mr Nahodha and Prof Mbarawa were later appointed Home Affairs Minister and Minister for Communications, Science and Technology.
Retired University of Dar es Salaam lecturer Dr Azaveli Lwaitama said that, while the nomination of a politician from the opposing camp as an MP was bound to raise eyebrows, “I think this is the first time the President has nominated the national chairman of an opposition party as an MP… Prof Muhongo, a respected expert in mining, would add value to parliament, especially at this time when there are efforts to ensure that the country benefits more from its mineral resources.”
Deputy Leader of the Official Opposition in Parliament Zitto Kabwe MP (Chadema), echoed Dr Lwaitama’s views, saying Mr Mbatia’s nomination was not unusual. Praising these nominations he said that nominated MPs would not have to worry about voters and constituencies. They would have enough time to deal with national problems without unnecessary distractions.
Tanzania gazettes new regions and districts
The Tanzania government has officially announced the establishment of four new regions – Geita, Katavi, Njombe and Simiyu – and 19 districts – Buhingwe, Busega, Butiama, Chemba, Gairo, Ikungi, Itilima, Kakonko, Kalambo, Kaliua, Kyerwa, Mbogwe, Mkalama, Mlele, Momba, Nyang’hwale, Nyasa, Uvinza and Wanging’ombe.
Election Appeal Verdicts
It seems a long time since the last parliamentary elections in 2010. At the end of those elections, several candidates appealed to the courts to rectify what they considered to have been incorrectly conducted vote counting or other infringements of the electoral laws. Finally the courts have begun to give the verdicts on the electoral petitions and both main parties have had reason for satisfaction and disappointment, as generally the election results have been upheld.
The High Court in Dar es Salaam threw overboard with costs a petition which sought to nullify the results in Segerea constituency in which the ruling CCM candidate, Dr. Makongoro Mahanga, had won. The results had been as follows: CCM 43,839 votes and Chadema 39,639.
In the verdict, which took almost four hours to read, Judge Ibrahimu Juma rejected arguments presented by the petitioner in the case, Fred Mpendazoe (Chadema), and upheld Mahanga’s victory. The judge said that the petitioner had failed to bring in reliable witnesses who would have given correct information on what had really transpired during the elections. The judgement was delivered amid tight security with huge crowds of Chadema and CCM supporters outside. The MP was escorted by jubilant CCM supporters past protesting opposition Chadema backers. The Guardian reported that Dr Mahanga could barely hold back tears after the court dismissed the petition. The court ruled that the entire election exercise in Segerea had been free, fair and in line with the law regulating general elections. The judge ordered the petitioner to pay the costs of the case.
In Mbeya, Chadema’s incumbent – Mbozi West MP David Silinde – triumphed over CCM’s Dr Luka Siyame. A three-judge bench dealt Dr Siyame a second legal blow by declining his request to overturn a high court ruling which had dismissed his election petition. Justice Msofe dismissed the section of law which the advocate had used to move the withdrawal intention, saying it had many legal defects. The bench ordered Siyame to foot the costs of the case.
In Dar the High Court upheld the election of Chadema’s John Mnyika as the Ubungo MP. Lady Justice Upendo Msuya dismissed the petition filed by the losing CCM candidate, Ms Hawa Ng’humbi, for lack of sufficient grounds to overturn the result.
In Biharamulo the judge accepted that the elected CCM MP had been elected in free and fair elections.
A number of doctors have been involved for several months in an on/off strike in Tanzania demanding improvements in the health service in the country and in their remuneration. The media, in what may have been an exaggeration, wrote that the strike had ‘paralysed health sector operations in all major public hospitals.’ From the beginning the government has taken a hard line. It is believed to have sacked some doctors, brought in doctors from outside the country and firmly rejected the strikers’ demands.
There was considerable shock when Dr Steven Ulimboka, chairman of the Interim Doctors Committee and spokesperson for the doctors, was abducted, tortured and left for dead at the Pande forest in the northern precincts of Dar es Salaam. His injuries were so serious that he had to be moved to South Africa for six weeks to recover and did not return to Tanzania until August 12. He was reported in the media to have ‘failed to hold back tears’ when relatives, friends, activists and hundreds of other people welcomed him back at Dar Airport.
There is some mystery as to who kidnapped and tortured Dr Ulimboka. The Medical Association of Tanzania (MAT) Secretary General, Dr Rodrick Kabangila, said the Association was pleased with the recovery and return of one of their members. “His homecoming might also shed light on what actually happened and the persons who did what they did to him… we might know the truth eventually, regardless of the police reports on the arrest and charging of one man in connection with his tribulations.”
On July 7 religious leaders held prayers for Dr Ulimboka and asked President Kikwete to form an independent commission of inquiry to investigate the abduction and torture. They also called for the immediate resumption of negotiations between the government and striking doctors to end the standoff. The clerics urged the government to drop the case it had filed at the High Court against the doctors before talks could resume.
At the end of May, as discussions on the proposed new constitution continued around the country, a segment of Zanzibar’s young people turned to violence to press their views. In what the Citizen described as skirmishes, a number of churches were burnt by unruly youths demonstrating under the banner of a religious group that is pressing for a referendum on the Union between Zanzibar and the Tanzanian mainland.
President of Zanzibar, Dr Ali Mohammed Shein had a tough message for those behind the actions. “Nothing will be spared in the drive to ensure they do not create chaos again in the community. Government agencies have also been directed to closely monitor the activities of all religious groups in the Isles in order to ensure that they do not break the law and interfere with the right of worship of other people.”
In his speech, Dr Shein referred to religious groups that have “deviated from their main objectives” and warned that his government would not tolerate violence under the guise of freedom of expression. “Every freedom has its limitations,” he added. “The destiny of our country is facing a political test right now… the root cause of all of this is, of course, the new constitution. But we all agreed to have a new constitution… in our meeting with religious leaders on April 25th we asked them to avoid violence and participate fully in the process when it starts.” He added: “We shall protect our peace at any cost, but the government will not interfere with genuine religious activities. Those who have issues with the constitution should follow the procedures. The Constitution Review Act has been passed by Parliament and it has nothing to do with what happened here… No demonstrations will be allowed unless they have the blessings of the government..
‘Peace has made a tremendous contribution to our economy – 80% of our foreign exchange comes from the tourism sector and there is no way we will allow some people to play with peace….. Christianity is not new here… the then chief of Zanzibar allowed the first church, which was built in 1844 on land offered by a Muslim chief… The first church in the Isles was the Anglican Church at Mkunazini. It was followed by the Roman Catholic twin towers…. There has been a high level of religious tolerance in Zanzibar”. The president assured all religious groups in the Isles that they could carry on their activities safely.
The president expressed surprise that the groups demanding a referendum on the Union decided to raid and burn churches, which have nothing to do with Union issues. “The Zanzibar and the Union governments have been dealing with Union matters in accordance with laid- down procedures and there was no need for anyone to take the law in their own hands and try to force the issue. The two governments have been discussing oil and gas with the aim of enabling each side of the Union to own the resources independently.” All people were free to debate anything of importance to them, but they should follow the right procedures.
In July Kenya returned nearly all hominid fossils and other archaeological materials which were taken from various sites in Tanzania in the 1930s. At least 80 per cent of the rock tools and fossil bones had been returned to the country by May this year. Acting Director of the National Museum of Tanzania Jackson Kihiyo said: “I can’t tell you how many pieces they were but numbered in the thousands. Many of the hominid fossils were collected from the Olduvai Gorge in Arusha Region and were taken to Kenya for preservation and scientific analysis by experts from across the world. With the recent expansion of the National Museum and the adjacent House of Culture in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania now has enough space for storage of the material”.
At least 144 people lost their lives on July 17 when ferry MV Skagit sank at Chumbe islet, a few kilometres from Zanzibar’s Malindi Port, travelling from Dar es Salaam. This was only nine months after another ship, MV Spice Islander, sank off the coast of Zanzibar on its way to Pemba.
A total of 145 people were rescued in this latest tragedy. A survivor told the Citizen that the there was no advance warning. “Just before the accident, the captain seemed to have lost control of the vessel, which tilted to one side before it was pushed by a strong wave to the other side and shortly afterwards it capsized.” Apparently the ocean was very rough, “Even people with experience in the sea testified that the situation was horrifying,” he said.
A few days later the Minister responsible for shipping in the Zanzibar government resigned.