Analysis of the Proposed Constitution
Swahili as the Medium of Instruction in Schools
A pdf of the issue can be downloaded here
Analysis of the Proposed Constitution
Swahili as the Medium of Instruction in Schools
A pdf of the issue can be downloaded here
by Abdul Paliwala
The recent seminar arranged by BTS and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) on the proposed constitution for Tanzania included four very enlightening presentations. Unfortunately, we do not have space here for all four, but we are delighted to be able to include this one. Abdul Paliwala is Emeritus Professor of Law at the University of Warwick; He is also currently Visiting Professor of Law at Birkbeck (University of London).
The purpose of a Constitution is to serve and to promote the wellbeing of the people of a nation. In particular, it is intended to provide an element of peace and personal security for law-abiding citizens. It is intended to provide for citizens a solid foundation on the basis of which they can organise their lives knowing (or believing) that the things they most value will be safeguarded, and the things they most fear will not take place. In order to fulfil that function however, the constitution has to uphold, to strengthen and support the unity of the nation regardless of any internal distribution of power between groups or regions. It should be their conscious declaration of themselves as a unity. It should be their collective, “I am”, a deliberate assertion by the group that is united in a common citizenship and with duties and rights to and from each other in that capacity. Julius Nyerere
Mwalimu Nyerere was here emphasising the idea of universal acceptance and legitimacy, which is the hallmark of the most enduring constitutions.
Constitutional lawyers increasingly suggest that the Constitution is not a document but a process, and that constitutions have to be ‘built’ to last. This building involves the process of making a new constitution, the process of its enactment and the continual process of ensuring that the entire nation now and in the future continues to accept it as a collective ‘I am’. This paper therefore deals briefly with these three aspects of Constitutional Building.
It is not my intention to lay any blame on any side, but it is sad that the Tanzanian constitutional review process, which started so well, faces severe challenges today. The very nature of those challenges, with parties walking out, puts in jeopardy the notion of a ‘conscious declaration of unity, the collective I am’ that Mwalimu talked about.
The Constitutional Process
Tanzania established a Constitutional Review Committee composed of equal representation from Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar and containing eminent persons including as chair the former Prime Minister Joseph Warioba. The Committee carried out a wide consultation at the end of which it produced the first draft constitution in June 2013. This was again the basis of further consultation at the end of which was produced the 2nd draft in September. This draft was substantially revised by the Constituent Assembly and approved by 2/3 majority votes of members from each part of the Union. However, this was partly because the opposition walked out! They felt that the Government side was dominating the proceedings.
The Constitutional Review Act requires a referendum to approve the Constitution with a simple majority vote in each part of the Union. At one stage it was announced that this would be postponed until after the general election. However in October 2014 the President announced that the referendum will now take place in April 2015.
The confusion, opposition walk-out, delays and limited time for proper information and deliberation on the referendum means that the Constitutional Review process has been problematic!
The Constitutional Drafts
The Second Aspect of Building a Constitution is the Document itself. How robust is it? It is therefore necessary to compare the drafts prepared by the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) and the proposal approved by the Constituent Assembly (CA).
This section deals with four key aspects of the drafts and proposals. These include the Union, Presidential powers in relation to other institutions of governance, accountability and fundamental objectives and human rights.
What is the authority of the Union Government over Zanzibar? The CRC proposed a 3 government structure including a government for Tanzania mainland, for Zanzibar and the Union Government. Each would have clear competence in relation to its assigned matters, so that Union laws could not override Zanzibar laws in areas of their competence. However, this proposal was rejected by the CA and its proposed constitution provides essentially for the retention of the existing two government structure. Zanzibar is responsible for certain areas and the Union Government responsible for Union and Tanzania mainland affairs.
The Union in 1964 was based on the Agreement between the two governments which was incorporated into the Acts of Union. This was essentially preserved in the 1977 Constitution and continues to form the basis of the Union and can be said to be the Fundamental Law of the Union. The CRC preserved this status under Article 1 (3); so does the CA. Yet at various points both drafts seem to refer to matters which under the Constitution come under Zanzibar authority. Does it mean that where there is a conflict the Acts of Union will prevail?
What are the areas of competence? The current Constitution provides for 22 matters as Union matters. The CRC reduced this to 7. The National Assembly Proposed Constitution provides for 14.
What are the limitations on competence of Zanzibar to decide its own affairs? There has been resentment in Zanzibar about a number of areas -including the budgetary, financial and taxation relationship. Another area has been the ability of Zanzibar to make agreements at international level, in particular, the controversy over whether Zanzibar could become a member of the Organisation of Islamic Countries.
The CRC provided for the establishment of a Commission for Coordination of Relations between the three Governments consisting of five members. This would be chaired by the Vice President and include the Presidents of Zanzibar and the Mainland governments as well as Resident Ministers from Zanzibar and the Mainland and the Union Foreign Minister. It provided that in all matters, the Commission should observe the principle of equality in the provision of services in Zanzibar and the Mainland and the principle of ‘proportionality’ in matters of allocation.
The CA also provides for a Coordination Commission with similar membership. In addition, Article 252 of the CA proposal provides for a Joint Finance Commission of the Union and Zanzibar Governments consisting of 4 members from the mainland and 3 from Zanzibar appointed by the President after consultation with the President of Zanzibar. The Finance Commission would work on principles of allocation of finances in the country. However, neither the Coordination Commission nor the Finance Commission are required to observe the principles of proportionality indicated in the CRC drafts, with the assumption that these will be worked out on a mutual basis.
The CRC was concerned to give stronger powers to the Coordination Commission and used the words ‘special responsibility for ensuring’, whereas the CA Proposal uses less mandatory language ‘a special role to facilitate’. More significantly, the CRC provided for appeal to the Supreme Court in case of conflict in relation to issues. This recourse to the Supreme Court is removed in the CA proposal. Therefore the CA is tending to provide a facilitative rather than decisive role for the coordination process.
Both the CRC and CA Drafts provide that Zanzibar can borrow internationally with the cooperation of the Union Government. In addition they provide that Zanzibar can enter into agreements with international agencies and organisations, again with the co-operation of the Union government. However the CA proposal provides that the National Assembly may enact legislation to control any such agreements thus potentially limiting the power.
In relation to the judiciary, the CRC proposed a hierarchy with the Apex Court being the Supreme Court of the Union, A Union Court of Appeal which could hear appeals from both parts of the Union, and separate High Courts for the Mainland and Zanzibar. In particular, the Zanzibar court would exercise jurisdiction in accordance with the Zanzibar Constitution. The Two Government solution of the CA has meant that while the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal have been retained, there is a High Court of the United Republic which can deal with all matters including union and Tanzania Mainland matters which are not specifically assigned to another court, for example the High Court of Zanzibar. However, Article 199 (2) provides parallel jurisdiction to the High Court of Zanzibar in relation to any law made by the union Parliament which applies to both Zanzibar and the mainland.
In relation to Parliament, the CRC Draft Article 113 proposed a small union Parliament with a maximum of 75 members. This reflected the limited Union powers under the three government system. More specifically, it divided the numbers for the Union Parliament for Zanzibar and the Mainland with 20 members from Zanzibar and 50 from the Mainland. The CA Proposal has increased to a minimum of 340 and a maximum to 390 members. More specifically in relation to the Union, it does not specify any ratio between Zanzibar and the Mainland, presumably leaving it to the Electoral Commission, with the result that the principles of Zanzibar representation in Parliament are not clear. To some extent this is to cater for the fact that the Parliament, as now, will continue to be responsible for Mainland as well as Union affairs, but it also suggests that Parliamentarians who were dominant members of the CA did not wish for their status to be diminished and their jobs to end!
Presidential Powers in Relation to Other Institutions
The issue of the power of the president is recognised by constitutionalists as a key issue of democratic governance. The CRC drafts tried to limit presidential power in several ways. In particular, they provided that key Presidential appointments should be made upon advice by relevant bodies such as independent appointment committees and that they should be subject to confirmation by Parliament in a system similar to that in the United States and that appointments for example to the senior judiciary should be made by the President from names submitted to the President. Furthermore, the authority to make lesser public appointments was given to the Secretariat of the Public Service and to relevant other independent bodies such as the Judicial Services Commission or the Appointment Committee for the Electoral Commission. The CA proposal removes the need for confirmation by the National Assembly. The principle of independent nomination committees for specific appointments such as to higher judiciary and the chairs of the Electoral Commission and Human Rights Commission is retained; however, there is a requirement to submit three names for the judiciary, a number of names for the Electoral Commission and Public Ethics Commission but no such obligation in relation to the Public Service Commission.
The CA proposal also makes a significant change in relation to assent to legislation proposed by the National Assembly. The CRC Draft provided that the President may refuse to assent to a Bill. If the Bill is represented to the President in 6 months, then the President would have to approve it. Similar provisions are retained in the CA Proposal; however, if the President still does not approve of the Bill as represented, then the President may dissolve Parliament. The power to dissolve becomes a threat to the careers of the Parliamentarians, who would be fearful of losing their seats!
Both drafts provide for accountability of public leaders in relation to their property and assets, foreign bank accounts and participation in business. However, while the CRC was clearly concerned about the accountability of Public Leaders and their Drafts categorically proposed a strong leadership code in the Constitution with an obligation to declare property and debts, the CA Proposal only provides a general framework for an ethics code, leaving the actual system to Parliament to decide upon. Thus, in relation to foreign bank accounts, while the CRC Draft provided prohibition of foreign bank accounts except as provided by law, the CA Proposal does not prohibit but provides that Parliament will enact legislation for the regulation of conduct of public leaders. There is a similar difference between the CRC and CA Drafts in relation to participation in business. While the CA Proposal provides for greater flexibility, there is an obvious concern that the party in power may use its majority to provide for weak proposals.
Fundamental Objectives and Human Rights
The CRC Draft was remarkable for its substantive and interesting scheme of Fundamental Objectives, Directive Principles and National Policies as well as human rights to be protected by a Human Rights Commission and recourse to courts. Chapter Two on Fundamental Objectives, Directive Principles and National Policies is mainly concerned with duties of state institutions. The basic principle is that the Constitution and state institutions and every citizen should protect democracy, good governance, human rights and social and economic development including prevention of exploitation and the relief of poverty. Article 11 (2) provided an obligation on the government to report to Parliament once a year in relation to the fulfilment of these obligations. The issue as to whether any of these duties were justiciable in a court of law was left open, with the assumption being that courts like all institutions would give particular attention to these principles in their interpretation of law.
The Constitutional Assembly Draft also provides in Chapter 2 for Fundamental Objectives, Directive Principles and National Policies which emphasise democracy and good governance. While many of the provisions are similar, there is a greater emphasis on principles of economic development and no mention of prevention of exploitation or relief of poverty. More significantly, there is no obligation to report to Parliament and Article 20 (2) specifically states that the chapter provisions are not enforceable in any court.
Unlike the Fundamental Objectives and National Policy, both the CRC and the CA provide for an extensive set of human rights which can be enforced in the courts of law. The emphasis is on civil and political rights such as freedom and equality, life, non-discrimination, non-enslavement, personal freedom, privacy, movement, expression, information and mass media, religion, association, participation in public affairs, work, of employees and employers, to own property, citizenship, of accused and prisoners, to clean and safe environment and to education and learning. Specific categories of people such as children, youths, the disabled, women, the elderly and minority groups such as hunter-gatherers have specific rights.
Of particular significance was the equal right of women to own land and of equal membership of parliament with a proposal that each constituency would have one male and one female member, although no provision was made in relation to other state offices.
Another remarkable proposal was that enforcement of rights can be on behalf of a group rather than on an individual basis. However, there was no specific provision for public interest litigation. That is, an ordinary citizen who was interested in protecting the constitutional principles, but who did not have a claim for abuse of his or his group’s own rights could not bring an action. In India, South Africa and more recently Kenya, the principle of Public Interest Litigation has become an important method of protecting constitutional rights on behalf of citizens.
The CRC rights were also subject to duties of citizens and state institutions including the duty to protect the constitution, national values, culture, traditions, environment and human rights and to work. Significantly, in the interpretation of human rights the courts have also to take into account these duties and the interest of society in general. These rights can be restricted by legislation provided it observed the principles of democracy, transparency, dignity, equality and freedom and indicated clear reasons for doing so.
The CA Proposals have in the main retained these specific set of rights, but made significant changes in the provision. Most significantly, while the principle of equal number of male and female members of Parliament is retained, it is left to Parliament to determine the specific form this should take. A significant new provision in the CA Proposal is in relation to land. Specifically it provides that only citizens have right to own land. However, while this appears to be a dramatic provision, its significance is reduced by a provision that non-citizens can invest in land owned either by the State or other Tanzanians. In principle, this would not make significant change to existing practice under which most investment by foreigners has been on the basis of leases, either from the State or from private owners.
While the human rights provisions are significant, the key issue is whether they will make a substantive difference to the lives of ordinary Tanzanians. In this regard it may be that an opportunity was missed by both the CRC and the CA to provide significant social economic rights as in the South African constitution, which provides for example for rights to land, water and health. Secondly, as indicated above, while rights are justiciable and innovatively may be claimed on behalf of groups, the opportunity has been missed to introduce Public Interest Litigation.
Finally, while the CA Proposal appears to provide for a strong set of Fundamental Objectives, most of these are merely urging the state to make provision, and the actual obligation appears to be weak. Furthermore, the system of rights is balanced by a system of responsibilities of citizens. On the surface this sounds appropriate, but a key problem of balance between rights and responsibilities is that responsibilities provide instruments to the judiciary to weaken the actual implementation of the system of rights if responsibilities are interpreted as the interest of the state. Thus it requires a rights conscious judiciary, rather than a judiciary which is habituated into upholding state interest.
Implementation and Education of Citizens
The notion that the constitutional process and the contents of the Constitution are only two parts of the exercise of ‘building’ constitutions means that the ultimate fulfilment of the Constitution’s promise of a unified national consciousness requires two further elements: careful attention to the system of implementation and equally careful attention to constitutional education to ensure that each citizen is aware of the rights and responsibilities and promises of democratic good governance under the Constitution, to such an extent that each citizen feels that she or he owns it.
Firstly, how effective are the provisions for implementation in the Constitution? It is in relation to implementation that the various aspects of distribution of powers become significant. In particular, how powerful are the President and her/his Executive in relation to Parliament, the judiciary, organisations of supervision such as the Human Rights and other bodies? How powerful are all organs of government in relation to people? How can people assert the rights which are provided for in the Constitution? What are the forms of participation provided for citizens in the actualities of national and local governance? Is all they have is a right to vote once every few years?
In particular, what is the peoples’ awareness of the provisions of the Constitution and their rights and responsibilities? To the extent that the Constitution remains a document for the national leadership, and remote from the people, its finest words cannot really mean anything to the people to whom it is supposed to belong. Both the CRC and CA drafts make it a responsibility of all state institutions and citizens to uphold the constitution and national values and provision is made for all school curricula to include the education of citizens. Article 34 of the CRC draft and Article 43 of the CA proposal provide specifically for a right of citizens to participate in the governance of the country and decisions which may affect them, but this has to be in accordance with law.
The CRC and the CA make the Electoral Commission responsible for the education of voters and additionally provides that it shall be responsible for the education of citizens in relation to the ethics and accountability of leaders. Both the CRC and the CA make it a duty of the Human Rights Commission to educate the public in human rights and good governance. Therefore educational provisions may be crucial to enable people to participate effectively in their governance and to ensure that the fine words and promises will be implemented. In this respect, while both the CRC and the CA make provision for citizen education, much will depend on their effective implementation. That is, how strong is the Parliamentary legislation? What resources are provided for effective implementation?
We commenced with Mwalimu’s notion that a Constitution should be a conscious declaration by Tanzanians of their unity – a collective “I am”. If the Constitutional process is inclusive with full consultation of all the people, and the resultant constitution is one which promotes a feeling of unity, then it may provide a case for saying “I am”.
The real difficulty with the Constitutional process has been that it has failed to promote a sense of national unity. In relation to the content of the Constitution, it may be possible to argue either way on two or three governments. The real issue is that it has led to a divisive feeling. Similarly there is a feeling that the careful attempt by the CRC to control the powers of the President and systems of accountability has been diluted.
What is to be the future of the process? Whatever the result of the referendum, there is an inevitable dual reality involved in all constitution making. The construction of a constitution is a deeply political process and inevitably reflects the political realities of the day. At the same time, its sustainability depends on convincing the people that it belongs to them. In this respect, the constitutional developments in Kenya are instructive. The disaffection with the constitutional process ultimately led to a solution which is regarded as a fine constitution, but a feeling that there has to be a continuous struggle for effective implementation. In this respect it remains to be seen whether the Tanzanian constitutional process will lead to an enduring constitution or become a signpost in a continuing struggle for a feeling of ‘I am’.
by David Brewin
Kigoma MP Zitto Kabwe (CHADEMA) has rarely been out of the news during the last few months.
In early March, the High Court in Dar es Salaam ruled in favour of CHADEMA, in a long-running dispute between Kabwe and the party. The judge also ordered Zitto to pay CHADEMA’s costs. The case dated back to 2013, when Kabwe brought a case against the CHADEMA Board of Trustees and its Secretary General Willbroad Slaa, which asked the Court to bar CHADEMA’s Central Committee from deliberating on or determining his membership of the party until his appeal was determined by the governing council of the party.
As the verdict was announced Kabwe, in his capacity as Chairman of the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee, said “As you can see, I am still in a full position as an MP and am still the Chairman of the Committee”. The MP seemed concerned by the court ruling to strip him of CHADEMA membership but he termed it a surprise, saying he was used to such challenges in building his political career. He said that his politics were based on issues and not on people.
CHADEMA’s founder and former Finance Minister Edwin Mtei said he welcomed the final settling of Kabwe’s long running stand-off over his membership of the party. He had admired him because he was aggressive but later realised he was too ambitious and no longer interested in CHADEMA’s collective strength. Mtei dismissed fears that CHADEMA could suffer as a consequence although he had admitted that Kabwe still enjoyed a popular following.
CHADEMA lawyer Tundu Lissu told reporters that the party was preparing a bill of costs for the Registrar of the judiciary to ensure that Kabwe paid all the costs incurred during the case at the High Court. Lissu added that Kabwe was one of Tanzania’s most powerful politicians on matters of national interest and was dedicated and hardworking. However, he was also an undisciplined figure who had made it his mission to stop the increasing popularity of CHADEMA.
Kabwe then resigned from CHADEMA and from parliament, and joined the newly created party ‘Alliance for Change and Transparency’ (ACT)). He became leader of this party and thus obtained a platform in time for the next election, even though many people feel that Tanzania already has too many parties – over 20. It is not clear how much damage he has done to the prospects of CHADEMA, but it could be considerable.
by David Brewin
The next stage of the election battle in Tanzania may well involve differences between the young and the old amongst politicians, as the East African has pointed out. The paper is widely read online within Tanzania. Those in their forties are described as ‘the young ones’, while the experienced older politicians are mostly in their sixties.
January Makamba has been the first MP of the ruling CCM party to declare his interest in the top job. He is 41, one year above the minimum age required by the Constitution for someone wishing to be President. Others in the same age group are the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Lazaro Nyalandu (46), the Deputy Minister of Finance Mwigulu Nchemba (40) and Hamis Kigwangala, who is currently 39 but will turn 40 before October.
Makamba, in particular, has made much use of the age factor in his recent speeches. He claims that Tanzania needs a youthful leader, strong enough to address modern challenges and bring in new ideas. Amongst the older generation are former Prime Ministers Edward Lowassa (61) and Frederick Sumaye (64) as well as Foreign Affairs Minister Bernard Membe (61) and the current Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda (66).
Others who are also likely to compete for the job are two Minister of State in the President’s Office, Stephen Wassira (69) and Mark Mwandosya (65); East African Cooperation Minister Samuel Sitta (72); Vice President of Tanzania Dr Mohamed Gharib Bilal (69); and President of Zanzibar Ali Mohammed Shein (66).
In a surprise intervention last year, President Kikwete called upon Tanzanians to opt for a young person as his successor. He said that the youth were the catalysts for development and he would like to see, as his successor, a person at least as young as he was when he ran for the presidency. He was then 55.
Lowassa, who is at present regarded as the one most likely to be chosen as CCM candidate, was President Kikwete’s right-hand man during the presidential campaign in 2005. He resigned from the premiership in February 2008 over his alleged role in the Richmond energy scandal.
by Ben Taylor
As part of the recently launched new education policy, the Tanzanian government announced that the language of instruction in secondary schools would switch from English to Swahili. The change has drawn both criticism and support from commentators. The following are excerpts:
Dr Aikande Kwayu
The emphasis on Kiswahili as the language of instruction (in addition to properly teaching English) is a wise move highlighting the true spirit of Tanzania. Research and literature has it that the language of instruction should be what is spoken at home – in our case, Kiswahili. Teaching our kids in Kiswahili will improve learning for the masses.
Ali A. Mufuruki, Chair of CEO Roundtable, Dar es Salaam
The changes were not made in good faith, nor was enough preparation done to make sure all systems are in place. We are going to put current and future generations of Tanzanians at a disadvantage from which they will not be able to recover easily. The arguments made by the proponents of the new policy are devoid of logic and paint a picture of a people who have very little or no understanding that we live today in a globalised world, where Tanzanians do not have the luxury of being able to create their own reality that can be kept safe from the effects of competitive forces that are a dominant feature of today’s life.
The change may be nothing more than a knee-jerk reaction of policy makers to the steadily falling pass rates at both primary and secondary schools over the past twenty years and is therefore a wrong solution to the problem. Just as you cannot cure a gangrene wound by applying aspirin to it, you cannot turn around Tanzania’s failing education system by replacing English with Swahili as a medium of instruction. I am very curious to see if those responsible for this policy change are going to move their children from the private English Medium schools to the Kiswahili-only public schools where the rest of the country’s children go.
Prof. Kitila Mkumbo, University of Dar es Salaam
The decision to recognise and promote both Kiswahili and English languages in teaching and learning seems to have been reached as a compromise to please the two sides of the debate. As a consequence, I can bet that English will continue to be used as a medium of instruction because it still is largely associated with ‘being learned’ and because it is much more available in the literary world than Kiswahili. Furthermore, the case for Kiswahili as a medium of instruction has always been made on the basis of cultural activism and romanticism, rather than on solid evidence-based scholarly discourse.
Prof. Karim Hirji
The manner in which the issue language of instruction is being posed and discussed is a diversion from much more fundamental issues. The primary requirement for Tanzania is to have a genuinely sustainable, implementable and integrated economic policy (agriculture, industry, commerce, transportation, services and communication). The nature of the education system (at all levels) has to reflect and be embedded within the context of that policy.
In the present foundational condition, it is possible to utilize either a national, local or foreign language to achieve the goals of imparting effective, high quality education and raising the standard of living, health status and general level of well-being of the broad masses of the people. And in the absence of such a foundational condition, you will end up with a mass of unemployed, unemployable youth (including graduates), generalized poverty and social unrest.
Whether you know your physics well in Swahili or English is immaterial so long as you are out in the street having nothing to do. Even a bilingual system of instruction is feasible in that context. Just consider the history of education systems and nations throughout the world and you will see the validity of my assertions. Let us not discuss the issue of language of instruction in isolation from that of economic policy and the nature of the education system as a whole.
Personally I am in favour of utilization of Swahili as the medium of instruction throughout the East African Community. But given the chaotic, fragmented and externally dominated economic policies that prevail at present, I do not think that goal is easy to achieve. Whatever language we use in schools, our streets will be flooded with semiliterate, literate and well-qualified youth selling socks and what not.”
Chambi Chachage, PhD Student, Harvard University
We all want Tanzanians to be fluent in English and Kiswahili – and, if possible, other languages too, both local and foreign. How can we achieve that when we are “backward” as far as such bilingualism – let alone multilingualism – is concerned. I took Mathematics in both O-Level and A-level in English but some of our teachers used Kiswahili when they realized we did not understand them. We could communicate – and understand each other – easily in Kiswahili by saying, for example, ‘diferentieti’ and ‘intagreti’, which were our own ‘Swahilized’ versions of the English words. For us what mattered was communicating and understanding.
I support the usage of Kiswahili as the language of instruction simply because it facilitates communication relatively more easily and connects with our environment. At the same time I support the effective teaching of English as a second language to make us really capable of using it. What we now have in the classroom is what language experts call ‘subtractive bilingualism’ in contrast to ‘additive bilingualism’. Put simply, the former makes one end up knowing little Kiswahili and very little English, but the latter makes one gain both ways – Knowing more Kiswahili as well as English. More significantly, the former subtracts knowledge and the latter adds knowledge through effective communication. So, why should we get ‘lost in translation’? Let us teach English and teach in Kiswahili. Both can be done.
Until every single mathematical theorem and every single theory in astrophysics and cosmology, [and] in medicine and chemistry, and in every single sphere of knowledge, is written or available in translation in Kiswahili and Igbo and every other African language, I personally will always reject and abhor that easy [and easily comforting, xenophobic language] that dresses itself in the ultimately empty and cheaply sentimental rhetoric of noble nationalism.
People who advocate the use of Kiswahili are not saying that Tanzanians have failed to master English. We are saying that if people do not have enough English to start with in secondary school, to use it as a medium of instruction is self-defeating as they do not have enough language to address other subjects. In fact we are saying that if they are taught English well, they will have better English than if it is used as a medium of instruction.
Why are those who argue for English prepared to continue putting the majority of our students today … not tomorrow, not in 25 years time … through four years of not understanding what they are taught. Everyone knows that language alone is not the issue – there are many, many more – but it is the point of entry to comprehension of whatever little teaching they may or may not get.”
by David Brewin
Tanzanian Affairs 110 reported that President Kikwete had removed from office (or accepted resignations from) Attorney General Frederick Werema, Energy and Minerals Minister Sospeter Muhongo and Lands and Housing Minister Anna Tibaijuka in connection with the Escrow scandal. The President named William Lukuvi as the new Lands and Housing Minister and George Simbachawene as Energy and Minerals Minister.
Muhongo had earlier described himself as “incorruptible” and denied any wrongdoing. But Zitto Kabwe, chairman of the Parliamentary Accounts Committee, said that Muhongo “had to be held to account” as he had misled parliament by saying that Escrow money did not belong to government.
Others who resigned from parliamentary committees were Victor Mwambalaswa (Energy and Minerals Committee), Andrew Chenge (Budget Committee) and William Ngeleja (Legal Affairs and Governance Committee).
The resignations and dismissals were praised by Secretary General Mosena Nyambabe of the opposition National Convention for Construction and Reform (NCCR – Mageuzi) who said “We are satisfied with the steps the government has taken against senior government officers involved in the scandal, but we want further steps to be taken so that we see how committed the government is to dealing with corruption.” (See also the Section on Energy and Minerals in this issue).
Swiss bank accounts
Deputy Governor of the Bank of Tanzania Juma Reli has reported that at least 99 Tanzanians were holding over TSh 197 billion in Swiss bank accounts in March 2015. A report released in February listed foreign countries which had large deposits in Swiss bank accounts. It did not disclose whether the amounts cited were illegal deposits or involved money laundering, but said that the maximum amount of money associated with any single client in Tanzania was $20.8 million.
The Citizen reported on 27 March that Parliament had approved a new Bill which could make Tanzania one of the strictest countries for publishing firms, researchers and academicians including those reporting on the forthcoming elections. According to some critics, the Bill would ban the publication of data if the statistics were not provided by the National Bureau of Statistics, as well as making it illegal to publish statistics that are “false” or that “may result in distortion”. The Bill had been withdrawn after it was first presented to parliament in February 2015 and had been widely criticised.
Executive Secretary of the Media Council of Tanzania, Kajubi Mukajanga, supported the criticisms expressed earlier, particularly the section on publication of unauthorised statistics. “It is amazing that they would retain such a provision now”.
Executive Director of the Legal and Human Rights Centre Hellen-Kijo Bisimba, said she was shocked that the parliamentarians should be so lacking in wisdom and grace. This is a desperate and calculated move by a draconian government keen on stamping out dissent and alternative views. We will not stop making a noise until this bad law is removed. It defeats logic that, while we are struggling to remove numerous bad laws, this government is adding more.
At the time of printing TA, President Kikwete had not yet signed the Bill to make it law.
As terrorism escalates, Tanzania has not been exempt. In early 2015 two persons were charged with facilitating acts of terrorism and, offering support to terrorists.
A 26 year-old Kuwait-born British citizen, Mohammed Emwazi, known as “Jihadi John”, was reported as having stopped off in Dar es Salaam some years ago, ostensibly on his way to Somalia. When he arrived at Dar airport, he was efficiently dealt with by the Tanzanian authorities and detained for about 24 hours before being returned to Europe.
In April there was a devastating terrorist attack by Al Shabaab on Kenya’s Garissa University College in which 148, mainly Christian, people were killed. A Tanzanian from Mwanga District was later reported to have been arrested in connection with the attack.
Local election results
Local elections were held throughout Tanzania in November/ December 2014. They were expected to give some guidance as to the way national elections in October 2015 might go, but it has proved difficult to find a reliable summary of what happened as the Electoral Commission only provides the national election results.
In previous years local elections have attracted only limited interest but at the ones held at the end of 2014 many people showed considerable interest and it is believed that there was a higher than usual turnout. It is also believed that the election result revealed a considerable shift of support from the ruling CCM party to the opposition CHADEMA in several key seats.
Alleged assassination plot
Wilbroad Slaa, Secretary General of CHADEMA, has been the subject of alleged plot to assassinate him by poisoning. It was alleged that one of Dr Slaa’s personal security officers was in communication with officers from Tanzania’s intelligence service. The police later confirmed that a security officer was under arrest and that investigations were continuing.
A Tanzanian success story
by David Brewin
Aid resumed following action on Escrow scandal
TA 110 explained the ‘Escrow scandal’ which had shocked the whole country. The reaction of many major foreign aid donors, represented by the Budget Support Development Partners, was to suspend their aid programmes.
Then they changed their stance. Reacting to the actions of President Kikwete in dismissing or accepting the resignations of the Attorney General and other senior ministers and officials involved in the scandal, on 11 March Finance Minister Saada Mkuya was able to announce that the BSDP were now satisfied with the government’s handling of the scandal. Finnish Ambassador Sinikka Antila, Chairman of the Development Partners, said: “We are fully impressed with how the government has been handling the saga”.
One agency immediately disbursed $44 million of its aid. The African Development Bank, the World Bank and other donors also agreed to continue their disbursements at a later date.
Tanzania – Kenya relations deteriorate
For several months relations between Tanzania and Kenya have not been as warm as they used to be. Kenya took a first hostile step by introducing a ban on Tanzanian tourist vehicles from accessing Kenyan airports and tourist sites.
Tanzania retaliated by cutting Kenya Airways lucrative flights from Kenya to Tanzania from 42 per week to just 14. This must have been a shock to Kenya, as its airline already faces other serious problems.
Tanzania has been concerned about Kenya’s hard line stance on issues surrounding the Bilateral Air Services Agreement. Discussions have been under way for eight years without result and Kenya refuses to let the Dar-based airline Fastjet from using Nairobi airport. Its cheap fares policy has proved very popular in Tanzania.
Japan advises Tanzania to reduce red tape
The chief representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Onishi Yasunori, has said that in order to attract an increased number of Japanese investors, Tanzania must reduce the number of institutions dealing with business registration. Apparently it requires three institutions in Burundi, eight in Rwanda, ten in Kenya and fifteen in Uganda, whereas Tanzania has far more. He added that Tanzania must also deal with the issue of corruption among employees of the institutions handling business registration.
The “East African” banned
At the end of January the East African newspaper, which has its HQ in Kenya, was banned from circulation in Tanzania, 20 years after it was launched. The reason given was that the paper had been circulating in the country without being properly registered, contrary to Section 6 of the Newspaper Act No.3 of 1976.
Government spokesman Assah Mwambene was quoted in the media as accusing the paper of having a negative agenda towards Tanzania. He singled out a cartoon which he said demonstrated bad taste and disrespect to the person and office of the President. It is understood that the East African will not be allowed to circulate in Tanzania until the legal issues are settled.
Needless to say, this action resulted in widespread protests from various parts of the media and others, as it appeared to be against freedom of the press. The East African Law Society was among many to express dismay over the action.
Financial irregularities at the EAC
The East African Legislative Assembly has demanded immediate action by East African ministers on an audit report that has referred to financial irregularities at the Community Secretariat. The Speaker of the Assembly said that the East African Community Council of Ministers must punish those found guilty before its next sitting.
The East African Secretariat pointed out that the audit report did not portray misuse or loss of any funds, nor did it mention governance weaknesses or executive negligence. It simply tabled findings that certain areas needed to be strengthened.
South Sudan and Somalia
As the new Chairman of the EAC, President Kikwete announced on 20 February in Bujumbura, that South Sudan and Somalia will not be allowed to join the East African Community unless they return to stability and adopt democracy. He said that good governance, human rights and the rule of law were critical elements of the EAC.
by Enos Bukuku
Will Tanzania get a new constitution? Referendum postponed
In January I wrote about the opposition challenge to the proposed constitution. By “opposition” I was referring to the informal alliance of opposition party members who call themselves Umoja wa Katiba ya Wananchi (usually translated as the Coalition of Defenders of the People’s Constitution), better known by the acronym “UKAWA”. It looks likely that UKAWA will play a pivotal role in the upcoming elections, using its dissatisfaction with the constitution making process as a springboard to challenging the government on much broader issues.
The referendum on whether to adopt the draft constitution had been scheduled to take place on 30 April 2015. Cynics suggested that the reason for the referendum to be pushed through quickly was so that the government could take the credit for a new constitution before the general elections and to avoid the embarrassment of its opponents convincing the public to vote against it.
In the event, the National Election Committee (NEC) eventually bowed to the inevitable and announced that the biometric voter registration process would not be complete in time and that the referendum would be postponed. This was confirmed by the government, with a future date “to be announced later”. It now looks a strong possibility that the referendum will not take place before the General Election.
Pressure had been mounting on the government for several months, with calls not only from UKAWA and the NEC, but also from religious leaders. This is not the first time that religious organisations have entered the debate, which recently prompted President Kikwete to criticise some of those leaders who called for voters to vote against the adoption of the proposed constitution. It must be worrying for CCM to see the opposition parties join together against it, apparently with the support of influential religious figures, in an attempt to undermine both the constitution and the ruling party.
One undeniable truth is that this process has created a considerable atmosphere of mistrust of the government. This mistrust has manifested itself as serious doubts about this government-endorsed document, which was supposed to herald a new era for Tanzania. For Tanzania to receive a new constitution, that trust must be restored very quickly.
by Valerie Leach
The IMF review in March was generally positive but with cautions about government spending. GDP growth has been close to 7% again in 2014 and rates of inflation continue at close to 4%, helped by falls in international oil prices and falls in the prices of food.
Tanzanians surveyed in Afro-Barometer were not so positive about the economy. In a survey of about 2,500 people conducted in August/ September 2014 two-thirds considered current economic conditions to be fairly bad or very bad. The chairman of the CEO Roundtable of Tanzania, Ali Mufuruki, told an international forum in London that Africa is still facing problems such as low education levels, lack of access to reliable energy, inefficient transport and logistics infrastructure, inadequate technology for maximising agricultural production and depletion of Africa’s biodiversity as a result of corruption. (The Citizen, 12 February and 12 March 2015)
The IMF team raised concerns about government budget implementation because of “substantial tax and nontax revenue shortfall and some delays in budget financing. To avoid further accumulation of expenditure arrears, it will be important to strengthen the expenditure commitment controls.
“The [IMF] mission welcomes the steps taken to address the governance concerns raised by the IPTL case. Continued progress will be critical both to sustain the resumption of donor financing and to limit any repercussions on the business environment. The accumulation of payment arrears in the public sector needs to be tackled forcefully. This problem has become pervasive with large and growing government arrears to domestic suppliers and pension funds, and persistent arrears of TANESCO, the national electricity company, to its suppliers. It is important that the government now implements measures to settle existing arrears and prevent the recurrence of new ones by tackling their root causes.
“It is essential for preserving fiscal policy credibility that the budget for 2015/16 be based on realistic revenue and financing assumptions. A realistic budget with a moderate deficit is a key prerequisite to avoid the accumulation of new arrears and large mid-year expenditure adjustments, and also to preserve debt sustainability.” (www.imf.org/tanzania Press Release No. 15/125, March 19, 2015)
As reported elsewhere in this TA, constraints on government finances may be relieved to some extent by the release of some of the budget support from external development agencies. The Budget Support Development Partners (BSDPs) have agreed to start disbursing USD 44 million out of over USD 400 million which they had withheld pending the outcome of the inquiry into the Escrow affair. (The Guardian, 12 March 2015)
Insufficient government funds have affected farmers who had produced a much larger harvest of maize than expected. Payments were delayed to farmers for purchases by the National Grain Reserve. The Prime Minister promised to repay them. The government has borrowed about TSh15 billion from CRDB to settle extended debts that the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) owes farmers. (The Citizen, 24 February 2015)
As a result of the large harvest, food stocks in the National Food Reserve were 459,561 in January 2015 – almost twice their level in January 2014. Stock levels had risen steadily from July 2014. Maize will be exported, including to China, and some of the stock will be sold to the World Food Programme so that the proceeds may be used to pay debts to farmers still waiting for payments owed them. (Daily News, 24 March 2015)
The Bank of Tanzania’s Monthly Economic Review in February 2015 reports that revenue from tourism, $2.05 billion, in the period January 2014 to January 2015 exceeded that from gold exports, which raised $1.31 billion. Both the volume and price of gold exports fell in this period. Plans to expand tourism include a project to upgrade the Southern Circuit of Ruaha and Katavi National Parks and Selous Game Reserve. (The Guardian, 27 January 2015)
An increase in exports of cashew nuts of 28 per cent was reported by the Cashew Nut Board of Tanzania, which said 149,742 tonnes of raw cashew nuts worth $226 million have been exported so far during the 2014/15 agricultural season. Horticulture exports are also increasing, reaching $450 million in 2014. (The Guardian, 9 February 2015 and he Citizen, 2 February 2015)
A consortium of international companies, led by Ferrostaal Industrial Projects of Germany and Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC), plans to establish a $1 billion fertiliser complex in Mtwara. This is expected to start operations in 2019/20 and will produce more than a million tonnes of fertiliser annually. (The Citizen, 3 February 2015)
Also in Mtwara, Nigerian tycoon Aliko Dangote is reported to be setting up a factory that will produce 3 million tonnes of cement annually. (The Citizen, 3 February 2015)
Construction of a large new port in Bagamoyo is expected to begin in July. Oman’s General State Reserve Fund (GSRF), the Tanzanian government and China Merchants Holding International (CMHI) will jointly develop the USD11bn port and a special economic zone. The first phase of the project is planned to be ready in three years’ time and will handle 20 million containers annually. The project also includes building a 34km road joining Bagamoyo and Mlandizi and a 65km of railway connecting the port to Tanzania’s Central Line and Tanzania-Zambia Railway. (The Guardian, 12 March 2015)
by Ben Taylor
New education policy
The government has officially launched a new Education Policy. National examinations for primary school leavers will be abolished, and “compulsory basic education” will be extended to include four years at secondary level. This means that students will sit their final examination after 11 years in primary and secondary school, School fees for public secondary schools will be abolished. The use of different text books will also be abolished, with a single textbook for each subject.
President Kikwete said the new policy was in line with Vision 2025 and takes into account global economic, social and technological changes. “In the next seven years, we will have built capacity whereby every child who starts Standard One will reach Form Four.”
It has been widely reported that the policy makes Kiswahili the medium of instruction from primary school to university level, thereby ditching English —which has dominated Tanzania’s education system from secondary to tertiary level. However, the policy also states that the use of English as medium of instruction will continue. [For more on the apparent change in the language of instruction in secondary schooling, see separate article in this issue.]
O-level results announced
The National Examinations Council of Tanzania (Necta) released the 2014 Certificate of Secondary Education Examination (O-level) results showing that performance has improved by 10% since 2013. Private schools dominate the list of best performers and no public school appears in the top ten.
297,365 students registered for the examinations and 196,805 (68%) passed. In 2013, 235,227 students (58% of those who sat the exams) passed. Performance varied greatly between subjects. 69.7% of those who took Swahili passed, more than in any other subject. Only 19.6% of those who took Mathematics passed.
The grading system has changed from the previous division system, where pupils were assigned to Division I, II, III, IV or fail, based on their performance across seven subjects. The new grade point average (GPA) system follows other changes introduced in 2013, which reduced the exam scores required to achieve a grade A from 81% to 75%. A meaningful comparison of exam results from 2013 and 2014 with results from earlier years is impossible. (The Citizen)
Early years learning
The Prime Minister, Mizengo Pinda, launched a national programme to raise the level of reading, writing and numeracy skills among Standard One and Two pupils. Commissioner for Education Eustella Bhalalusesa said the programme will attract TSh 150bn – to be injected directly to education funding. All preparations for the programme, including the syllabus for Standard One and Two and the teacher’s guide, are complete.
The programme is being financed by the Global Partnership for Education, the UK Department for International Development, UNICEF and USAID. (Daily News)