by Ben Taylor

School fees abolishment – popular but problematic
A new survey by Twaweza, a non-governmental organisation, has found that the abolishment of school fees and related parental contributions is a highly popular move. In their regular Sauti za Wananchi (Voices of the People) panel survey, Twaweza found that 76% of citizens believe that making education free will improve quality. Further, 88% were confident that the new policy would be implemented on time.

Nevertheless, a significant minority (15%) expressed concern that free education will lead to a surge in enrolment that will stretch resources and lead to a decline in the quality of schooling.

This concern would appear to be born out, at least in part, but evidence from primary schools across the country when the new school-year started in January. The Citizen newspaper reported that enrolment in Standard One had tripled in some schools. One school in Dar es Salaam previously enrolled 250-300 pupils per year, and had planned for around 400 this year anticipating the effect of the school fees’ abolishment, but found itself enrolling over 600 pupils. The school has been forced to cram over 150 pupils into each of four Standard One classrooms. The paper reported similar situations in primary schools nationwide.

Mr George Simbachawene, Minister in the President’s Office for Regional Administration and Local Government, said he had directed all district and regional commissioners to fast-track construction of new classrooms to address local shortages.

Earlier, the government disbursed TSh 18bn (approx. £6m) to schools across the country, as part of TSh 137bn set aside by the government to implement the free education promise, covering the first six months. Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa stated that the government had calculated the amount needed and was comfortable that it could afford the cost of providing free education.

As part of the new policy, the government has promised to cover examination fees and has abolished parental contributions towards school expenses. Parents are still required to cover some costs, including the purchase of school uniforms, exercise books and pens, and medical expenses.

The same Twaweza survey found that nine out of ten parents reported previously paying contributions to school running costs, including school security, tests and desks. 80% reported that this came to under TSh 50,000 per year, while 8% reported that it added up to over TSh 100,000. Half the parents surveyed (49%) said they didn’t think schools were using these contributions for the correct purposes, with many suggesting it was used instead to supplement teachers’ income.

When asked to advise the government on how to best improve the quality of education, 82% focussed on teacher-related issues. This group was split between those who said the main focus should be on monitoring teacher performance (40%) and those who said improving teachers’ pay and conditions should be the priority (32%).

Form Four (O-level) results show small decline
The National Examinations Council released Form Four (O-level) results for students who took the exams late in 2015. The results showed a slight decline in the pass rate, from 70% of students passing in the previous year to 68% this year. Only 25% achieved divisions one to three.

Mathematics had the lowest pass rate by some distance, with only 17% of candidates who attempted the subject passing, down from 20% in 2014. Kiswahili had the highest pass rate after 78% per cent of candidates passed, up from 70% the previous year.

The Minister of Education, Prof. Joyce Ndalichako, said she was not impressed with the results. She was reported as saying that for many years government-run schools had been performing badly.

The Minister said she would begin by inviting head teachers based in Dar es Salaam to a meeting to discuss how the region could set standards for performance.

HakiElimu programme manager for Research and Analysis, Mr Godfrey Bonaventura, argued that ward schools were the places where most of the division fours and failures were produced, so the Minister needed to give them a special focus. He said the schools started taking in students even before they were complete.

“A decade ago, when ward level secondary schools were established, what mattered then was seeing to it that the schools had classrooms, some teachers, toilets and students. But that is not all it takes to provide quality education. A simple visit to such a school today will reveal a sad reality as buildings are in a poor state, they are ill-equipped and staff are demoralised. It’s sad.”

He challenged the government to increase funding in the Education sector, saying the focus should not only be on urban-centred schools but even those in remote areas.

Official data shows that Standard Seven national examination pass average declined from 54% in 2007 to 31% in 2012. Form Four national examination pass rate declined from 90% in 2007 to 43% in 2012, before rising sharply when new grading systems were introduced.

New exam scoring system abandoned
The grade point average (GPA) system, introduced in 2014, will no longer be used to score candidates in O-level and A-level examinations. Instead, the previous “division” system will be reintroduced. This was announced by the Minister of Education and Vocational Training, Prof. Joyce Ndalichako. The Minister said the decision was based on the failure of the National Examinations Council, NECTA, to justify the GPA system. She said many stakeholders did not understand the GPA scores.

Prof. Ndalichako added that the shift to GPA appeared to have resulted in a lowering of the cut-off point for passing exams, leading to many students appearing to have performed better than was truly the case. The move was applauded by education sector specialists, many of whom focussed on how the introduction of GPA had been used to cover up a lowering of standards.

HakiElimu acting director Godfrey Bonaventura said that the GPA grading system was unjustifiable. “We’ve many challenges in the sector that need to be addressed, scheming to hide the declining quality of education through adopting a new grading system without justification was wrong,” he said.

Professor Issa Omari of the Open University of Tanzania said that in some ways the debate was academic, as the GPA and division systems were entirely interchangeable, but that he supported the Minister’s move on the grounds that the division system was well understood by stakeholders in Tanzania.

Prof. Omari emphasised that the key point was the cut-off points for passing examinations, and criticised the previous administration for lowering the standards required for a pass. “We are cheating ourselves and the public by playing around with cut-off points, as students will have a hard time out there in the world of work,” he said.

Executive Secretary of NECTA, Dr Charles Msonde, appealed to education stakeholders to continue working with Necta and advising it, saying this would help the council to improve its performance. He said he welcomed feedback from stakeholders as part of efforts to bring about positive and desirable change in the education sector in general.

Delivering better outcomes in education – what works?
A newly published study by Twaweza has investigated alternative approaches to improving learning outcomes in Tanzania.

The organisation compared students’ learning outcomes between four different interventions: one in which they provided schools with extra resources through capitation (per-pupil) grants, one in which they provided teachers with a bonus based on the performance of their students in an externally administered exam, one in which schools received both programs, and the control group which received no support.

The study was conducted as a randomised controlled trial (RCT), in 350 government-run primary schools in ten districts of Tanzania between 2013 and 2014. The study found that improving delivery of inputs (funding) to schools had no significant impact on learning outcomes, and nor did providing bonus payments to teachers. However, in schools where both interventions were implemented concurrently, there was a significant positive impact on learning outcomes.

The research, known as KiuFunza (Thirst for Learning), was carried out in partnership with Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology, the Ministry of Education and Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), a US-based research organisation.


by Ben Taylor

Service Provision Assessment Survey
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has released findings from a new survey of health service provision across Tanzania. Working together with the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, the Elderly and Children, NBS, surveyed 1,188 health facilities, including those owned by private sector and religious institutions as well government facilities.

The survey, the first of its kind since 2006, was designed to collect information on service delivery from a sample of all functioning health facilities, and their preparedness to provide quality services across a range of health needs.

Key findings of the survey include the following:
• The number of health facilities has increased from 5,669 in 2006 to 7,102 in 2014-15. The number of hospitals has increased from 224 to 256, health centres from 541 to 714, and dispensaries from 4,904 to 6,132.

• 81% of health facilities have HIV testing capabilities, including 96% of hospitals.

• Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV is available in all health provision centres.

• Availability of basic child vaccines has improved, with nearly three quarters of health facilities able to provide vaccinations.

• Only one in four facilities offering care for sick children meet the four key readiness standards for proper malaria treatment of diagnostic capacity, treatment guidelines, first line medicine and properly trained personnel.

Mosquito trap developed in Ifakara
A new tool that promises protection from mosquitos for people working and relaxing outdoors has been developed by the Ifakara Health Institute (IHI) in Tanzania. The device has the potential to fill a significant gap in the malaria prevention toolkit – people in outdoor environments where they cannot benefit from insecticide treated bednets or insecticide sprays.

The Mosquito Landing Box emits a human scent along with a small amount of carbon dioxide to simulate human breath. This combination, which is spread by small, solar powered fans, attracts Anopheles moquitos, the type that can carry and transmit malaria. Mosquitos that are attracted to the device are then either electrocuted if a power supply is available or covered in insecticide or deadly fungi.

According to Arnold Mmbando, a researcher at IHI, each scented-bait can last for a month and is not unpleasant to people nearby. Importantly, mosquitos appear to be more attracted to the traps’ scent than to real humans.

The prototype boxes, which cost between US$100 and US$150, can attract mosquitos over an area of 100 square metres.

Steven Harvey, of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the US, said that “right now we don’t have anything that really works outdoors”, but that more testing will be needed before box can be rolled out. “It’s a technologically complex solution, and it will have to be done at a reasonable cost,” he said.


compiled by Donovan McGrath

[Hong Kong] Government pledges bill outlawing local ivory trade

This piece published in the South China Morning Post explains the efforts in Hong Kong to outlaw the local ivory trade which affects wildlife in Africa, especially Tanzania. Extract: The government aims to submit a bill kick-starting efforts to outlaw the local ivory trade this year and insisted it was not stalling, contrary to concerns voiced by lawmakers and wildlife campaigners. At a Legislative Council environmental panel . . . wildlife campaigner and pro-Beijing lawmaker Elizabeth Quat pushed the government for concrete details. Environment undersecretary Christine Loh Kung-wai told the panel: “I don’t want to give you the impression that we are stalling, but at the present stage it is difficult for us to make an estimate. But within this year we can submit this bill, and the council can pass the bill into law.” . . . Her response raised concerns the administration was dragging its feet. . . Alex Hofford, wildlife campaigner at WildAid Hong Kong, said the government appeared serious about its plans, but added: “We would like to see them set a concrete timeline with actual dates.” . . . (published 23 February 2016) – Thank you Richard Wong for this item

How ‘Ivory Queen’ was trapped using technology
Towards the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016, The East African newspaper in Kenya published a variety of articles on the politics, art, culture, economy and environment of Tanzania. Our selected items begin with the following piece which looks at how Tanzanian law enforcement used technology to catch criminals in the illegal trade of ivory. Extract: One day in October last year, agents from a Tanzanian crime unit raced past Dar es Salaam’s Palm Beach Hotel in pursuit of the suspected leader of a global elephant poaching ring. The chase was the result of new breakthroughs in Tanzania’s fight against an increasingly rapacious poaching trade, which has felled 60 per cent of the country’s elephant population in the past five years. The agents’ target that day was Yang Feng Glan, a 66-year-old Chinese national dubbed the “Ivory Queen,” who is accused of running a smuggling empire stretching from the game parks of Tanzania to the clandestine ivory markets of Asia. . . A Tanzanian court in October charged Ms Yang with heading a criminal network responsible for smuggling out 706 pieces of ivory worth Tsh5.44 billion ($2.51 million) between 2000 and 2014. . . The new techniques follow work done in neighbouring Kenya, where poaching rates have nosedived. In both countries, the police have started concentrating on the poachers’ own technology – guns and phones – and using it against them. . . The history of a suspect’s gun, the phone calls he or she makes, and the money they move, create a trail of evidence. . .

The capture of Ms Yang started with a tip-off in 2014. . . [L]ocal informants pointed crime squad agents towards Manase Philemon, a suspected Tanzanian ivory dealer who was barely literate but could mysteriously speak Chinese. Under interrogation, Mr Philemon fingered Ms Yang, who police believe taught him Mandarin. . . After Mr Philemon’s tip-off, she became the [National and Transnational Serious Crimes Investigation Unit]’s top target. . . They called it “follow the gun, save the elephant.” Immediately after a suspect is captured, the agents focus on the suspect’s weapon. Tracing how the poacher obtained that gun leads to the person one level above in the syndicate, and points in the directions of a team. . . But just as they began building a case against Ms Yang, she vanished. . . Ms Yang fled to Uganda . . . More than a year later, her phone revealed where she was. . . NTSCIU is able to pull up poachers’ phone numbers and call histories . . . Computer software is used to delineate links between on-the-ground poachers, dealers and transnational criminal gangs. A server flags to NTSCIU mobile phone numbers when they become active, but does not record calls. . . Mobile phones also help agents follow the money. Many Africans send and receive money via their phones. That means agents who monitor phone calls can also track payments, helping to build a picture of who is involved. . . It was thanks to Ms Yang’s phone that about a year after she had left for Uganda, Tanzanian agents discovered she was back in Dar es Salaam. . . (published 27 February – 4 March 2016)

Rare pink diamond discovered in Tanzania
This next item from The East African (Kenya) is short and is reproduced almost in full here: Petra Diamonds Ltd has recovered a 23.16 carat pink diamond of exceptional colour and clarity from Williamson mine in Shinyanga province in northern Tanzania. Petra said the diamond will . . . be offered for sale by appointment at Antwerp in Belgium. Pink diamonds found only in a handful of mines globally, are highly coveted. The Williamson open pit mine is Tanzania’s sole producer of diamonds and is based on the 146 hectare Mwadui kimberlite pipe. (published 19-25 December 2015)

COP21: Youth cycle around Africa for a ‘fair deal’ in France
Special Correspondent Zeynab Wandati writes for The East African (Kenya) -Extract: “I get so much joy from cycling; I get to be me and one with the earth,” said Godfrey Mwagema, the president of the Association of Cyclists in Tanzania. . . The idea is to put pressure on national and world leaders to deliver on climate justice and commit towards keeping global emissions below 2°C. Low carbon emissions are a key part of international negotiations on climate change. The Tanzanian team had been cycling for 15 days, from the Tanzania-Malawi border to Namanga, covering a total of 1,640 kilometres. . . Esther Joshua, the only female in the Tanzanian team, said that she was motivated to join the campaign in order to encourage people to find alternative forms of energy other than charcoal. “In Tanzania, people are cutting down trees in order to burn charcoal. We are telling them to use gas instead . . .” (published 28 November – 4 December 2015)

Illustrations by Dar artists highlight causes
This item in The East African (Kenya) included a cartoon illustration the foreign mining agent mentioned in the short piece. Extract: The exhibition in Vipaji Gallery in Dar es Salaam, titled Domo-Cartoon and curated by Gadi Ramathan featured works by illustrators and the pieces highlight certain causes. An illustration by Said Michael depicts a foreign mining agent, hacking away at the bottom of a cliff and filling bags with precious minerals. Meanwhile, on top of the now perilous undercut cliff, are villagers in their humble dwellings. His work represents the sentiments of those living near mines, who are accusing mining companies of displacing them from their ancestral homes, and work is part of a campaign against land grabbing in the country. . . The exhibition had works of acrylic on canvas, showcasing nostalgic silhouettes of fast disappearing trees native to the Tanzanian coast such as the Mnazi, the common tropical palm tree (cocos nucifera). . . (published 20-26 February 2016)

Off Grid Electric lights a path for Tanzanians
From the Financial Times (UK). Extract: You could call it a lightbulb moment. Eric Mackey had relocated from the US after graduating from the University of California, Los Angeles with a degree in ecology and evolutionary biology, to work with an aid agency in east Africa helping to set up mobile clinics and train rural health workers. Upon arrival in Tanzania, however, it was obvious the most pressing need among local people was cheap, reliable electricity. Most Tanzanian homes are lit using kerosene lamps, generating fumes that are as damaging as smoking two packets of cigarettes a day. Families often store this fuel on the floor in fizzy drink bottles, which creates a further risk of someone accidentally scorching their internal organs by taking a toxic drink from the containers. “It seemed unfathomable that millions of people live like this,” Ms Mackey recalls, adding that she felt it was “incredibly unfair” that some of the world’s poorest people pay the most for the dirtiest energy. The irony is that east Africa has an abundance of the most powerful energy source available to us: the sun. With modern technology its power could be harnessed at a much lower cost than liquid fuels, Ms Mackey reasoned, so she sought out a Masters programme where she could develop a business plan. . . Ms Mackey met Xavier Helgesen [at Oxford’s Saïd Business School] and they started building a solar energy business, Off Grid Electric. “He was a talented entrepreneur, eager to start focusing his attention on energy in Africa,” Ms Mackey says of her co-founder. “I knew how to make ideas work there.” They quickly brought in a third partner, Joshua Pierce, who knew something about building energy systems and became chief technology officer. . . Off Grid Electric now provides affordable solar power to low-income communities in Tanzania, and raised $70m in 2015 in order to extend their reach to a million customers in the country. The company employs more than 800 people full time, primarily in sales and regional service teams, who travel door-to-door in rural Tanzania and Rwanda to connect and maintain the solar energy equipment. These teams are now installing more than 10,000 solar units in homes and businesses every month. The goal, over the next three years, is to create 15,000 jobs across east Africa. . . (published 4 April 2016) -Thanks to Jerry Jones for this item – Editor

In Tanzania, a Horrific Fishing Tactic Destroys All Sea Life
At the end of 2015, America’s National Geographic magazine published an eight-page article, produced by its Special Investigations Unit, which focuses on wildlife crime, on the dangerous fishing methods employed by some Tanzanian fishermen. Extract: . . . Strewn in the shallows of the Indian Ocean lie shards of dead coral reefs. Why? Because poor Tanzanian fishermen are using explosives, illegally, to kill hundreds of fish in seconds. Blast fishing . . . not only destroys large numbers of fish directly – but indirectly as well by killing coral and the rich array of marine animals that depend on it. Experts believe that in Tanzania, blast fishing is occurring at unprecedented rates, in part because a boom in mining and construction has made it easier for people to get their hands on dynamite. Bottle bombs made with kerosene and fertilizer are also used.

. . Blast fishing in Tanzania dates back to the 1960s and was outlawed in 1970. Cheaper and vastly more productive than traditional methods, such as basket traps and hook and line, it’s also dangerous: Errant blasts can shatter limbs, even kill people. Tossed overboard, one bottle bomb can kill everything within 30 to 100 feet of the blast. The explosion can rupture a fish’s swim bladder, the organ that gives it buoyancy. Most of the dead fish sink, but fishermen are ready with nets to scoop up those that float on the surface.”With numerous blasts occurring daily on reefs all over the country over a period of several decades,” Greg Wagner, of the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, wrote in a 2004 study, “the overall impact of dynamite fishing on coral reefs in Tanzania has been devastating.” It was European armies during World War I that introduced dynamite fishing as a way to catch a quick, fresh meal, according to marine expert Michel Bariche. Some countries, such as Kenya and Mozambique, have succeeded in shutting it down, but it still goes on in Lebanon, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Myanmar, among others. Tanzania is the only country in Africa where blast fishing still occurs on a large scale, says SmartFish, a fisheries program funded by the European Union. . . (Sourced online 30 December 2015)

Tanzania loves its new anti-corruption president. Why is he shutting down media outlets?
This is an interesting piece by The Washington Post (USA). Extract: Tanzania’s President John Pombe Magufuli strode into office in November promising to reduce corruption, cut wasteful spending and improve public services. These initiatives are welcome in the East African nation, which, while seen as a bastion of political stability in an at-times volatile region, consistently ranks low on human development and high on graft. But Magufuli’s government imposed new restrictions on the media recently, and brought that commitment into question. Magufuli’s popularity ballooned when he cancelled expensive independence-day celebrations in December and instead encouraged citizens to come together and clean the streets. There’ve been media bans in Tanzania before – but many expected better from Magufuli. The first move came on Jan. 15, when Nape Nnauye, Tanzania’s new information minister, announced a permanent ban on the printed weekly Mawio ( a Kiswahili-language newspaper). The government banned Mawio for “inflammatory” reporting. Its publisher and managing editor said the ban shows the government can’t bear criticism. Days later, the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) – the agency that regulates the country’s communications and broadcasting sectors – announced a three-month suspension of six television and 21 radio stations if they failed to pay license fees. Within a day of TCRA’s announcement, 15 of the 20 radio stations and one of the six television stations had paid their required dues. Civil society activists in the country cried foul, saying the suspensions of those that did not pay infringed on the public’s right to information. There’s a widespread feeling that Tanzania’s government often applies rules and regulations selectively, upping enforcement primarily when it feels threatened. . . . There’s some reason to conclude that the government is shutting down broadcasting because it wants to ban criticism. . . Magufuli’s government could be protecting against further erosion of public support for the ruling party, Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM), which has dominated Tanzanian politics since independence in 1961. . . The current Mawio ban smacks of politics. The “inflammatory” articles were about the ongoing stalemate in semi-autonomous Zanzibar, where poll results were nullified after accusations of “irregularities” – including apparent victory for the main opposition party. . . (Sourced online 25 January 2016)

Why CCM should shun racists for the sake of democracy in Zanzibar
This article by Fatma A Karume first appeared in Habari, a journal produced by SVETAN – the Sweden-Tanzania Association. Extract: . . . At the age of 10, my great grandmother, Bi Amani, was kidnapped from her village in Central Africa by slavers and survived the walk across the continent and the dhow journey from Bagamoyo to Zanzibar; my great-great grandfather came as a trader from Kutch Province in India; my great, great, great grandfather sailed into Zanzibar from Muscat with the aid of the ever present monsoon winds, not long after the arrival of Seyyid Said bin Sultan, the Lion of Oman; and further still, my great, great, great, great, great . . . great grandfather sailed into Zanzibar from Persia. I am no different from thousands of ‘Waswahili’. . . [A]nd yet . . . members of the CCM youth league, UVCCM, had the audacity to tell us that we are not welcome in Zanzibar. . . [M]embers of the CCM youth wing carried two placards. Both placards informed the country and the world at large that people of mixed race, who they referred to in a derogatory manner as ‘machotara’, are not welcomed in Zanzibar because we are apparently servants of the Sultan, while, according to their views, Zanzibar is for Africans only. . . Daniel Chongolo, the CCM Acting Head of Publicity and Ideology, had the decency and honour to issue an unreserved apology on behalf of CCM for the discriminatory placards displayed by the CCM youth league. On the front page of the ‘Daily News’ of Thursday, January 14, 2016, the general public was informed that “CCM is working to identify and eventually take appropriate action on people behind the discriminatory poster displayed by one of its members in Zanzibar . . . and Nape Nnauye, the CCM Secretary for Ideology and Publicity, was quoted as stating, “I would like to reiterate that CCM is against all forms of segregation, and this is known all over the world. It is unfortunate that the party is taking the blame for the wrongs committed by just a small number of our supporters.” . . . I suggest that CCM takes a good look at itself and starts cleaning up the racist fringes of the party for everyone’s sake, and, most of all, for the sake of democracy in Zanzibar because, believe it or not, we need to have a strong and viable CCM as a counterbalance to CUF. . . (Issue No 1/2016)

Emails Reveal How Far Clinton Was Willing to Go to Promote Ex-Ambassador’s Interests
Online news outlet Vice News published an analysis of emails released by Hillary Clinton, revealing how she was lobbied hard by former US Ambassador Joe Wilson on behalf of Symbion, an energy firm with interests in Tanzania. Extract: Wilson’s pitch to Clinton, sent on October 6, 2009 touted Symbion as a do-gooder energy company that delivered both profits and much-needed infrastructure development to developing countries. … “[We] have already begun work on a training center in Tanzania, where we will be bidding on all of the upcoming MCC financed power generation and distribution projects,” he writes.

The MCC — or Millennium Challenge Corporation — is a quasi-governmental body run out of the State Department that awards infrastructure grants to developing countries. The Secretary of State serves as the chair of the MCC board. Before Wilson got in touch with Clinton, his company had never won an MCC grant in Africa — but less than a year after his pitch, Symbion won a $47 million energy contract in Tanzania to expand and rehabilitate power distribution networks — the same contract Wilson mentioned in his email. What role, if any, Clinton played in Symbion’s obtaining the MCC contract is not clear. The MCC committee in Tanzania that made the final decision has since been dissolved, its documents are not publicly available, and the contents of Clinton’s responses to Wilson have not been made public. Clinton did attend the groundbreaking event at Symbion’s Dar es Salam plant in June, 2011 alongside Wilson’s boss Symbion CEO Paul Hinks and MCC CEO Daniel Yohannes. She didn’t mention Wilson in her remarks. (Published online, October 2, 2015)

President Magufuli didn’t ban miniskirts but….
Published on This is Africa, an online news outlet: When I saw the [Kenyan] Standard’s report that Tanzania’s president, Dr. John Pombe Magufuli, had banned miniskirts “in bid to curb spread of HIV/AIDS”, I laughed, but wasn’t surprised. Although I hadn’t seen the news in any of Tanzania’s news outlets, and I know I should have doubted that my brilliant, most loved president would make such a statement, a part of me still believed that the ban was true. How could the president who has declared war on corruption, bad governance, and poverty, who has sworn to burst all boils that ail our great country, ban miniskirts? And how could I, a Tanzanian with utmost faith in him, believe such a lie? …

Last month, in my initiation into the Tanzanian civil service, I attended an induction seminar. Among many things taught there, were the civil servant’s rights and responsibilities; the seminar also touched on how to behave and dress. The instructor, a woman in her fifties, an experienced public servant, walked into a room full of new employees. She talked to us in a motherly tone, warning us of the consequences that come with certain behaviour. Then she talked about the acceptable dress code, pulling out the same poster that hangs in our HR’s office door, and every public office. The poster is fair, crossing out all unacceptable ways of dress for both men and women. But when she got to the women’s clothing, her voice became firmer. “Ladies, watch out for the way you dress,” she said, locking eyes with me, “those miniskirts and tight dresses will get you in trouble.” The class laughed.

While the ban story is untrue, it doesn’t mean women in Tanzania can wear miniskirts and visit or work in government offices, nor does it mean they can freely wear them in the streets. It also does not guarantee their safety if they were to walk in the streets dressed in the way they choose to. … To refute the rumours started by the Standard, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement: “There is no doubt that H.E President Magufuli and his government is strong proponents of decent dressing, but the ministry wishes to put the record straight that the president has not issued any ban on miniskirts for any reason.” Who defines decent dressing, and where do we draw the line?
(Published online, February 3, 2016)


by Ben Taylor

Leticia Nyerere, a former MP (special seats) for Chadema, passed away in Maryland, USA, in January, where she was undergoing hospital treatment. Leticia was married to Madaraka Nyerere, the eldest son of Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere. She served as MP between 2010 and 2015, before defecting from Chadema to join CCM in July 2015. Former Speaker Anna Makinda said the late Leticia was an exemplary Member of Parliament. “She was a focused female MP, firm to her beliefs, honest, transparent and eager to educate herself,” she said.

Roger Gower, a British pilot engaged in anti-poaching operations in Tanzania, died aged 37 after his helicopter was shot down by poachers in Maswa Game Reserve. Having initially trained as an accountant, Mr Gower left that career to train as a helicopter pilot. His helicopter crashed after being shot by an AK47 rifle fired from the ground. Together with a safari guide, Nicky Bester, who survived the crash, Gower was searching for poachers who had killed three elephants. Three men have been arrested by Tanzanian police. Pratik Patel, a close friend working on the same anti-poaching operation for the Friedkin Conservation Fund, paid tribute to his friend: “Roger was an amazing person, an amazing character, full of joy, full of life. He loved Africa, he loved Tanzania and he loved being in the bush.”

Roger Gower

Roger Gower

Gower’s brother Max has established a registered charity, the Roger Gower Memorial Fund, and set up a fundraising page ( to raise funds for anti-poaching efforts in Tanzania.

Dr Urban Jonsson, former UNICEF country representative to Tanzania, died on March 8, aged 72. A Swedish national and resident of Tanzania, Dr Jonsson held a PhD in nutrition, but his career and interests varied widely, embracing philosophy, mathematics, human rights. From his UNICEF post in Tanzania, which he took up in 1981, he went on to hold numerous other senior positions within UNICEF globally, finishing as a specialist in human rights. He will be remembered both as the driving force behind UNICEF’s conceptual framework for nutrition causal analysis, a widely adopted tool for nutrition analysis, and for introducing the principles of claim-holders and duty-bearers in rights-based development work. Urban leaves behind his wife, Dr Olivia Yambi, two daughters and one granddaughter.


by Martin Walsh

THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF AID AND ACCOUNTABILITY: THE RISE AND FALL OF BUDGET SUPPORT IN TANZANIA. Helen Tilley. Ashgate, Farnham, Surrey, 2014. x + 157 pp. (hardback). ISBN 978-1-40946442-6. £95.00.

This short book adopts an institutionalist or functionalist approach to foreign aid, in which governments are controlled by corrupt elites, donors make resources available to support their domestic agendas or to achieve foreign policy objectives, and procedures and practices have grown up to facilitate this while largely concealing what is going on from the public in both donor and recipient countries. The formal processes of accountability, including monitoring missions and end-of-project reports have little impact when the recipients have different objectives from the donors. This theory is supported by two chapters on the politics of foreign aid in Tanzania, mainly in the Mkapa and early Kikwete years, drawing on the author’s experiences as an ODI Fellow in the Ministry of Finance and as a consultant working for various donors.

The author follows Mustaq Khan who shows that corruption can sometimes be functional, but gives little attention to its downsides – cynicism and a loss of faith in the capabilities of the state and of politics generally. There are indeed possible benefits, in the short term, if corruption leads to economic activity which otherwise would not take place. But if resources are syphoned off and little or no investment in productive activity takes place, there are no benefits from corruption, only disbenefits, and a general loss of morale in which the whole political class becomes discredited. The author is much too generous to the aid professionals (both academics and consultants in the private sector) who have connived in this and made it possible for government-to-government transactions to continue when they were aware that they were achieving little that could be described as development.

The analysis is strangely static. It does not deal well with the pressures that build up on a political party that has ruled for 50 years, the creation of structures and movements outside the formal political processes, or the abilities of populations to grow and survive, and sometimes prosper, without much useful support from the state. It made me long for more specific case study material, for example the stories of a small number of aided projects or programmes told from both sides of the divide (together with the perspective of the supposed recipients) showing how weasel words and low-key reports and presentations were used to cover up or play down failures, or the distribution of the spoils from what was presented as good works, and how this was justified. Studies of that sort would have been fun to read, if still depressing, and at least have offered some hope and challenge for whoever gets involved in these activities in the future.

Democracy is presented as a process in which political parties survive by making promises to voters which they will deliver if elected. Since most taxes are indirect – import and excise duties – voters are not made aware of the consequences of more government spending rather than less. So accountability passes to external agencies – donors and bankers. But their leverage is less when interest rates are low, banks and donors are looking for opportunities to place their money, and where a new tranche of donors from the East are less demanding. But the experience of elections in Tanzania shows that it is also a judgement on the past, especially if promises made last time have not been delivered, and even the most entrenched elite cannot take victory for granted.

The case study does not present statistics showing the quantities of budget support (or its cousin, basket funding) negotiated in Tanzania, and focuses on the relative power of the two parties in a bargaining situation. But a note in passing demonstrates the limitations of this kind of functionalism. The author notes that “allowances and workshops, with the associated benefits of per diems, meals and transport funding” were in 2009/10 estimated to cost “the equivalent of one third of the government wage bill and 11 per cent of the government’s total recurrent spending” (p. 112), and then comments that the Government was unable to control this. No doubt that was how it appeared at the time. But cutting this kind of posho was one of the first acts of President Magufuli – showing that at least one leading figure could see the contradiction and was willing to take the political risk of trying to do something about it. Aid that does little more than prop up dysfunctional and often oppressive regimes is a fraud on the publics in both donor and recipient regimes, and academic writers should take care not to give the impression that this is inevitable or acceptable to any of them.
Andrew Coulson

LOOKING BACK, LOOKING AHEAD – LAND, AGRICULTURE AND SOCIETY IN EAST AFRICA. A FESTSCHRIFT FOR KJELL HAVNEVIK. Michael Ståhl (editor). Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, Uppsala, 2015. 240 pp. (paperback). ISBN 978-91-7106-774-6. £13.90. Also available for download at

Rural communities in East African countries face many challenges: high population growth, increasing land scarcity, intensification of land conflicts, climate change, persistent food insecurity, rural-urban migration, and largely stagnant agricultural productivity levels. After decades of neglect, the question of agricultural transformation in Africa is back on the policy agenda, and there is a heated debate on whether this should be based on developing the productive capacities of smallholder farmers or on enrolling foreign direct investments to nurture large-scale farming. This holds true for Tanzania, which has been one of the prime frontiers of what has been labelled the “global land grab”. At the same time, it is an exemplary case for the rise of a commercially oriented agricultural policy agenda in Africa, which manifests itself in pro-large-scale farming initiatives such as Kilimo Kwanza, SAGCOT and Big Results Now.

Against this backdrop, it is welcome that several of the contributions to this book, published as a Festschrift for renowned agrarian scholar Kjell Havnevik, focus on the issue of agrarian change in Tanzania. Most outstanding here are the historically rich contributions of Deborah Bryceson (‘Reflections on the unravelling of the Tanzanian peasantry, 1975-2015’) and Andrew Coulson (‘Small-scale and large-scale agricultures: Tanzanian experiences’), on which the remainder of this review will focus. Both deal with the changing positionality of smallholder farmers (or “peasants”) within the politico-economic and agricultural policy landscapes of Tanzania. Both agree that promotion of large-scale farming favoured by sections of the Tanzanian political and business elite may lead to new enclosures of land and the dispossession of rural populations. However, they differ on how they imagine the future of the “peasantry”. Bryceson provides us with a rather pessimistic agrarian history of Tanzania, which starts with the “Tanzanian nation-state […] originally founded on and designed with peasant’s political, economic and social aspirations in mind” (p. 10) and ends with the “disintegration” (p. 24) and “self-liquidation” (p. 26) of the ‘peasantry’. After three decades of neoliberalisation that did away with Nyerere’s egalitarian vision of development, as well as in the wake of the neomodernist promotion of large-scale farming, Tanzanian peasants seem to be bound to become a “distant memory” (p. 26). The recent discovery of natural gas and the shifting policy priorities potentially associated with it will only accelerate this decline. This pessimism is familiar from Bryceson’s earlier work on the same subjects.

Coulson is equally critical, but much more optimistic about the potential effectiveness of a smallholder-oriented development strategy. The strength of Coulson’s contribution is twofold. First, unlike Bryceson, he engages critically with the term “peasant”, dismissing it as an empty signifier that is anachronistic and imbued with developmentalism. Second, he tests the theory that “small farms can, in appropriate circumstances, compete with or outperform large [farms]” (p. 65). Given past experience, he cautions us about the current craze for large-scale farming schemes: “Tanzanian planners have exaggerated the potential of large farms and the easy availability of land, and underestimated the challenges they face. In particular, they have exaggerated the potential for irrigation” (p. 67). Coulson argues that farm productivity levels could be increased significantly by ensuring that farmers have access to sound marketing arrangements that provide them with fair prices, credit, inputs and agricultural expertise. Cases such as Vietnam or China, which heavily relied on a smallholder-oriented development strategy, could serve as models.

Both authors make valid points, but Coulson’s nuanced account is much more useful for constructive thinking about the current agricultural impasse in Tanzania and other African countries. However, two crucial issues seem to be largely absent from every Tanzania-focused contribution to the book. First, I miss an account that addresses the question that Prosper Matondi raises in her excellent chapter on ‘Land reform, natural resource governance and food security’: “What type(s) of governance institutions and mechanisms will lead to improved livelihood outcomes and environmental sustainability in rural Africa?” (p. 209). Second, we still need a more thorough engagement with the question of how the shift towards large-scale farming in Tanzania is related to changes in national class relations and how in turn these relations shape the dynamics of agricultural policy-making, implementation, and investment. The frictional implementation of Kilimo Kwanza and SAGCOT suggests that such relations are much more multifarious than a crude political economy analysis suggests.
Altogether, this book is a mixed bag. The contributions differ in scope and depth, and many do not match the quality of Bryceson’s and Coulson’s chapters. Several of them also lack a clear theoretical framework.
Stefan Ouma

THE GROUNDNUT LINE: THE STORY OF THE SOUTHERN PROVINCE RAILWAY OF TANGANYIKA. David Burton. Published by the author, Telford, 2014. 48 pp. (paperback). £8.99. Available directly from the author at 53 New Church, Wellington, Telford, Shropshire, TF1 1JX (UK cheque or postal order), or via eBay (item no. 131689627186).

Illustration on the cover of “The Groundnut Line”

Illustration on the cover of “The Groundnut Line”

The Groundnut Scheme planned for Tanganyika in the late 1940s has gone down in history as one of the worst financial decisions made by the British government in its overseas colonies. Following the end of the Second World War there were severe shortages of consumable oils and fats, and a proposal to clear and farm large areas of bush to produce groundnuts in Tanganyika was pushed forward with little idea of the difficulties involved. Poor planning, unsuitable equipment and incompetent personnel compounded the poor choice of location and lack of rainfall. The major site chosen for the planting was Nachingwea, 90 miles inland and with no communication either by rail or road. A railway was planned with the initial starting point at Mkwaya at the top end of Lindi town creek, but this proved unsuitable for the planned port, which was later built at Mtwara, 40 miles away. Tanganyika Railways were tasked with the construction of a metre gauge railway which was begun in 1947.

The massive expenditure of £35 million on the Scheme with little return caused the government to abandon it on 9 January 1951. Despite this, Mtwara port was built and the new rail link between there and Nachingwea completed in 1954. This used steam and diesel locomotives and became known as the Southern Province Railway (SPR). The two major types of steam locomotives were the NZ Indian 4-8-0 Class built in 1915, and the 22 (G) 4-8-0 Class dating from a year later. The diesel locomotives were shunters seen in other parts of the East African system, namely the 80, 81 and 83 Class as well as three Wickham passenger railcars. The latter had been ordered by the Kenya and Uganda Railways before the war but the Swiss Saurer engines did not arrive until after its end. After use on a line in Kenya they were transferred to the SPR. The envisaged tonnages of groundnut and other freight on the line never materialised and despite the backing of the East African Railways organisation and an additional extension to Masasi the line was closed on 1 July 1962 with a huge loss.

The Groundnut Line by David Burton is an excellent addition to the East African railway enthusiast’s library and tells the story of the earlier Lindi tramway built by the Germans before the First World War and the background to the SPR and its expansion until its closure in 1962. It includes numerous illustrations and maps and three specially commissioned works by the railway artist David Charlesworth, including a delightful colour cover depicting an NZ 4-8-0 steam locomotive running along the shoreline near the town of Mikindani. The book is divided into two sections, the history of the scheme and the railway up to its closure and subsequent dismantling, and an appendix of diagrams and photographs of the steam and diesel locomotive motive power. A detailed glossary of names, bibliography, additional reading and index complement a well-produced and interesting history of one of the lesser known railways in East Africa.
Kevin Patience


by Hugh Wenban-Smith

Since starting this column a few years ago, there has been a noticeable increase in research interest in Tanzania. This compilation of articles, culled from journals in the LSE library, covers July to December 2015. The abstracts are based on those published by the author(s), although sometimes shortened a bit.

“A refugee in my own country: Evictions and property rights in the informal economy” Brown A, C Msoka & I Dankoco. Urban Studies Vol 52(12).
Normative approaches to urban governance and planning and idealised versions of city space too often result in relocation or forced eviction of street traders and other informal economy workers from public space as a policy of choice. Often a response to a short term political imperative, clearances take place with little understanding of the interconnected nature of the urban informal economy or widespread poverty impacts that result. Drawing on a property rights perspective and the ‘legal empowerment’ paradigm, this paper compares the major clearances of street traders that took place in Dar es Salaam in 2006-2007 and Dakar in 2007, with very different outcomes for traders. It explores the political initiatives behind the clearances, the dual property rights regimes in both countries and the different roles of social movements, resulting in emerging political power in one city and passive marginalisation in another. Finally, it argues that the conceptualisation of public space as a hybrid ‘public good’ would allow for a more appropriate property rights regime for the urban informal economy.

“How economic empowerment reduces women’s reproductive health vulnerability in Tanzania” Westeneng J & B d’Estelle. Journal of Development Studies Vol 51(11).
This article uses data from Northern Tanzania to analyse how economic empowerment helps women reduce their reproductive health vulnerability. It analyses the effect of women’s employment and economic contribution to their household on healthcare use at three phases of the reproductive cycle: before pregnancy, during pregnancy and at childbirth, which remains robust after controlling for bargaining power and selection bias. This indicates that any policy that increases women’s economic empowerment can have a direct positive impact on women’s reproductive health.

“Agricultural production and the nutritional status of family members in Tanzania” Slavchevska V. Journal of Development Studies Vol 51(8).
The paper studies the effect of crop output value and livestock ownership on the nutrition of children, adolescents and adults in agricultural households. Using anthropometric data to measure nutritional status, this paper finds that both crop values and large livestock ownership have positive and significant effects on the nutrition of children under age 10. The effect persists after controlling for household socio-economic status. Higher crop values and ownership of livestock are linked to better long term indicators of nutrition (height-for-age) among the youngest children and better short term indicators (BMI-for-age and weight-for-age) among older children. The effects also vary between boys and girls.

“Economy wide impact of maize export bans on agricultural growth and household welfare in Tanzania: a dynamic CGE model analysis” Diao X and A Kennedy. Development Policy Review Vol 33(4).
Export bans have been frequently used by developing countries in recent years in an attempt to ensure domestic food supplies and to insulate domestic market prices from international price hikes. This article uses Tanzania to examine the impact of export bans using a CGE model. We find that banning cross-border maize exports has very little effect on the national food price index and that the benefits from lower maize prices are captured primarily by urban households, while maize producer prices decrease significantly. The export ban further decreases the wage rate for low skilled labour and the returns to land, while returns to non-agricultural capital and wage rates for skilled labour increase, further hurting poor rural households and thus increasing poverty for the country as a whole.

“A less gendered access to land? The impact of Tanzania’s new wave of land reform” Pedersen RH. Development Policy Review Vol 33(4)
Contemporary land reforms in SSA tend to be evaluated based on the state-centric reforms of the past, which disadvantaged women. However, this article argues that the new wave of land reforms and their decentralised administrative institutions and anti-discriminatory legal frameworks may be different. Based on field research on the implementation of Tanzania’s 1999 Land Acts, it identifies an institutional reconfiguration in which the formal institutions are gradually strengthened and the customary institutions slowly changed. This does not in itself pose a threat to women’s access to land and some women, who are otherwise perceived to be weak, are left better off. Nevertheless, access to land becomes socially more uneven.

“Reworking the relation between sanitation and the city in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania” Pastore, MC. Environment and Urbanization Vol 27(2).
Africa is at present one of the most dynamic continents. It will play a key role in the next decades in relation to the growth of cities, and environmental conditions will be of primary importance. The structural lack of water and sanitation infrastructure affects the environment of growing African cities. This paper analyses the status of the sanitation and drainage systems of Dar es Salaam, a city with structural lack and general deterioration of the existing infrastructure, and with high annual growth, which has contributed to increasing water demand and strained the water and sanitation system. In particular, the paper describes the water and sanitation condition of the city, and examines three areas in the city that highlights the relation among the evolution of the city’s growth, sanitation system, and the type of settlement. Secondly, both on-site (boreholes, wells, on-site latrines, etc) and off-site (pipes) systems should be considered for the provision and safe discharge of water. Finally, local governments need to take a major step in the water and sanitation sectors in relation to the city.

“Fifteen years after decentralisation by devolution: Political-administrative relations in Tanzanian local government” Hulst R, W Mafuru & D Mpenzi. Public Administration and Development Vol 35(5).
One of the professed goals of the 1998 Tanzanian Local Government Reform Programme (LGRP), entailing substantial decentralisation, was to provide for a democratic administrative set-up in local government. Elected local councils were invested with responsibilities for a wide range of policy sectors and services; the local administrative staff, formerly recruited and instructed by central government, would be appointed by and accountable to the local councils. A well-functioning politico-administrative system was considered paramount to improve service delivery and to ensure control of decision-making by the local community. This article reports on research into the relations between councillors and administrators in two Tanzanian municipalities (Kinondoni MC and Mvomero DC). Overall, these relations were found to be tense and full of discordance, caused by clashing role perceptions and mutual distrust. The research suggests that the main factor underlying the behaviour and attitudes of councillors and administrators is the very system of public administration, which – despite the ambitions expressed in the LGRP – remain very centralistic in character.

“Going back home: Internal return migration in rural Tanzania” Hirvonen K & HB Lilleor. World Development Vol 70.
While reasons for out-migration are relatively well understood, little is known about why people return to their rural origins. We contribute to filling this gap in the literature by using 19-year tracking data from rural Tanzania to estimate the patterns and determinants of return migration, and we find that return is largely associated with unsuccessful migration. For men, return is linked to poor job-market outcomes at the migration destination, and for women, to the ending of marriages. Female migrants who exchange transfers with relatives at home, and men who are financially supported by their families, are more likely to return.