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by Ben Taylor
At the start of February, the Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner, Paul Makonda, embarked on a high-profile anti-drugs campaign. Makonda has long been a controversial figure. He held prominent roles in the CCM Youth Wing and was accused of disrupting a public meeting in 2014 at which Justice Warioba was due to speak about the constitutional review process. He has something in common with Magufuli, being active and highly visible, keeping people on their toes, and willing on occasion to disregard the niceties of due process.
Makonda released a list of 97 names of people he claimed were involved in illegal drug use and trade, and demanded that they report to the police. The list included the official leader of the opposition in parliament, Freeman Mbowe, wealthy Pentecostal pastor, Bishop Josephat Gwajima, celebrities such as the film actress and socialite, Wema Sepetu, musician and DJ, Vanessa Mdee, and hip-hop artist, Khalid Mohammed (“T.I.D.”). It also included Yusuf Manji, one of Tanzania’s wealthiest and most influential businessmen, the CEO of Quality Group and Chairman of Young Africans Football Club, and several police officers and prominent business leaders. Makonda also named several sites around Dar as hotspots for illicit drug trade, including the Slipway resort and the Dar Yacht Club.
In response, twelve police officers were suspended pending investigations, and the nation was treated to a daily saga of arrests and court appearances, covered by both the serious media and celebrity-obsessed tabloids. Sepetu switched her allegiance from CCM to Chadema. Bishop Gwajima brought a church choir to sing outside the police station while he was interviewed inside. Mbowe was granted a temporary injunction by the High Court barring the police from arresting him, though they were still allowed to investigate and question him. Manji threatened to sue Makonda for defamation, and found himself in further difficulties when the investigations on drugs discovered a number of Indian nationals working for Quality Group without proper permits. He spent several days in custody of the Immigration Department, including some time in hospital.
Makonda’s approach drew strong criticism, led by opposition politicians but also drawing sympathy and support from some within the ruling party. Bishop Gwajima fought back, bringing up long-standing allegations that Makonda has fake academic certificates and that Paul Makonda is not even his real name. Similar accusations have cost many public servants their jobs under President Magufuli.
Nape Nnauye, Minister of Information, Culture, Arts and Sports, said his ministry supported the efforts by Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner to “clean up” the region, but insisted that the authorities should employ wisdom in dealing with suspects. “This matter has sparked public debate especially on how the artistes have been handled. … I believe there are other ways which are more practical in dealing with this complex matter.”
Several politicians and media commentators called on the President to rein Makonda in. But though he did respond to some of the concerns – for example by appointing a long-serving police officer to fill the vacant post of Commissioner General for the Drug Control Commission – he gave his backing to Makonda, saying the war on drugs was so important that it should not matter whose relation somebody might be: “even if you find my wife is involved, arrest her.”
In mid-March the tussle between Makonda, Gwajima and then Nnauye turned sour. A rumour began circulating that Clouds, a TV and radio station, had come into possession of a video (of unknown provenance) in which a woman accused Bishop Gwajima of being the father of her child, and of abusing his position to extract sexual favours. Makonda paid a late-night visit to Clouds, accompanied by armed security officers, demanding that they broadcast the video. The visit was captured on the station’s CCTV cameras, and shared widely on social media. An outcry followed: the media saw this as a brazen attack on media freedom and was forthright in its criticism. The Tanzania Editors’ Forum and Union of Tanzanian Press Clubs named Makonda “enemy of the media number one”, and agreed to implement a media blackout.
As Minister for Information, Nape Nnauye set up a small team to investigate what had taken place, while President Magufuli jumped to Makonda’s defence. Nnauye’s committee reported back, with strident criticism of Makonda’s actions. Nnauye thanked them for their work, but in an apparently reconciliatory call for clemency spoke about how “we must recognise that everyone makes mistakes.” However, the following morning, Nnauye was sacked from the cabinet. The official statement announcing this decision did not mention him by name, simply stating that a new Minister, Harrison Mwakyembe, had been appointed.
Nnauye arranged a press conference for 2pm that afternoon. But as he stepped out of his vehicle in the car park of St Peter’s Catholic Church in Oyster Bay, he was surrounded by a large number of journalists and others. An unknown man – later reported by some newspapers to be an intelligence officer – stepped up and tried to force him back into his vehicle. When Nnauye resisted, the man drew a pistol and waved it around, but fortunately calm heads intervened and the situation was resolved without anyone getting hurt.
Nnauye was understandably upset. “I come here and stand up, someone has a gun, tells me get back in the car. Who gave you that authority? You are paid by our taxes, by our sweat, and then you come with your stupidity and tell me to get back in the car. How? … As I said before, there is a price to be paid when standing up for people’s rights, and I am ready to pay that price.” He added, “I don’t see why the security forces are panicking, I don’t see why people are panicking. Nape is small compared to this country, our country is huge compared to Nape. Let’s not get stressed about Nape, let’s get stressed about where our Tanzania is going. That is bigger than anything else.”
The following day, while formally appointing the new Minister and other new officials, President Magufuli referred to the incident, and in particular to how the media had reported it: “Just look at today’s newspapers: all the pictures, the headlines are about someone who made one mistake, as if the act has been done by the government or with government support. … I tell media owners: be careful, watch it! If you think you have that kind of freedom … not to that extent.” He pointed out that the media had played a key role in inciting the Rwandan genocide.
At the time of writing, Home Affairs Minister, Mwigulu Nchemba, has promised to look into the events in St Peter’s car park, and the new Minister of Information has promised to listen to all sides in the Clouds-Makonda case. Makonda remains in post and continues to pursue his campaign against drug users and dealers, though with a lower profile and perhaps more cautious approach.
CCM reforms and disciplinary measures
The CCM National Congress approved a series of changes to the party’s constitution. The major changes include a reduction of members of the party’s top organs, a reduction of party meeting frequencies and the abolition of unconstitutional posts. The party’s National Executive Committee now has 163 members, down from 388, and the Central Committee has reduced from 34 to 24 members. Other reforms include prohibition of multi-leadership posts within the party.
Addressing the party congress, the party chairman, President Magufuli, said the reforms aimed at boosting efficiency and reducing dependence on financiers. “This is a big party, we have 8.5 million members, we have resources and many sources of income, there is no need for us to continue begging,” he said.
At the same series of meetings, the party’s National Executive Committee stripped 18 senior figures of their party membership, including former Minister Sophia Simba. This move was interpreted widely as a purge of key supporters of Edward Lowassa who had remained in the party after his defection from CCM to Chadema in the run up to the 2015 election. Others, including Central Committee member, Emmanuel Nchimbi, were given “strong warnings”, or “forgiven”, as in the case of the party’s chairman for Dodoma Region, Adam Kimbisa.
In July 2015, Simba, Nchimbi, and Kimbisa as members of CCM’s central committee publicly opposed the decision of the party’s central committee to remove Lowassa from a shortlist of presidential candidates, saying they disagreed with the manner in which the presidential hopefuls were short-listed. (Daily News, The Guardian)
New scrutiny of foreign nationals’ immigration status
A government notice issued in February “invited” all employers and non-citizens working in Tanzania to participate in a formal verification exercise. The notice, issued by the Labour Commissioner in the Prime Minister’s Office, gave all non-Tanzanians currently working in the country 30 days to submit their work permits to the nearest labour office for verification purposes.
In April, the Immigration Department then launched an electronic verification system for use in scrutinising and approving residential permit applications by foreigners coming to live or work in the country. “The system is simple, and offers the opportunity for employers and foreigners already with resident permits to verify their documents and confirm that they have been issued by relevant authorities,” said the department’s Commissioner General, Dr Anna Makalala.
This follows the publication in late 2016 of new regulations governing the employment of non-citizens in Tanzania. The regulations, provide some clarifications on the procedures, timelines and document checklists for processing each type of work permit, including grounds for exemptions.
(Further detail on the new regulations is available from FB Attorneys: http:// fbattorneys.com/legal-update-15-march-2017/) (The Citizen, The Guardian)
Power struggle at Tanganyika Law Society
Tundu Lissu, a senior MP for the opposition party, Chadema, was elected as President of the Tanganyika Law Society (TLS). This followed a power struggle in which senior government ministers threatened to deregister the society if it elected a politician to a leadership role. In the week before his election, Mr Lissu was arrested twice and charged with sedition at a Dar es Salaam court before being released on bail.
According to some TLS members, the government threats against TLS backfired, motivating the society’s members to back Lissu in order to protect their professional independence. Mr Lissu said his victory had nothing to do with his political party, Chadema, and promised to serve all lawyers impartially. (The Guardian)
Ban on alcohol sold in sachets
A ban on selling alcohol in small plastic sachets – known as “viroba”
– came into force in March. Many shops were left with large stocks that they are unable to sell, and customers were forced either to stop drinking or to shift to comparatively more expensive bottled liquor. The cheapest viroba drinks retailed at TSh 500, the cheapest bottles cost around TSh 3,500. Manufacturers asked for more time to adjust to bottling technology.
The Prime Minister, Kassim Majaliwa, said the fondness for viroba was killing large numbers of young Tanzanians, including students, since different brands were available in plastic sachets at virtually every street corner, even close to primary schools.
Banditry in Coast Region
There is widespread concern at a recent wave of killings of local government leaders and police officers in Coast Region. In the most deadly incident, eight officers were shot dead by an armed gang in mid-April.
Commissioner of Police for Training and Operation, Nsato Mssanzya told journalists that the police had launched a manhunt in response, had discovered the criminals’ temporary hideout and in an exchange of gunfire had killed four bandits. He added that there was no evidence to link the ongoing incidents with terrorism, but rather that it seemed a small group of criminals was causing fear in the area.
Home Affairs Minister, Mwigulu Nchemba, said the government has increased the number of police officers and facilities in Kibiti District in Coast Region as part of establishing a special police zone.
It was also reported that political parties were having difficulty persuading qualified candidates to stand for village leadership roles in the region, as several village leaders have also been killed in recent months. (Daily News, The Citizen)
Call for Maji-Maji compensation
The Minister of Defence and National Service, Hussein Mwinyi, said the government is preparing to ask the German government to compensate those who were affected by the Maji Maji war. He was initially responding to questions in parliament, and followed this up in an interview with German media outlet, Deutsche Welle. German soldiers are accused of crimes including forced starvation following the tribal revolt known as Maji Maji between 1905 and 1907.
“Compensation is what we are looking for and there are a few other examples in the African region of countries who have asked for this,” said the Minister. He added that the idea was “to compensate those who lost their lives and of course there are some surviving victims of the war. But those who lost their lives, they have people who could benefit from it.” (Deutsche Welle)
Additional footprints belonging to a group of early humans have been uncovered in Laetoli, Tanzania, dating from 3.6 million years ago. The prints were made when five of our ancient ancestors walked across wet volcanic ash.
The 13 footprints were discovered by an international group of researchers, led by Sapienza University in Rome. The researchers believe that they belong to five members of Australopithecus afarensis – the pre-human species best known for the fossil skeleton, nicknamed ‘Lucy.’ Professor Giorgio Manzi, lead author of the study, said: “This novel evidence, taken as a whole with the previous findings, portrays several early hominins moving as a group through the landscape following a volcanic eruption and subsequent rainfall.”
“The footprints of one of the new individuals are astonishingly larger than anyone else’s in the group, suggesting that he was a large male member of the species,” he added.
Based on measurements of the length and width of the footprints, stride length and the angle of the gait, the male weighed around 48kg (100lbs) and measured about 5 foot 5 (165cm), while the lightest of the group only weighed 28.5kg.
Researchers say the footprints suggest that members of Australopithecus afarensis may have had a social arrangement of one dominant male mating with several females.
by David Brewin
President Magufuli spent his first very active few months in charge after his election dealing with major matters at home. Now the tireless president has begun taking time to deal with foreign relations, particularly foreign financial relations. The results are already beginning to be seen.
He has begun by ‘looking East’ for trade especially to China and Turkey. Major issues of interest to Tanzania have been centred on the standard gauge railway, the proposed new port in Bagamoyo and the establishment of up to 700 factories in Tanzania in three years. China has risen from the sixth largest foreign investor in 2011 to second place after the UK more recently.
Mozambique recently expelled about 200 Tanzanians who are alleged to have been living in the country illegally. The Ministry of Home Affairs was said to be verifying claims of abuse against these people including allegations of beatings and rape. The passports of some deportees were seized. The crackdown was conducted in the Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado where some 3,000 Tanzanians are said to be living.
Following the King of Morocco’s recent tour of Africa, including Tanzania, Morocco has continued its efforts to be re-admitted to the African Union. The country already has the backing of a simple majority of African states following its mobilisation of 28 countries – 52% of the of the AU membership. Morocco withdrew from the Organisation of African unity (OAU) – the precursor to the African Union (AU) – in 1984 when the OAU admitted Western Sahara, a disputed region on the Atlantic coastline between Morocco to the north, Algeria to the east and Mauritania to the south. Morocco’s claim to this phosphate-rich territory in 1975 followed the withdrawal of Spain which had colonised the Western Sahara for many years. Conflict between the different parties was apparently settled in 1990 when it was said that the people of the former Spanish colony would have a referendum over their right to self-determination. But Morocco argued that the Western Sahara is an integral part of its kingdom while the Polisario Front had been campaigning for the territory’s independence. Morocco has repeatedly failed to hold the proposed referendum.
In a recent letter from the King to the current Chairman of the AU, Chadian President Idriss Deby he wrote: “We need to take the path of lucidity and courage, which our elders, the first pan Africans, had privileged. … That is why, on the question of the Sahara, institutional Africa can no longer endure the burdens of a historical error and a cumbersome legacy. Since this so-called state is not a member of the UN, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the League of Arab States nor any other sub-regional, regional or international institution, is not the present situation in clear contradiction with international legality?”
Rwanda and the Swahili language
Rwanda is planning to introduce the Swahili language in its school curriculum by next year as part of plans to adopt it as an official language. At present Swahili is taught as an optional subject at primary and high school levels but French is declining in importance.
Turkey and Portugal
A joint venture between a Turkish and a Portuguese company has won the tender for construction of 205km of the proposed new Standard gauge railway. This is part of the 1,200km stretch that will eventually link Dar es Salaam with the rest of the country as well as with Rwanda and Burundi, is to be constructed at a total cost of US $1.2 billion. Tanzania is hoping to secure soft loans from development partners and financial institutions for implementation of the plan. The Turkish/Portuguese firms which were selected beat 39 other bidders for this project which will take 2½ years to build. It had been widely expected that Chinese firms would obtain the contract, but Turkey’s forceful President Erdogan visited Tanzania recently and things changed. According to The East African, the Turkish president used the opportunity of his visit to Tanzania to ask for a loan from Turkey’s state-owned Export Credit Bank to help finance part of the new rail line.
Tanzania’s long-standing support for the people of Palestine and coolness towards Israel is changing. President Magufuli, following the opening last year in Israel of a visa processing centre to boost tourism from Tanzania, has now stated his intention to open an embassy in Tel Aviv. Israeli tourist charters are already landing regularly at Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar airports.
The latest VIP to come to Dar es Salaam on a state visit has been President Museveni of Uganda. In an official statement in Kampala following the visit, President Museveni confirmed that the major oil pipeline for Uganda oil would be constructed in Tanzania rather than Kenya and that agreement had been reached on the route (Hoima to Tanga) – and costs ($3.5 billion). People in Kampala were talking about the ‘Museveni magic.’ It is hoped that Ugandan oil will be produced by about 2020.
by Ben Taylor
Jim Kim in Tanzania: World Bank to lend $2.4bn
The World Bank President, Dr Jim Yong Kim, visited Tanzania in March, promising $2.4bn worth of loans for infrastructure projects in Tanzania over the next three years. As part of a ceremony to lay a foundation stone for a new “flyover” interchange at Ubungo in Dar es Salaam, Dr Kim and President Magufuli witnessed the signing of three contracts worth a total of $780m – for improvements in transport infrastructure, water supplies in Dar es Salaam and urban development projects elsewhere in the country.
Further projects at various stages of planning include finance for upgrading port services and rail infrastructure in and around Dar es Salaam, and for projects in the health, education, agriculture and energy sectors.
“The World Bank has been a true friend in pushing our development agenda; they issue long term loans with an affordable interest rate of just 0.5 per cent,” said President Magufuli.
Dr Kim praised President Magufuli for the purge on corruption and his vision of development towards the Tanzania Vision 2025 which seek to transform the country into a middle-income economy. He added that the $2.4bn figure represented an increase of half a billion dollars over the previous three-year period. (Reuters, Daily News)
Uncertainty in cement
President Magufuli took steps to resolve the energy problems facing the Dangote cement works in Mtwara, though many questions remain unanswered and uncertainty around energy supplies for the sector looks set to continue for some time.
The dispute arose last year after the government proved unable to fulfil the promises it had made to Dangote Group with regard to supplies of gas to the factory, and then took issue with Dangote’s decision to import coal from South Africa – banning coal imports in response. The factory later suspended operations, citing “operational issues”, putting several thousand jobs at risk.
In March, the President directed that Dangote Group should be allowed to carry out its own mining activities to source coal locally, and instructed the National Development Corporation (NDC) to allocate the firm a section of Ngaka coal mine at Mbinga, in Ruvuma region. “You should therefore give Dangote a piece of land at the mine so that he can produce coal for his factory,” said President Magufuli, referring to Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote, who was in attendance. A week later, the Ministry of Energy and Minerals yesterday handed a 10-square-kilometre plot in Ngaka to Dangote.
Dr Magufuli also directed the Minister of Energy and Minerals, Prof Sospeter Muhongo, to make sure that natural gas was directly delivered to Dangote Cement Company as soon as possible. It doesn’t make sense that natural gas is transported to Dar es Salaam, some 500 kilometres away, and not to Dangote Cement, which is only about 10 kilometres from where the gas is produced,” he added.
However, a number of other cement companies have similar issues with supplies of energy, and the ban on imports of coal. ARM Cement Ltd, operating in the country as Maweni Limestone Limited (MLL) was reporting as saying it could well be forced to shut down its two plants in Dar es Salaam and Tanga after failing to obtain enough coal locally. According to MLL Chairman, the firm had entered into an understanding with Tancoal Energy Ltd to be supplied with 350 tons of coal per day without fail, up to February this year, but Tancoal was able to supply only 5,000 tons of coal in three months, against MLL’s total requirement of 17,000 tons per month.
Further, these other cement companies point out that giving Dangote the opportunity to mine coal was at best a temporary solution: “Dangote has targeted natural gas and that is why he constructed the plant in Mtwara. Once he’s connected with gas he will no longer be interested in heavy coal mining,” argued a senior manager of a large local cement company. They called for the import ban to be lifted until local sources had the capacity to meet demand.
President Magufuli agreed that Tancoal appeared unable to meet the demand. “Under the current arrangement, it is very difficult to ensure that the investor gets enough coal for cement production because of poor production capacity,” he said, and called for an investigation into the relationship between Tancoal and NDC.
Earlier, in January, the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) promised to provide the Dangote works with a connection to the natural gas pipeline by the end of the year. A ceramics factory, a food processing plant and the Coca Cola plant in Dar es Salaam were also promised connections this year, which would bring the number of connected factories to 41. (The Guardian, The Citizen)
Competing interpretations of IMF review
The release of a report by the IMF on the state of Tanzania’s economy noted both strengths and weaknesses in the economy.
“Tanzania’s macroeconomic performance remains strong. Economic growth was robust during the first half of 2016 and is projected to remain at about 7% this fiscal year. Inflation came down below the authorities’ target of 5% and is expected to remain close to the target, while the external current account deficit was revised down on account of lower imports of capital goods,” said an IMF statement. The statement also welcomed President Magufuli’s anti-corruption drive and tax revenue collection measures. “If sustained, [this] will provide a good foundation for the envisaged scaling up of infrastructure investment, starting with the 2016/17 budget.”
However, the statement also noted that President Magufuli’s approach to the management of the economy faces four key challenges that risk undermining the country’s macroeconomic stability. It listed these as a tight stance on macroeconomic policies, the slow pace of credit growth, slow implementation of public investment, and private sector uncertainty about the government’s new economic strategies.
This mixed report led to varied headlines. “IMF hails Dar over economic feat,” said the state-owned Daily News. In contrast, The Citizen went with a very different line: “JPM’s policies may hurt economy: IMF.”
Vodacom Tanzania began an initial public offering (IPO) in March, the first in a series of mobile network listings expected on the Dar es Salaam stock exchange. The company plans to raise TSh 476 billion ($213 million) in an offering of 560 million shares at TSh 850 each, according to a prospectus issued to brokers, expects to list on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange in May.
This follows a law passed in 2016 requiring phone companies to sell at least 25% of their businesses to the public to boost local ownership.
“Vodacom Tanzania’s IPO valuation looks rich at a first glance,” said London-based investment firm, Exotics Partners. Nevertheless, analysts predict high demand for the shares. CEO of Zan Securities, Raphael Masumbuko said would-be investors were waiting for the IPO since the telecom Act was passed. “People from all walks of life are waiting for this IPO. We have been in constant pressure as to when Vodacom IPO will come out. The firm self-sales since it’s a household name,” he said.
With 31% of the telecoms market and 12.4 million active subscribers, Vodacom is the market leader in Tanzania. The country had over 40 million tele-subscribers by the end of 2016.
2,400 dollar millionaires in Tanzania Tanzania added an estimated 200 new dollar millionaires in 2016, according to a report by Knight Frank, bringing to the total number to around 2,400. The report is based on responses from 900 of the world’s private bankers and wealth advisors who manage over 10,000 clients with a combined wealth of around $2 trillion. The report also stated that Tanzania currently has two dollar billionaires, and predicted that this number would double in the next ten years.
by Roger Nellist
Controversial Presidential actions on mining
In the last few months President Magufuli has issued decrees on a range of mineral matters, which are unsettling some mining investors and causing a big local stir.
Last year he ordered the revocation of a large-scale mining licence in Shinyanga in favour of the award of mineral rights to small-scale miners. In January this year, Magufuli directed the Minister of Energy and Minerals, Professor Sospeter Muhongo, to cancel a nickel mining licence at Dutwa in Simiyu region in favour of a water supply project in the area. The company that holds the Dutwa nickel mining rights (in which the World Bank through its International Finance Corporation is a 10% shareholder) has been prospecting in the area for almost a decade and is at the point of establishing a large open pit nickel mining operation. Referring to water problems in the area, the President said: “There is no way over one million people should be suffering just because one investor is extracting minerals – that does not make sense”. However, the President’s action has been strongly criticised by opposition MP Zitto Kabwe, who highlighted the considerable economic potential of the mine and said “the government is sending all negative messages to investors. These statements will cost the nation dearly in future”. The Tanzanian Chamber of Minerals and Energy called the Presidential decrees “alarming”; another body has called them an extension of violation of the law.
In a separate move, and as had been foreshadowed by President Magufuli in 2016, the Ministry of Energy and Minerals announced on 3 March an immediate ban on the export of mineral concentrates and ores for metallic minerals such as gold, copper, nickel and silver. The ban is intended to ensure that mineral value-addition activities (i.e. the processing, smelting or refining of the mineral ores/concentrates) are carried out in Tanzania, as specified in the 2009 Mineral Policy and the 2010 Mining Act. Local mineral beneficiation activities are expected to create extra jobs, generate additional revenues and transfer technology and skills to Tanzania.
However, the immediate imposition of the export ban has been criticised by several stakeholders (including small-scale miners fearing bankruptcy), who argue that existing producers have been given no time to build the necessary beneficiation facilities and that arbitrary administrative measures create an unpredictable policy environment that will deter new investors. Senior representatives of some foreign mining companies operating in Tanzania have commented that “any government making unilateral decisions is worrying and of concern” and “if the Tanzanians wish to encourage foreign investment, they’re not helping by making these sorts of announcements”. The Australian government said it was “closely monitoring” the new business policies and regulations in Tanzania for any impact those changes may have on Australian investment interests in the country.
Reports indicate that Acacia Mining Plc is the first big mining company to be affected. Although the gold bars it refines can be exported, the company has had to suspend the export of mineral sands and copper concentrate recovered during its gold mining operations. Acacia let it be known that it was losing more than $1 million each day in revenue from two of its three Tanzanian gold mines (Bulyanhulu and Buzwagi) because of the export ban. It said the ban has put unsustainable pressure on its cash flow and required it to implement stringent spending cuts and to freeze new employment.
On 23 March, President Magufuli unexpectedly visited Dar es Salaam port and inspected a number of mineral sand containers that had already been cleared for export. He ordered the stock of almost 300 containers at the port to be impounded until analysis of their contents had been completed. “Based on the information that I have, if I say what is really inside these containers, it could make any patriotic Tanzanian cry…. From now onwards, no mineralised sand will be exported from Tanzania… There is no country being robbed of its mineral wealth like Tanzania”. According to the Tanzanian Ports Authority, more than 50,000 containers holding mineral sands are being exported out of the country every year.
A few days after the President’s visit, the Speaker of the National Assembly and a number of other MPs also went to the Port to inspect the seized containers. The Speaker announced he was establishing a Parliamentary committee to investigate all aspects of the mineral sands exports saga.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, Professor Justin Ntalikwa, had joined the Speaker’s visit to the port. But within hours of their visit, in an abrupt move signalling the growing sensitivity of the mineral sands export ban, President Magufuli sacked Prof Ntalikwa. No reasons were given but speculation in the press attributed Ntalikwa’s removal to his remarks about the high cost and time needed to establish local beneficiation facilities.
Then at the end of March, in an attempt to allay investors’ fears over the export ban, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa made a surprise visit to the Buzwagi Gold Mine in Shinyanga and spoke to workers there who were concerned about potential job losses resulting from the export ban. “I want to assure Tanzanians questioning this exercise that we are not doing this to scare away investors,” he said. “We want to satisfy ourselves on what is going on with our mines.” He added that the government had to clear doubts that the country was not being short-changed with regard to the export of copper concentrates. The PM’s team also took samples of mineral sands from sealed containers destined for export from the mine, in order to have them analysed independently for the amounts of copper concentrates.
The ongoing controversy has now led to official calls for some of the mining agreements to be renegotiated. Just before Easter the Controller & Auditor General sent a report to President Magufuli saying that the government must review mining contracts and rethink its tax code (to remove unreasonable provisions including generous tax exemptions and other contractual loopholes) if Tanzania is to benefit from the extractives industry.
Five-year delay for the LNG plant
At the end of 2016, Statoil’s Tanzania country manager, Oystein Michelsen, warned that a final investment decision on the $30 billion onshore liquefied natural gas export terminal will not be made for at least five years, and that it would take another five years after that to actually build the plant. The commercial partners in this mega project (which the Bank of Tanzania estimates would add 2 percentage points to annual economic growth) are Royal Dutch Shell, Statoil, Exxon Mobil, Ophir Energy and the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation. The big hurdles facing the project include the paramount need for a stable contractual framework with the Government, resolution of land issues, identification of funding and clarity over local ownership requirements in some contracts. President Magufuli has ordered officials to accelerate the resolution of these issues so that the project can start.
Tanesco – Power price hikes cancelled
At the end of December 2016, the Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority announced an increase in electricity tariffs of 8.5%, to the consternation of many including the Energy and Minerals Minister Sospeter Muhongo, who immediately revoked the order. The increase had been sought by the state utility, Tanesco, which had actually wanted an even bigger hike. After Minister Muhongo also disclosed that Tanesco managers had been paying themselves large bonuses despite the utility’s dire financial position, President Magufuli intervened and on 1 January sacked Tanesco’s Managing Director, Felchesmi Mramba. University of Dar es Salaam senior lecturer Dr Tito Mwinuka was appointed as Mramba’s successor in an acting capacity. Mwinuka said his priorities would be to expand the country’s power production capacity, to pursue those owing the utility money, and to improve the utility’s efficiency by changing its ‘business as usual’ culture and reducing the substantial wastage of both electricity and finances within the company. He would also pursue those who make illegal electrical connections.
by David Brewin
The prolonged drought
Although Tanzania may have suffered less than several neighbouring countries, the prolonged drought which has hit the East African region has caused serious problems for the agricultural industry.
Most of Tanzania has experienced inadequate rains at the end of last year and irrigation farming has suffered particularly badly. The Tanzania Meteorological Agency in (TMA) blames the situation on the effects of climate change which, have affected weather patterns across the globe.
Particularly affected are coffee and tea farmers. The drought induced by the La Niña weather phenomenon leading into the last quarter of last year delayed the flowering of coffee bushes. Maize and bean harvests are also threatened which have triggered food price increases.
This year’s drought is said to be the worst in the past 34 years. Tanzania is already receiving refugees from neighbouring countries.
In what was intended to be a contribution to the planned expansion of the sugar industry in Tanzania from a production of 300,000 tons per annum at present to an eventual total of up to 2 million tons, the government set aside 10,000 hectares in Bagamoyo district for a sugar project to produce ethanol for export. This project attracted substantial investment from Sweden, the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation, the African Development Bank and others. However, many of the population in the area were not happy and organised protests and said that it was an example of “land grabbing”. The latest news is that the scheme has now collapsed following the ending of Swedish support.
Tanneries and leather factories
Following a meeting between presidents Magufuli of Tanzania and Abdel el Sisi of Egypt in Addis Ababa it was learned that the Tanzanian Minister for Trade and Industry, Charles Mwijage, would be turning to Egypt to tap into the technology needed to help revive its tanneries and leather factories. Tanzania is second in Africa, after Ethiopia, in the number of livestock it keeps. There are some 23 million cattle, 16 million goats, 7 million sheep and 2 million pigs. But the country imports large numbers of shoes from China and South-East Asia, some 4% of which are made from pure leather. The Minister said that in Tanzania thousands of tonnes of skins and hides are wasted due to poor handling. Tanzania has eight small and medium-sized leather factories operating below capacity, in collecting and processing raw hides and skins.
High Quality Coffee
A small company of coffee growers in North Yorkshire are in the process of creating a partnership between Britain and Tanzania in producing and selling speciality coffee which is of particularly high quality. The founder of the company, David Beatty was in Tanzania recently on a research trip which is expected to be followed by the importation of high quality coffee beans from Mbeya, Mbozi and Rungwe districts. The company aims to buy premium priced coffee beans through direct negotiation with the farmers. The aim is to ensure a fixed premium price for the farmers instead of leaving them to sell their product via auction into the commodity market. Quality demands a high price, and this is the best way that a farmer can directly benefit from the increasing demand for speciality coffee. “We set our sights on Tanzania in the hopes of finding a coffee which is a true reflection of the country. Visiting the country first-hand meant that we could inspect the crop, the harvesting and processing methods plus the environmental conditions, all of which impact on the quality of the beans. Due to its exclusivity, the new coffee will be distributed to only a select few retailers, one of which is a street coffee house in Middlesbrough. It is hoped to start serving the coffee towards the end of 2017. Thank you for sending this – Editor.
In Tanzania fish farming is still largely a small-scale rural initiative. It is characterised by small pond culture and contributes only 1.4% to GDP. There is very much greater potential.
Inland water covers about 6.5% of the total land area including the great Lakes – Lake Victoria, Tanganyika, and yes Nyasa/Malawi. The lakes are recognised as among 25 biodiversity hotspots in the world because they are home to hundreds of species of secluded Cichlid fish. These include around 30 species of tilapia, 11 of which are not found anywhere else in the world.
The Earlham Institute and Bangor University in the UK, as part of an international consortium of organisations, are working to characterise the genetics of tilapia species. The other institutions also involved are the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, WorldFish, the University of Dar es Salaam, Sokoine University of Agriculture in Morogoro and the Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute. The aim is to improve aquaculture and fish production while preserving Tanzania’s natural diversity and resources.
In an article in the East African, the Earlham Institute’s director of science Federica Di Parmer has pointed out that tilapia farming could become a potentially important area. Tilapia are particularly suitable for aquaculture because they can tolerate different environments and conditions. Their growth rates are also relatively fast and they have low input requirements. They are second only to Carp as the world’s most frequently farmed fish.
Digitising the agricultural sector
A strategic partnership agreement has been signed between Tanzania’s national micro-finance bank (NMB) and MasterCard to digitise the agricultural sector in the country. The partnership will see the role of eKilimo, a digital platform designed to introduce efficiency, security and transparency in the agricultural supply chain. This is expected to make transactions faster, safer, and easier for all including the farmer, the buyer and the agent. Farmers will sell produce and receive payments via a smart phone.
by Mark Gillies
The past few months have been a quiet time for Tanzanian tourism and conservation with no new crises to face, but plenty of on-going struggles.
Perhaps with an eye to the potential damage done to the Tanzanian tourism industry by cost increases of 2016, the Tanzanian Tourism Board was reported by ATC News on 14 March as being very busy at this year’s annual ITB trade show in Berlin, signing marketing representation agreements with companies in the three key source markets of the US, UK and Germany.
The job of these companies will be to promote the tourist destinations of Tanzania & Zanzibar whilst also liaising with tour operators and travel media in those source markets. Up until this point, hotel owners and tour operators have been forced to shoulder this burden privately with little support from the TTB. No details are yet known because the companies are only due to submit their business plans to the Tourism Board in the middle of the year, but it will be interesting to see if Tanzania’s story begins to be told in a more professional and comprehensive manner.
Although Tanzania’s appeal as a tourist destination remains strong, significant negative news stories remain available for the consumer to digest.
The widespread failure of the short rains last year and the subsequent drought across parts of East Africa has brought famine to Sudan, conflict to Kenya’s Laikipia Plateau and tension to Tanzania. Interestingly, echoes of Laikipia can be found in the 3 January Citizen report by Lilian Lucas that described the lake of rain in Morogoro Region and the reported death of almost 4,000 cattle. Responding to the deaths, Regional Commissioner, Dr Kebwe Steven Kebwe, consoled pastoralists who had lost cattle but ordered police in the region to co-operate with local militias in removing pastoralists cattle from farms. He also ‘turned down’ a request from local pastoralists to graze cattle in Mikumi National Park, advising instead that the applicants tend their pasture better next year.
Readers of TA and the wider media are now sadly familiar with the threat to the sustainable management of Tanzania’s natural resources posed by poaching. Elephant, lion and giraffe have all featured in the headlines of late, so it is with a certain glum weariness that we add the grumbling hippo to this tragic list.
IPP Media reported how in December, National Geographic released a report entitled ‘Fighting the Underground Trade in Hippo Teeth’ which detailed how poaching gangs in Tanzania, and other African countries, are killing hippo for their teeth, which are then carved into intricate patterns and sold to yes, you guessed it, the Chinese market.
The last census of the Tanzanian hippo population was conducted in 2001, so very little is known about current numbers and any losses from either poaching or reduction of habitat due to human expansion. When asked about the threat, the Director of Wildlife in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Prof. Alexander Songorwa, stated that no hippo teeth can currently be exported legally from the country, except those acquired as a result of licenced sport hunting, but that the Department was soliciting funds and working on methodologies to combat any problem.
If the news of a new victim is always down-heartening, then reports of new initiatives in the protection of Tanzania’s natural heritage are always good to receive. This is particularly so when the news puts Tanzania on the cutting edge of technological development.
For the past few years, drones have been an increasing menace when deployed above the herds of the Great Migration, to use but one example. However, Bathawk Recon (http://bat-hawkrecon.com/) are proving that a much more sophisticated version can definitely be a force for good.
Bathawk Recon is a new private initiative based in northern Tanzanian established with the aim of using drone technology and surveillance techniques to oppose poaching operations across Tanzania and other African nations. Capable of flying during the day or the night, the drones can cover vast areas, protecting the wildlife below by spotting poaching teams and directing law enforcement teams into the affected area with pin-point accuracy. Furthermore, when contact is made with the poachers, the eye-in-the sky makes sure that no poachers are able to escape; all the while remaining unseen itself.
Have a look at the company’s videos; the potential is very exciting. One just hopes that should Bathawk Recon prove to be successful, their use will be supported wholeheartedly by the governments of Africa.
by Enos Bukuku
Signs the constitutional review process is to be revived?
A few months ago, it appeared that President Magufuli had abandoned any plans for the government to imminently revive the process of creating a new constitution. However, he recently appointed two former Constitution Review Commission (CRC) members, Humphrey Polepole and Prof Palamagamba Kabudi, to senior positions. Mr Polepole will act as CCM Publicity Secretary, whilst Prof Kabudi will take over from Harrison Mwakyembe (see Politics section, this issue) as Minister of Constitution and Legal Affairs. Prof Kabudi is considered an experienced authority on legal and constitutional matters.
In his address to Parliament in early April 2017, Prof Kabudi stated that the government is reviewing all its laws relating to the constitution before continuing with the process. “I am new to the ministry, but the government had other priorities when it came into power. The process will now resume from where it ended,” he stated.
However, “where it ended” was that it only remained for the controversial proposed constitution to receive the approval of the public through a national referendum. Many politicians have pointed out the fact that this process is not provided for in the 2017/2018 government budget. The Tanzania Constitution Forum (TCF) has expressed its concern about this. Moreover, and setting budget issues aside, there are still difficult political issues to overcome if a new constitution is to be created.
At a recent General Meeting of the Tanzania Constitution Forum, Gaudence Mpangala, a senior lecturer at Ruaha University College, commented that 2017 and 2018 are the right times to finalise the constitution process. He pointed out that 2019 will involve local government elections and then in 2020 the national elections.
The draft constitution which was produced by the CRC contained many recommendations which were rejected by the Constitution Assembly (CA). The CA chose to reject the proposed three-tier government and stick with the current government structure. It also chose not to limit the tenure of MPs in circumstances where due to illness, incompetence or incarceration they could be removed from office. Former President Kikwete’s criticism of the CRC’s draft constitution appears to have resulted in the sections he had criticised being omitted from the final draft. One must therefore ask whether Prof Kabudi and company will have enough freedom and autonomy to find a solution without Presidential interference with the contents of the constitution, especially if there are elements within it which limit presidential powers.
This concern is heightened by the criticism the government has been facing for restricting freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. There are some who consider that the President has too much power and/or acts above the law. Whether there is any merit to these complaints, the perception that the people have about their government is of great importance, especially where fundamental human rights are involved. Presidential powers and citizens’ rights are therefore likely to become hot topics if the review process is revived, and indeed even if it is not.