Political tensions continue to rise
A pdf of the issue can be downloaded here
Political tensions continue to rise
A pdf of the issue can be downloaded here
by Ben Taylor
President Magufuli has continued to press forward with his agenda of anti-corruption, resource nationalism, industrialisation and infrastructure development. Meanwhile, the chorus of voices who are critical of his presidency continues to grow.
In the first four months of 2018, the government of Tanzania has inaugurated a major new power plant on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam [see energy and minerals section]; pressed ahead with extending, electrifying and upgrading the central line railway to standard gauge [see transport]; celebrated the arrival of a new aircraft for Air Tanzania [see transport]; and continues to talk up other “mega projects” including a new port at Bagamoyo, the Stieglers’ Gorge hydroelectric dam [see energy and minerals], and a possible Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) processing plant in Lindi [see energy and minerals in previous issues].
Further, it has completed construction of a 25 km “fort” – a wall – around the Tanzanite mine at Mererani, Arusha, in an effort to prevent the gemstones from being stolen or smuggled out without following proper procedures and paying proper revenues. It has long been stated that more Tanzanite is exported from Kenya and India than from Tanzania, though the gemstone’s only source is in Tanzania. The wall was constructed by the national service arm (JKT) of the Tanzania People’s Defence Force (TPDF), taking less than 4 months, at a cost of TSh 5.65 billion (USD 2.5m). The President promised government employment to all the JKT volunteers – over 2,000 in number – who participated in the work. Further security measures have been put in place including security cameras and ID cards for personnel permitted within the wall.
The government has also reinstated over 7,000 previously fired or suspended employees who did not possess form four (O-level) certificates, and who were employed before May 20, 2004. This followed calls to do so from MPs, and recognises that form four qualifications were not a requirement for government employment before this date. The reinstatement does not include civil servants who had used fake certificates to secure their employment or who were employed after 2004 without proper qualifications. The government announced that the reinstated employees will be given their full accrued salaries since the time of their dismissal, and will be entitled to full retirement benefits.
Some of these developments were among the six issues highlighted by the Prime Minister, Kassim Majaliwa, when he outlined government plans contained in the 2018/19 budget. Specifically, the upgrade and expansion of transport networks – including roads as well as rail – and investment in electricity generation were both mentioned. Beyond this, the Prime Minister also pointed to new spending on water supply services, e-governance for revenue collection, relocation of government business to Dodoma, and maintaining economic growth through implementation of strategic development plans.
Chadema leadership arrested
Shortly before Easter eight senior figures within the largest opposition party, Chadema, were arrested and charged with several counts including sedition and incitement. The charge sheet initially named six individuals, including the national party chairman, Freeman Mbowe, and secretary general, Vincent Mashinji, as well as John Mnyika, Salum Mwalimu, Rev Peter Msigwa, and John Heche. Two further names were later added, including the chair of the party’s women’s wing, Halima Mdee, and Ester Bulaya.
The charges stem from mid-February, during the parliamentary by-election campaign in Kinondoni constituency in Dar es Salaam. The Chadema leaders are accused of staging unlawful demonstrations – the same occasion that tragically resulted in the death of Akwilina Akwilini (see below).
Among the charges are several accusations that Mbowe and others made seditious statements, defined in Tanzanian law as “statements that are likely to raise discontent and promote feelings of ill-will among inhabitants of the United Republic of Tanzania” or “statements made with intent to bring hatred and contempt to the citizens of the United Republic of Tanzania against the lawful authority of the government.”
All eight of the accused deny the charges.
Professor Abdallah Safari, the party’s deputy chairman, spoke on behalf of the party while Mbowe and the others remained in police custody. “This situation is terrifying and it is the right time to seek for international support in advocating for democracy in the country. Our voices alone cannot be heard; this is the time for everyone to join forces in calling for democratic space and the rule of law.”
Administrative delays meant that although bail had been agreed by the court, it proved impossible to release the suspects before the long Easter weekend. They were therefore released on the Tuesday after Easter, having been held for seven days, subject to a condition that they must report weekly to the court in Dar es Salaam.
Meanwhile, another Chadema MP, Joseph Mbilinyi, was sentenced in February to five months imprisonment. The Mbeya Resident Magistrate Court found him guilty of delivering “hate speech” against President Magufuli in December 2017. A party official, Emmanuel Masonga, was also found guilty on the same charge. Both Mr Mbilinyi and Mr Masonga deny the charges.
Concerns about police strategies and attitudes have grown, after a number of incidents where policing tactics appeared either to be highly politicised or overly aggressive, including three separate incidents in which the actions of the police appeared to cause the death of civilians.
The first such case was Akwilina Akwiline, a 21-year-old student at the National Institute of Transport. She was killed by a stray bullet while passing the site of a confrontation between police and Chadema supporters in Dar es Salaam. Shots were fired by the police in order to break up the march. This took place in February. No arrests have been made.
The second case followed a month later, in Mbeya. Allen Mapunda, a 20-year-old fruit seller at a local market, was arrested while playing pool with friends one evening, as part of “normal patrols” around the city. He was released on police bail the following day to his family, who say he had cuts and bruises on his arms and head and complained of pain in his abdomen. They took him to hospital where he died later that evening, from what doctors described as “internal injuries”. The police denied any responsibility, saying he was fine when released on bail.
Third, at the end of April, Suguta Chacha, the younger brother of Chadema MP for Tarime, John Heche, was arrested along with others at a bar that was open past its permitted hours, close to the Kenya-Tanzania border. He was stabbed while in custody at the police station, and died on the scene. A police officer has been charged in association with the incident.
These incidents followed concerns raised about policing during local government by-election campaigns in late 2017. The Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) reported evidence that police had arrested opposition leaders and agents. LHRC called for the roll of security organs in supervising elections to be reviewed.
Further, the case of Abdul Nondo also attracted wide public attention. Nondo, a student at the University of Dar es Salaam and outspoken chair of the Tanzania Students Networking Programme (TSNP), was reported missing in early March. He re-emerged a day later in Mafinga in Iringa region, where the police arrested him for allegedly faking his own abduction. He was held in police custody for close to three weeks before being charged with any offence. When finally charges were brought, police (unsuccessfully) argued that Nondo should be denied bail for his own safety.
Finally, a journalist with Mwananchi newspaper, Azory Gwanda, has disappeared and the police have reported no progress with investigating his disappearance. Azory had been covering a series of violent incidents against the police, local government and CCM leaders in and around Kibiti, south of Dar es Salaam, and police responses to these attacks.
The list of those who have expressed concern at rising political tensions and President Magufuli’s approach to democracy continues to grow.
The US Embassy issued a statement in mid-February that referred to the recent murder – by unknown assailants – of Daniel John and attempted murder of his friend Reginald Mallya, both Chadema members, and called for “a transparent investigation to hold all perpetrators of violence accountable in accordance with Tanzanian law.”
A week later, the European Union delegation in Tanzania issued a more widely ranging statement jointly with the Heads of Mission of the Member States of the European Union in Tanzania and supported by the High Commissioner of Canada and the Ambassadors of Norway and Switzerland:
“We note with concern the recent developments which threaten democratic values and the rights of Tanzanians in a country which is widely respected in the world for its stability, peacefulness and freedoms. We are worried by the rising number of reports of violence in the last months including: the attempt on the life of MP Tundu Lissu; the disappearance of people such as journalist Azory Gwanda; and the lethal assaults upon government representatives, the authorities and citizens which occurred in the Coast Region in the past two years. We join Tanzania’s people in calling upon those responsible, to safeguard the peace and security of democratic process, the country, its citizens and respect for the due process of law without impunity.”
Lent and Easter presented an opportunity for Christian leaders in Tanzania to express their concerns. The Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC) of the Roman Catholic church issued a pastoral letter in Dar es Salaam lamenting the deteriorating governance situation in Tanzania, including the restrictions imposed on opposition parties, the repression of mass media and suppression of the freedom of expression. It was signed by all the 36 bishops making up the TEC.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT) issued a proclamation, signed by 27 bishops, calling for security organs to ensure that Tanzanians’ lives are properly protected. Leaders of the Anglican and Moravian churches also called for peace, security and justice in their Easter sermons.
In February, more than 100 civil society organisations issued a statement condemning what they called “unprecedented” cases of human rights violations in Tanzania’s history, including “attacks, torture and forced disappearances of rights activists, journalists and even ordinary citizens.”
The government responded to some of these statements, arguing that religion and politics should not be allowed to mix. Further, a statement issued by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Augustine Mahiga, responded directly to the US and EU. This highlighted “the previous conspicuous silence by the envoys on the unprecedented security threats and challenges which Tanzania has been facing in the Kibiti-Mkuranga-Rufiji triangle,” and “the uncompromising bold actions taken by President Magufuli to stump out (sic) corruption, drug trafficking, tax evasion, poaching and enforce accountability in the public and private sectors”.
“The measures by the 5th phase government have evidently enraged powerful elements from within and outside the country with vested interests in laxity that prevailed before. These forces are resisting and fighting the change through insidious means and malicious intent to discredit the government and tarnish its image by aggravated violent criminal actions in a politically manipulated manner.”
“Our guest partners should make an effort to understand these complex scenarios in the country before issuing unverified sensational and what can be inciting statements to the public.”
Perhaps the most stinging criticism, however, came in mid-March from The Economist newspaper, in a rare leader article on Tanzanian politics. The article, headlined “Tanzania’s sickening lurch”, was accompanied by a longer news article in the same issue headlined “Falling into dictatorship: Tanzania’s rogue President.”
“Until recently Tanzania’s political stability drew investors and donors, spurring one of the fastest sustained streaks of economic growth in Africa,” wrote the paper. But “… progress is imperilled by Mr Magufuli, who is transforming a stable, if flawed, democracy into a brutal dictatorship” it continued. “For Western donors to look away as Tanzania descends into oppression would be to discard much of its progress in recent decades. Most of all, Tanzania’s neighbours need to act.”
Fake news, media and social media restraints
The Economist articles kicked up a minor political storm in Tanzania, with online debate raging particularly fiercely. Within days, a rebuttal appeared on a newly established website from a previously unknown “Belgian doctor,” Dr Herman Louise Verhofstadt. The article, which defended President Magufuli’s record, was widely circulated by supporters of the President, including an approving tweet from the Director of Information Services and chief government spokesman, Dr Hassan Abbas, and extended excerpts were published in the two government-owned newspapers, Daily News and Habari Leo.
The rebuttal was then itself rebutted by someone on social media, also claiming to be Dr Herman Louise Verhofstadt, stating that he had never visited Tanzania and adding that “you need a really poorly performing government to come up with a lie like this.”
Commentators quickly concluded that both the article and the twitter rebuttal were a fabrication – neither were backed up by any other evidence or presence, online or otherwise, to give credence. Instead, they appear to be evidence of the politicised nature of the media, including social media, and indeed a prime example of fake news.
Into this context, the government introduced new regulations under the Electronic and Postal Communications Act, to regulate online activities in Tanzania. Among other things, the Online Content regulations, require bloggers and operators of online forums and online TV and radio to register and pay fees to the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority. Anyone writing a blog within Tanzania or any Tanzanian citizens doing so from abroad, for example, will be required to pay an annual fee of TSh 1,000,000 (USD 450) to operate their blog. The regulations also prohibit a long list of different types of online content, including anyone posting “disparaging or abusive words, calculated to offend”, “false content” unless accompanied by a statement that the content is satire and not factual, and “content that causes annoyance”.
Critics have pointed out that although fake news is a genuine problem, these regulations go a lot further. One international newspaper described the regulations as “vaguely worded” and pointed out that “no one imagines that political speech will be spared.”
The regulations come on top of existing laws introduced under Presidents Kikwete and Magufuli that have attracted widespread criticism for undermining freedom of expression, including the Statistics Act, Media Services Act and Cybercrimes Act. All three have been used against critics of the government.
Demonstrations that didn’t happen
A US-based Tanzanian socialite and social media activist, Mange Kimambi, attempted to mobilise nationwide peaceful protests on Union Day, April 26. The protests were to be against what she called “suppression of political freedom and human rights abuses” by the Tanzanian government. Opposition parties denied any connection to Kimambi, while the police and national government leaders restated an existing ban on political rallies of any kind, emphasising instead the need to protect the nation’s peace and security “at any cost”.
President Magufuli warned of a crackdown on any protests. “Let them demonstrate and they will see who I am,” he said. Gilles Muroto, police chief in Dodoma, told journalists the police would make protesters suffer: “they will be beaten like stray dogs.”
In the event, the show of force by police on the streets of major Tanzanian towns and cities was far more visible than any protesters. Police marched and showed off their vehicles and other equipment in highly public displays on April 25 in particular, and maintained a heavy presence on the streets on April 26.
“All we can say is that the California girl managed to bring the toughest of our boys down to the streets, in much ado about nothing,” wrote Jenerali Ulimwengu in the East African.
Small protests took place in Washington DC and Sweden, with a few dozen protesters holding placards outside the respective Tanzanian Embassies. Seven protesters in Dar es Salaam were arrested outside the Central Post Office, and a few other suspected “organisers” were arrested in the days before April 26.
by Enos Bukuku
The list of organisations calling for a new constitution grows longer
At the end of last year, the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition, Tanzania Constitution Forum and representatives of over 80 civil society organisations raised concerns about respect for democracy and human rights in Tanzania, arguing that a key part of the solution would be for the constitutional review process to resume. Added to this list are various religious groups who feel obligated to speak up for the people. One such group is the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT). Shortly before Easter, 27 ELCT bishops put their signatures to a document which, amongst other matters, requested that the constitution making process be revived. The ELCT made the following statement:
“Most Tanzanians believe that there is a need for a new constitution, which will address the many challenges that the country is facing…… When someone dies or disappears under mysterious circumstances, security organs should make sure that independent investigations into the matter are conducted so that the culprits can be brought to justice.”
The opposition party Chadema has been consistent in demanding a new constitution over the last couple of years. It has been joined by another opposition party, the Alliance for Change and Transparency (ACT-Wazalendo), led by Zitto Kabwe, which proclaimed it would promote this issue as its main political agenda. One of its secretaries, Mr Ado Shaibu, said, “Our main focus is to make sure that democratic principles are protected – and this will be through enacting a new constitution”. ACT-Wazalendo and Chadema are also aiming to work together on this big push for a long-awaited new Katiba. This potential alliance has similarities with UKAWA. Whilst the alliance may not result in a formal coalition, once again the government’s stance on the constitution is giving opposition parties a strong platform for change.
On 6th February, Prof Palamagamba Kabudi, the Minister of Legal and Constitutional Affairs, responded to questions regarding a conflict between the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania and the Constitution of Zanzibar by saying that he sees no reason to amend the constitution. Since his appointment approximately one year ago Prof Kabudi has not offered any signs of support for the growing list of Tanzanians who want to see some progress. As far as the government is concerned, it is not a priority.
by Ben Taylor
President Magufuli promises pro-business approach
President Magufuli has stated his government’s commitment to improving the environment for business and addressing the challenges faced by the private sector. The President was speaking at a meeting that brought together leaders of government and business, convened by the Tanzania National Business Council (TNBC).
He particularly directed the Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr Philip Mpango, and Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) Commissioner General, Charles Kichere, to develop a strategy to reduce the burden of backlog taxes to traders. He ordered the ministry and TRA to meet with business leaders and negotiate on outstanding tax demands, to ease the tax burden that threatens many businesses in the country. “We should have a human face and avoid being too rigid because the government relies on the business community to raise revenue,’’ said the president. He argued that if, for instance, someone owes TRA money that was accumulated in 10 years, the taxman could forego five years and collect the amount accumulated for five years.
President Magufuli further directed ministers to address within one week the various hurdles that traders complained of during the meeting. This includes issues of taxation, bureaucracy within government, and imports that render domestically manufactured goods uncompetitive, and outdated laws.
The chair of the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF), Reginald Mengi, commended the government for proper supervision of the economy, proper investment environment and adequate access to business loans. However, Mr Mengi also noted that TPSF receives many complaints from businesspeople over TRA’s unfair calculations of various taxes. He further argued there is a need to compel foreign contractors to team up with local counterparts to transfer skills that will help the local contractors to execute similar projects in future. (The Citizen, Daily News)
Prospects for middle income status – the World Bank view
The World Bank, in its new Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for Tanzania, has said that Tanzania could achieve middle income status by 2025, but only if annual growth rates increase. The CPF, which provides the framework for all World Bank activity in Tanzania between 2018 and 2022, says growth will have to increase to over 7% from an average of 6.5% in recent years. To achieve such rates, the CPF states, will require aggressive reforms to ensure sustainable management of natural resources, address climate change risks, close the infrastructure gap and build human capital, starting this year, while also maintaining macroeconomic stability.
This builds on the November 2017 Tanzania Economic Update (TEU), in which the World Bank pointed to the need to accelerate the country’s rate of economic growth if it is to fulfil the economic and development ambitions expressed in the Vision 2025 and FYDP II.
“The economy is facing two important and related challenges, specifically the under-execution of the national budget and the decline in private sector sentiment,” according to the TEU. The low budget execution rate leads to “concerns regarding the credibility of the budget,” and constrains the government’s ability to achieve its targets. Further, while the Magufuli administration’s efforts to improve public administration, clamp down on corruption, and strengthen the tax administration are “well intended”, the transition has “caused uncertainty within the private sector”.
“There appears to have been an overall deterioration in business sentiment due to the perceived risks resulting from the unpredictability of policy actions related to the Government’s intensified efforts to collect revenue and to its anticorruption drive,” says the TEU. (The Guardian)
State pension funds to merge
The National Assembly has endorsed the Public Service Social Security Fund Act, 2017, under which all pension schemes in Tanzania will be merged to form two funds, one for the civil servants and another for the private sector.
The existing social security fund schemes – including the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), Parastatal Pension Fund (PPF), Public Service Pension Fund (PSPF), Local Authorities Pension Fund (LAPF) and Government Employees Provident Fund (GEPF) – will be streamlined into two funds, the Public Service Social Security Fund (PSSSF) and the National Social Security Fund (NSSF). Money in previous state funds will be moved to PSSSF at the commencement of the Act.
The move followed advice from the International Labour Organisation and a recognition that some of the funds were struggling to survive. The Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Jenista Mhagama, told parliament that the PSPF and GEPF were under severe financial pressure, and could be forced to cease operations imminently. Combining the funds will reduce administration costs, she explained. (The Guardian, The East African)
Online business registration
The Business Registration and Licensing Agency, BRELA, has launched a new online platform for business registration and other services. BRELA chief executive, Frank Kanyusi, said the Online Registration System would significantly reduce the time and costs associated with registering a business, adding that this would endear the country to investors and contribute positively to the government’s industrialisation drive. He said it previously took 3-5 days to complete all business registration procedures, but with the new online system, this can be completed within an hour.
Users of the service will be able to register a business name or change of particulars, pay various fees, file company related documents and annual returns, register industrial licenses, register trademarks and patents, or request information about registered businesses. It is hoped that in future users will also be able to get a taxpayer identification number (TIN), issued by the Tanzania Revenue Authority, and national identification number (NIN), issued by the National Identification Authority, through the same system “at the touch of a computer key”.
It is hoped that the platform will be of particular help to those based outside Dar es Salaam, who will no longer necessarily have to travel all the way to Dar to register a business. They will only need to have access to an internet connection. This applies similarly to those based outside Tanzania. “It is a huge stride that should have happened a long time ago,” said Mr Hussein Kamote, formerly of the Confederation of Tanzania Industries.
Tanzania is currently ranked 137th position overall in the World Bank’s Doing Business Report, which examines the ease of doing business in 190 economies across the globe. Starting a business, including registration processes, is among the key factors considered. Tanzania is even lower in the rankings on this issue: the country is ranked 162nd. (The Citizen)
President Magufuli has dismissed concerns that the national debt is becoming unmanageable, and stated his intention to continue borrowing to finance large scale infrastructure projects. “Tanzania still has room for further borrowing,” he said. “What matters are the projects into which we invest the borrowed money.” He pointed to the fact that the borrowed money was being invested in construction of mega infrastructure projects like standard gauge railway line and electricity generation like the Stiegler’s Gorge, saying such projects would boost the country’s economy and ability to repay the debts.
The President was responding to issues raised by the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) Prof Mussa Assad in his audit of national government accounts for the 2016/17 financial year. Prof Assad expressed concerned that if left unchecked, Tanzania’s debt could become unsustainable.
The Finance and Planning minister, Dr Philip Mpango said last November that Tanzania’s debt was USD $26 billion (31% of GDP) as of July 2017, a 17% increase from July 2016. The President argued that the debt remained sustainable and that the country still had room for further borrowing. “I know of countries which have debts of more than three times their gross domestic product (GDP),” he said, insisting that the most important thing is the management of the borrowed money and specific projects into which the money is injected.
Prof Delfin Rwegasira of the University of Dar es Salaam supported President Magufuli’s view. “The latest figures that we have from the IMF are that Tanzania’s debt is very sustainable and the President was right,” he said.
Limited sugar imports resume
The imminent threat of closure facing various sugar-intensive factors has been averted, following a government decision to speed up clearance of some consignments of industrial sugar at the Dar es Salaam port. The government has directed drink manufacturers to ensure that they only clear consignments of industrial sugar according to their respective production demands and said that production demands will strictly be monitored to see whether it tallies with the quantity of consignment.
This followed concerns contained in a report by the Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) report, which was tabled before the Parliamentary Committee on Industry, Trade and the Environment. The CTI Chairman, Dr Samwel Nyantahe, said the shortage of industrial sugar in the market had reached critical levels, that one drink manufacturer had already ceased production and several others had raised alarm over possible suspension of production should they fail to obtain permit to clear the stalled sugar imports.
President John Magufuli had taken steps to restrict sugar important, designed to protect local manufacturers and consumers from adverse effects of cheap smuggled sugar being dumped in the market. (Daily News)
Chinese complaints about immigration rules
Chinese investors and authorities in Tanzania have raised concerns over tight work permit rules in Tanzania, saying the rules discourage investors. According to the Chief Economic Representative at the Chinese Embassy in Tanzania, Lin Zhiying, Tanzanian immigration authorities fail to recognise that some workers who lack academic certificates are nevertheless very capable. “We fail to utilise human resources from China,” he said, “just because most of them are coming in the country without academic certificates, where the existing system denies them opportunities despite the fact that they are able.”
With estimated total investments of around USD $10 billion in the country, Chinese investors need both local and foreign human resources, he argued.
Executive secretary of the Association of Tanzania Employers, Mr Aggrey Mlimuka, said that employers would like to see more relaxed labour and migration laws on foreigners working in the country. “We have prepared this workshop so that Chinese investors can meet and share their challenges with government officials and local business community, finding long standing resolutions,” he said, adding that there are some Chinese investors who have already moved their investments to other countries and some were on the move to go.
For her part, the assistant commissioner for work permits in the Prime Minister’s Office, Ms Mercy Jilala, advised the Chinese business community to report their challenges directly to responsible authorities.
by David Brewin
Strains in the relationship between Tanzania and Kenya are being exacerbated by Maasai-owned cattle from Kenya straying over the border between the two countries in search of pasture. Tanzania has now taken drastic action and recently auctioned off 2,410 Kenyan cattle it had rounded up. A further 1,125 Kenyan cattle belonging to the Maasai were also seized because of a fear of the spread of bird flu. Tanzania estimates that some 30% of livestock pastures in Tanzania are consumed by cattle from neighbouring countries.
Controversy continues on GM crops
The controversy about the use of genetically modified (GM) products is widening. GM crops are banned in most of Africa and Europe but are grown in vast quantities in the Americas. Many farmers in Ethiopia, Kenya and Malawi are in favour of the use of genetically modified cotton seeds even though they are more expensive, as they provide stronger resistance against pests.
The whole dispute between users of GM crops is matched by disputes within the British Royal family according to the London Times. Princess Anne, who farms in Gloucestershire, believes that if we are going to be better at producing full value then we have to accept that genetic technology is going to be part of that. The Prince of Wales who also has several farms, is a vigorous campaigner against GM technology. Britain’s Minister of Agriculture George Eustace has stated that the British government is considering relaxing present restrictions on GM crops after Brexit, the subject which is dominating political discourse in Britain.
Poultry breeders in Tanzania are asking the government to block imports of poultry and its products to protect their businesses. Manase Mrindwa, the Secretary General of the Tanzania Poultry Breeders Society, has stated that they have the capacity to supply about 85% of the needs of the local market and that an 18% waiver on Value Added Tax had attracted more investment in production, but that the illegal trade in eggs and newly hatched chicks from neighbouring countries was threatening the growth of the business. In October last year government authorities in Arusha destroyed 6,400 chicks imported from Kenya through the Namanga border point.
The Uluguru Grasshopper
The Uluguru Mountain Range Reserve near Morogoro has become a tourist attraction due to the presence of the Uluguru Grasshopper. The grasshopper has become known as ‘December Ninth,’ as it shares the colours of Tanzania’s national flag. Some residents are said to believe that the creators of the flag chose the colours from this grasshopper. The mountainside has been attracting visitors from across the world because of its unique flora and fauna including flying frogs, chameleons, various species of songbirds and the steppingstone used in freshwater springs.
Long-standing plans to construct a Soda Ash plant on the shores of Lake Natron have been abandoned following pressure from the international community and environmentalists. The proposed $500 million plant was expected to create 500 jobs but research has shown that building a factory on the shores of Lake Natron could result in the lake drying up in about 10 years.
Support for wheat farmers
In order to end the trade war between Tanzania and Kenya, the two countries have agreed to fund part of the production costs for wheat farmers and create a commercial bank to enable wheat farmers to access loans at a 5 -6% rate of interest. These measures are being taken to improve wheat farming, improve competitiveness of the locally produced grain and curb imports of the commodity from outside East Africa.
Tea and coffee
Tea production went down in Tanzania (and also in Kenya and Uganda) last year largely because of uneven distribution of the lower amount of rainfall received in most tea growing areas.
Threat from dams
Kenya’s plan to build dams on the Mara River and its tributaries is causing growing concern in Tanzania. It believes that they pose a threat to the rich animal and plant life of the Serengeti ecosystem. The area has the river Mara as the only permanent source of water for the herds of wildebeest and other wildlife which migrate between the two countries.
by Ben Taylor
A busy first few months for Minister Kigwangalla
The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Dr Hamisi Kigwangalla, has stirred up the sector since his appointment in late 2017. In a little over six months in office, he has accused several hunting companies of grave acts of misconduct, including announcing that the managing director of Otterlo Business Corporation (OBC) was under investigation for corruption; revoked and then extended tourist hunting licenses issued between 2013 and 2017; accused Ministry staff of collusion with poachers; fired the head of Wildlife Conservation, Emmanuel Barabara; and directed the police to arrest certain individuals he suspects of involvement either in poaching or in the death of conservationist Wayne Lotter.
These moves have prompted both support and criticism.
Leaders of the Tanzania Professional Hunters Association (TPHA) accused the Minister of “disrespect for natural justice.” TPHA linked the minister’s remarks against some of the association’s members with his attempt to cancel validly-granted hunting blocks to operators, claiming that this is a dangerous precedent that is not based on law and “not in the best interests of the tourism industry”.
Conservation activist, Susannah Nordlund, said local activists’ hopes had been raised by the Minister’s early stance against OBC – including a promise that they would be “gone by January” – but that their hopes had been dashed by his more recent actions. “Now they feel sorry that he has had to bow to pressure from his superiors,” she wrote in a blogpost after Kigwangalla expressed support for OBC following a visit by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, the Crown Prince of Dubai, to OBC hunting blocks in March.
The Minister stated in April that not a single wild animal has been reported killed by poachers in the past 6 months.
Selous elephant collaring project launched
The government, with support from WWF, has launched the country’s largest ever elephant collaring effort. 60 elephants will be collared in and around the Selous. This will support reserve management and government rangers, enabling them to track elephant movements, identify and act against threats in real-time.
“In a landscape as vast as Selous where poaching continues, better information on the whereabouts of elephants is critical to anticipate the risks they may encounter, including fatal attacks by poachers,” said Asukile Kajuni of WWF-Tanzania. “The collars mark an important first step in the zero-poaching approach we are taking by enabling wildlife protection teams to be on the front foot against poaching attacks,” he added.
In 2014, UNESCO placed Selous on its List of World Heritage in Danger due to the severity of elephant poaching. In the past 40 years, widespread poaching of elephants for ivory has seen the population in Selous decimated, with numbers plunging from 110,000 to an estimated 15,000.
To collar an elephant, the animal is first sedated by an immobilisation dart. A team then moves in to gather health data about the elephant and attach the collar. This takes a total of up to 30 minutes, following which the elephant is given an antidote to revive and join its herd. (Daily News)
Parliament endorses Paris Climate Agreement
The National Assembly in early April formally endorsed the Paris Climate Change agreement. The Minister of State in the Vice President Office (Union Affairs and the Environment), January Makamba, tabled the motion, which was unanimously supported.
Makamba said endorsing the agreement would have a positive impact on the country’s economy. “It will strengthen Tanzania’s multinational cooperation in matters pertaining to climate change,” he said, adding that the pact would help increase opportunities in clean energy technology through the use of natural gas for domestic purposes, thus accelerating progress towards industrialisation and the use of affordable energy.
After parliament’s endorsement, the next step is for Tanzania to formally ratify the treaty. Tanzania will become the 176th country to do so.
The Paris Agreement deals with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance starting in the year 2020. The language of the agreement was negotiated by representatives of 196 parties at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC in Paris and adopted by consensus on 12 December 2015. US President, Donald Trump, announced in July 2017 his intention to withdraw from the agreement. Under the agreement, the earliest possible date for a US withdrawal to take effect is November 2020, shortly before the end of President Trump’s current term.
by Naomi Rouse
JPM spits fire on arbitrary ‘contributions’ in schools.
A strong statement was made by President Magufuli in January threatening to fire any officials who breach the free education policy, introduced in 2014. The President had received reports of students sent away for not paying contributions demanded by schools for desks, meals, and lab construction.
The President felt that this situation was inexcusable given that the government releases TSh 23.9 billion (£7.3 million) every month to fund free basic education up to Form Four. “To the ministers: I don’t want to hear about students being sent away for failing to pay these contributions.
Relay this message to regional commissioners, district commissioners, district executive directors and all other government officials. A recurrence of this will automatically mean being fired.”
Officials were ordered to ensure that any contributions paid be returned to parents and students be allowed to resume classes immediately. The President ordered that if parents did make any voluntary contributions in future, these should be submitted to the District Executive Directors rather than school heads. The Minister for Education also asked for a report on all schools asking for contributions. (IPP Media)
Tanzania introduced fee free education in 2015, but the UNESCO Global Monitoring Report has found that cost still remains a barrier in plenty of countries providing free education.
Magufuli said: “It makes no sense for the government to remove the school fees and yet for teachers to decide to introduce contributions that poor parents can’t afford to pay for their children”.
GEM welcomes this key step in making sure the free education policy is implemented in practice and ensuring that the poorest children in Tanzania can access education.
Global monitoring data shows that in general, the poorest countries contribute the most to education expenditure. While in high income countries, families contribute just 18% of total education expenditure, this rises to a third in low income countries in general, and 63% in neighbouring Uganda.
Within Tanzania, as in many countries, the poorest children are the most likely to be out of school. Only 3% of the richest children have never been to school compared to 33% of the poorest. Responsibility for implementing fee free education lies at the school level, and the President is holding the sector to account for this. (World Education Blog – Global Education Monitoring Report)
“Punishment won’t stop teenage pregnancies,” because bad behaviour isn’t the cause
Tanzania’s harsh approach to teen pregnancies isn’t working. According to government data, the number of pregnancies in girls aged between 15 – 19 increased from 23% in 2010 to 27% in 2015, and is higher than 20 years ago.
Pregnant girls are routinely expelled from school and most recently this punitive approach was taken to extremes when school girls were arrested and told they may be forced to testify in court as to who got them pregnant. The idea that girls who get pregnant have broken unwritten social rules about respectability, and therefore must be wilful and badly behaved, provides authorities with a rationale for punishing girls and their families for pregnancies. This narrative must be challenged.
But veering in the other direction by describing girls as “victims” ignores that there may be reasons why they engage in risky relationships. Teenage pregnancy in Tanzania cannot be reduced to either ‘bad behaviour’ or ‘exploitation’. Research by Kate Pinock of the University of Oxford with Tanzanian schoolgirls highlights the complex dynamics of power, respectability and authority.
Kate says: “Often with the best of intentions about protecting girls’ status in their communities, authority figures (such as parents and teachers) reinforce social norms about respect, deference and “goodness” which can make it difficult for girls to assert themselves in relationships. Their stories were in sharp contrast to the dominant representation of girls’ sexuality as problematic and victimised. Girls spoke about sex and relationships not in terms of fear or passivity, but in relation to other hurdles and opportunities they faced. Poverty, male teachers, issues of respectability and community all shaped their experiences of sexuality.”
The pressure to achieve at school pushed girls into relationships with male teachers (for grades) or boyfriends who would pay for school supplies and food in return for their affections. The important thing was that this happened in secret and therefore did not affect girls’ reputations. But the clandestine nature of the arrangements means that there are no real opportunities for girls to seek information about preventing pregnancy. Using contraceptives or even talking about sex was seen as “bad behaviour”.
Girls already find ways to navigate repressive norms about their sexuality. With the right support and knowledge, they may be able to push back against them. It requires de-stigmatising conversations about sexuality and affirming girls so that they can pursue respectful and safe relationships. (TheConversation.com)
Minister lauds China for vast UDSM library facility
UDSM Vice Chancellor, Professor William Anangisye said the library will help realise UDSM’s dream of becoming a world class university. Minister for Education, Professor Joyce Nadlichako, said the library is bigger than any other in Africa. It is hoped that the library will improve student performance and university research, as well as giving students the opportunity to interact socially and academically with China, as one of the major global economic powerhouses.
The project has been delivered by Chinese construction firm, Jiangsu Jiangdu. The Chinese Ambassador to Tanzania Wang Ke said that the Chinese government is happy to see Tanzania developing in all spheres and the government is eager to continue to support Tanzania’s social development.
It is expected that the library will be completed in July, 2018.
Mkapa voices dismay over national education ‘crisis’
Speaking at the ceremony for the investiture of the Vice Chancellor of the University of Dodoma, former President Mkapa said that the concerns of the public and higher learning institutions about the poor quality of education in the country needed to be taken seriously. He said these include concerns about language, and lack of cooperation among education providers.
Mkapa recommended that an all-inclusive dialogue was needed to work out what is wrong and how to correct it.
On his record as outgoing chancellor of University of Dodoma, Mkapa said that enrolment had increased from 1,272 at its inception in 2007 to 10,000 at present. UDOM is currently ranked the second-best university in the country after the University of Dar es Salaam.
Newly appointed vice chancellor Professor Egid Mubofu said he wanted to improve facilities for research and pledged to construct two colleges of natural sciences and mathematics and earth sciences. (IPP Media)
by Ben Taylor
Calls for local production of medicine
President Magufuli has argued that the country must build its capacity for local drug factories. “Only 6% of the medicine is produced here… why? We must do something,’’ he said during an event hosted by the Medical Stores Department (MSD) in Dar es Salaam. According to data from the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Tanzania spends over TSh 800 billion every year on importing medicine and medical supplies.
In response, researchers, investors and government leaders are now trying to answer the question: Can the local pharmaceutical industry recover its former glories?
Industrial players and researchers largely concur that current policy is unfavourable. Mr Jayesh Shah, Group Managing Director of Sumaria Group and former owner of Shelys, one of Tanzania’s largest pharmaceutical firms, urged the government to “come up with a policy that makes local manufacturing of drugs mandatory, unlike the current one which favours importation.’’
“The cost of production was higher than the profit I was making, that’s one of the reasons I had to move out of the business,” he added. A report published by REPOA, a research institution, in 2014 found that pharmaceutical production had been a Tanzanian industrial success in the mid-90s, but that such former success is now history. By 2014, the industry was in decline, said the report. “There is a lack of active public sector support for local firms as compared to other competing countries,’’ says the report. “It requires a change of mind-set for policy makers in Tanzania to turn to prioritising and actively engaging in selective support of the sector,’’ suggested an academic study published in 2016, Making Medicines in Africa.
Some investors sense an opportunity. Mr Ramadhan Madabida, Managing Director of Tanzania Pharmaceutical Industries Limited (TPIL), says the pharmaceutical demand is USD $550 million per annum, but added that “locally active pharmaceutical industries in Tanzania which produce medicine are still not enough to curb the shortage.”
A report by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment shows that there are 13 pharmaceutical factories in the country, but that only five are currently active and only four are fully licensed.
Mr Madabida says the government needs to work in collaboration with local investors in filling the gap. But, he emphasises that “the government should formulate policies that enable investors to access funding from financial institutions to encourage more investment.”
“It is important now to think of motivating the local investors through tax incentives and opportunities for borrowing. There is no letter of credit being given to the local investors to enable them access funding from local financial institutions, as compared to foreigners,” he added.
Following the President’s intervention, calling for local manufacturing of drugs, over 10 local investors have expressed an intention to put up local drug factories, according to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment. The Ministry added that the government is now laying groundwork for a National Pharmaceutical Sector Strategy, intended to ease operations for local investors.
According to the Ministry, this strategy will create a 15% price advantage for locally manufactured medicines compared to imported medicines, develop a list of medicines to be manufactured locally, create a pharmaceutical industrial park and cut taxes on imported raw materials.
Activists protest expansion of cigarette production for local market
Executive Director of Tanzania Tobacco Control Forum (TTCF), Lutgard Kagaruki, argued that the opening of Mansoor Industries Limited – an affiliate of Philip Morris International – in Tanzania, is bad news for the country’s health sector as smoking youths will likely fall victim to killer diseases such as cancer.
The company has started rolling out its products under the Chesterfield brand, according to a statement issued by Mrs Kagaruki.
She claimed that more than 2.4 million adults (15+ years) in Tanzania and 17,000 children aged 10-14 years smoke tobacco. “Research at Ocean Road Cancer Institute indicated that 32% of all cancers at the institute were tobacco-related, costing government more than $40m annually,” she added.
Expansion of health service facilities
The government has spent a total of TSh 162 billion (USD $72 million) in recent months on improving 170 health centres, President John Magufuli has said. He was speaking at a function to unveil 181 vehicles – worth TSh 20 billion – belonging to the Medical Stores Department.
Upon completion of the improvement exercise, he explained, the 170 health centres will be capable of performing emergency operations on pregnant women and children as the country seeks to further reduce maternal death and child mortality.
Apart from upgrading the 170 health centres, said Dr Magufuli, the government has also built a 268 more health centres, bringing the total number of such facilities across the country to 7,284.
“This includes construction of regional hospitals in the new regions of Njombe, Geita, Katavi and Simiyu. We are also introducing and improving specialized services in various hospitals in the country,” he said.
Reports of Dengue fever outbreak
The Ministry of Health has confirmed several cases of Dengue fever in Dar es Salaam in early 2018. “11 patients have been diagnosed with the disease,” said the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Prof Mpoki Ulisubisya, adding that outbreak control measures are being implemented.
He said the ministry in collaboration with the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) and local clinics will continue to make diagnosis to uncover more cases of the disease if any. Surveillance activities will be conducted in the coastal cities of Dar es Salaam and Tanga, according to the Ministry.
The worst dengue fever outbreak in Tanzania occurred in 2014 when more than 400 patients in Dar es Salaam were diagnosed with the disease and at least three died. Dengue fever is said to affect about 390 million people in the world every year, and is particularly prevalent along the East African coast.
There is no medicine or vaccine for dengue, so health experts recommend prevention by preventing mosquito bites. Mosquitoes that spread dengue are not the same as those that spread malaria, and bite both during the day and night.
by Roger Nellist
Good news in the electricity sector
In early April President Magufuli inaugurated a major new electricity generating plant known as Kinyerezi II in Dar es Salaam. Deploying six turbines, the plant will eventually add an additional 240 MW (megawatts) of electricity to the national grid. The President said that 1,513 MW is currently being produced in Tanzania, which falls well short of the country’s needs. Noting that about 60% of Tanzanians still do not have any electricity and that hundreds of thousands of hectares of forests are being cut down for firewood and charcoal instead, the President called for a tripling of the country’s present electricity generating capacity so that the government’s goal of attaining middle-income status by 2025 can be fulfilled. “A reliable power supply is crucial for the country’s economic growth since it enables manufacturers to produce continuously, hence creating more employment,” he explained. He also called on TANESCO to find ways to reduce power tariffs, to benefit consumers and industries.
Kinyerezi II was constructed by the Japanese company Sumitomo and cost just over $350 million to build. Japanese soft loans financed 85% of that cost whilst Tanzania funded the remaining 15%. The project was completed more than a month ahead of schedule and employed some 2,000 workers during its construction, 80% of whom were Tanzanian.
The recently appointed Minister for Energy, Dr Medard Kalemani, who joined the President at the inauguration, gave details of the other big power projects that will be implemented over the next five years. Together, they will help fulfil the President’s goal of tripling Tanzania’s electricity generating capacity. Those projects are: Kinyerezi III, which will add a further 600 MW, and Kinyerezi IV at least another 330 MW.
Moreover, work on the controversial hydropower generating project at Stiegler’s Gorge is set to begin in July this year and will take 36 months to complete. The huge project – which has been on the cards since the 1970s when ambitious plans were first drawn up – involves the construction of a dam on the Rufiji River in the Selous Game Reserve, set to be the largest dam in Tanzania. The Stiegler’s Gorge plant is designed to generate 2,100 MW – sufficient to put an end to the electricity outages and shortages that have beset the country for so long and possibly provide some surplus for export to neighbouring countries.
The Minister said that the government is currently providing the essential infrastructure to service the Stiegler’s Gorge project’s construction: “We are now connecting the area with electricity from Morogoro … We are also building roads to connect the area … It is our hope that the project will be completed by early 2021”. The project itself awaits final approvals.
Following last year’s mega dispute with the government over the exports of gold concentrates and the amount of tax underpaid, Acacia Mining (Tanzania’s largest gold producer) released a financial statement in mid-April announcing that its gold production fell 45% in the first quarter of 2018 compared with a year earlier. Its production of 121,000 ounces was due to lower output at its main Bulyanhulu mine (which has faced reduced operations since last autumn) and because of lower grade ore at its Buzwagi mine. Its first quarter revenues were down accordingly by 33%.
The company said it is currently studying the best ways to restore full-scale operations at its Bulyanhulu gold mine, which it expects to do by 2020. It also clarified that although gold mining will cease at Buzwagi later this year the mine will not be closed but for the next two or three years will process stockpiles of its gold ores.
Also in mid-April, Acacia Mining’s human rights record in Tanzania came under renewed scrutiny and criticism when five Tanzanian and international human rights groups issued a press release and sent an open letter to Acacia’s Board of Directors urging them to step in to improve the company’s human rights record at its North Mara Gold Mine. They expressed alarm that Acacia’s new community grievance mechanism to address long-standing human rights and other complaints at the mine fell well short of the company’s human rights obligations.
Since 2014 numerous reports have drawn attention to serious violations at the North Mara Mine, including killings, beatings and sexual violence. Last September the International Commission of Jurists said it was “deeply concerned about the gravity of many of [the] allegations and the difficulties [victims] experienced in accessing any adequate remedy and reparation”. Subsequently, Acacia revamped its community grievance mechanism at North Mara, providing a process whereby victims can bring human rights and other complaints to mine officials for investigation, compensation and remedy. However, although some progress has been made in addressing some victims’ claims, the rights group consider the revised mechanism to fall well short of what is required. They maintain it is not compliant with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and “lacks human rights benchmarks, lacks transparency, lacks independence, provides very limited legal assistance for an overly legalistic process, and creates confusion about whether it will accept complaints about police abuse at the mine site, among other problems”. Tanzania’s Legal and Human Rights Centre recently stated that “Tanzanians deserve to have their rights respected by multinational companies conducting business in our country … . Acacia Mining and [its parent company] Barrick Gold should … ensure the North Mara community grievance mechanism is independent, fair and transparent”.
by Ben Taylor
New Air Tanzania plane arrives, finally!
A new Bombardier Q400 aircraft has arrived in Tanzania, after extensive legal delays in Canada, from where the 76-seater aircraft was purchased for USD $32 million. The aircraft is the third such plane to arrive in Tanzania under the efforts of President Magufuli to revive the national flag-carrier airline, Air Tanzania. Three further deliveries are scheduled for later this year, including two Bombardier CS300 planes and one Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner.
The new aircraft was initially scheduled to arrive in the country last year, but was seized by a court order requested by the construction firm Stirling Civil Engineering Ltd. Stirling’s claim stems from a 2010 compensation ruling by the International Court of Arbitration over a road construction contract that was terminated a number of years back, and which had not been paid by the Tanzanian government.
In August 2017, when the seizure of the plane was first reported by opposition politician Tundu Lissu, this was initially denied by the government. A spokesperson later told reporters that the delays resulted from a conflict masterminded by a few unpatriotic Tanzanians, arguing that lawyers who filed a case before seizing the government property had no legal locus standi to do so, but were pushed by a few local politicians who wished the country ill.
The government has made no statement on why the situation has now changed and the plane has been released, or whether the money demanded by Stirling Civil Engineering has been paid.
On its arrival, President John Magufuli called for unity and patriotism among Tanzanians. “Elsewhere, people are always united when advancing their countries’ development agenda. We need to put national interests first. We should not get divided because this plane which arrived today is for our own benefit,” he said.
Air Tanzania currently operates between Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro, Mwanza, Kigoma, Kagera, Dodoma, Mbeya, Ruvuma, Mtwara, Zanzibar and the Comoros. (The Citizen, Daily News)
President Magufuli urges rapid delivery of rail project
President Magufuli has called on the contractor to ensure timely completion of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project, saying it will benefit the country and its people a lot, as well as help increase government revenues. He urged the Turkish firm responsible for this section of the project, Yapi Merkezi Insaat VE Sanayi, to do all it can to complete work ahead of schedule, stating that upon completion it will create at least 30,000 direct and about 60,000 indirect employment opportunities.
The President was speaking in Ihumwa, Dodoma Region, at the launch of the second phase of the project to upgrade the Central Railway – build over 100 years ago – to standard gauge, and to electrify the line. This phase will connect Morogoro to Makutupora in Dodoma Region, covering 426 kilometres, part of the overall 1,219km route from Dar es Salaam to Mwanza. The total project is expected to cost TSh 15 trillion.
Further connections are anticipated to Kigali, in neighbouring Rwanda, through a project partly financed by the government of Tanzania from its own sources. This will connect to the Dar-Mwanza line in the town of Isaka, to the south of Mwanza. Attracting Rwandan business to the SGR is thought to be key to the project’s viability, against competition from road freight and the rail route through Kenya and Uganda. Speed – and thus electrification – is seen as a key factor in this regard: Rwanda and Tanzania are targeting passenger speeds of 160kmph and cargo train speeds of 120kmph, compared to 80-110kmph on the diesel-powered Kenya route.
Minister of Works, Transport and Communication, Makame Mbarawa, said the Ministry will cooperate with the contractors in trying to complete the project on time.
The Turkish ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Ali Davutoglu, assured President Magufuli of the Turkish government’s commitment to continued cooperation with Tanzania in implementing this and other development projects. He said the SGR project would act as a catalyst to Tanzania’s efforts to transform itself into a middle-income economy by 2025.
Uber establishes firm foothold in Dar es Salaam
The disruptive taxi firm, Uber, has established a firm presence in Dar es Salaam since its launch in the city in 2016. According to a statement released by the company, there are 53,000 active Uber users in Dar es Salaam, and 1,000 active drivers.
The figures show Tanzania well behind continental leaders, South Africa (around 1 million users), and indeed behind neighbouring Kenya (360,000 users). Nevertheless, the number of users in Dar has rapidly achieved the critical mass that means users can generally rely on the service to find a vehicle for them when needed, and that drivers can depend on a steady stream of income from passengers.
Uber has now innovated further in Tanzania, introducing a new partnership with the mobile phone company, Tigo. Under the new arrangements, Tigo users will be able to use the Uber app on their phones without incurring any data charges, and to make payments to Uber drivers using the Tigo Pesa mobile money service. (Daily News)