Archive for Issue 128

SPORT

by Philip Richards

The distinctive yellow and green “Yanga building” in Jangwani during recent floods

The rise and fall (and rise again) of sporting venues
Two stories of contrasting fortunes illustrate the balance of future opportunities and current challenges of sports development in Tanzania, but on this occasion the focus is on infrastructure rather than the sportsmen and sportswomen.

On a positive note, as reported in the Daily News (2/10/20) a new National Indoor Arena indoor arena has been announced in Dodoma which as well as football will aim to accommodate and benefit other sports such as hockey, volleyball, boxing and basketball. The construction of the stadium is also symbolic recognition that the capital city should host a prominent sporting facility which will leapfrog the Benjamin Mkapa stadium in Dar es Salaam in terms of size. It will also boost the nation’s chances of attracting a large competition such as the AFCON with the economic benefits that would bring. Despite these opportunities, commentators note that development of infrastructure has to be accompanied by investment in skills and success both in terms of sportsmen and women but also in terms of football experts such as coaches.

Compare this to tale of Jangwani Grounds. An area in Dar es Salaam of about 400,000 square meters that was once a home of over 20 football pitches, accommodating more than two thousand spectators at one go, now looks more like a swamp – a flood zone thanks to environmental degradation and effects of climate change (as reported by The Citizen 7/11/2020). Jangwani was once seen as a local hub for talent where Dar es Salaam boys and others from upcountry who played football could go to Jangwani Grounds to showcase their talents in a bid to attract the attention of big clubs. However, the pollution of the River Msimbazi together with overpopulation and unplanned settlement has led to the demise of those nostalgic days. Still, hope remains. While football enthusiasts are complaining about the loss of their football pitches, the Ilala Municipal Council through the support from World Bank is planning to return Jangwani Grounds to former glory but this time with modernization with an investment of USD 105m. We look forward to reporting good news on the progress of this project in future TA editions.

Football
TA126 reported on the news that English Premier League club Aston Villa had completed an £8.5m deal for the 27-year-old Tanzanian international captain Mbwana Samatta from the Belgium club Genk. At the time, Aston Villa were struggling to retain their place in the English Premier League and had great hopes for the Tanzanian striker. Despite making a promising start including a goal in the Carabao Cup final meaning the first Tanzanian to score at Wembley, that was one of only two goals for the club and he struggled for form when the Premier League restarted in June. Whilst Aston Villa escaped relegation from the Premier League, Samatta has joined Turkish Club, Fenerbahce on 12-month loan (as reported by The Citizen 25/9/2020).

Better news for success overseas comes in the form of Novatus Dismas, the Azam FC midfielder, who has signed for Israeli giants Maccabi Tel Aviv. As Israeli envoys to the UEFA Champions League, we hope to report on further success for Novatus wearing the Maccabi shirt.

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TANZANIA IN THE INTERNATIONAL MEDIA

by Donovan McGrath

Burundian refugees in Tanzania face increasing danger
(Mail & Guardian online – South Africa) Extract: Évariste Ndayishimiye’s first visit as the president of Burundi was nothing if not symbolic. He chose Kigoma, a town in northwestern Tanzania near which about 154 000 Burundian nationals continue to seek protection from the previous administration’s abuses. Many Burundians in the area probably eyed the visit, during which Ndayishimiye and Tanzanian President John Magufuli agreed to strengthen relations, as a sign that the dangers they face in Tanzania could increase. These dangers are all too real. Since October 2019, Human Rights Watch has documented how Tanzanian police and intelligence agents, in some cases collaborating with Burundian authorities, arbitrarily arrested, forcibly disappeared, tortured, and extorted Burundian refugees and asylum seekers, and forcibly returned at least eight to Burundi… The abuse is not only shocking in its brutality: it exposes that Tanzanian police and intelligence are working with Burundian authorities to target people the Tanzanian government is bound by international law to protect… Tanzania and Burundi have historically had a close relationship—former Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere led the peace negotiations that led to the 2000 Arusha Accords, which established ethnic power-sharing and helped end years of conflict in Burundi that left an estimated 300 000 dead. But a protracted crisis in Burundi since 2015 has sent hundreds of thousands of Burundians fleeing to Tanzania. Now pressure has been mounting on them to return home… (30 November 2020)

The real story of the world’s biggest tanzanite find

Lazaro Lasimi


(Mail & Guardian online – South Africa) Extract: Lazaro Lasimi and his colleagues descended hundreds of metres into the earth underneath the Mererani Hills, in Manyara in northern Tanzania. At the bottom of the mine, they dug 57 small holes, carefully placing dynamite into each. Only when they were safely on the surface did they press the trigger. The explosion was designed to break the hard rock which protects one of the world’s most unique natural resources: tanzanite, the rare, shimmering violet-blue gem stone that is found only in Tanzania, and mostly in the Mererani Hills. Usually, it takes 15 minutes for the dust to settle. That day, Lasimi remembers, something was different: it took half an hour, even with oxygen pipes lowered into the depths to speed up the process. Once the staff geologist had given the go-ahead, Lasimi and the team eventually made it back down. In the rubble, he saw small and medium-sized rocks that he knew from seven years of experience in the mines here were likely to contain tanzanite. He started to collect them. One of his colleagues spotted a huge black rock that had somehow survived the blast. He started bashing it with a hammer, trying to break it into smaller pieces. But this rock was stronger than the hammer. Suddenly he realized: this wasn’t ordinary rock; the whole thing was tanzanite… The gemstone weighed an astonishing 9.27kg… It was, by some margin, the largest tanzanite stone ever discovered. And its owner, Saniniu Laizer—who was not there that day, and was only informed later by his eldest son, Joseph—was about to become an American dollar millionaire, and a Tanzanian shilling billionaire, several times over… June 24 was a day that no one in Naisinyai will ever forget. The minister of mines, Dotto Biteko, arrived, along with his cavalcade. Journalists and cameras recorded everything. A makeshift stage was hastily erected, draped in the colours of Tanzania’s flag: green, yellow, black and blue. The minister brought along an oversized cheque for the sum of 7.7 billion shillings ($3.3-million). In exchange, Laizer handed over his record-breaking 9.27kg tanzanite stone, along with another slightly smaller 5.1kg monster that had been found on the same day. In a stilted address, Laizer, wrapped in his Maasai shuka, said: “I thank God for this achievement because it’s the first time to get this size. When I found these, I notified government officials who evaluated the stone and today they called me for payment.” He said he plans to use the money to build a school and a clinic near his home, and a mall in Arusha. He will also give 10% to his employees… (1 September 2020)

British woman, 26, takes in 14 Tanzanian children after volunteering at an African orphanage on her gap year – and says they’re thriving now they have a place to call home

Letty McMaster and orphans at the home


(Daily Mail online – UK) Extract: Letty McMaster, 26, from Tunbridge Wells, Kent, was just 18 years old when a month long trip volunteering at an orphanage in Africa changed her life forever. She ended up staying for three years to support the children she had met, and when the orphanage shut down, Letty took in nine youngsters who would have been left homeless.,, Letty fought for the right to open her own home, in Iringa, for the nine children left homeless. She founded Street Children Iringa as a UK registered charity and has taken another five children into her home after meeting them on the streets and through the safe house that she runs. None of the children were attending school and lived in between the streets and the orphanage when she first met them but their lives have changed immensely since moving into Letty’s home. One of her boys, Eliah, was found on the streets in the middle of winter wearing just a T-shirt after his mother passed away. He is now in the top 20 of pupils in his year at this school. Fred, 11, had not eaten for days when he was spotted cowering in a dump. Since moving into the family home in 2019, he’s been accepted into a prestigious football academy. After his parents died when he was just two-years-old, Iddy had spent most of his life between the streets, gangs and the orphanage where Letty first met him. He moved into the family home in 2016 and is now a talented boxer and musician with his music being played on local radio stations. Letty said: ‘Since having a place to call home, they have all excelled in education and in every aspect of their lives. ‘Gosberth is one of the boys that I’ve looked after for the past seven years and is now studying at one of the top private schools in the country and is the number one pupil in his year. Eva is 19 and is chairperson of her year at university – she’s doing so well and has got a volunteer internship with an international NGO…’ (18 October 2020)

‘Happy corals’: climate crisis sanctuary teeming with life found off east Africa
(Guardian online – UK) Extract: Scientists have discovered a climate crisis refuge for coral reefs off the coast of Kenya and Tanzania, where species are thriving despite warming events that have killed their neighbours. The coral sanctuary hotspot, teeming with spinner dolphins and boasting rare species, including prehistoric fish and dugongs. Researchers believe its location in a cool spot in the ocean is helping to protect it and the surrounding marine life from the harmful effects of the climate crisis. Tim McClanahan, the author of a study on the refuge published this month in Advances in Marine Biology, has been looking for coral sanctuaries in the west Indian Ocean for more than a decade… The coral refuge, which stretches from Shimoni, 50 miles south of Mombasa, in Kenya to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, is fed by cool waters from deep channels formed thousands of years ago by glacial runoff from Kilimanjaro and the Usambara mountains. The cool water appears to protect the corals from episodic warming events like El Niño… (15 December 2020)

So long, Southsea: last sultan of Zanzibar quits UK after 56 years in exile
(Guardian online – UK) Extract: After more than half a century of living in Southsea, Portsmouth, with its unpredictable British weather, shingle beaches and Victorian pier, relocation to the Gulf state of Oman might take some adjustment. But for Jamshid bin Abdullah al-Said the 91-year­old last sultan of Zanzibar, it was the next best thing to going home. The man who ruled the tiny Indian Ocean archipelago until he was deposed in a bloody revolt in January 1964 finally arrived in Muscat … Multiple earlier requests from the sultan to be allowed to live in the Gulf state had been rejected by the government on security grounds. But now his request to retire in Oman was granted due to his age, a family member in Muscat told the Abu Dhabi-based the National. “He always wanted to spend his last days in the country of his ancestors and now he is happy he can do that.” … He became sultan of Zanzibar after the death of his father in July 1963. In December that year, the islands … were granted independence from Britain. Just one month later the sultan was deposed in an insurrection, and a republic was proclaimed. He fled Zanzibar on the royal yacht as his palace was seized by rebels. After being refused permission to settle in Oman, he flew to Britain with an entourage of 61 relatives, friends and household staff. Two weeks later, the New York Times reported that the sultan’s impecunious state obliged him to move “from his pillared London hotel in the shadow of Buckingham palace to a modest hotel in Bayswater on the unfashionable side of Hyde Park”. In May 1964, the British government made a payment of £100,000 to the former sultan, the paper reported. The sum allowed him to settle in a semi-detached house on a quiet street in Southsea, Hampshire, where the contrast with Zanzibar’s white powder beaches and crystal waters must have been striking and perhaps a little painful… (20 September 2020)

Tanzania ‘using Twitter’s copyright policy to silence activists’
(BBC News online – UK) Extract: Every day on Twitter, Kigogo – a Swahili name that means a VIP or swashbuckling tycoon – doles out the latest gossip from Tanzania’s corridors of power. The details are embarrassing and shocking at times but Kigogo’s nearly 400,000 Twitter followers love these revelations, dubbing Kigogo “our president of the Twitter republic”. “I’m a whistleblower and I expose corruption and human rights abuses in the country,” Kigogo, whose identity is a closely guarded secret, told the BBC. But shortly before the 28 October election, Twitter suspended the @Kigogo2014 account because of “more than 300” copyright complaints to the social media platform that the account had breached its copyright policy – a charge Kigogo denied.

Internet rights campaigners allege that the policy is increasingly being used by “repressive governments” such as Tanzania’s to silence critics. Twitter has not responded directly to these allegations but did release a statement in October decrying the blocking of the social media platform ahead of the election… The attack came days after Kigogo tweeted about an alleged scheme by the ruling party to tamper with ballot papers ahead of the elections, in which President John Magufuli was seeking a second term. The Tanzania National Electoral Commission denied allegations of fraud before and after the election. The complainants appealed to Twitter to crack down on Kigogo for violating the US’s Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA, which Twitter and other popular US-based technology companies have to comply with around the world… Several Tanzanian officials have publicly said they were looking for the person running the Twitter account, accusing them of incitement, leaking government secrets, spreading lies and threatening national security… (22 December 2020)

Mozambique, Tanzania join forces to tackle Cabo Delgado violence
(Aljazeera online – United Arab Emirates) Extract: Mozambique and Tanzania have signed a memorandum of understanding to join efforts in the battle against an escalating armed campaign by ISIL-linked fighters in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique’s northernmost province. The agreement, sealed by the two countries’ police forces … includes the extradition of 516 fighters from Tanzania to its southern neighbour, Mozambique’s state-owned newspaper Noticias reported … The violence in gas-rich Cabo Delgado began in October 2017 when members of an armed group, which later pledged allegiance to ISIL, attacked police stations in the key port town of Mocimboa da Praia. Since then, more than 2,200 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced. Mozambique’s army has struggled to contain the fighters, who have regularly beaten back the country’s security forces and air support from a private military group to capture and hold key locations during violent raids. Emboldened, the fighters have recently expanded their sphere of operations north into Tanzania, crossing Rovuma River that marks the border between the two countries to carry out raids on villages in Tanzania’s Mtwara region. Many of the recruited fighters are also thought to come from Tanzania, whose police said … they had arrested an unspecified number of people for allegedly planning to join the armed campaign. Noticias quoted Mozambique’s Police Chief Bernardino Rafael as saying that one of the key objectives of the agreement is to bring all the suspected fighters who are detained in Tanzania to face justice… “The agreement provides for us to work together to control the Rovuma border,” Rafael said on private broadcaster STV after signing the accord in Tanzania… (23 November 2020)

Tanzania still bound by African court despite withdrawal
(East African online – Kenya) Extract: Tanzania’s withdrawal from the Arusha-based African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) came into effect on November 21, but the country legally remains a member of the Arusha-based court and will continue to adhere to other provisions of the protocol establishing it. The court allows individuals and non-governmental organisations to sue Tanzania. As a human rights court and the African Union’s apex human rights mechanism, it has jurisdiction to hear cases alleging violations of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. However, the withdrawal means no Tanzanian individual or non-government organisation can seek direct recourse at the court. They can still do so through the African Commission of Human and Peoples’ Rights based in the Gambian capital Banjul. “This withdrawal decision should not be construed as the end of the road for Tanzanians who may be aggrieved by certain state decisions or actions. Tanzania has not withdrawn from the protocol of the Treaty establishing the African Court, but from the clause that allows individuals and COSs to file cases directly with the court,” said Elifuraha Laltaika, a senior law lecturer at Arusha’s Tumaini University. “Tanzania is therefore still a legitimate member of the African Human Rights Commission and can still be prosecuted through that avenue,” he said… Tanzania has the highest number of cases filed by individuals and NGOs as well as judgments issued against it by the African Court.
(28 November 2020)

Inside Kenya’s tiff with Somalia and Tanzania
Kenya’s persistent trade tiffs with neighbours may be a result of dynamics beyond the region, which could require political solutions. Two of Kenya’s neighbours, Somalia and Tanzania, have recently stalled business ventures for Kenyans over alleged bad policy by Nairobi.
Tanzania cancelled landing rights for three more airlines—AirKenya, Fly540 and Safarilink Aviation—after Kenya insisted Tanzanians arriving in the country have to be quarantined for 14 days… Nairobi has had a month-long standoff with Tanzania, which has led some analysts to think the region, despite having integration blocs, may be harbouring different ambitions… (3 September 2020)

Uganda accuses Tanzania of unfair charges on transporters
(East African online – Kenya) Extract: Uganda and Tanzania are locked in a dispute over road user fees for trucks headed for the Dar es Salaam port, with Kampala threatening to retaliate against “unfair” charges imposed on its transporters that are higher than those applicable to Rwandan shippers. Kampala has filed a complaint with the EAC Council of Ministers, accusing Tanzania of breaching the Common Market Protocol by imposing different road user charges to partner states in the same trading bloc… At the centre of the dispute is a $500 fee that the Tanzanian government charges Ugandan trucks traversing its territory, compared with $152 charged on Rwandan trucks… (28 September 2020)

Tanzania dethrones US as Kenya’s tourism top source market
(East African online – Kenya) Extract: Tanzania edged out the US as Kenya’s leading tourism top source market in September buoyed by its lesser Covid-19 lockdown measures, new data shows. Rising virus cases have hampered arrivals from the world’s biggest economy after many countries, including Kenya, categorised US travellers as Covid-19 high-risk. This has forced many of them to either cancel or postpone their trips indefinitely. This comes at a time when the US total infection, which is the highest globally, stands at more than 10 million with over 200,000 deaths. Unlike the US, Tanzania imposed little restraints amid an economic impact cautions on its citizens as well as the … concluded presidential elections that saw President John Magufuli re-elected for the second term. Latest data from the Tourism Research Institute (TRI) shows the US trailing Tanzania at number three. This is a significant jump from August when the country could not even appear among the top 30 source market of visitors to Kenya. “Tanzania leads with 4,309 followed by Uganda (3,812) and US (3,458),” the data shows… (16 November 2020)

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REVIEWS

by Martin Walsh

DEVELOPMENT AS REBELLION: A BIOGRAPHY OF JULIUS NYERERE. Issa Shivji, Saida Yahya-Othman, and Ng’wanza Kamata. Mkuki na Nyota Publishers, Dar es Salaam, 2020. xxiv + 1,101 pp. (hardback, three-volume box set). ISBN: 9789987084111. £90.

This amazing trilogy of books, long in the making, will add to the necessity for the study of Julius Nyerere as one of the most important philosophers, revolutionaries, writers, development theorists, politicians, leaders and human beings of the 20th century. The roster of endorsements for this three-volume set points to how extraordinary and important its publication is. Thabo Mbeki and Ngugi wa Thiong’o lead a list that includes some of the most significant figures in Tanzanian, African and radical scholarship and political life over the past half-century. That roster is also fitting given the prominence of the three authors, all of whom are associated with the University of Dar es Salaam. Each author took the lead with one volume (Yahya-Othman with volume 1, Kamata with volume 2, and Shivji with volume 3). The books fall (roughly) in chronological order. Volume 1, The Making of a Philosopher Ruler, builds from Yahya­Othman’s expertise in literature and linguistics (and Nyerere’s significance as a scholar and writer) to tell the story of his early life, family and friendships, and engagements with the scholarly world. Volume 2, Becoming Nationalist, covers the years from the birth of the Tanganyika African National Union (1954) to the death of Abeid Amani Karume (1972), centring on the emergence of Nyerere’s life as a national political leader. Volume 3, Rebellion without Rebels, the thickest of the three books, overlaps somewhat chronologically with the first two volumes but takes us through to the end – Nyerere’s death in 1999 – and into Mwalimu’s posthumous legacy.

Many people have written about Nyerere, and several biographies are well known, but this is the only one with an all-Tanzanian team of authors. All the authors knew Nyerere personally to varying degrees, and all three were steeped in the intellectual and political life of the Tanzania Nyerere created.

There is no way to comprehensively review the massive and complex content in such a brief review essay. Furthermore, I have little to criticise, given the awesome work in which the authors engaged – from interviews with a wealth of global figures and Tanzanians, including virtually all its leaders and Nyerere’s surviving boyhood friends and neighbours, to archival research that often included something more like archival hunting – and the thorough and nuanced writing. Rather than full summaries of the three volumes, I offer glimpses into key points of emphasis within each.

Volume 1 has few surprises for those familiar with Nyerere’s life story, but the emphasis toward his relationships with women and his (uneven) awareness of women’s issues and perspectives makes this volume stand out. Right from the first chapter, the reader sees this in a concentration on his relationship to his mother and eventual responsibility for her well-being in Butiama. Chapter 2, on “Family and Friends” begins with a long, deep segment on the “Mother of the Nation”, Nyerere’s wife, Maria. The attention to his long relationship with the Mary Knoll sisters as part of his sparring with his own Catholicism continues the emphasis on relations with women, alongside coverage of his romantic entanglements outside of marriage. The most fascinating relationship of all was with Joan Wicken, his long-term personal assistant and the “lady behind the throne”, author of most of his speeches and a deep influence for 34 years. Yahya-Othman brings a focus on another form of love – Nyerere’s love of books and of literature – to chapter 3, with analysis of his translations and his own books of essays. That flows seamlessly into chapter 4’s study of his “Scholarly encounters”. which is especially oriented around his relationship to “The Hill” (the University of Dar es Salaam, for which he served as an interventionist Chancellor during his Presidency), and its student leaders and faculty. What emerges in volume 1 is a well-rounded appreciation for Nyerere as a complex and flawed human being who loved and was loved by those whom he was closest to in life.

Volume 2 is the shortest and tightest of the three books. Consisting of only two chapters (which are admittedly 118 and 88 pages long, respectively), it is a page-turner, a breathless run through the heart of Nyerere’s political career. It begins before that career began, with a history of the African Association in Tanganyika and Zanzibar. We then see Nyerere’s emergence, first as TAA President and then as the leader transforming it into TANU. Tanganyika’s path to independence is often taken as a straightforward, non-violent one, certainly in comparison to that of its neighbours. Kamata’s volume should dispel such misreadings, as his journey through the search for the “political kingdom” (chapter 5) highlights the tensions both within and without TANU. He effectively explores the complexity behind the general understanding of Nyerere as a “moderate” voice taking apart the sense of any inevitability in the progress toward both independence and Ujamaa socialism. The intensity of the internal struggles within and opposition to the government between 1961 and 1964 in chapter 5 builds in chapter 6’s discussion of the union with Zanzibar. The best illustration of Kamata’s nuanced analysis comes in his succinct note on the events from January through April 1964 (Zanzibar’s Revolution, the Tanganyika Army’s mutiny, and the union): “events were moving so fast that it appeared they might all be part of a grand scheme. It wasn’t. In retrospect, they were all historical outcomes of a long period of grievances and injustices which now found expression in unpredictable places and forms” (pp. 119-120). Here and throughout the sweep of this narrative, Nyerere appears, as Kamata puts it, as “both a victim and an actor” (p. 120). Far from the mastermind of everything (the revolution and the union) and conniver with (fill-in-the-blank – British colonialists, American imperialists, Soviet communists), Nyerere – part victim, part actor – seemed to continually find himself stuck in a political morass for which he only bore or accepted partial responsibility, and out of which he seemed to navigate in the most expedient means at hand. This interpretation is particularly helpful for recasting Nyerere’s relationship with Zanzibar, from his presence at the creation of the Afro-Shirazi Party in 1957 to his intervention in the disputed 1995 multi-party elections there. Zanzibar and the union remained the largest “headaches” that Nyerere had in his political career. His culpability in the deaths of Kassim Hanga and Othman Sheriff (and others) are among the darkest stains on his legacy.

Volume 3 will likely be the portion of the trilogy to garner the most attention, in part because it is as long as the other two combined. At the same time, its narrative flows comfortably from the first two, and especially from where Kamata leaves us. Shivji returns the reader again and again to the disconnect between Nyerere as a man with unquestioned “personal integrity and moral probity” and Nyerere as a politician operating in morasses like those discussed above. It is fascinating to see, in volume 3’s first post-preface footnote, that former Zanzibar President Salmin Amour, claimed in an interview with the authors that Nyerere “learnt his politics from Gandhi and Machiavelli” (p. 1). Shivji’s first chapter (the trilogy’s chapter 7) places Nyerere in the global canon of political philosophy more broadly than that, but the image from that footnote lingered through my reading of Rebellion without Rebels. Here, we revisit several of the key events on volume 2’s timeline and key texts and boyhood moments analysed in volume 1 from that broader canvas. The contradictions of Nyerere’s life are not resolved, as they should not be. Shivji is perhaps uniquely positioned to analyse Nyerere’s place in relation to Marxism and radical political philosophy, and, unsurprisingly, there is a depth to this volume that is profound, yet subtle.

Chapter 8 deals with the Arusha Declaration, Chapter 9 with Ujamaa in practice, Chapter 10 with the Kagera War, and Chapter 11 with what Shivji calls the “Class War.” In each case, the contradiction appears, the flip-switch between Gandhi and Machiavelli. Chapter 9 reveals the reasoning behind the title for the trilogy, and the borrowing from Nyerere’s concept of “development as rebellion”: what Tanzania got, Shivji contends, was a rebellion without rebels, and where the workers “wanted to build socialism themselves, [but] Nyerere wanted to build it for them” (p. 231). To me, the most intriguing of these four big chapters is Chapter 11, which focuses on Nyerere’s last years as President, the struggles with the IMF, the merger of the parties, and the resurgence of Zanzibar’s autonomist and anti-union forces.

Nyerere, Shivji concludes, “left behind a legacy that has since haunted his successors and […] standards of political behaviour that have been hard to beat” (p. 405). The Swahili saying, ‘mtu ni watu’, a person is people, comes to mind at the end of the trilogy, for its conventional meaning and for a perhaps unconventional one. Nyerere is not Nyerere, by the conventional interpretation of the phrase, without all the people with whom his life was threaded, and this is easily read in this 1,100-page tome. But the trilogy brings home to me a different interpretation: Nyerere was many different people during his life. He was a brilliant thinker and charismatic orator, a pragmatic politician and a failed idealist, a humble moderate and a cut-throat rebel, a Christian and a socialist. And, as the final chapter declares, he was, of course, the founder and father of a nation, whose people he loved more than their political parties. As one of the countless westerners inspired to African studies and African philosophy through his example in my own life, I am grateful to these three authors for illuminating all these Nyereres in this trilogy.

I would be remiss in reviewing this triple-decker biography if I did not note that the books are beautifully designed and produced. Mkuki na Nyota has been a mainstay of African publishing for several decades, but this trilogy may just be its best achievement in artistic and production qualities. The authors plan a 4th volume focused on Nyerere’s global role as a ‘statesman of the South’, and it is awaited with great anticipation.

Garth Myers

Garth Myers is the P.E. Raether Distinguished Professor of Urban International Studies at Trinity College, Hartford, CT USA, where he also directs the Center for Urban and Global Studies. He is the author of five books and over 80 book chapters and articles, as well as co-editor of two volumes of scholarship, the vast majority of which concerns African urban development, with a special emphasis on Tanzania.

Given widespread interest in the Nyerere trilogy, and its importance for Tanzanian Studies, here are some further thoughts from our editor:

In this three-volume work, Issa Shivji, Saida Yahya-Othman and Ng’wanza Kamata have compiled a remarkable biography of a remarkable man. Their meticulous research – drawing on a wide range of previous scholarship, documentary sources and an impressive list of interviewees – shines through from beginning to end.

Without doubt, the three writers greatly admire their subject, most of all for his personal integrity and egalitarian political philosophy. But they are not blind to his flaws.

They engage at length with the most obvious contradiction in Nyerere’s life and work: the sometimes-glaring gap between the liberalism he espoused and the highly illiberal actions he took himself as leader (or allowed to happen). Preventive detention of political opponents and the use of paramilitary force to relocate millions of citizens into villages are a long way from the ideals Nyerere expressed when he said “I believe in freedom because I cannot think and develop without freedoms. This must be true of every human being.” On this, Nyerere’s own justifications are presented – which essentially boil down to pragmatic appeals to the greater good – but challenged. Nyerere’s arguments in favour of constitutional provisions giving himself what were essentially dictatorial powers are described as “defending the indefensible”, and Nyerere’s lack of respect for freedom of association as “blatant” and “disingenuous”. Without ever spelling them out, the authors clearly have views on the relevance of this history to present-day Tanzania.

The authors, however, may well take issue with my describing this as the most obvious contradiction, as their primary interest lies elsewhere. In the third volume, Shivji argues that “the central contradiction of Nyerere’s ideology” was the assumption “that socialist transformation will be achieved through class collaboration rather than class struggle.” There is no doubt that this biography’s critique of Nyerere’s economic policies – Ujamaa in particular – comes firmly from fellow travellers on the left. There is a lot of value in this: criticism of a particular form of socialism in practice by critical friends allows for a lot more subtlety and nuance in the analysis than the broad-brush dismissals of those on the right.

Nevertheless, at times, this leads the authors into some odd assumptions about their readers’ prior knowledge. It is assumed, for example, that readers will understand fine distinctions between variations in socialism, such as what is meant by a party of cadres and a vanguard party. Marxist scholars surely would, but many others will not. In contrast, they explain the term neoliberal economics in very basic terms.

More seriously, the authors’ perspective also means that they ignore some of the most widely heard critiques of Ujamaa. Tanzania’s economic difficulties of the 1970s and 1980s are not blamed on a lack of competition or incentives – as many (particularly international) analysts have argued – but on a combination of mismanagement and corruption on the part of parastatal leaders, interference from neo-colonial powers and other international economic pressures. These factors surely played a major role, but at the very least, serious engagement with the right-of-centre critiques would have been useful. This perspective is, after all, hardly immune to criticism.

Away from economics, one further contradiction is arguably not given sufficient attention: Nyerere’s attitude to women. His progressive (for the time) writing on the subject is discussed, but there is little on his actions – either as a reputedly inattentive husband and father or in the public sphere. It is not mentioned, for example, that the first post-independent cabinet was all-male. It included neither Bibi Titi Mohammed nor Lucy Lameck, who were respectively more experienced and better educated than some of the appointees. Similarly, Nyerere’s later treatment of Bibi Titi passes largely without comment. Having previously been at the forefront of the independence campaign, she lost her seat in parliament in 1965, concluding that this was at least in part because those at the top did not want her to win. In 1967, she was hit hard by the Arusha Declaration’s leadership code that blocked party leaders from renting out property. She spoke up against the code and resigned her positions, then three years later found herself convicted of treason, on the basis of evidence that other observers consider far from watertight. In short, it looks a lot like Bibi Titi was brought into the fold when it was useful to do so, then unceremoniously dumped when she became a potential rival.

There are other matters, too, where more detail would have been welcome. The high-level politics of the independence campaign are covered in depth, but there is much less on the grassroots movement. There is little on Nyerere’s (highly successful) efforts to build a nation out of many different tribes, or on his use and promotion of Swahili as a means to this end. And while his post­retirement influence on specific political decisions is discussed, there is almost nothing on his ongoing, posthumous place in the public imagination.

Nevertheless, this is nit-picking. And asking for more from a work this length is a sign of how well-researched and well-written it is – this reader did not want it to end. This is a hugely impressive work, one that adds greatly to scholarship on Nyerere and the modern history of Tanzania. It is fascinating when engaged in the details: on forced villagisation, the deaths of Kleruu and Sokoine, the 1964 mutiny, the Ruvuma Development Association, the war with Uganda, and the tensions with CCM’s Zanzibar contingent. But it is equally so when exploring matters of philosophy and ideology. No glib conclusions are offered, but the evidence has been gathered in meticulous detail and is presented and discussed with immense respect and admiration for their subject.

It has clearly been a labour of love to produce. In my case at least, it was a labour of love to read as well – hugely enjoyable, thought-provoking, and consistently fascinating.
(Reproduced and adapted from https://mtega.com/2020/07/julius-nyerere­development-as-rebellion-some-thoughts/).
Ben Taylor
Ben Taylor is the Editor of Tanzanian Affairs.

UNDER-EDUCATION IN AFRICA: FROM COLONIALISM TO NEOLIBERALISM. Karim F. Hirji. Daraja Press, Ottawa, 2019. xxii + 294 pp. (paperback). ISBN 978-1-988832-35-7. CAD $26.00.

Following his 2018 book on The Travails of a Tanzanian Teacher, Karim Hirji has published a collection of critical essays on Under-Education in Africa. This is not a direct sequel to the previous one volume, though both are unified by their concern with what he regards as a decayed educational inheritance. Professor Hirji’s experience as a teacher-cum activist makes him a vigorous exposer of instances of under-education, and he doggedly pursues evidence of the perpetuation of colonial and neocolonial thinking in Tanzania.

Hirji is saddened by the current state of affairs, and complains that “the youth of today have little hope for a good future”, as they succumb to a disorientated and unresponsive educational milieu, marred by rote memorisation and dominated by the effects of the profit-making that was introduced by the policies of economic liberalisation and privatisation. Against the prevailing passivity, Hirji recommends mending the flawed educational system by revitalising critical thought, creativity and freedom of expression. He cites progressive intellectuals of the 1970s and 1980s such as Walter Rodney, Abdulrahman Babu, Haroub Othman, Ali Mazrui, Dan Nabudere, Justinian Rweyemamu, Lionel Cliffe, John Saul, Issa Shivji and others as commendable examples.

At the start of the book, Hirji asks “How can education serve the interest of the common people and contribute to the development of a just human society?” He argues that high quality education should not be measured in terms of the number of schools and colleges alone, but must “foster the growth of creative, intellectually mature and astute individuals”. Under-education in his terms is fostered when a nation poorly regulates the expansion of the education system, relying heavily on external funding, and allowing low-quality education linked to a negative attitude to locally-produced knowledge. The result is a fertile ground for corruption, nepotism and unemployment, major features of injustice in an educational context. At the same time, he sees current higher learning systems in Tanzania and Africa at large as merely bookish endeavours that only produce docile minds.

By articulating and critiquing under-education in this way, Hirji joins others like Professors Noam Chomsky and Patrick Loch Otieno (PLO) Lumumba who have similarly advocated for change in education systems that inherently stifle creativity and independent critical thinking in leaners. All these progressive theorists vehemently abhor mindless and meaningless forms of teaching and learning, and Hirji adds an important historical dimension to the analysis of under-education, writing in his characteristically lucid narrative style and weaving in his own experience and memories.

This book will be of interest to readers in search of critical perspectives on education in Tanzania and Africa more widely. It invites the policymakers, teachers and students of today to erase their ‘ideological blinders’. For fellow citizens and observers of Tanzania, it elucidates the ideology of ‘education for self-reliance’ in practice. And, as an authoritative text on under-education, it makes an important contribution to the debates on transformative education and knowledge production in Africa as a whole.

Ahmad Kipacha
Ahmad Kipacha is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Business Studies and Humanities at the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology in Arusha. Together with Mwanaaisha Jambo, he has recently published a collection of critical Swahili poems, Mkiya wa Mbuzi (Lulu Press, 2019).

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OBITUARIES

by Ben Taylor

Prominent Tanzanian business leader, Subhash Patel, died in Dar es Salaam in December, at the age of 62.

Mr Patel was the founder and managing director of Motisun Group, which is a multimillion-dollar business, which is among the leading manufacturers in Tanzania. Among other things, the group of companies runs one of the finest hotel and resort chains in Tanzania under the Sea Cliff and White Sands brand names.

He started his entrepreneurial life as a shopkeeper in his father’s shop and later on as a trader selling spices, gradually moved into the automobile business and later into manufacturing. He went on to build a business empire ranging from manufacturing of steel sheeting and pipes, rubber, paint and fizzy drinks.

Until his passing, Subhash was the chairman of the Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) and board member of the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF), the umbrella body of the private sector. He was also a religious leader who often led prayers at his local Hindu temple in Dar es Salaam.

“I offer my sincere condolences to family members, relatives and all those who have been touched by his death. The nation has lost one of its patriots, may God rest his soul in eternal peace, Amen,” said Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa.

The former minister for Constitutional and Legal Affairs in Zanzibar, Mr Abubakar Khamis Bakar, died in November at the age of 69.

Mr Bakar placed a prominent role in union government politics in the year 2014 when he was a member of the Constituent Assembly (CA). He did not mince his words in voting against the proposed two-tier system favoured by the then President Kikwete, despite being a cabinet minister. The decision later cost him his cabinet job in the Zanzibar government under President Ali Mohamed Shein.

Born in 1951 in Pemba, Mr Bakar achieved his primary and secondary education in the Isles before joining the University of Dar es Salaam for a law degree. He later pursued a Master’s degree in law at the West Indies University. He worked in all three pillars of state: as minister in the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar (RGZ), deputy Chief Justice and Attorney General and representative in the House of Representative.
He served as a member of the Afro-Shiraz Party (ASP) and CCM, but later, he decamped to CUF and became member of the executive committee. Following the post-2015 political wrangles within CUF, Mr Bakar was among those who decamped to ACT-Wazalendo, where he served on the party’s executive committee.

The ACT-Wazalendo vice chairman for Zanzibar Juma Duni Haji said that Mr Bakar will be remembered for his role in writing constitutions of Zanzibar and that of the United Republic.

A political science lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam, Prof Bakari Mohamed, said the deceased has left a huge legacy through the 1984 constitution that provided the Isles with principles of political and economic development of Zanzibar. “He successfully served the CCM government and the opposition CUF as head of legal issues hence greatly benefiting Zanzibar and Tanzania at large,” he said.

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