by Ben Taylor

Air Tanzania grows, and struggles
Tanzania’s national airline, Air Tanzania (ATCL), maintained the rapid pace of growth in its fleet with the delivery of two new Airbus A220-300 aircraft in October 2021, in addition to the two similar craft received in 2018. Each plane holds 120 economy seats and 12 business class seats.

A week later, Tanzania made a down payment of USD $258.7m for the purchase of five additional new aircraft for the airline. The order includes cargo planes, which are all expected to be delivered before the end of 2023.

Aviation industry sources told The EastAfrican newspaper that the funds were approved by the current government despite heavy losses incurred by the carrier under a revival programme initiated by former president John Magufuli and the effects of Covid-19 pandemic.

The planes, once they arrive in the country, will raise Air Tanzania’s current fleet size to 16. Air Tanzania also operates two Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners, two other Airbus A220-300s and five Bombardier Q-400/ Dash 8-400s. The aircraft are owned by the Government and ATCL is leasing them.

Further, Air Tanzania announced four new regional routes to be launched in November 2021 from Dar es Salaam to Bujumbura, Ndola, Lubumbashi and Nairobi. The first flight to Nairobi touched down on November 26, fifteen years after the last Air Tanzania flights to the Kenyan capital. Flights are scheduled twice daily between Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.

Nevertheless, Air Tanzania continues to face major challenges. The Coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on the travel industry across the world and Tanzania is no exception. As a result, the company has ruled out the possibility of breaking even in 2022 contrary to their initial plans.

In October, the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) listed ATCL as having borrowed money without going through the correct approval process. Specifically, the committee concluded that the company had borrowed just under TSh 900m without the approval of the Ministry of Finance as required by law.

The PAC’s investigations were prompted by an audit report of the Controller and Auditor General (CAG), Mr Charles Kichere, released in March, which found that ATCL had incurred losses worth TSh 150 billion in the five years to 2020. Mr Kichere said ATCL aircraft travelling abroad run the risk of being impounded because of the huge debts and the related interests.

Roads and bridges in Dar es Salaam
In December, President Samia Suluhu Hassan officially opened a newly-widened 4.3 km section of New Bagamoyo Road, phase II, linking Morocco junction and Mwenge junction, as part of the government strategy to decongest the city. She stated that the government will continue with the efforts to strengthen road funds as well as securing adequate funding for the maintenance of all roads in the country.

Works and Transport Minister, Prof Makame Mbarawa said the Mwenge-Morocco section had been constructed at a cost of TSh 71.8bn, funded by the government of Japan.

“The completion of widening of New Bagamoyo road will not only reduce traffic congestion but also reduce accidents to the users and ensure smooth transportation to and from Dar es Salaam city,” said Eng Mbarawa.

Other road projects in the city experienced slight delays however, that meant they were not able to officially open on schedule in 2021.
This includes the newly-expanded eight-lane highway linking Kimara in Dar es Salaam to Kibaha in the Coast Region. The government explained the delay in completing the project, citing some adjustments in the project as the main factor. “We saw the need to construct feeder roads, a bridge at Mbezi Kwa Yusufu and a flyover at Goba-Mbezi to ease traffic plying the Goba-Segerea route,” he said. This is expected to delay the official inauguration of the road by several months.

New Selander Bridge in Dar es Salaam, linking Oyster Bay to the city centre near the Aga Khan hospital (GS E&C)

More imminent is the launch of the New Selander Bridge in Dar es Salaam, linking Oyster Bay with Barack Obama Drive (formerly Ocean Road) in the city centre near the Aga Khan hospital. Construction was completed in December 2021, leaving only minor works (security barriers) remaining before the bridge can open.

At a cost of TSh 256 bn, this is the largest development project funded by the South Korean government in Africa. It measures 670m in length and combines the characteristics of a girder bridge and a cable-stayed bridge to make it lighter. “Basically the bridge the construction has been completed and the construction of the barriers will be completed soon. We could have allowed one side to be used but we decided to wait until we are done with the barriers,” said the Tanroads’ Chief Executive Officer, Rogatus Mativila.

Once open, the bridge is expected to radically improve connections between the Msasani peninsula and the city centre. It will have the capacity to carry 55,000 vehicles per day, easing congestion at the old Selander Bridge, which has been a major bottleneck for many years.

Bagamoyo back on the table?
President Samia Suluhu Hassan has taken steps to revive the stalled Bagamoyo Port and Special Economic Zone (BSEZ) project, inviting Chinese investors back to the table.

Previously, under President Kikwete in 2013, the government had reached agreement with the investors – China Merchants Holdings International (CMHI) and Oman’s State General Reserve Fund – for the project, costing USD $10bn. However, in 2016, President Magufuli dismissed the it, saying it was exploitative and inappropriate. He said the Chinese financiers had set “tough conditions that can only be accepted by mad people,” and argued that the project was incompatible with the ongoing expansion of Dar es Salaam port.

Speaking at the Summit of the National Business Council, President Hassan announced “the good news that we have started talks to revive the whole project. We are going to start talks with the investors that came for the project with the aim of opening it for the benefit of our nation.”
It would be the largest port in East Africa, and was a key component in China’s $900-billion Belt and Road Initiative, an ambitious transnational infrastructure building programme.

Analysts speaking in responses requested anonymity in reporting their views. One stated that the investors were unable to respond to some of the “gravely false statements” by those against the project because the statements were being put forward by senior figures who they would not want to engage into tussles with. Another argued that the whole project could create as many 270,000 jobs in its first phase.

ACT-Wazalendo party leader Zitto Kabwe shared similar sentiments, saying by cancelling the BSEZ, Tanzania was simply losing its international reputation to its strategic partners like China and Oman. “The Bagamoyo project was a very important venture for the Chinese President’s Belt and Road Initiative. The failure of this project indicated a diplomatic weakness of our country, which is costly for the development of our country,” he says.

Renowned economist, Prof Samuel Wangwe, said what Tanzanian negotiators needed was to know what value addition the country wanted by developing Bagamoyo Port. “It’s about ensuring that the development of the port complements the Dar es Salaam port,” he said.


by Ben Taylor

Taifa Stars fall short in World Cup qualifying
The national men’s football team, Taifa Stars, fell agonisingly short of winning their qualifying group for the FIFA 2022 World Cup. After an impressive 1-0 away win against Benin and a 1-1 draw away at DR Congo in earlier matches, Tanzania led the group going into the final two matches in November 2021. However, a disappointing 3-0 home defeat to DR Congo in the penultimate match left the Stars with only a slim chance of qualifying, and results of the final matches did not go their way.

Winger Saimon Msuva, at times deputising for the team’s sole international star, Mbwana Samatta, as striker, delivered three goals in six qualifying matches. This result means Taifa Stars have narrowly missed out on qualifying for two major tournaments in 2021. In March the team finished third in their qualifying group for the Cup of African Nations, after conceding a goal in the 90th minute away to Equatorial Guinea.

Tanzanian athletes return empty handed from Tokyo
Tanzania sent a team of three competitors to the 2020 Olympics, held in Tokyo in July-August 2021. All three were marathon runners, two in the men’s race – Gabriel Gerald Geay and Alphonce Felix Simbu – and one in the women’s race – Failuna Matanga. Matanga finished in 24th position, while Simbu finished in a highly creditable 7th place. In very difficult running conditions (due to heat), Geay was one of 30 runners in the men’s race who did not complete the course.


by Donovan McGrath

Tanzanian opposition leader Freeman Mbowe in court to face charges
(Aljazeera online – UAE) Extract: Freeman Mbowe, leader of Tanzania’s main opposition party, has appeared in court to face “terrorism” charges, in a case denounced by his supporters as a politically motivated move aimed at crushing dissent. The 59-year-old chairman of the Chadema party has been behind bars since July 21 when he was arrested along with other senior party officials in a night-time police raid just hours before they were to hold a public forum to demand constitutional reforms… The opposition has denounced the arrests as a throwback to the oppressive rule of Tanzania’s late leader John Magufuli who died suddenly in March. There had been hope that [Salmia Suluhu] Hassan would bring about a new era of democracy after the increasingly heavy-handed rule of Magufuli but Chadema leaders say the arrests of Mbowe and his colleagues reflect a deepening slide into “dictatorship”…. (31 August 2021) Thanks to John Rollinson who informed me of two brief mentions of Freeman Mbowe’s court appearances published in the weekly politics section of the Economist – Editor

‘No power to stop it’: optimism turns to frustration over east Africa pipline
(Guardian online – UK) Promised an income, those affected by $20bn oil project are losing their land and resources instead. Extract continues: The villagers in the Kijungu settlements welcomed the project when the route was announced in 2017, hoping that the government and companies involved would buy their land and change their lives for good. Their optimism has since given way to frustration. Adrin Tugume, 53, depends on her land to feed her 10 children and sell bananas, cassava, beans and maize. Although construction is not yet under way, she has been asked to stay off the portion of land where the pipeline will be built. “I was stopped from using my land for three years. It is where we get food for our children… The opposition to the project is not just about humanitarian concerns. The east African crude oil pipeline (EACOP) will transport oil 900 miles (1,450km) from the shores of Lake Albert on the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo through Tanzania to the port of Tanga on the Indian Ocean… Uganda and Tanzania signed agreements with the French oil and gas company Total and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC). The pipeline will pass through the habitats of at-risk species. It could jeopardise community water sources and pollute the air, and its construction will be intrusive and noisy. In Shinyanga in Tanzania, local government authorities have admitted that environmental disturbance is inevitable. The $20bn (£14.8bn) project … comes as world leaders are aiming to divest from fossil fuels. The pipeline will contribute to the climate crisis, locking in more oil use and planet heating emissions for decades to come. Total did not respond to a request for comment, while CNOOC’s spokesperson said it was committed to avoiding environmental damage… In Tanzania … an environmental impact statement prepared for the companies noted that vulnerable or endangered species had been found in the pipeline’s path, including elephants, hippos and lions… (7 November 2021)

Tanzania: Seven die in Zanzibar after eating poisonous turtle meat
(BBC online – UK) Seven people, including a three-year-old, have died on Tanzania’s Pemba Island after eating poisonous turtle meat. Extract continues: The meat is a common delicacy among those living on Tanzania’s islands and coastal areas but the authorities have now banned the consumption of turtles in the area. In rare cases turtle meat can be toxic because of a type of food poisoning known as chelonitoxism. Its exact cause is not known but it is thought to be linked to poisonous algae which the turtles eat, according to the Turtle Foundation charity. At least five families on Pemba, which is part of the semi-autonomous Zanzibar islands, ate the turtle meat … local police commander Juma Said Hamis told the BBC. The effects were first felt the next day and the three-year-old was the first to die. Two others died that night and then four more [later on]. A further 39 people were admitted to hospital… [I]n Madagascar, 19 people, including nine children, died after eating turtle meat, the AFP news agency reported at the time. Cases have also been reported in Indonesia, Micronesia and India’s Indian Ocean islands. (29 November 2021)

Twitter removes more than 3,000 accounts related to state-linked operations from countries including China, Russia and Mexico
(Mail online – UK) Extract: …The Twitter accounts that were removed were linked to operations attributed to six countries: Mexico, China, Russia, Tanzania, Uganda and Venezuela. In a blog post, Twitter said that ‘every account and piece of content associated with these operations has been permanently removed from the service.’ … It is not yet known how Twitter knew which accounts to remove, but the blog post did outline that: … [in the case of Tanzania] A network of 268 accounts dedicated to filing bad faith reports against free speech platform Fichua Tanzania were removed … (2 December 2021)

In conversation with Jane Goodall on climate change – and remaining hopeful for the future
(Washington Post online – USA) Extract: A half century ago, Jane Goodall was spending months at a time sitting in the Gombe forest in what is now Tanzania waiting for wild chimps to approach her so that she could observe their behaviour. Her superhuman patience paid off. The young researcher discovered that chimps are more like us than we had imagined – lavishing affection on their young, forming social hierarchies, making tools and even warring with rival bands. But Goodall says that her most vital work began when she left the forest and started traveling across the globe to talk about climate change and the tragic loss of biodiversity. The pandemic has kept the 87-year-old naturalist at home in Bournemouth, England, where she continues to speak out online, especially with young people participating in “Roots & Shoots,” a volunteer program which she organized that empowers young people in 60 countries to work in their communities to improve the lives of humans, animals and the environment. She’s also been working on “The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times” [published October 2021]. In a series of dialogues with co-author Douglas Abrams, she spells out her four reasons for hope: the amazing human intellect; the resilience of nature; the power of young people; and the indomitable human spirit. In a recent interview with The Washington Post, Goodall spoke on climate change, the state of the planet and why she has not yet given up hope on the human species… Q: Isn’t it a bit audacious to come out with a book about hope at this moment when so many are feeling anxious and fearful? What makes you hopeful? A: I was 5 years old when World War II began. There was a time when Britain stood alone in Europe against the might of Nazi Germany. The rest of Europe was overrun and defeated, or they capitulated. Actually there was no good reason for hope. We didn’t have the defenses. We hadn’t built up an adequate army, navy or air force. But we did have some very brave young men, and we had [Winston] Churchill saying “We’ll fight on the beaches, we’ll fight in the cities, we’ll fight in the lanes and we will not be defeated.” I think we can prevail now with the same spirit… “We will defeat covid, we will fight to prevent another pandemic.” Q: Some people say that we need to go through a period of real destruction before humans are moved to actually change the way we operate. A: Well yes, when I say “good news” don’t get me wrong, but the good news for climate change is that no longer is it mainly in the news about countries like Bangladesh, but it’s hitting the Western world. Think of the recent Hurricane Ida in the U.S., think of the flooding in Europe. It’s when people get personally hit by these things that they start to realize – “Wow, this is really terrible we need to do something about it.” Q: Much of the land around Gombe forest has been deforested. You speak in the book about how you’ve been inspired by young people and others are helping to restore it. A: Years ago I flew over this bleak landscape, the Gombe Forest surrounded by bare hills because there were more people than the land could support struggling to survive, cutting down the trees on the slopes in a desperate effort to get more land for crops and to make charcoal. That’s when it hit me: If we don’t help these people to find ways of making a living without destroying the environment, we can’t save chimps, forests or anything else. Now we don’t have bare hills around Gombe thanks to our TACARE [or “Take Care”] program, which has been planting trees and working with the villagers to help improve their lot. Alleviating poverty is a major task. But we need to do it if we are going to save the environment… Q: You say in your new book that humans are intellectual but not necessarily intelligent. What’s the difference? A: The intellect solves problems and it can do intricate mathematics and work out what’s out there in the universe, galaxies and solar systems and so on. But if your intelligent, you don’t destroy your only home, that isn’t intelligent. We seem to have lost wisdom… (19 October 2021)

Britain moves to ban big-game hunters from bringing trophies back into country
(Washington Post online – USA) Extract: Trophies of endangered and threatened species killed by hunters will soon be banned from being shipped to Britain, according to a government proposal that has been called one of the toughest in the world. The proposed ban … would cover nearly 7,000 animal species, including lions, rhinoceroses and elephants that many big-game hunters seek. It would be notable for including some 1,000 animals with “near-threatened” status. Over the past half-century or so, the world’s wild animal population has dropped by an average of 68 percent across different monitored species, according to a World Wildlife report from 2020. The decrease is primarily attributed to the loss of natural habitat, although some species, such as the Plains zebra, are threatened by hunting… Big-game hunters say that they contribute to local economies, a point disputed by conservation groups, which regard the activity as cruel and bad for biodiversity… British hunting enthusiasts often travel abroad – top destinations for trophy hunters globally include Tanzania and Zimbabwe – where they can obtain licenses to shoot wild animals according to animal welfare advocacy groups… (11 December 2021)

Fossil footprints hint at mystery hominin with unusual walking style
(New Scientist online – UK) Extract: Ancient footprints that were originally thought to have been made by a bear walking on two legs were actually made by an extinct human species. The discovery means there are now three known sets of hominin footprints from the same locale in Tanzania. It isn’t clear which hominin species made the prints. The authors of a new study say they don’t match the other sets of footprints at Laetoli, a site in Tanzania, so were probably made by a different species. If this is true, it would mean that two hominin species coexisted in the same region at the same time… (1 December 2021)

Bidders for Unilever’s tea business pulled out on plantation concerns
(Business Fast online – UK) Extract: Two of the three final bidders for Unilever’s tea division baulked at taking on the company’s plantations because of concerns about working conditions, according to people familiar with the matter. The tea division, which included PG Tips and Lipton brands, was sold … to CVC Capital Partners for €4.5bn. But the Luxembourg-based buyout group was left as the only bidder willing to buy the whole division after Carlyle and Advent International decided they could not take on tea plantations in east Africa, which face difficult questions over human rights and fair pay… Advent had grown increasingly concerned about accepting responsibility for the health, welfare and security of thousands of plantation workers, one of the people familiar with the matter said. Bosses on the plantations have power not only over workers’ jobs but also their housing and medical care, as the sites are often in remote areas and rely on workers brought in from elsewhere… Around 8,500 people are permanently employed on the Unilever plantations in Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda, and this rises to about 16,000 when temporary workers are added in peak season, Unilever said… (19 November 2021)

Climate change will melt Africa’s last glaciers ‘within two decades’
(Times online – UK) Extract: Africa’s last mountain glaciers will disappear within two decades, the United Nations has said. The UN World Meteorological Organisation’s latest annual report said that the glaciers on Mount Kenya, Mount Kilimanjaro and the Rwenzori range along the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda are receding faster than the global average and will have melted entirely by the 2040s. The glaciers of all three ranges have shrunk by more than 80 per cent in the past 100 years as a result of rising temperatures caused by man-made climate change. Mount Kenya is expected to be the first peak to lose its glaciers completely, with the ice at its summit forecast to melt away within the next 10 years…(24 October 2021)

Fastest growing cities in Africa 2021
(Business Insider Africa online – Nigeria) This article gives a top ten list of the fastest growing cities on the African continent in 2021, according to the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat) research. Tanzania, which is of interest here, is listed in tenth place (Ghana’s capital, Accra, is listed in first place, and Nairobi in ninth place). Extract: According to Brahima Coulibaly, director of Brookings’ Africa Growth Initiative, “About half of the world’s fastest-growing economies will be located on the continent, with 20 economies expanding at an average rate of 5% or higher over the next five years, faster than the 3.6% rate for the global economy.” By 2050, Africa’s population is anticipated to reach about 2 billion inhabitants, and more economic activities are taking place, counterbalancing the increasing population. … Dar es Salaam has more than 6 million inhabitants making it the largest city in the country… Considering the population of 3.4 million from the census data obtained in 2005, it is projected that by 2025 the population of Dar es Salaam will be about 6.2 million [a rise of] 82%. (3 December 2021)


by Martin Walsh

SWAHILI SOCIAL LANDSCAPES: MATERIAL EXPRESSIONS OF IDENTITY, AGENCY, AND LABOUR IN ZANZIBAR, 1000-1400 CE (STUDIES IN GLOBAL ARCHAEOLOGY 26). Henriette Rødland. Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Uppsala University, Sweden, 2021. xii + 321 pp. (paperback and e-book). ISBN 978-91-506-2896-8 (print). Print copies available from online booksellers: free to download at

I am delighted to review Rødland’s work. Swahili Social Landscapes makes an important and thoughtful contribution to our study of Zanzibar’s rich history. Based on her doctoral dissertation, it focuses on the “social and productive landscapes” of Tumbatu and Mkokotoni. Tumbatu is an island off the northwestern coast of Unguja (Zanzibar) Island, while Mkokotoni lies on Unguja itself, across the channel from Tumbatu. Both sites were occupied between the 11th and 15th centuries CE.

This study questions traditional narratives of the Swahili that are based exclusively on Indian Ocean trade networks, Islam, stone towns, and hierarchically organised societies. Instead, Rødland explores how Swahili social identity and status were expressed through labour, foodways, gender, and material culture. In short, she seeks to decentre much of the focus of Swahili archaeology until now, looking instead at how social identities were created and maintained by other means. Thus, rather than focusing on how elites gained status through a display of imported ceramics, Rødland examines how space, craft production, and its attendant knowledge were all used to create and maintain identities. As Rødland points out, even though Tumbatu and Mkokotoni were part of ‘the Swahili World’, both sites revealed scant evidence for status distinction. Rødland interprets this to mean that imported material culture was not monopolised by an elite, but rather was available to most of the population.

Rødland’s assertion that the two sites were “neighbourhoods” of the same settlement, with Tumbatu being devoted to trade and Mkokotoni devoted to production, is backed up by strong evidence. It is difficult to disagree with her conclusion that space and its use played a powerful role in the creation of social identities.

My hope is that Rødland’s work will serve as a model for future conversations about the Swahili and the creation of identity. As Rødland notes, the term “Swahili” itself has been in use only for 200 years, and it is a term originally used by Omani Arabs to refer to some of the local population. Rødland’s wry observation that no one consulted the Swahili about their preferred identity hits home, especially in archaeological studies, where “Swahili” is used to describe peoples on the East African coast for at least the last millennium.

All in all, Rødland’s work shows us the importance of breaking from traditional narratives about the Swahili, and in exploring new ways in which precolonial African populations conceived of themselves and generated social identities. Hopefully, Rødland’s work heralds a new phase in the archaeology of the East African coast, where more nuance and sensitivity is employed to understand the past.

Akshay Sarathi
Akshay Sarathi is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Florida Atlantic University. His research concerns the movement of meat across landscapes. His current work is focused on the site of Unguja Ukuu, Zanzibar.

THE SLOPE OF KONGWA HILL: A BOY’S TALE OFAFRICA. Anthony R. Edwards. Agio Publishing House, Victoria BC, Canada, 2011. 420 pp. (paperback). ISBN 978-1-897435-65-6. £22.89. Also available as an e-book: a pdf sampler can be downloaded from the publisher’s website here: http://www.

Kongwa town, 60 miles east of Dodoma, will be known to readers, first, for the cattle ranch of the National Ranching Company (NARCO), and secondly, for the British government’s notorious and ill-fated Groundnut Scheme of 1949-52 (reviewed in Tanzanian Affairs 129). But the Scheme left a legacy which is less well-known – first, the good health of the local people, nourished on a plentiful supply of groundnuts, and secondly, the establishment of Kongwa School for European children.

This book is the story of that school, seen through the eyes of a boy whose father served as Mayor of Lindi. Hundreds of children from many parts of East Africa attended the school from 1949 to 1958, when it moved to Iringa, until it was liquidated with the approach of independence. True to the English public school tradition, it featured fagging, bullying and corporal punishment – a life of misery for young children snatched from their mothers’ arms sometimes at far too young an age, but exciting for older teenagers who were asked to bring their rifles to school so that in times of meat scarcity they could go out and hunt their own. The beginnings of romantic experiences in this mixed school are described, also the hospitality and kindness received from local villagers on the rare occasions when a group of children broke bounds to go exploring. Even incursions from the Mau Mau of Kenya were thought to be a threat, but the incident when they set up camp near the school, communicating with one another by Morse code, was found to be a fictional tale invented by one boy’s over-fertile imagination.

Remnants of those far-off days are still visible – the English style village church on the hillside, the swimming pool, the hospital, the teachers’ houses called ‘Millionaires’ Row’, the railway station – all inherited from the Groundnut Scheme. Perhaps the most significant legacy is the local Mnyakongo Primary School, with 800 pupils using the same old buildings. In 2008 a group of now quite ancient alumni paid a nostalgic visit to their old School and were so warmly welcomed by the teachers and children of Mnyakongo that they have set up an ongoing partnership, with gifts of books and equipment, described in an appendix with a collection of photographs of those far off days both in Kongwa and in Lindi.

This book is a snapshot from the ‘bad old days’ of colonialism, but the school left in the minds of those boys and girls a love of Africa and a respect for Africans which makes old sentiments of racial superiority or segregation quite meaningless, and is bearing fruit 70 years later. The book is an easy read, interspersed with Swahili and Cigogo and full of personal touches.

Roger Bowen
Roger Bowen taught at St Philip’s Theological College, Kongwa, in the 1970s and chaired the Swahili Theology Textbooks programme of East Africa.

PROTECTED AREAS IN NORTHERN TANZANIA: LOCAL COMMUNITIES, LAND USE CHANGE, AND MANAGEMENT CHALLENGES (GEOTECHNOLOGIES AND THE ENVIRONMENT 22). Jeffrey O. Durrant, Emanuel H. Martin, Kokel Melubo, Ryan R. Jensen, Leslie A. Hadfield, Perry J. Hardin, and Laurie Weisler (editors). Springer, Cham, Switzerland, 2020. viii + 179 pp. (paperback). ISBN: 978-3-030-43304-8. £69.99. Also available in hardback and as an e-book.

This edited collection of papers on Protected Areas in Northern Tanzania is the outcome of a collaboration between the College of African Wildlife Management at Mweka and researchers – mostly geographers – at Brigham Young University in the United States. Following a foreword by the Rector of Mweka, Professor Jafari R. Kideghesho, the volume is introduced with a brief overview of Tanzania’s protected area system and its history by Jeffrey O. Durrant and Rebecca Formica. This introductory chapter is followed by eleven more on different aspects of protected area and natural resource management in northern Tanzania.

In order to give potential readers a fair idea of this book’s varied contents, the following paragraphs are taken from the summary that is tacked onto the end of the opening chapter:

“Chapter 2 illustrates some of the real costs of population growth and modern society’s move toward mass production of agriculture, such as at coffee plantations. While cavity-nesting birds have done well in protected areas, [Hamadi] Dulle et al. found the birds are facing some irreversible forces through population growth and changes in land use outside of protected areas. Dulle et al. found that heavy losses of deadwood near coffee plantations are negatively impacting cavity-nesting birds. Dulle et al. examined the effects of providing artificial nesting boxes and suggest them as one option to address losses of these nesting birds that is seen as irreversible.

[Leslie] Hadfield takes a historic look at how Africa’s colonial past is impacting current tourist interaction with the porters and guides on Mount Kilimanjaro (Chap. 3). Hadfield examines how some attitudes from the use of porters in colonial expeditions have evolved to modern-day tourism. Even with current porter organization efforts to prevent colonial-type practices that require constant service to outsiders with little regard for the health and well-being of the local porters and guides, challenges such as heavy loads, poor equipment, and inadequate food and safety remain.

Looking at Arusha National Park, [Obeid] Mahenya [and Naomi Chacha] (Chap. 4) study how the individualized impacts to those living nearby affected their attitudes toward the Park. Mahenya et al.’s [sic] study found that the attitudes of locals were more positive toward Arusha National Park in relation to giraffes, since giraffes present few problems to the residents and are associated with the positive benefits of tourists. However, more negative attitudes resulted from interactions with more destructive animals such as baboons or when people had been fined for domestic livestock grazing in the Park.

Similarly, [Kokel] Melubo et al. (Chap. 5) found that having personal experiences in protected areas contributed to better attitudes and ability to manage protected areas. Melubo et al. studied students at CAWM who had been involved in a wilderness training program that involved at least a short overnight experience in a protected area. Students who participated in these programs were found to be better equipped to operate and manage protected areas in their future careers.

Extending the theme of effective protected area management, [Rehema Abeli] Shoo evaluates the impact of having an effective management structure in place on the success of ecotourism (Chap. 6). Shoo found that a sound management plan can help managers avoid obstacles that often prevent successful ecotourism, such as environmental deterioration and inequitable development among the local communities. Shoo studied Lake Natron, which has a high potential for ecotourism development However, Shoo found that without a sound general management plan, Lake Natron suffered from inadequate funding at the operational level, lack of mechanisms to secure a fair distribution of ecotourism benefits, and poorly developed tourism infrastructure and facilities that reduced the potential for successful ecotourism at the park.

[Alfan] Rjia and [Jafari] Kideghesho examined nine poacher’s strategies used in the Serengeti ecosystem (Chap. 7). They argue that increased enforcement of wildlife crimes has influenced adaptability in poacher’s strategies. Field rangers and wildlife managers can use the nine strategies they described to more effectively combat wildlife crimes, and the authors provide three recommendations to help inform field patrols and other mitigation efforts.

In Chap. 8, [Alex] Kisingo and [Professor] Kidegheso present findings from previous community governance studies using a V3 model. They found some changes in community governance with regard to conservation, livelihood improvement, and social benefits. They also note some setbacks in community governance that need to be addressed. Several chapters examine biophysical characteristics of protected areas in northern Tanzania.

[Emmanuel] Martin et al. (Chap. 9) used temporal remote sensing data to study land use and land cover change near the Kwakuchinja Wildlife Corridor in northern Tanzania. They found that while a paved road provided better connections between two towns, it also impacted animal movement between two national parks by providing a physical obstacle and bringing in more settlement. Satellite remote sensing data showed that over time, the most significant changes were from bare ground to “savanna with some agriculture” and “agriculture with some grassland.”

[Gideon] Mseja et al. used transect lines in Mkomazi National Park to count wild animals as ground reference information for the population density (Chap. 10). A total of 22 species were estimated, and African Buffalo (Syncerus caffer) was the most common species, while Gerenuk (Litocranius walleri) was the least. Mseja et al. suggest other methods be used to count more elusive species. For example, camera traps could be used to estimate carnivores and dung counts for elephants. The combination of these methods can give a benchmark for future population estimates.

In Chap. 11, [Emmanuel] Martin et al. used MODIS land cover data and scripts in Google Earth to examine vegetation change within Mkomazi National Park in northeastern Tanzania both before and after it became a national park in 2008. The data showed relatively subtle changes and most likely reflect that only subtle changes in land management policy have occurred since its conversion from two separate game reserves.

Finally, in Chap. 12, [Professor] Kideghesho et al. review the challenging dynamics between wildlife conservation and human population growth and urbanization. The authors provide recommendations on the best manner to minimize the negative impacts of human population growth on large mammals.”

As this summary indicates, this is very much a mixed bag of papers, and there isn’t a very strong or even coherent theme to the volume. The nature of the collaboration between the two institutions involved is not explained, and the book appears to have been assembled hastily and without proper proofreading. A paragraph introducing the above summary of chapters is repeated word for word, except that the first time round (on p. 11) it states that the book has eight further chapters, and the next time (on p. 12) it says ten, when there are actually eleven more chapters.

This is not good enough for a publisher of Springer Nature’s status and such a costly volume. No doubt many researchers will find something of interest in this collection, but I suspect that most would rather consult it in a library than dig into their purses and wallets.
Martin Walsh
Martin Walsh is the Book Reviews Editor of Tanzanian Affairs.

Also noticed:
BIRDS OF EAST AFRICA: KENYA, TANZANIA, UGANDA, RWANDA, BURUNDI. SECOND EDITION (HELM FIELD GUIDES). Terry Stevenson and John Fanshawe. Illustrated by John Gale and Brian Small. Helm, London, 2020. 640 pp., 287 colour plates (paperback). ISBN: PB: 978-1-4081-5736-7. £31.50. Also available in hardback and as an e-book.

This new edition of Birds of East Africa substantially updates the first, which appeared in 2002 and is described by the publisher as “the best-selling Helm field guide of all time” – a reflection, in part, of its comprehensiveness and the popularity of birding in East Africa. The authors describe the changes they have made to the species accounts as follows:

“This second edition covers 1,448 species, which represents around 70% of the birds that have been recorded in sub-Saharan Africa. […] Recent taxonomic changes include the creation of three new families: Modulatricidae, Nicatoridae, Hyliotidae.

Although our knowledge is steadily increasing, there is still an enormous amount to learn about East Africa’s birds. New species and races are still being described: Udzungwa Forest-partridge, not only a new bird but also a new genus to science, was found in the montane forests of south-central Tanzania in 1991. New species in this edition include range extensions, taxa now considered specifically distinct, and additional scarce and vagrant species.

In our first edition, the taxonomy and nomenclature were largely based on the East African list that was published in 1980 (Britton, P. L. 1980, Birds of East Africa, East Africa Natural History Society). Since then, the growth in birding and citizen science worldwide has seen the emergence of four major global lists: the IOC World Bird List, the Howard and Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World, the eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World (in collaboration with Cornell University), and the HBW (Handbook of the Birds of the World) and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist. All of these lists are compared online by the comprehensive and regularly updated resource, Avibase.

While taking close account of the first edition and the three other global lists, we have chosen to base the majority of this revised Birds of East Africa on the HBW/BirdLife taxonomy and nomenclature. Throughout, we have provided alternative common names, as well as explaining any scientific name changes in notes. Although this means that a number of changes in common names have occurred, we hope that it actually represents a move towards wider stability in names, both in East Africa and worldwide. If hyphens and capitalisation are excluded, there is agreement on 85% of the common names in the HBW/ BirdLife, IOC and eBird/Clements lists. For the birding community, working together to agree and stabilise taxonomy is crucial for citizen science and conservation.”

As this implies, birders will always find something to quibble about. But whichever way you look at it, this is a superb resource. My main wish, as with the first edition, is that arrows had been used on the distribution maps to indicate the presence of species on the region’s larger islands. Those tiny splotches of colour can be hard to see without a magnifying glass.

Martin Walsh


by Ben Taylor

Al Noor Kassum (known to many as Nick) died on 18 November 2021 in Dar es Salaam, aged 97. Continuously from 1977 until his retirement from Government in 1990 he served Presidents Nyerere and Mwinyi as the Minister for Energy, at different times also having responsibility for Water and Minerals. As is apparent from his fascinating 2007 book, Africa’s Winds of Change: Memoirs of an International Tanzanian, Nick had an illustrious career in both the public and private sectors, at the national and international levels spanning the colonial and Independence eras.

Educated in England and India (from where his family migrated to Tanganyika in 1896), he qualified as a lawyer in London and later established a legal practice in Dar. Before Independence he was a member of the Legislative Assembly, MP for Dodoma and TANU’s Chief Whip. After Independence he held junior Ministerial positions covering Education and Information, and then Industries, Minerals and Power. In the mid-1960s he moved to work with the UN in Paris and New York before the UN Secretary-General U-Thant appointed him Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in 1967. In 1970, he returned to Tanzania as Deputy General Manager of Williamson Diamonds and then from 1972 he served as Minister of Finance in the East Africa Community in Arusha. After 1990 Kassum held several senior University, Foundation and Board positions in Tanzania. He was also The Aga Khan’s Personal Representative in the country.

Having known Nyerere from pre-Independence days, Nick Kassum was the only serving Cabinet Minister to be awarded the ‘Order of Tanzania’ when Mwalimu retired in 1985. Nyerere particularly valued his ability during the acutely difficult economic years of the early 1980s to keep the nation supplied with critical oil imports, an almost impossible task for a country with meagre foreign exchange and burdened with huge outstanding international debts.

Within the Tanzanian Government, Kassum also then led the development of the country’s only known hydrocarbon resource (the gas field at Songo Songo) and spear-headed the considerable petroleum and mineral exploration efforts by the many multinational companies which signed sole-risk agreements with Government. He also oversaw the largest expansion of the national electricity grid that the country had ever witnessed. Effectively, he laid the foundations for Tanzania’s substantial offshore gas discoveries in the 1990s and 2000s, also bequeathing a strengthened TPDC and Ministry staffed with an expanded cadre of excellent Tanzanian professionals. At one Cabinet meeting in the early-1980s, Nyerere told him: “Nick, you are the only optimist among us. One day you will be remembered for all this”.

I worked closely with Nick Kassum in Tanzania during the 1980s and we remained in contact subsequently. It was a privilege to know him, and his wife Yasmin too, whose tragic and untimely death in 2016 was a blow from which he never really recovered. Rightly, many warm tributes have been paid to Nick since his passing – applauding his abilities, humanity and generosity. He features large in my own memoir, to be published in early 2022.

Roger M Nellist
Roger Nellist is a former analyst and advisor to the Tanzanian government on energy and minerals. He also covered the energy and minerals brief for Tanzanian Affairs between 2013 and 2021.

Zacharia Hans Poppe, a prominent figure in the Tanzanian business community, well known particularly for his leadership role at Simba Sports Club, died in September 2021 at the age of 65.

Born in Dar es Salaam to a Greek father and Tanzanian mother, Poppe was brought up in Iringa by his mother. He joined the Tanzania People’s Defence Force (TPDF) shortly after completing his secondary education, and served in the war against Idi Amin’s Uganda. He reached the rank of Captain before being dismissed and sentenced to life in prison in 1983 for his role in an unsuccessful coup plot against President Julius Nyerere.

“Some of us got fed up and decided to look for change. The only viable option to achieve change at that time was through the use of force. We had nothing personal against Nyerere. The only thing was that he was surrounded by hypocrites whose survival depended solely on maintaining the status quo,” he later recounted.

In 1995, the second-term President, Alhaj Ally Hassan Mwinyi released Poppe on a presidential pardon.

While in Butimba Prison, Poppe founded the Prison’s Premier League and formed the Simba Prison team. His love of football, and of Simba in particular, was deep. He became a prominent figure at the club, in the influential role as head of the Player Registration Committee, responsible for signing new players.

Poppe was also a leading figure in the transportation sector, both for his own fuel and truck businesses and as president and founder of the Tanzania Association of Transporters (TAT).

Tanzania Truck Owners Association’s spokesperson Raheem Dosa said: “During his lifetime Hans Poppe was a loud voice when he saw things were not going well. He was honest, open and fearless, a very talented person who had made a significant contribution to the development of the country and the region.”

Professor Reginald Herbold Green who died in Sussex, England in October 2021, was a seasoned “old Africa hand.” Often dishevelled or eccentric in appearance, he was nevertheless hugely respected as a sharp-minded, deeply moral, progressive economist, at least by those on the left of economic debates.

As an American at a time when US involvement in African politics was controversial, people sometimes looked at him with suspicion. But he earned the trust of many African leaders including President Julius Nyerere as well as leaders of liberation movements from Mozambique to Namibia.

From the late 1960s, he worked as advisor in the Tanzanian Treasury, economic advisor to President Nyerere, and taught economic planning in the Master’s degree programme at the University of Dar es Salaam. An ardent supporter of the thrust of President Nyerere’s policies and programmes, he nevertheless steered clear of the sharp ideological debates between “Ujamaa” and Marxism.

He left Tanzania in 1974 to take up a post at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex, where he remained until his retirement in 2000. He remained in touch with Tanzania’s political leaders and academic community [and was a contributor to Tanzanian Affairs].

Professor Green wrote prolifically, including more than 500 published professional articles, papers, book chapters and books. His influential early book, Unity or Poverty: The Economics of Pan Africanism (1968), made the case for African countries to coordinate as a key condition for development. But his most impactful contribution was probably Children on the Front Line (1987), in which he estimated that more than two million children under five in Mozambique and Angola had died as a result of South Africa’s destructive economic and military policies targeted on these countries. The study helped bring a change in western support to the apartheid regime of South Africa.