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by Ben Taylor
President Samia Attends Opposition Event
In an unusual move by both sides, President Samia Suluhu Hassan attended an event organised by BAWACHA, the women’s wing of the opposition party, Chadema, in early March. The event was a celebration of International Women’s Day.
At the event, held in Moshi, the President sat next to CHADEMA national chairperson Freeman Mbowe, the person planning to remove Samia’s party from office.
The President described her presence as “unprecedented”, going on to describe Chadema as an ally in building a new culture of politics in Tanzania. “The new way of doing politics won’t be accepted immediately by everyone,” she told the Chadema women, who cheered her every word. “There are hindrances on both sides, mine [within the ruling party, CCM] and yours.”
For President Samia, the occasion signified her commitment to building a new nation after almost seven years of divisive and polarising politics under her predecessor. “For your assurance, reforms are happening that will allow us to build a new nation, a Tanzanian nation with political competition but without violence,” she explained. “That’s where we want to go.”
She revealed that her decision to lift a ban on political rallies (see TA134) was met with scepticism from CCM senior figures when she shared it with them. “I presented the idea,” she said, and “a bitter debate ensued, just like what Mbowe received when he invited me here.”
Much social media attention and argument accompanied Mr Mbowe’s announcement that President Samia would grace a Chadema function, with some describing the move as “colossal”. Recognising this controversy, President Samia told Mr Mbowe: “So, Mr Chairman, it turns out we both have conservatives in our parties.”
President Samia used the occasion to restate her commitment to reviving the stalled constitution-writing process, acknowledging that while she cannot go as fast as some stakeholders would like, the process will commence as soon as practically possible.
“Nobody is saying no to demands for a new Constitution,” she said. “Even my party has said let’s go and revive the process. So, very soon, I’ll form a committee, after consulting other political parties, that will carry it out.”
Speaking earlier during the event, Mr Mbowe drew the Presidents’ attention to how the administrative system in Tanzania has been relegating supporters of opposition parties to the status of second-class citizens, calling for deliberate interventions to change this.
“It is my hope, Madam President,” he said, “that your intention to unify the nation will be adopted by those under you, those in your government, [and] in various institutions responsible for dispensing justice in our country.”
Mbowe told President Samia that “democracy can never be optional” and that “no nation has ever prospered by embracing dictatorship and discrimination.”
He assured Samia that while remaining open to the ongoing reconciliation efforts, Chadema will stand strong in its duty as an opposition party to hold the government accountable for its actions.
Tundu Lissu makes triumphant return with Dar rally
Mr Lissu arrived in Tanzania shortly after midday, on a flight from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He was received by his supporters at the Julius Nyerere International Airport before leading a procession to Temeke grounds where his welcoming rally took place, attended by several thousand.
Mr Lissu thanked his supporters for the reception they accorded him, saying he’s “extremely happy” to be back in “my country.” “Living in exile, being forced to do so because you fear for your life, is the most difficult experience one can go through ever,” he stated in his 30-minute address. “These past six years have been extremely difficult not just for me but also for my family, the party and the country.”
Mr Lissu paused on his way into town to speak with some of his supporters, and later in his speech he recounted what they had said to him. “How come the price of beans is the same as that of meat?” they had asked. “The price of almost everything is up and people are demanding that they should be lowered to allow them to live.”
He then related the people’s concerns with the ongoing demand for a new Constitution, noting that almost all of the people’s problems have their foundation in the current constitution that he called “outdated and poor.”
“It is the President who is causing us all these hardships,” Lissu explained. “This is not because President Samia is evil. No, it is because the constitution we have allows her to decide how to tax us and how to spend those taxes. And it is because of such presidential power, we have been having corrupt presidents.”
Speaking during the rally, Chadema national chairperson Freeman Mbowe underlined Mr Lissu’s call for a new Constitution. However, he said, this will never happen if the people of Dar es Salaam will not stand up and actively participate in the movement, urging Tanzanians to take responsibility in defining the future of their country.
Commission to reform justice sector
President Samia Suluhu Hassan on Tuesday inaugurated a commission to review the public bodies responsible for dispensing criminal justice in Tanzania, with the goal of improving the justice system.
The President had previously announced the formation of the commission against the backdrop of complaints from activists working in the area of criminal justice, who called the system as unfair and discriminatory. The President would appear to share this view, as she described current state of the criminal justice system as “total chaos.” She added that this “is not because we don’t have ethical guidelines in this country but because those guidelines are not being observed.”
“As a consequence, people without power or money rarely get justice in this country,” she said. “They have been forced to endure things no one should endure. Money decides who gets justice and who doesn’t.”
The institutions that will form the subjects of the review include the Tanzania Police Force, the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB), the Drug Control and Enforcement Authority (DCEA), the National Prosecutions Services and the Tanzania Prisons Service.
The President urged the commission to pay particular attention to the Police Force, saying that it tops other institutions in terms of complaints from the public. “If you ask 100 people what they consider to be the most problematic institutions in terms of access to justice, 70 of them will point at the Police Force,” she said.
The commission will be chaired by former Chief Justice Mohammed Chande Othman, and will submit a preliminary report by the end of May, 2023.
Other members of the commission include the former Chief Secretary Ambassador Ombeni Sefue, the president of the Tanganyika Law Society (TLS) Edward Hosea, the former president of the Zanzibar Law Society (ZLS) Yahya Khamisi Hamad, the Attorney General Dr Eliezer Feleshi, the permanent secretary for Public Service Management and Good Governance Dr Laurean Ndumbaro, and two former Inspectors General of the Police (IGP) Said Mwema and Ernest Mangu, along with various others.
US Vice President Kamala Harris visits Tanzania
In early March 2023, President Samia Suluhu Hassan hosted a visit from US Vice President Kamala Harris. The visit was billed variously as an opportunity to promote trade and strengthen democracy, as well as strategy to counter the increasing influence of China and Russia in Africa.
Harris started her trip with three days in Ghana before flying to Dar es Salaam, where she met with President Samia. The two leaders spoke to the media before holding private talks.
Vice President Harris applauded the progress made by President Samia on strengthening democracy in Tanzania, describing the President as “a champion of democratic reforms in this country,” and explaining that this had expanded the partnership between the two countries. “Today, then, is part of the strengthening relationship between our countries and, under your leadership, I have full confidence that we will be able to do just that.”
“Madam President, under your leadership Tanzania has taken important and meaningful steps and President Joe Biden and I applaud you,” Harris said, standing alongside Hassan.
Harris announced $560 million in U.S. assistance for Tanzania, some of which will require congressional approval. The money is intended to expand the countries’ trade relationship, as well as encourage democratic governance.
Harris also mentioned a new partnership in 5G technology and cybersecurity, as well as a U.S.-supported plan by LifeZone Metals to open a new processing plant in Tanzania for minerals that go into electric vehicle batteries.
“This project is an important and pioneering model, using innovative and low-emission standards. Importantly, raw minerals will soon be processed in Tanzania, by Tanzanians,” she said, adding that the plant would deliver battery-grade nickel to the United States and the global market from 2026.
President Samia made several requests of her guest, including an expansion of the long-term visa program for Tanzanians in the U.S., a 10-year extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act, and a future presidential visit.
“Tanzanians are now anxiously waiting for President Joe Biden’s visit in Tanzania,” she said. “And please kindly convey our greetings and our invitation that Tanzania is waiting to host him.”
After the meeting, Vice President Harris visited a memorial to the U.S. Embassy bombing in Tanzania in 1998, the day a simultaneous bombing took place in Kenya. At the memorial, called “Hope Out of Sorrow,” Harris shook hands with staff who were present during the attack in Dar es Salaam, as well as the U.S. ambassador to Tanzania from that time, Charles Stith.
by Ben Taylor
February saw the maiden Tanzania-EU Business Forum in Dar es Salaam, bringing together over 600 business leaders from the EU and representatives of the Tanzanian government and business community.
Speaking at the event, Tanzania’s Vice-President, Dr Philip Mpango, invited investors from the 27 EU member states to explore untapped investment and business opportunities in Tanzania. He cited potential areas for investment as agriculture and agro-processing for value addition of local farm produce, as well as tourism, energy, mining, real estate, transport and logistics.
Dr Mpango, also a former Finance Minister, assured delegates of a conducive environment for trade and investment. “Just last year, the government repealed the Investment Act of 1997 and enacted new legislation that offers more incentives to strategic investors,” he said, adding that Tanzania is among the fastest growing economies in the sub-Saharan Africa at present.
At the same event, Dr Mpango urged Tanzanian businesspersons to also explore and take advantage of investment and trade opportunities in the EU.
Tanzania and the EU have been enjoying more cordial relations since President Samia Suluhu Hassan came to power in March 2021. In February 2022, the President visited the European Commission (EC) headquarters in Brussels and met with Commission President, Ursula Von der Leyen. Shortly after this meeting, the EU head of delegation to Tanzania, Mr Manfredo Fanti, stated that investors in the 27-member European bloc were happy with initiatives that the East African nation was taking to improve its business climate, saying this would foster increased Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows.
According to the 2022 EU Investment in Tanzania Report 2022, imports to Tanzania from the EU were valued at €856 million in 2021, representing 12% of Tanzania’s imports, while exports stood at €456 million (10%). The report, which was jointly prepared by the EU Delegation and the European Business Group (EUBG), also found that over 100 companies from the EU have invested in the country, creating an estimated 151,000 jobs.
by Ben Taylor
In late 2022, the parliament of Tanzania enacted the Personal Data Protection Act – broadly an equivalent to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union and the UK Data Protection Act. The Act spells out the responsibilities for any organisation that handles personal data of private individuals in Tanzania and provides for the establishment of a Personal Data Protection Commission.
The law is yet to come into force, however, as it requires both Presidential assent and for the Minister of Information, Communication and Information Technology to publish notice in the official government gazette stating the date when the Act will take effect.
The new law means Tanzania joins her East Africa Community (EAC) peers, Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda, that already had Data Protection Acts in place. It will help the country participate in the global digital economy, as many countries have restrictions on doing business in jurisdictions that lack protections for data privacy.
Among other things, the law requires that all data processors and handlers must appoint a personal data protection officer, and outlines criminal sanctions and fines for those who breach the legislation.
The Personal Data Protection Commission established by the Act is tasked with registration of data collectors and processors, monitoring the compliance of data collectors and processors with the Act, handling complaints on the breach of data protection and the right to privacy, and researching and monitoring technological development in relation to data processing.
Any person or organisation that intends to collect or process data in Tanzania will need to be registered by the Commission. The Act also specifies that personal information may only be collected where necessary and for a legitimate purpose. To ensure accuracy of information, the Act places a duty on data collectors to take necessary steps to confirm that data collected is complete, correct and consistent with the purpose for which it was collected.
Disclosure of personal data without consent is punishable by a fine of up to TSh 5 billion (approx. USD $2.1m) for the institution responsible, and/or imprisonment for up to ten years for the individuals – including responsible officers within an institution.
The Act does not prohibit the transfer of personal data to jurisdictions outside the country, provided that such jurisdictions have a reliable legal system for the protection of personal data, and the transfer is necessary for a legitimate or public interest.
The Act also lays out the rights of individuals with respect to data held about them. This includes the right to be informed of data collection and processing as well as the purpose involved, the right to access the data collected and processed, the right to object the processing of personal data collected where such processing will lead to adverse impacts, the right to rectify personal data to ensure its accuracy, and the right not to be subject to automated decision making.
Stakeholders have given a cautious welcome to the new law. Maxence Melo, the founder of Jamii Forums, a popular Tanzanian online forum, said the law had been a long time coming, considering that the dream for the bill dates back to 2014. Melo added that it is important to foster data residency, meaning that personal data should be stored within the country, as a measure to ensure the data met regional and international data privacy standards.
However, others have expressed concerns that the law does not require the subjects of data security breaches to be notified, and that it imposes unnecessarily heavy restrictions on even small organisations handling small amounts of data about – for example – job applicants, beneficiaries of charitable work, or school students.
by Ben Taylor
Controversial oil pipeline gets government approval
The government of Tanzania gave formal approval in February for the construction of the USD $3.5bn East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), despite human rights and environmental concerns around the project. This followed official approval for the project from the Ugandan government in January.
The 900-mile pipeline will transport crude from oilfields in Lake Albert in north-western Uganda to the port of Tanga on the Indian Ocean, passing not far from Singida and Kondoa [see TA 128]. The pipe will be 600mm diameter steel with heating to improve the fluidity of the oil, and will require a 30m wide corridor over the entire route (Eacop.com). The $10 billion oilfield and pipeline project is being jointly developed by France’s TotalEnergies, the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) and the state oil companies of Uganda and Tanzania. The first oil is expected to flow in 2025.
“This construction approval marks another step forward to EACOP as it allows commencement of the main construction activities in Tanzania, upon completion of the ongoing land access process,” said EACOP Tanzania general manager Wendy Brown.
The project has been hailed by some as an economic boon for both countries, though it has run into strong opposition from human rights and environmental campaigners, who say it threatens the region’s fragile ecosystem and the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people.
Tanzania’s Energy Minister, January Makamba, dismissed the environmental and rights concerns as “propaganda”, and said that all environmental, safety and human rights standards have been complied with. “We are proud of the pipeline because it will increase Tanzania’s influence in the world,” he added.
The oil originates in two oilfields on Lake Albert. Drilling began in January at the Kingfisher field on the south-eastern edge of the lake, operated by CNOOC, while the second field on the lake’s northern shore is being developed by TotalEnergies. This second field, known as Tilenga, extends into Uganda’s largest national park, Murchison Falls. At least 100 oil wells are reported to have been drilled inside the reserve.
There are an estimated 6.5 billion barrels of crude oil under the lake, of which a little over 20% is thought to be recoverable. The reserves are expected to last up to 30 years, with production peaking at 230,000 barrels a day. This would be sufficient to make Uganda the fourth-largest hydrocarbon producer in sub-Saharan Africa.
The pipeline has been controversial for the potential damage it could do to the environment and to people’s lives and livelihoods along the route. Fishers on Lake Albert are already seeing pollution on the lake, and one-third of EACOP will pass through the Lake Victoria watershed, on which an estimated 40 million people depend for their livelihood. “A leak along the pipeline could be a cataclysm,” said Hilda Flavia Nakabuye, a Ugandan activist, and “once consumed, the oil extracted will emit nearly 34m tonnes of CO2 a year, six times the emissions of Uganda”.
TotalEnergies is being sued in France by a group of NGOs for allegedly failing to comply with the country’s 2017 duty-of-care law. The NGOs are asking the Paris court to suspend TotalEnergies’ Ugandan projects, claiming the company is in breach of their legal obligation to identify and prevent human rights and environmental abuses resulting from its own activities or those of its subcontractors.
Civil society organisations in Uganda have also fought against the project, but have met with stiff resistance from the authorities. According to reports, the army now has a regular presence across the oil-producing region, journalists have been persecuted and human rights activists hindered in their work. Dickens Kamugisha of the Africa Institute for Energy Governance, a small NGO, explained that “the government passed a law in 2016 designed to hinder the activity of NGOs. The aim is to muzzle civil society”. Another activist, Maxwell Atuhura, is among those to have been arrested over EACOP. “The more I informed people, the more I was being watched,” he said. “It started with tailing, then negative blurb about me on the local radio, and finally an arrest in May 2021. I spent two nights in jail. The police confiscated all my equipment and threatened me, telling me that I was risking my life to continue my work.” (The Nation, The Guardian)
President Samia calls for attention on Africa in the energy transition
President Samia Suluhu Hassan has called for western governments and companies to focus on the needs of African countries when acting to address climate change and steering the global energy transition. She made the call in Davos, Switzerland, in January, on the sidelines of the annual World Economic Forum (WEF).
President Samia said it was high time developed countries in Europe and America put focus on producing energy from Africa, and that resources in Africa could help smooth the energy transition. “Africa could be another source of energy,” she said. “When it comes to green energy, we have almost everything ranging from nickel, cobalt and copper.”
She also reached out to private sector in developed countries to provide funding for Africa to enable the continent to produce more energy from natural gas. “It is true that we need energy transition but this should take some time, we also need funding to embark on energy transition,” Dr Samia appealed. She noted that there is high demand for energy in the African continent amid the fourth industrial revolution which is taking place across the globe.
Further, the President urged African countries to put more efforts in strengthening regional power pools such as East African and Southern Africa power pools, saying not enough has been done. “If we create these power pools there will be no problems of shortage of energy because whoever who will be having a crisis will be served by the regional power pools,” she remarked.
She reminded leaders during the discussion that the energy transition is a global problem which requires global solutions. “There is a need for a multilateral approach in addressing the challenge,” she said, and expressed her concerns that many developed countries are formulating energy strategy unilaterally rather than engaging developing countries.
Speaking late in 2022 at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Egypt, President Samia said Tanzania is taking a number of initiatives aimed at mitigating the impacts of climate change for sustainable development.
She said the government has adopted a national climate change response strategy and contribution with a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions between 30 to 35 per cent by the year 2030. This includes continuing to construct and expand rapid transport networks. She explained that these are expected to reduce more than 900 million tonnes of carbon emissions each year. (Daily News)
Agreement reached for new hydropower project in Kagera
The government of Tanzania, the African Development Bank (AfDB), and the French Development Agency (AFD) have signed agreements for two development project loans worth a total of $300 million to finance the construction of the 88MW Kakono Hydropower Plant in Kagera region. The project also received a grant of 36 million Euros from the European Union (EU).
The project, to be implemented by the Electric Supply Company (TANESCO), will reportedly reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 216,065 metric tons per year and comply with highest international environmental and social standards. The government expects that the project will serve four million people and increase the service coverage rate by around 7% of the population.
Alongside the construction of the new hydropower plant, associated infrastructure will be built, including upgrading the existing Kyaka substation and a new 39-kilometre 220-kilovolt transmission line and capacity building support for TANESCO.
The French Ambassador to Tanzania Nabil Hajlaoui said: “We have heard President Samia Suluhu’s message. She aims to generate 5GW of electricity by 2025. France is ready to be part of this journey by investing in power generation and transmission projects to meet the rapidly growing electricity demand while reducing the carbon intensity of its energy mix.”
The concrete dam will be 51m in height above the river bed, creating a reservoir which will extend about 28km upstream of the dam, with a width of around 1.5km at the widest point. (AfDB)
Deals agreed with three Australian mining firms
President Samia Suluhu Hassan in April witnessed the signing of deals worth US$600 million with three different Australian companies as Tanzania seeks to gain more from its vast wealth of minerals.
During a function at the State House in Dodoma, the President witnessed her administration closing deals with Evolution Energy Minerals Limited, EcoGraf Limited and Peak Rare Earth Limited.
With EcoGraf Limited, Tanzania agreed to the development and operation of the Epanko Graphite Project in Morogoro. An initial investment worth US$127.7 million will be made. With Peak Rare Earths Limited, the government agreed to the development of the Ngualla Rare Earth Project with an initial investment of US$439 million. With Evolution Energy Minerals Limited, the Samia Administration agreed to the development of the Chilalo Graphite Project in Lindi with an initial investment worth US$100 million.
by Dr Hildebrand Shayo
2023/2024 budget amid thorny audit report
Tanzania’s national 2023/2024 budget debate is gaining thrust at a time when numerous flaws have been exposed by the 2021/22 report of the Controller and Auditors General (CAG), in addition to the global economic outlook that remains thought-provoking, flimsy, and unclear. The Russian vs Ukraine situation that is impacting other major economies might make this year’s 2023/2024 budget tricky.
The 2023/2024 national budget debate likewise is taking place at a time when capital markets are not functioning efficiently, and unemployment continues to persist as a major concern both at the national and global levels, but nationally at the time when the sixth phase government has been more transparent and embarrassing openness something which led to exposing the number of losses in government expenditure and revenue collection.
In these circumstances, advanced economies and important emerging nations such as Tanzania will be facing difficult policy choices, to strike a balance between the imperative of fiscal consolidation and the need for sustainable economic recovery and growth.
For emerging and rising economies, the road to a sustained recovery will continue to be challenged by several key concerns comprising capital inflows volatility, risks of domestic credit and asset price bubbles, commodity price instability, especially fuel and food prices, and inadequate resources. This will be coupled with limited fiscal space and large development needs, containing the need to achieve the MDGs.
Evaluation of economic trends and performance signals that the global economy will continue to struggle financially. Despite the realisation of unprecedented macroeconomic policy responses, including monetary and fiscal measures undertaken, uncertainties will continue regarding the path to economic recovery partly coping with the effects of Covid and the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.
All is happening when the global economy continues to grapple with financial market fluctuations and macroeconomic imbalances, that is leading to increasing vulnerabilities in global economic recovery and weakening employment prospects across many economic sectors.
Against this setting, world output growth is projected to decelerate from an estimated 3.0% recorded in 2022 to 1.9% in 2023, indicating the world will have one of the lowest growth rates in recent decades. This makes the world economic situation and projection for the remaining 2023 present a gloomy and uncertain economic outlook.
Similarly, growth in cutting-edge economies has already declined from 5% recorded in 2021 to 3.8% in 2022 and 2.3% projected in 2023 a pace that, while moderating, will be satisfactory to restore output and investment to cope with the post-pandemic trend and impact of the on-going war in Russia and Ukraine.
Economic output in the US is expected to slow early this year in response to last year’s sharp rise in interest rates. Nonetheless, the output is expected to start growing again during the second half of 2023 as falling inflation might permit the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates, which would likely cause a rebound in sectors of the economy that are sensitive to interest rates. Further, US domestic consumption, the major driver of economic growth, is still sluggish as the foreign inflow starts to decline wary of emerging market uncertainty after the failure of three banks in the US during the last month of March 2023.
In Europe, the weak banking sector limits credit supply and hampers the pace of economic recovery. Households and firms across the euro area are currently feeling the effects of higher inflation and weaker economic activity, amid the ongoing energy crisis prompted by the war in Ukraine.
According to the European Central Bank’s November 2022 financial stability review, the deterioration in economic and financial conditions has increased the risks to euro area financial stability and how this might negatively affect emerging markets and developing countries through trade and financial channels thus adding to domestic weaknesses.
GDP growth in Germany, the largest economy in Europe, has increased by 1.8% in 2022. Notwithstanding high inflation, growth has been supported by the boost in demand that followed the post-pandemic reopening of the economy, and in particular, services although by the third quarter of 2022, investment and private consumption had not yet reached their pre-pandemic levels that led to a decreased in the fourth quarter with real GDP contracting by 0.2%. The weak private demand is the main factor behind this weak performance and the prolonged output gap.
On average, the BRICS group of five major emerging economies-Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa has grown strongly since its inception in 2006. Accounting for 23% of the global economy, 18% of trade in goods and 25% of foreign investment, BRICS nations have formed an important force that cannot be ignored in the world economy. BRICS economies imply that the irresistible rise of emerging markets and developing countries has injected strong impetus to the reform of the global economic governance system that will have a considerable impact on other nations’ planning.
Tanzania’s 2023/2024 national budget partly relies on development partners’ support, which is of course affected by global dynamics. And in addition, the recent CAG’s report has recommended serious action to be taken since currently, global economic growth is slowing amid a gloomy and more uncertain outlook.
Tanzania’s parliament will debate budgeting issues of respective sectors for a few months when the world’s three largest economies are stalling, with important consequences for the global outlook with inflation remaining a major concern.
Inflationary risks will remain high due to both external and domestic influences. The external risks will be associated with the possibility that the international financial crisis may persist, while the domestic risks will be associated with a context of slower demand due to the slow growth in private sector activities and low-capacity utilisation in many sectors.
All in all, higher-than-expected, although global inflation has been revised in part due to rising food and energy prices, especially in the United States and major European economies, will continue to trigger a tightening of global financial conditions and this will have further negative spill-overs from the war in Ukraine and as a result, global output will be affected enormously.
This year, inflation is anticipated to reach 6.6% in advanced economies and 9.5% in emerging and developing economies. Inflation has also broadened in many economies, reflecting the impact of cost pressures from disrupted supply chains and historically tight labour markets. These issues are critical to Tanzania as honourable MPs debate national budget for 2023/2024.
by Ben Taylor
Air Tanzania clashes with Airbus, faces financial struggles
Air Tanzania’s ongoing dispute with Airbus took a new twist in March, when the airline (ATCL) took the matter to the African Airlines Association (AFRAA), calling on the assistance of four other African airlines to pressurise the manufacturer to find a solution.
Two ATCL planes have been grounded since October 2022 due to failure of its engines, with the airline blaming the manufacturer for failing to secure new engines.
The other airlines called upon for assistance include Air Senegal and Egyptair. The latter reportedly has 12 Airbus aircraft, out of which 10 have been grounded for similar defects.
ATCL’s Director General, Ladislaus Matindi, said that the manufacturer will have to pay ATCL compensation as spelt out in the contract, but complained that the process has taken a long time, and that in the meantime the company is accumulating losses.
Currently, ATCL has a fleet of 12 aircraft, of which three are grounded due to technical and legal issues, including two Airbus with the capacity to carry between 120 and 160 passengers.
Meanwhile, the Controller and Auditor General reported that ATCL incurred a loss of TSh 35.2 billion (around USD $15m) in the financial year 2021/22. This represents a relatively small reduction in losses compared to the previous year, when they stood at TSh 36.1 billion.
Earlier, in February, the Deputy Minister for Works and Transport, Atupele Mwakibete, told Parliament in Dodoma that the government has set aside funds to bailout ATCL. Specifically, he said the government has allocated over TSh 10 billion to settle debts owed to Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) workers.
Preliminary report for Precision Air crash released
In Match, a preliminary report on the Precision Air plane crash was released by the Works and Transport Ministry through the Aircraft Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB).
A Precision Air aircraft with 39 passengers and four crew on board crashed into Lake Victoria on November 6 last year as it was flying from Dar es Salaam to Bukoba. Nineteen people died in the accident [see TA134].
According to the report, the weather in Bukoba was poor when the plane went down and the crew did not respond appropriately to a series of warnings from the plane’s enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS). The aircraft was on final approach to Bukoba Airport in marginal weather conditions when the EGPWS warned about the excessively high descent rate three times. “The warning was not followed by corrective action of the flight crew. Instead, the flight crew pushed the control column into a nose down position,” the report says.
Prior to the crash, the plane circled for about 20 minutes in heavy rain, prompting the flight crew to make right and left turns in order to navigate through narrow weather windows. “Marginal visibility caused high workload among the crew and may have contributed to the failure to react to terrain warnings during the final approach.”
The aircraft and its crew were in good shape, according to the report. “There is no evidence to suggest the flight crew were not fit and healthy prior to the flight,” it says. The aircraft had valid registration, airworthiness and release-to-service certificates and the required scheduled maintenance had been conducted.
Air Transport Accident Investigation assistant director, Mr Redemptus Bugomola, emphasised that the latest findings were merely observations about what happened during the ill-fated flight. “The final report will be released at the conclusion of the investigation. It will include causal and contributory factors of the accident,” he explained.
The final report is due by November 2023, at the conclusion of a deeper investigation being conducted jointly by aviation experts representing the Tanzanian government, privately-owned Precision Air, and the aircraft’s manufacturers in France.
Mr Gaudence Temu, an aviation expert, said the Precision Air accident should be viewed as an opportunity to learn lessons to prevent similar incidents in the future. “Every incident has a lesson to offer. We need to adhere to the rules and regulations because they are there for a reason,” he said. He added that in his view the flight crew were blameless, and the disaster was caused entirely by bad weather.
KLM briefly suspends flights to Tanzania
Air France-KLM briefly suspended flights to Tanzania in late January, citing claims of civil unrest in the country. The airline resumed flights three days later, and issued an official apology to the government of Tanzania.
It may be coincidental that shortly before the airline’s suspension of flights, the US Embassy in Dar es Salaam warned that “Terrorist groups could attack with little or no warning targeting hotels, embassies, restaurants, malls and markets, police stations, mosques and other frequented places by Westerners.” KLM itself made no public reference to the Embassy’s warning. The Tanzania Police Force assured the public that the country was safe.
While the suspension was in force, Tanzania’s Ministry of Information, Communication and Information Technology issued a statement noting “with great concern the false claims being spread by some foreign institutions and companies that there is civil unrest in Tanzania.” They dismissed the KLM claims as “baseless, alarmist, unfounded, inconsiderate and insensitive”.
“Our agencies remain vigilant to ensure the safety and protection of individuals and their property…. we are cooperating with our partner states to interdict any security threat,” the statement said.
After the issue was resolved, the Minister Prof Makame Mbarawa thanked and appreciated all those aviation stakeholders who had disregarded the “unfounded and baseless” claims and continued with their operations.
Uber draws criticism
The ride-sharing service, Uber, has drawn criticism for its “ruthless practices” in its control of drivers across Africa, including Tanzania. According to Global Information Society Watch (GISWatch), in the decade since Uber’s launch on the continent, the vision of the inclusion and empowerment of African workers in a new, flexible, egalitarian world of work has not materialised. Instead, African labour has been commodified within new digital value chains, which funnel much of the value to northern corporations.
This controversy has played out prominently in Tanzania. When, in March 2022, the government tried to determine a per-kilometre ride-hailing rate and force companies to lower their commissions to 15% amid soaring fuel prices, Uber suspended its operations in the country, giving one day’s notice of its plans. Its main competitor, Bolt, also significantly reduced its operations. Uber resumed operations in Tanzania six months later, apparently having reached an agreement to work with the regulator. Shortly after this, the government agreed to allow Uber and others to charge 25% commission and a 3% booking fee.
Uber thus made it clear that it is willing to leave urban African transport systems in the lurch if and when regulators try to take steps to protect drivers’ pay. The company says it “rigorously engages” with drivers and takes their feedback on board.
MV Mwanza launched on Lake Victoria
The much anticipated MV Mwanza launched its operations in the waters of Lake Victoria in February with a number of senior government officials taking part in the ceremony.
Bearing the nickname ‘Hapa Kazi Tu’, the MV Mwanza is a 1200-passenger ship constructed at Mwanza shipyard. The vessel is 92m long and powered by twin engines, and is designed to carry over 1000 passengers, 400 tonnes of general cargo, 20 cars and three (3) trucks. It will ply between Mwanza and Bukoba ports in Tanzania as well as Kisumu port of Kenya and Port Bell in the Nakawa Division of Kampala, in Uganda.
Bridge to Zanzibar proposed
Tanzania is set to build a bridge that will connect the mainland to the Islands of Zanzibar to ease movement of goods and people, according to the deputy minister of Works and Transport Godfrey Kasekenya. He was speaking in Parliament in April.
Kasekenya said that authorities had met with the prospective investors of M/S China Overseas Engineering Group Company (COVEC), who have shown interest in building the bridge. He said the outcome of the meeting is still being worked on by the governments of Tanzania and Zanzibar. If undertaken, the 50km bridge will be the longest in Africa.
by James L.Laizer
Nyerere National Park, an emergent tourism destination in Southern Tanzania
The Tanzanian government and tourism sector partners are keen to highlight the potential of the Nyerere National Park, and various outlets now cover news and offers on this emergent tourist destination. Covering an area of 30,893 square kilometres, the park is one of the largest in the world. Located in south-eastern Tanzania, about 230 kilometres by road from Dar es Salaam city to Mtemere Gate, it was carved out from the Selous Game Reserve, a gigantic wilderness area and safari destination in Southern Tanzania.
The park was named after the first president of Tanzania, the late Julius Nyerere, in recognition of his work going back to the Arusha declaration of 1967, championing conservation and protection of wildlife in the country, as a matter of national heritage. It is one of the wildest places remaining in Africa, with a wide variety of wildlife habitats, including open grasslands, miombo woodlands, swamps and riverine forests in the many tributaries of the mighty Rufiji River which flows through the park to the Indian Ocean.
Given that the park was only upgraded to national park status in November 2019 and less frequented by tourists, animals there tend to be less exposed to humans. The park hosts some of the largest populations of mammals and reptiles in Africa, including buffaloes, elephants, hippos and crocodiles. Together with the remaining part of Selous Game Reserve, it is considered to be the last stronghold of the African wild dog—or painted wolf. Other common wildlife includes the wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, eland, the greater kudu, sable antelopes, black rhino, waterbuck, impala, lion, leopard, the spotted hyena, cheetah, baboon, blue monkey, and the black and white colobus monkey which can be viewed in riverine forests.
Increasing coverage indicates Nyerere National Park offers a wide variety of game viewing opportunities including the experience of a walking safari in the company of an armed ranger. The many waterways in the park provide an excellent natural setting for boat safaris, both for big game viewing and bird watching. This is in addition to the game drives in bespoke safari vehicles which, combined with boat and walking safaris, offer specialist products distinctive to Nyerere National Park.
The best time to visit is from June to October, when vegetation is sparse and when thirsty ungulate herds move towards water, trailed by lions, hyenas, leopards and wild dogs. During the long rains, between March and May, some parts of the park are temporarily closed for game drives due to poor accessibility. For bird lovers, Nyerere National Park is one of the best birding destinations in Tanzania and the best time for one to go for birding is between November and April during the wet season when migratory birds fly into the country. Established bird species include the yellow-bellied bulbul, mangrove kingfisher, black cuckoo-shrike, palm-nu vulture, red throated twin spot, red-winged warbler, African skimmer, spotted flanked barbet and the grey hooded kingfisher among others. About 440 species of birds both resident and migratory have been observed in the national park.
There is an increasingly wide range of choice for accommodation, which have been developed for this new key tourism product and conservation habitat in the southern circuit.
Dialogue over securing a single tourist visa for EAC Partner states
Initial discussions over securing a single tourist visa for the East African partner states are in progress. The East Africa Tourism Platform (EATP) is developing a work plan for research and advocacy to partner states on the East African Community (EAC) single tourist visa to help the sector thrive. Mr John Bosco Kalisa, the Executive Director of the East African Business Council (EABC), stated that the new initiative is in line with a vision of developing a single tourist destination to boost the performance of the bloc’s tourism sector.
The visa will therefore help to ease movement of international tourists across the EAC partner states boarders of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and make it easier for industry players to offer multi-destination packages and fostering economic growth in the sector.
Tourism is one of the significant sectors in the EAC economy. The sector accounts for approximately 17% of total export earnings, 10% of GDP growth, and 7% of total employment opportunities in the region. The sector has close links to transportation, food production, retail and entertainment sectors. The EAC is a popular region offering numerous tourism investment opportunities, include the establishment of resort cities, the branding of premium parks and the construction of internationally branded hotels.
Other opportunities include the development of high-quality meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) tourist facilities and conference tourism facilities, as well as health and sports tourism.
According to data from 2022, the EAC recorded around 5.8 million international tourist arrivals, and in the context of the African tourism market, the EAC held a share of approximately 13.5% of the total international tourist arrivals in Africa, which stood at around 43 million last year, according to Mr. Yves Ngenzi EATP Regional Coordinator. Mr Ngenzi said by streamlining the visa application process for international tourists, the EAC can create a more tourist-friendly environment that could potentially lead to an increase in tourist arrivals, as visitors would find it more convenient to explore multiple EAC destinations with a single visa.
Study suggests challenges with community conservation partnerships
Current partnerships for wildlife, forestry and marine resource conservation have had limited or no impact on local communities, according to a recent study. It proposes a number of steps for the arrangement to be improved on, to provide the desired results.
The five-year study, from which results were launched on 6th April, 2023, was a collaboration between researchers from the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), Copenhagen Business School and University of Roskilde (Denmark), University of Sheffield and the Autonomous University of Barcelona.
Experts who were based in the districts of Kilwa, Rufiji and Mtwara Rural presented evidence to stakeholders and the government to enhance their methods of conservation of natural resources in relation to the livelihoods of local residents. The project ‘New Partnerships for Sustainability’ (NEPSUS) suggests that while complex partnerships that link donors, government, community organisations, NGOs, consultancies, certification agencies and other intermediaries have been emerging to address the sustainability of natural resource use, this has not yet delivered better outcomes for local communities.
The findings led to the publication of a book titled “Contested Sustainability: The Political Ecology of Conservation and Development in Tanzania.” The authors argue that to a large extent, the results of those partnerships have been beneficial for the elite class. According to the research, village groups around natural resources, especially in coastal areas, face governance challenges related to structural, financial and participatory failures.
They propose that in the formation of community groups, the local community are sometimes involved at the beginning, but the process ends up being captured by the central government and local elites. ‘’Financially, most local groups such as Beach Management Units (BMUs) are poorly equipped and the funds accrued from fines and fees are not enough to facilitate the setting up of alternative livelihood activities,” reads part of the report findings. Despite deliberate, evolving and persuasive efforts by government, NGOs and companies to raise awareness about the relevant rules and regulations, the results suggest that sustainability partnerships have struggled to gain and maintain legitimacy. They argue that “local communities are yet to perceive these partnerships as responsive, accountable and trustworthy arrangements that strike the requisite balance between community welfare and conservation goals”. The findings indicate that much of the economic benefits are primarily realised at the community level rather than the household level.
Prof. Christine Noe from UDSM, one of the report authors, says that they aimed to have evidence to advise the improvement of various government policies. “To whose benefit do we conserve?” she inquired, adding that many community members have been seen as enemies of conservation and recommending that alternative sources of livelihood that make sense to local communities should be facilitated. According to Prof. Noe, greater efforts should be made to facilitate contact between local communities and other key actors before the establishment of sustainability partnerships, to maintain them during their operation and to ensure that the benefits accrued from the income resulting from partnerships need to be distributed evenly and avoid elite capture.
by Ben Taylor
Tanzania experiences first Marburg virus outbreak, now considered to be contained
On March 21, the Ministry of Health confirmed an outbreak of the Marburg virus in the district of Bukoba in the far north-west of the country, four days after reports of a “possibly contagious disease” emerged in the district. The Ministry stated that five people including a health worker had died as a result of the outbreak, after developing symptoms of fever, vomiting, bleeding, and kidney failure.
The Ministry issued a travel advisory notice on March 22, which requires that all departing and domestic travellers from Kagera region will be required to complete an online traveller’s surveillance form, and that at all points of entry (airport, ground crossing or port), body temperature of all travellers will be checked. All persons with feverish conditions should be prevented from traveling in and out of the country until they complete the monitoring period and are given clearance to travel by the Port Health Authority.
The Ministry also initiated an urgent contact tracing process, identifying over 200 contacts of those infected. All persons in the contact tracing list are monitored regularly and prevented from leaving their places of isolation and travel.
As of April 25, six people have died out of nine confirmed cases, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Of 212 contacts, 206 had completed their monitoring period. Two of the cases involved healthcare workers, including one of those who died. Many of the contacts under monitoring were healthcare workers.
A few days later, the Ministry announced that they were confident that the outbreak had been contained. However, according to best practice procedures for managing such outbreaks, it will not officially be declared over until at least the end of May, 2023, six weeks after the final two patients were confirmed to be Marburg free. In the interim, authorities will maintain active surveillance.
The Health Minister, Ms Ummy Mwalimu, urged the general public to continue taking precautionary measures against the disease and other infectious diseases. She thanked the health experts, especially those on the front line in Kagera Region, including those who provided services to patients, and the contract tracing team.
This was the first ever outbreak of Marburg virus in Tanzania, though outbreaks have been recorded in the DRC, Uganda and Kenya, as well as other parts of the continent. The highly-infectious disease is similar to Ebola, with symptoms including fever, muscle pains, diarrhoea, vomiting and, in some cases, death through extreme blood loss. Hundreds of people have died from the virus in recent years, almost all in Africa. A 2005 outbreak in Angola killed more than 300 people.
According to the WHO, the Marburg virus kills around half of the people it infects. Marburg is considered much more dangerous than Ebola because, unlike with Ebola, there is “no vaccine or post-exposure treatment”, explained Cesar Munoz-Fontela, a specialist in tropical infectious diseases at the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg. There is no vaccine because, until now, there has been “no market” for one. “Without the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa, we wouldn’t have an Ebola vaccine,” he continued, referring to the Everbo jab created in 2015.
The virus can be carried by African green monkeys and pigs, as well as the Egyptian Rousette fruit bat. Among humans, it is spread mostly by people who have spent long periods in caves and mines populated by bats. Between humans, it spreads through bodily fluids and contact with contaminated bedding.
A major success story: reduction in child mortality
Tanzania’s marked reduction in child mortality over the past 2-3 decades is the kind of story that rarely makes headlines, but which should do so. A steady decline in the child mortality rate over this period means that currently 43 children die before reaching the age of five for every thousand children who are born. This is down by more than two thirds since 1999, when the figure was 147 per thousand.
Dr Felix Bundala, the assistant director for child health in the Ministry of Health ascribed the achievement to the successful adoption of Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI). IMCI is an integrated approach that aims at reducing preventable mortality, minimize illness and disability of children under five years of age, he explained. This includes focussing on increasing coverage of cost-effective interventions like immunizations.
According to Dr Bundala, between 2013 and 2018 over 7,000 providers from over 3,000 health facilities in 101 out of 185 councils had been trained in IMCI.
Dr Bundala listed pneumonia, malaria, diarrhoea as among the leading child killer diseases. Diarrhoea alone is responsible for nearly 20% of all under five deaths, but receives considerably less development assistance as compared to HIV, Malaria and Tuberculosis.
“It is only through IMCI where Pneumonia and Diarrhoea are captured. And therefore, it remains to be a priority intervention,” he pointed out.
He added that more work was needed to end preventable child deaths. In particular, he noted, there was a need for increased investment in primary health care interventions for children.
by Ben Taylor
Viral video prompts debate on corporal punishment in schools
Video footage of a teacher in Kagera Region striking pupils on their feet for allegedly failing to complete an assignment, has prompted much public debate, including among MPs in parliament. The video had been widely circulated on social media.
“This kind of punishment is creating unnecessary public panic,” said Edward Kisau, MP (CCM, Kiteto), and called on the government draft a law to completely end corporal punishment in schools. “Alternatively, it could be reduced to one stick,” he added as other MPs applauded.
“There are countries which have completely banned corporal punishment,” said Mr Abdallah Chikota (CCM, Nanyamba). “Considering the fact that we are currently reviewing the education policy, can we completely stop whipping in schools and find an alternative?” he asked.
In his response, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa explained that the teacher had been suspended pending a proper investigation of the case. “The government will not tolerate such kinds of punishment which violate the laid down procedures,” he added.
Guidelines require that caning should only be carried out by the head teacher or other person authorised by the school head and should be documented in writing. The punishment should not also exceed four strokes for each student.
Opposition MP Conchesta Rwamlaza (Chadema, Special Seats) challenged the Prime Minister who had warned those who recorded the video. “Sharing the video exposed the incident and helped the government to take action against people who would have been otherwise protected by officials,” she said. She added that the Prime Minister’s approach would only lead to people covering up the violence.
In response, Mr Majaliwa said his intention was to avoid unnecessary panic to the public and creating negative image against all teachers. “The teacher who recorded the video should have shared it with education officials for action,” he said.
Mr Saashisha Mafuwe (CCM, Hai) asked the government to regulate the way punishment was administered even in homes. “Such kind of punishment does not only occur in schools,” he said, “but also in homes. What’s the government comment on that?”
However, the Speaker, Tulia Ackson, did not allow the Premier to respond, explaining that it was out of the context.
Corporal punishment is very common in Tanzanian schools. After a similar video was circulated in 2019, Human Rights Watch commented that “corporal punishment is child abuse. It is brutal, widespread, and state-sanctioned in Tanzania. In recent years, Human Rights Watch has spoken to many children who are caned, punched, or slapped by teachers.”
At that time, President Magufuli expressed his support for the individual who was filmed caning the children, arguing that it was an effective form of discipline that had been used for many years.
There is evidence that this view has widespread public support. In a 2016 survey, 79% of Tanzanians said it was either always (8%) or sometimes (71%) acceptable for a teacher to beat a pupil.
“Immoral” Wimpy Kid books banned
The Minister for Education, Science and Technology, Prof Adolf Mkenda, has banned 16 books from use in schools and other education institutions, citing immoral content that violates the country’s cultural norms, morals and good practices in raising children. Speaking to reporters in February, Prof Mkenda warned schools with the stray books in their shelves, saying failure to remove them will attract disciplinary measures including risking the institution’s deregistration.
The list includes thirteen books by the author and cartoonist Jeff Kinney – the popular series titled Diary of a Wimpy Kid – as well as Sex Education: a Guide to Life. It appears that the other two titles listed by the Minister – T is for Transgender, and L is for LGBTQI – are not actually books, but are instead two lines of text from within a single book – An ABC of Equality.
The Minister did not give details as to what content in the various books had caused offence, though the ban followed a public outcry around reported “rampant” homosexuality in Tanzania’s universities. One MP, Frank Haule (CCM) made this claim, and shortly afterwards President Samia Suluhu Hassan publicly called on university students to resist “imported cultures” that go against Tanzanian norms.
It was therefore widely understood that the book ban stemmed from the same concern. This would make sense given the “titles” of the two non-existent books that were banned. However, there are no LGBT storylines or characters in the Wimpy Kid series.
The first book in the Wimpy Kid series was published in 2007 and since then 275 million copies have been sold worldwide in 69 languages, according to the wimpykid.com website. There have also been several film adaptations.
Dissertations for sale
University students in Tanzania are increasingly hiring individuals and bureaus to write research reports and dissertations on their behalf in exchange for money, according to an investigation in The Citizen newspaper.
The investigation discovered a rising number of bureaus and individuals who survive by writing dissertations and research reports for postgraduates and undergraduates. People running the bureaus have established offices around university campuses and have employed agents to target potential customers in colleges. Operators of the bureaus are lecturers, former lecturers, academicians, and other academically gifted individuals who have quit employment at universities to join the highly-paying work.
According to the article, the students prepare their research proposal and then contract the “academic writers” to do the rest of the work for an agreed fee. The report found the practice is particularly common among post-graduate students.
“You should first send me the title of your proposal that has been approved by your supervisor, then we can talk about the terms of my service; think of raising up to TSh1.5 million,” said a Morogoro-based dissertation writer (name withheld). Oblivious to the fact he was communicating with a journalist, the writer explained that he had been engaging in the business for the past ten years.
“What I want to assure you is that the dissertation that I’m going to prepare for you will sail. I have never had a case where a dissertation prepared by me was rejected; I know the standards and what exactly your supervisors want,” said the writer.
Another academic based in Dar es Salaam has admitted he has been making a living by writing dissertations for the past four years. He doesn’t feel guilty for the work, saying what he does is to help students achieve their full potential and realise their dreams. “What I do is help students fulfil their dreams. They give me concept notes or proposals, and I do the rest of the work. I collect data for them upon negotiations. At the end of the day, they must read the work and defend it. Now what’s the problem?” asks the writer.
One student – a postgraduate who had recently submitted her master’s thesis at a Dar es Salaam-based university – admitted to using these services. “Mine was prepared by a Kenyan for TSh1.3 million; she’s very, very good! Talk to her about yours and you will see for yourself,” she said.
A lecturer at an Iringa-based university who asked for anonymity admitted the problem was serious but was quick to defend those who engage in the activity. “Lecturers are receiving meagre salaries; they can’t maintain their families, so what they do is just one way of supplementing insufficient salaries,” he said.
“It is true that there are people in town sitting down and writing dissertations for students. I am the associate dean of the School of Education; we once discovered a trend, but I don’t have evidence that my students are engaged in this kind of cheating,” says University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) Vice Chancellor, Prof. William Anangisye.
The Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU) says it has established standards and guidelines for the purpose of regulating the quality and conduct of postgraduate training, research, and innovation. It says the quality assurance standards and guidelines it has set to check academic fraud and ensure ownership of work by students are being respected.
“Our work as TCU is to set minimum guidelines that must be adhered to by universities to ensure quality of education. The standards were set to ensure ownership,” says Prof. Kihampa.