Supporters of the opposition in Tanzania are reacting in different ways to the virtual collapse of the main opposition party in parliament – the National Convention for Construction and Reform (NCCR-Mageuzi) – and the seeming inevitability of a continuation for the foreseeable future of rule by the Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM), which has been in power for over thirty years. Some NCCR supporters believe that the official leader of their party – former Deputy Prime Minister Augustine Mrema – who remains widely popular, is the only person in the country who can rid Tanzania of corruption and, as one of them said to TA “we will support Mrema to the bitter end”. Other NCCR supporters are so disillusioned by what has been happening in the party (TA Nos. 57-60) that they do not know what to do as they cannot see any other opposition group on the horizon with the power to challenge the CCM. Many supporters have lost hope altogether and say that they will not bother to vote in the next elections in the year 2000.
Several of the other opposition political parties are also in trouble and in by-election after by-election stubbornly refuse to cooperate in order to give at least one the chance of defeating the monolithic CCM. The CHADEMA party has lost its founding fathers Edwin Mtei and Brown Ngwilulupi due to ill health. The UDP, whose leader in parliament, John Cheyo, is proving effective in challenging the CCM on financial issues, remains a regional party with most of its support in Mwanza and Shinyanga regions. The leading opposition party in Zanzibar has 18 of its leaders in jail (see below) and is showing the first signs of internal discord.
And now the government has decided to discontinue payment of subsidies to political parties, which might mean the end for the weaker ones. Only two of Tanzania’s 13 parties (the NCCR and CUF) have properly accounted for funds received so far. All the parties lack clear policies and ideology and Father of the Nation, Mwalimu Nyerere, recently criticised his own CCM party for not having produced a new ideology since the days of socialist rule. Even so, CCM now looks impregnable as it prepares for the next general elections in the year 2000.
The most recent event to shock NCCR’S divided supporters was an outburst by Mrema in Parliament in which he accused the government of threatening to kill him and also to kill the leading opposition personality in Zanzibar, Seif Sharrif Hamad of the CUF party and of being responsible for the death of former Director of Intelligence General Imran Kombe (who was, according to the trial judge, killed by two policemen who disregarded instructions from their superior not to fire – see TA Nos. 56-59).
Many of Mrema’s supporters believe these accusations to be true but his fellow MP’s clearly do not. Parliamentary Speaker Pius Msekwa responded to Mrema’s allegations by giving him five days to substantiate his claims. Some MP’s referred to what they described as Mrema’s erratic behaviour. Mrema then presented a report to parliament in which he stated that he had heard about a meeting at which the alleged killings were being planned; he produced newspaper cuttings and a CCM circular. Prime Minister Frederick Sumaye urged parliament to take punitive action as Mrema had been telling lies. Mrema then pleaded for a lenient punishment as he was a first offender and had a wife and a score of children who would suffer if he were severely punished. MP’s voted unanimously to reject his evidence as a complete fabrication. He was suspended from the House for 40 days – the whole of the remainder of the budget session. Only two of his 19 NCCR MP’s spoke up in his favour but some other opposition leaders criticised the punishment as being too severe. The leadership in Mrema’s Temeke (Dar es Salaam) constituency party were said to have told him to desist from bringing his constituents into his quarrel with parliament; the Swahili paper ‘Nipashe’ said that he had been told that they did not send him to parliament to ‘explode bombs about assassination plots’. Mrema’s next move was to appeal to the High Court for a temporary injunction against the 40-day suspension but this was unsuccessful. Judge Eustace Katiti said that the court had no jurisdiction to hear the petition.
On August 6 Mrema set off for Dodoma where he had been summoned to appear before the Parliamentary Immunities, Powers and Privileges Committee over various public statements he had made after he had been suspended from parliament.
Meanwhile the other NCCR faction led by the ‘official’ Secretary General, Mabere Marando, was said to be issuing its own membership cards. These were illegal however because not sanctioned by the party’s divided National Executive Committee.
‘EXECUTIVE TOO STRONG’
In a related development the Government owned ‘Daily News’ (May 15) launched a strong attack in its main editorial column on the Delegate of the European Commission in Tanzania who was reported to have told Reuters that in Tanzania ‘the executive has far too strong a hold on power and that is why there is so much economic mismanagement’. The paper commented: ‘In other words his prescription for better management is a weak executive. What mandate does he have to prescribe a weak government? Would it be wrong to deduce that the mandate he thinks he has is the aid we receive from his principals? The Delegate was also quoted as saying that there was far too much power in the hands of one party – the CCM – and that the Tanzanian constitution needed to be changed. He thought that Tanzanians were tackling it too late before the next elections’.
The editorial went on: ‘The only conclusion we can is that the European Union did not want CCM to win the 1995 elections. Is hid view not derisive of the 61.8% of the people who voted for the CCM candidate for president and the 80% of CCM candidates elected to parliament?’ The Delegate was also said to have said that Tanzania could not expect aid programmes to continue without political progress. The editorial commented: If this is his idea of political progress then it is pure blackmail or, at the very least, arm-twisting of the worst kind….. Tanzanians put a higher premium on their political independence than on money’.
‘GET RID OF THE DONORS’
Jenerali Ulimwengu, writing in the new Dar es Salaam daily ‘the African’ went further. He praised a recent speech by Foreign Minister Jakaya Kikwete in which the Minister had attacked diplomats and donors for meddling in Tanzania’s internal affairs (‘that is how a responsible government should behave, as a fearless master of its country … ‘). Donors were complaining about corruption (they were right to do so) and also the lack of human rights. But, he went on: ‘What right does a government have to take money from the taxpayers of another (donor) nation, dispose of it in a corrupt manner and then plead national sovereignty when it is required to account for it?’ And on human rights he wrote: ‘Do we expect the world to look on in silence as people are harassed, beaten up and imprisoned in part of the country without plausible cause?’ He criticised donors for the selectivity of their criticism (‘they don’t criticise Saudi Arabia, Kuwait etc.’); Tanzania should ‘get rid of donors, make them irrelevant, redundant; it should learn to be humble, shun ostentation (‘I do not know of any single government in the world which buys as many Land Cruisers, Nissan Patrols, Discoveries, Range Rovers as our government’), live within its means and save in order to invest’.
PRESIDENT DEFENDS HIS PERFORMANCE
In a vigorous response in the Daily News (May 28) to a critical letter written to the Editor of the Dar es Salaam ‘Express’, President Mkapa listed his government’s successes since he took over in 1995. The letter had accused the President of being isolationist and keeping foreign investors out, of privatisation of parastatal enterprises being too slow, an atmosphere of gloom in the market, Tanzania’s international image low, and of there having been no real achievements to the government’s credit. ‘The people I meet say that you do not care’ the letter said.
The President, in a comprehensive reply, wrote about the 974 new development projects since 1991, (50% owned by foreigners), a 100% increase in revenue collection, inflation down from 29.8% to l3.2% (April 1998) and an increase in the minimum wage from Shs 5,000 to Shs 17,500. Since the privatisation exercise had began in 1992, the President wrote, 108 enterprises had been divested, 61 declared bankrupt, 14 closed, 23 leased and 7 had entered into performance agreements. – a total of 213 out of the then 387 public enterprises. He added that the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange was now operating and that the major public utilities – power, water, telecommunications, the ports and the petroleum industry were scheduled for privatisation in part or in whole, as well as the two major banks. Because of the improved fiscal and monetary performance and improving debt servicing, Tanzania was now respected in the international financial world. Loans and bilateral grants had increased from Shs 80 billion in 1995/96 to Shs 324 billion this year. Tourist revenues were up from $258 million in 1995 to an unprecedented $392 million last year. GDP had increased by 52%, exports by 20%, foreign reserves by 93%; the exchange rate had stabilised.
This statement of economic success received considerable support in a 12-page section on Tanzania in the June-July issue of ‘Business Africa’ under the heading ‘Moving in the Right Direction’. Writers spoke of the tight monetary policy, strict budgetary discipline, the liberalised trade regime, improved tax administration, increased debt servicing and rationalisation of tariffs. Another article was optimistic about the prospects for the new Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange and the positive results to be seen in the economy especially in the banking and financial sectors. Tanzania’s vast mineral wealth was ‘on the brink of a boom’ and the privatisation of parastatal organisations was described as ‘a great bonanza’.
TWO MINISTERS AND AN MP LOSE THEIR SEATS
In a surprising move on May 27 the High Court, in a 120-page ruling, removed from his seat Minister for Labour and Youth Development and MP for Bukoba Rural, Sebastian Kinyondo. High Court Registrar Daniel Safari also banned Kinyondo from standing for Parliament for the next ten years and required him to pay all costs of the case. The petition had been brought by CHADEMA party candidate Dr Medard Matungi, who had got 10,116 votes in the election compared with 42,169 for Kinyondo. The court found that most of the allegations made were true. There had been bribing of the Returning Officer and Kinyondo was said to have used defamatory statements about Matungi throughout the campaign.
Dr William Shija the Minister for Industries and Trade and CCM MP for Sengerema in the Shinyanga Region has also been unseated following a petition to the court by the defeated UDP candidate. The judgement took nine hours to read. Some 17,000 voters had not been able to vote because of lack of ballot papers. President Mkapa appointed acting ministers in their stead.
Sebastian Kinyondo is appealing against the verdict but William Shija has decided not to and to fight again in the byelection scheduled for October 4.
On April 3 the High Court nullified the election of the MP for Kishapu, Tabora for various irregularities. On June 14 the Appeals Court rejected an appeal by the Attorney General against the unseating of the MP but in the subsequent by-election he regained his seat without difficulty:
A by-election in Singida North held on May 1, following the death of the previous MP, gave the following results:
Votes in 1995 election
Ali Abmed Ali
It is interesting to note that the NCCR candidate retained virtually the whole of his party’s previous vote in spite of the ructions within the party.
The main subject of debate in political quarters in recent weeks has been the government’s response to a demand by the opposition for a new constitution to reflect the multi-party system now in operation. The opposition favours the setting up of a constituent assembly to draw up the new constitution but the government has instead issued a ‘white paper’ allowing for nationwide discussions but insisting that modification of the present constitution is all that is needed. President Mkapa has appointed a 13-person commission under the chairmanship of Justice Robert Kisanga to hear people’s views on a future constitution, during the next six months.
“Despite the several calls I have made, only one person in three years has revealed the names of people suspected of corruption” – President Mkpapa, quoted in the Daily News during the May Day celebrations in Shinyanga. “We leave culprits stealing large sums of public money but we take the law into our own hands in stoning to death young boys suspected of stealing Shs 1,000 (£1)” he said.
One hundred people were charged with corruption last year. Police recovered Shs 2.85 million in 82 incidents.
Assistant Director of the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) Sten Rylander has praised the Warioba Report on corruption and described it as one of the best of its kind so far produced in Africa. “But it is only by strong follow-up and real enforcement that a true and respected record of the report can be established” he said. He was concerned about the Independent Power (IPTL) Project and the Rufiji prawn farming deal (TA No. 60) saying that transparency in their transactions had not been up to the level required for a true partnership.
As this issue of TA goes to press Tanzania is abuzz with rumours and leaks to the media to the effect that there might be a settlement in the long standing deadlock between the CCM government and the CUF opposition party in Zanzibar. This would be very good news indeed for Tanzania’s image abroad if it were to happen as Zanzibar has become something of an embarrassment to the Union government.
The special envoy of Commonwealth Secretary General Chief Anyaoku, Dr Moses Anafu, has been working with the parties since early June and it was expected that the Secretary General would himself go to Tanzania on August 12 to sign protocols which would bring an end to the conflict. However, as this issue went to press Chief Anyaoku told ‘Tanzanian Affairs’ that his visit was being postponed but he hoped to go towards the end of August.
According to the Dar es Salaam ‘Daily Mail’ and Britain’s ‘Africa Analysis’, the proposed agreement would mean a return to parliament by the opposition CUF MP’s who have been boycotting it since the elections in 1995; there would be constitutional changes especially in the conduct of elections and compensation would be paid to those CUF supporters who have had their houses demolished. The agreement could also mean that CCM would no longer have a two thirds majority in the Zanzibar parliament and would not therefore be able to change the constitution to allow President Amour to stand for a third term in office. But, after the press revealed details of the proposed settlement, there were immediate reactions from the CCM leadership. Never, said Zanzibar Chief Minister Mohammed Billal, would the government surrender to the CUF and the next day President Amour said that no agreement had been reached – he would continue to rule Zanzibar until 2000 when the next elections would be held. But later he was reported (in the Dar es Salaam ‘Guardian’) to have said that, if a settlement were to come about, it would show that the CCM had won. “If they see me as a catalyst for settlement that would be very good” he said.
Meanwhile the CUF party is having internal difficulties. An indication of this was the recent action taken by the party against Ms Naila Majid Jiddawi MP (for Women) and ‘shadow’ Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Union Parliament who was removed from her ‘shadow ‘post; attempts were made to force her out of the party and hence out of parliament. According to the ‘Daily Mail’ she was alleged by CUF leaders to be leaking CUF secrets to CCM and to be a close friend of President Amour’s wife. Ms Jiddawi, who is a businesswoman, then appealed to the High Court to fight her expulsion. She had met the Zanzibar President’s wife only once, she said. She admitted that she was opposing the party’s policy of boycotting the Zanzibar House of Representatives. Following the success of the appeal she returned to parliament in Dodoma and, according to the ‘Daily News’ received a tumultuous welcome from all sides of the House.
The ‘Daily News’ has also reported a top CUF official as having admitted that there has been a steady decline in the party’s strength. He said that the injustices being committed against CUF members and supporters made the days of colonial rule look better. He said that the party leadership had gone to great lengths to try and ensure that justice was done in Zanzibar through local and international initiatives.
At the Mikunguni by-election on June 21 (following the death of the previous MP on April 12) the CCM candidate, irrigation expert Dr. Suleiman Omar, won by 4,926 votes (92%) compared with 409 for CUF candidate Badru Vuaia. This compared with 4,158 for CCM and 576 votes for CUF in the 1995 general election. There was again a very heavy turnout. Almost 99% of registered electors voted. Eight parties contested the byelection.
On April 29 the Zanzibar House of Representatives suspended all CUF MP’s (excluding the five in detention under the treason trial) from the session then underway, for contravening House regulations. All CCM MP’s supported the motion but CUF MP’s ‘contemptuously clapped their hands’ according to the ‘Daily News’. They had been excluded in October (for five days), again in February for 20 days and again on June 15 for boycotting the budget sessions. The CUF MP’s lose fuel, electricity and constituency allowances when they are suspended.
On May 1 CCM’s Maudline Castico described allegations of human rights abuses in Zanzibar made by the newly elected MP, Juma Duni, to the UN Human Rights session in Geneva as ‘pure junk’. Visitors from all walks of life came to Zanzibar without any hindrance. What human rights violations did they see, she asked.
The former candidate of the opposition CUF party for the post of Vice-President of Tanzania and victor in the by-election in October 1997 for the Mkunazini seat in the Zanzibar House of Assembly (TA No 59) Mr Juma Duni Haji was arrested on May 11 and was later added to the group of 17 CUF leaders being held for treason. His house was searched thoroughly and, according to the ‘Guardian’, ‘it was presumed that the arrest was in connection with the alleged importation of army uniforms’.
Little progress has been made in bringing the case, which began in December 1997, to trial. The preliminary enquiry was till under way as this issue of TA went to press. In May, defence counsel had again asked the court to set a deadline for the prosecution to complete collecting evidence. The prosecuting officer was quoted in the ‘Daily News’ as saying that efforts were underway to net additional suspects to strengthen the evidence but he refused to reveal the whereabouts of these suspects because this would tamper with efforts to collect the evidence. When the 18 suspects were brought to court, for what is becoming one of their routine visits (on June 13) three were missing because of ill health. The Magistrate instructed the Commissioner of Prisons to submit a report on the health of the three before he postponed a bail application from the accused until June 25. On that day the application was turned down because the magistrate said that the court had no jurisdiction to grant bail. He said the applicants should appeal to the High Court if they were not satisfied with his decision. The case was then adjourned until July 8 to enable the prosecution to ‘solidify’ its evidence. On July 20 the case was adjourned again until August 4 and it was stated that the Attorney General was studying the file to decide whether to begin the trial proper in the absence of other suspects alleged to be ringleaders.
Amnesty International issued a statement on July 8 when it heard that the Vice-Chairman of CUF, Seif Sharif Hamad, had been ordered to report to the police (he was questioned for one hour) and later stated that it considered the 18 suspects as prisoners of conscience imprisoned solely on account of their non-violent opinions and political activities. Amnesty is calling on the Zanzibar government to release them.
In a move which seems to be have been designed to boost Zanzibar’s judiciary and its international image, President Amour appointed (on May 23) seven Nigerian nationals. They are filling the posts of Deputy Chief Justice, three High Court Judge posts and three commissioners of the Zanzibar Law Review Commission. According to the Dar es Salaam, ‘Guardian’, they are to handle the treason trial if and when the trial proper starts.
I was researching the qualitative achievements of the Katumba Rehabilitation Centre in Western Tanzania for the Ryder-Cheshire Foundation. The centre provides physiotherapy for disabled children of Burundian refugees and sees all sorts of problems from polio to cerebral palsy to worried parents! The local healthcare centre is within walking distance and I was looking for a good opportunity to visit.
On arrival I saw Regina and Hudi on their way out of the centre carrying a bag of bandages. They had sent a message that a man had been injured when fishing and might need a plaster cast. It was the perfect excuse to see the healthcare centre and watch Rudi and Hudi at work.
The centre looked like a small derelict hospital where people loitered outside empty offices looking confused. A white jeep, donated by a Japanese aid agency, sat in the middle of the complex waiting for spare parts.
Karoli, the medical officer, arrived bright and breezy cracking jokes in Swahili, English and Burundian in a monotone voice. He pointed towards the man we wanted to see, a hunched figure swathed in a bloody sheet decorated with roses. Karoli beckoned him. Karoli directed him to a corner of the ward which had filthy threadbare sheets also stained with blood from long ago. The sink by my elbow had not been cleaned and had not held water for many moons. I looked out of the window and sighed. Karoli talked to the old man and asked him what kind of treatment he wanted; did he want an X-ray? He got no answer. The old man just dribbled and peered out from his sheet. Karoli called for the two men who had accompanied the old man but they could not be found.
After much deliberation and many uncalled for wisecracks, Karoli decided to inspect the wounded and possibly broken arm. First he donned plastic gloves, so as to avoid infection, he told us repeatedly, and then he slowly unwound the filthy rags. One of the old man’s children arrived. He reminded me of a thief as he shifted uneasily from foot to foot. As the bandages came off the room filled with a putrid odour and I was glad to sit down in case I passed out. When I saw the wounds I was glad that I was sitting by an open window. Everyone else took it in their stride. There was a huge wound on his forearm and a massive tear with flesh hanging out behind and above his elbow. Everybody was laughing which made me feel more uncomfortable. Suddenly it dawned on me, while I was coping with just being there, that Karoli, Hudi and Regina and numerous others were all trying to say an English word for my benefit. Slowly I worked out what they were saying……… ‘hipotopomous’….. ‘hipopopomous’ ….. . ‘hipatetimus ….. ‘hippopotamus!’
Now I understood, amongst gales of laughter, that the poor man had been attacked by a hippopotamus, ‘Kiboko’ in Swahili. He had been fishing in a river on his own, far from home and had been attacked. This was exciting news; I was actually in the same room as someone who had not only seen but had been in combat with a hippo! The only wildlife I had seen so far were thousands of grasshoppers escaping from bush fires in Katavi National Park.
Karoli cleaned the wounds as Regina held the broken arm carefully. The child in the next bed moaned. “Cerebral malaria” Karoli said confidently and told a nurse to administer another injection.
A murmur ran through the room and a short elderly man entered, not too steadily. ‘Shikamoo’ we all chorused as a greeting of respect. Who is this funny little man I thought? He was accompanied by the old man’s other son who looked even shadier than the first. There seemed to be an argument about the old man’s treatment. The first son wanted to send his father to Tabora which was a day’s journey by train. In Tabora he would be able to get an x-ray so that the arm could be set properly as Karoli had recommended. The second son wanted the old and unsteady man to advise them. Who was this old and unsteady man? Hudi explained that the man was unsteady because he had been drinking local beer and that he was the village ‘mganga’, the witchdoctor who specialised in broken bones. This made things even more exciting – a real life witchdoctor, even if he was drunk.
The main problem was that the two sons disagreed. The first son wanted to take Karoli’s advice, but sending the old man to Tabora would cost a fair amount of money. The second son wanted the witchdoctor to treat his father which would cost a bottle of beer. I was feeling better because the arm had been cleaned and bandaged.
It was decided that the old man should go to a hospital. The old man actually spoke and said himself that he wanted to go for an x-ray. Regina prepared to make a plaster of paris back slab to make the arm comfortable for travelling. Then another argument started and Regina waited and waited until all was finally agreed. It was decided that the old man would go to Mpanda hospital, which is local and his children went off with the witchdoctor to look for transport.
I then decided to speak and pointed out that, even I, a guest, knew that there were no x-ray facilities in Mpanda. The decision seems to have been based on economics. There had even been a suggestion that the old man would be sent to Mpanda (a 45-minute drive) on the back of a bicycle!
A week later Regina visited Mpanda hospital to administer physiotherapy treatment to some in-patients. She saw the old man and he had not yet had his bandage changed or the plaster of paris back slab removed.
Following increasing public indignation about sexual offences, Parliament passed unanimously on April 23 a new very strong ‘Sexual Offences (Special Provisions) Act 1998’ under which the penalty for rape has been increased to from 30 years to life. Proceedings are to be held in camera to give victims confidence when presenting evidence.
Extracts from the sometimes heated debate in parliament in April in which very many MP’s participated:
Hamad Ali Musa (CUF) – “The death penalty for rape (as originally proposed) is too harsh. God did not send us to kill each other but sent us to multiply” he said. Fatma Said Ali, MP for Mlandege in Zanzibar, suggested (to the amused MP’s) that when older women had sex with young boys this was not part of rape but was to train the boys in sexual matters. But Halima Kimbau MP (CCM) said that older women were supposed to be moulding the younger generation into responsible parenthood, not acting as sexual partners. Fatma Ali said that wearing short dresses or applying make-up was not an excuse for men to rape women. Mrs Kimbau also thought it was unreasonable to put rapists behind bars for life and then expect them to pay compensation too. The Bill should be changed to save MP’s from looking ridiculous. “Where can you get compensation when you are in jail for life” she asked.
The July/August issue of ‘New African’ warned visitors to Tanzania. ‘Don’t wink at the girls, don’t even blink. Turn away from temptation. Winking is now regarded as a sexual assault. You could serve five years in jail for winking at a woman, or spend a life in gaol if you do it three times … .’ “It is a violation of human rights” moaned Hamad Ali Musa. Other men were quoted as saying that not enough research was done before the Bill was introduced. Others said that winking and chatting up women is endorsed by tribal tradition and customs. Others again pointed out that there was no law against women winking at men.
It is difficult to recall any occasion in recent history during which Tanzania has received so much international media attention as it did in the days following the setting off of a powerful bomb near the US embassy in Dar es Salaam at 10.45 am on August 7. Ten people were killed and scores injured. The bomb, whose explosion was heard six kilometres away, destroyed the Eastern side of the embassy and seriously damaged five adjacent buildings. Twenty two cars, three motor cycles and five bicycles were destroyed. It damaged the Nigerian Embassy and the residences of several Ambassadors and High Commissioners. Senior reporter Kajubi Mukajanga wrote in the Dar es Salaam ‘Daily Mail’: ‘The wreckage, the screeching Red Cross ambulances, the stern paramilitary unit, the hordes of reporters and TV crews, the sombre atmosphere, made the vicinity of the embassy like a war zone ….. Dar es Salaam, once called the rumour capital of the world by Mwalimu Nyerere, ….. succeeded in proving him right. Theories were flying all over. It was revenge by the Oklahoma bombers …. a missile had been fired from the Indian Ocean …. .it was the work of Saddam Hussein …… ‘
The South African BUSINESS DAY quoted on March 23 a report from Dar es Salaam to the effect that Tanzania had deported illegal aliens from several countries including Egypt, Iran, Pakistan, Sudan and Saudi Arabia in a move to check increasing Muslim fundamentalism (Thank you David Leishman for sending this item -Editor).
THEFT BLAMED ON MALARIA DRUG
A court case which received wide publicity in the London EVENING STANDARD and other British newspapers in April concerned a geography master at Harrow School who was found guilty of stealing £35,000 paid by parents for a school trip to Tanzania in 1996. The accused said in court that he began to behave oddly after taking the anti-malaria drug Larium. Part of the money had been used by the teacher to get fit before facing a climb up Mount Kilimanjaro.
The ‘star’ readers letter in the July-September issue of the BBC’S FOCUS ON AFRICA came from a reader in Handeni who complained bitterly that Tanzania was always in the international limelight during the Nyerere years and during his crusade against colonialism but that Focus’s cover of Tanzania nowadays was insignificant. He went on: ‘You may consider Tanzania boring and its people weak-willed and timid. Well, I have news for you. Our nation is engulfed in economic chaos and decline. …. Our health and education sectors are failing. The majority of our people are pathetically poor. And yet ‘Focus on Africa’ still finds nothing of interest to say about us!’
NOT FAR AWAY FROM THE GARDEN OF EDEN!
Adam and Eve saw the light of day among the savannahs and the forests of Africa. This announcement from the Vatican, where an international conference on human genoma was held earlier this year, was quoted in the April 30 issue of the Italian daily LA REPUBLICA. The article went on: ‘Father Angelo Serra, a Jesuit at Milan’s Catholic University, explained that the Garden of Eden, where human beings appeared for the first time approximately 100,000 to 200,000 years ago, should be in one of the regions of South or East Africa. Lay scientists already knew this, but hearing it proclaimed by the Vatican makes a definite impression.
Q: “Padre Serra, was Eden really in Africa?”
A: “Yes, between South Africa and Tanzania.”
Q: “How did you come to this conclusion?”
A: “We did so by studying the genetic information contained in the chromosomal nuclei. Scientists have been analysing the sequences of the molecules since 1989. There are 6,000 million of them in a human being; 3,000 million in an ovum or in a spermatozoon. It is like reading backwards through the pages of an enormous volume. Studies made on the DNA of several different populations show that it is possible to trace back beyond mutation, to an ancestor of Homo Sapiens who lived in Africa. From there the descendants of Adam and Eve emigrated to other continents’.
Q: “Any theological problems?”
A: “None”. (Thank you Ugo Fornari in Rome for sending us this item – Editor)
The OXFORD TIMES (July 31) claimed that a team of Oxford researchers had returned from the Mkomazi Game Reserve after discovering thousands of previously unknown insects and even mammals plus up to 1,500 plants. They were uncovered during a ten-year study by Dr Malcolm Coe on behalf of the Royal Geographic Society (Thank you Brian Costeloe for this item – Editor).
In an unusually Tanzania-friendly article in its May 30 issue THE ECONOMIST noted that, in the rest of Africa, Tanzania is seen as Mr Nice Guy. In the 1970’s and 1980’s it paid a heavy economic price for backing liberation movements in other African countries. ‘Some of Africa’s most influential leaders spent their formative years in Tanzania. Dar es Salaam’s little hotels are still crowded with Africans from elsewhere. Tanzania has never exploited its continent-wide contacts. But one day these grateful friends may play a part in waking up this somnolent old socialist’. (Thank you Philip Clarke for this item – Editor).
The new GOVERNOR OF THE CENTRAL BANK is Mr Daudi Balali (56) who has worked for the IMF in Washington for 21 years. His predecessor Dr Idris Rashidi said that he was considering starting his own commercial bank. Mr Enos Bukuku is the new chairman of the Board of the Tanzania Revenue Authority – the African.
Eight firms (7 overseas, 1 local) have presented bids for the purchase of 100% of the KILIMANJARO HOTEL in Dar es Salaam. It has been running at 15% capacity recently – Daily News
As this issue goes to press no solution seems to be in sight in the controversial Independent Power Tanzania Ltd (IPTL) – Songo Songo electricity saga, the background to which has been covered in several recent issues of TA. The idea was that the two projects would each supply about 100 MW of electricity to the national grid. The Malaysian-backed project is virtually ready to produce electricity but at what most seem to agree is an exorbitant price. Some observers believe that the original signing of the agreement for this project may have involved an element of corruption. Its defenders say that it was the best solution available at the time to an acute shortage of electricity. Meanwhile the World Bank/Canada supported Songo Songo gas to electricity scheme had finally been agreed and should have, by now, been under construction but the financial backers have stopped work because they believe that the costs of IPTL electricity will be so high and the total production so far in excess of need that TANESCO will not be able to support both. So far, three rounds of negotiation have failed to resolve this very difficult issue, and there appears to be a difference of opinion within government as to what to do.
The excellent new investigative newspaper the Daily Mail, which is the latest addition to the media empire of Reginald Mengi, (some describe him Tanzania’s Rupert Murdoch) has been running a series of articles on the parastatal SUKITA. It quoted Sukita Board Chairman Iddi Simba as admitting that this once vibrant business was now teetering on the verge of collapse. It was plagued by inefficiency, overstaffing and rampant vandalism he said. But the new restructuring programme should result in Sukita bouncing back and being able to compete effectively.
The Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) has bought the remaining 40% shareholding in the EAST USAMBARA TEA COMPANY. The company has 1,318 hectares of rain-fed tea close to Amani town and the estate is being merged with CDC’s existing Derema and Monga estates purchased in 1997 – Guardian.
ALLIANCE AIR’s income has gone up by 53% and the number of passengers by 44% in the last year. The airline hopes to break even in the near future and to make a profit next year. But the TAZARA railway made a loss of Shs 661 million in 1996/97 compared with a profit of Shs 3.9 billion in 1995/96 – Daily News.
The Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on PARASTATAL ORGANSIATIONS has given ‘clean certificates of performance’ to 46 parastatal and public companies after reviewing their 1997/98 accounts. Amongst the companies are the TPDC, NDC, Tanesco, Air Tanzania, Tanzania Harbours, Coffee Board, National Lotteries, Cotton Board – Daily News.
The North Africa Investment and Trading Company from Libya has bought the BAHARI BEACH HOTEL in Dar es Salaam as part of an arrangement to reduce the debt of $70 million Tanzania owes Libya for oil – Daily Mail.
In order to encourage travel within East Africa the cost of the new East African PASSPORT has been set at the equivalent of $10.80 compared with $30.70 for a Tanzanian passport – East African.
The Jubilee INSURANCE Company has become the first private company to be licensed to operate in Tanzania – Daily News. The majority of shares in the Dar es Salaam AlRPORT HANDLING COMPANY (DAHACO) have been sold to South African Airways which beat the Alliance Airline, KLM, Swissair and an American company in the bidding – Daily News.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is providing a LOAN of $41 million to help in establishing a new fruit-flavoured soft drink called ‘Safi’ (meaning pure) – Business in Africa.
Tanzania’s sisal industry is on the up. When production dropped from 230,000 tons per year in 1964 to less than 20,000 tons following nationalisation of estates and competition from synthetic substitutes, many thought that the industry was finished. However, some 27 sisal estates and factories have now been bought by local and foreign companies, new investments are being made and the demand for sisal in fine yarns, carpets, buffing cloth, pulp and paper is increasing. The 98% of the sisal plant which used to be described as waste can now be used to produce biogas, electricity, animal feed, alcohol and pharmaceuticals – Guardian.
President Mkapa himself spoke on Radio Tanzania about the main feature of the 1989/99 budget – the introduction of VAT at the rate of 20% from July 1 to help raise revenue and avoid some of the losses incurred during the previous Sales Tax regime. He explained how V AT was used all over the world and that many items would be exempt including medicine, agricultural pesticides and fertilisers, the main foodstuffs, books, newspapers, water services, petroleum products, public transport, exported goods, investments and house rents. Sales tax, stamp duty and entertainment tax had been abolished, he said. All businessmen earning Shs 20 million or more per year had to register.
The new tax is proving very unpopular especially amongst tour operators who point out that the 20% rate is higher than that in Kenya (16%), Uganda (17.5%) and South Africa (14%). A bag of cement now costs Shs 4,300 instead of the previous Shs 3,700 and corrugated asbestos sheet Shs 9,600 compared with Shs 8,000. In his budget speech Finance Minister Daniel Yona reported that GDP growth rate had fallen from 4.2 % in 1996/97 to 3.3% in 1997/98 and exports had fallen from $794 million to $678 million. Inflation had been brought down to 13.2% in April from 17.2% in the previous year and was expected to fall to below 10% soon. In 1998/99 the government wanted to ensure that revenue did not fall below Shs 695 billion; it would not be borrowing from banks. Expenditure would total Shs 1,007 billion (74% of estimated requirements). The budget deficit would be Shs 312 billion of which some Shs 309 billion would come from external assistance.
The export tax on cotton, sisal, pyrethrum, coffee, tea and tobacco was being abolished. Taxes on beer and cigarettes would increase by an average of 5%. Tax exemption on newsprint was to be abolished ‘because newspapers are now considered to be strong enough’. There would be additional expenditure on education, health, roads and water. Taxes on vehicles were reduced; there would be no excise duty on smaller cars. The allowance for taxfree income remains at Shs 20,000 ($30) but housing benefit has now been fixed at 15% of an employee’s emoluments.
Opposition Shadow Finance Minister John Cheyo (UDP) MP presented an alternative budget but this was described by the government as too simplistic. All opposition MP’s, some 55 in number, walked out when parliament was sitting as a Committee of Supply on the issue of Shs 65 billion of unexplained ‘special expenditure’. Criticism of the budget centred on its lack of help for agriculture, on the waiver of tax exemption for newsprint and on problems in the new National Microfinance Bank. Cheyo attacked the government for wasting taxpayers money. He referred to the Shs 928 million being spent on the White Paper on Constitutional Reform and the Shs 82 billion being spent on defence compared with Shs 40 billion for education. CCM MP Joseph Mungai supported him and mentioned the waste of money on the ‘Uhuru Torch’ marches and on the cost of holding all parliamentary sessions in Dodoma rather than in Dar es Salaam.
The Zanzibar budget includes spending of Shs 60.37 billion, an increase of Shs 4.87 billion on the previous year. Shs 42 billion is for recurrent and Shs 17 billion for development.
The IMF agreed in May to disburse the latest $50 million tranche of its Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF) loan. There had been some delay because of concern about the IPTL power project and uncertainty about the privatisation of the National Bank of Commerce. GERMANY has committed Shs 26 billion for the next two years for the debt buy-back scheme being prepared by the World Bank and for ongoing projects including health care, rural water supplies and education and training. FRANCE – Shs 223 billion for rehabilitation of the Mororgoro Power Sub-station. The NETHERLANDS – Shs 23.5 billion this year, largely for Multilateral Debt Relief and mixed credit financing, plus Shs 200 million for El Nino-damaged roads in the Kagera Region and support for primary education plus $1.5 million for environmental information management. JAPAN – Shs 8.2 billion for debt relief and the Dar es Salaam road improvement scheme. The UK – £2.5 million for the repair of roads, buildings and bridges destroyed by the El Nino rains. The EU – ECU 1.98 million for water and sewage services. RADIO FINLAND – $15,000 to Sauti ya Tanzania Zanzibar, one of the oldest radio stations in Africa, for equipment for its Pemba station~ the CHINA NEWS AGENCY had earlier agreed to provide the station with newscasts free of charge. The UN HIGH COMMISSION FOR REFUGEES has formally handed over to Tanzania $6.4 million worth of immovable assets (office buildings, staff quarters, godowns, police posts, schools and dispensaries) in former refugee camps in Ngara and Karagwe districts. IRELAND – $1 million for the establishment of a tourism training unit. The ORGANISATION OF PETROLEUM EXPORTING COUNTRIES (OPEC) will commit $1.6 million for desks and chairs to reduce the present shortages in Zanzibar primary schools. The BRITISH COMMONWEALTH EX-SERVICES LEAGUE has granted £5,500 as monthly allowances for 64 Dar es Salaam members of the Tanzania Legion Club. NORWAY – $1.2 million for AIDS education. IRELAND – Shs 20 million to help the Tanganyika Law Society (TLA) to start implementing its Constitutional Review Project. USAID – $4.85 million for health care projects and $7.1 mi1lion for rural roads, agricultural transport, democratic governance and family planning. ITALY – finance for the tarmacking of the Dar es Salaam – Bagamoyo Road.
The Bishop of Mpapwa, the Rt. Rev. Simon Chiwanga, Chairman of the Anglican Consultative Council made history at the opening service of the Lambeth Conference at Canterbury Cathedral on July 19 when he preached the sermon. On all previous such occasions the sermon has been given by the host, the Archbishop of Canterbury. He told his 800 fellow bishops in the cathedral that the world today is in desperate need of a community of Christ-like ‘believable believers’. Speaking of conflict in many parts of the world, he said that people were hungry for Christ’s love and compassion. The church, he said, needed to turn itself inside out, from inward-looking pastoral concerns to outward-looking missionary activity. The church should reach out to the poor, the lame, the broken-hearted, and the sinner. The service was international in flavour, representing the multicultural nature of Anglicanism, which is established in 160 countries.
There should be an improvement in the state of many of the open spaces in Dar es Salaam following a decision to make the Tanzania Union for the Conservation of Nature (TUCONA) responsible for the rehabilitation, conservation and management of 13 open spaces including Mnazi Mmoja, Jangwani, Tabata, Msasani and the Village Museum.
MP’s have been complaining that a new beer, ‘The Kick’ which has 7% alcohol, instead of the more normal 5%, is too strong for users. Two bottles are said to be equivalent to six bottles of ‘Safari’ beer – the African.
Tanzanian High Commissioner in London, Dr A Shareef, who is a computer expert has congratulated ‘Tanzania Standard Newspapers’ for entering the internet and the ‘fast lane world’. He said that he now felt well informed on current issues in Tanzania and did not have to wait for the arrival of newspapers, sometimes a month late. He revealed that the High Commission’s own web site is: http://www.tanzania-online.gov.uk and invited readers of the ‘Daily News’ to visit the site.
Responding to a question in parliament, Deputy Minister for Home Affairs Major Sigela Mswima, said that he would be prepared to start using horses and donkeys in the fight against crime in rural areas if they were proved to be effective.
The abandoned shipwrecks in Dar es Salaam harbour which have been an eyesore for many years are finally going to be removed. They have been used by drug dealers, for storage of food by street vendors and as living quarters for criminals – East African.
Tanzanian boxer Rashid Matumla defeated German boxer Orhan Ajavzoski in two minutes and 34 seconds of the sixth round on in Dar es Salaam on June 27 and can now claim a match for the World Boxing Union international light middleweight title.
The first ten volumes of ‘Tanzania Law Reports’ covering the period 1983 to 1992 have been launched and are available in print and on CD-rom as a result of a combined effort involving the World Bank, the Law Report Board, the University of Dar es Salaam, Juta and Co. of S. Africa and the Dar es Salaam publisher ‘Mkuki wa Nyota’.
There are 112 Tanzanians and 231 non-Tanzanians working in Tanzanian embassies abroad – answer to a question in parliament – Daily News.
Indonesian administrative attache Sugeng Sugiyono was given 48 hours to leave the country. He was accused of having in his personal effects 19 leopard skins, 12 elephant tusks, a crocodile skin, a python skin and nine objects made from ivory. This is the third time since 1989 that an Indonesian has been found in a similar act – Daily News.
Chief Justice Francis Nyalali has said that the magistrate in Kasanga who sentenced to death the dog ‘immigration’ (TA No 60) erred in law (the magistrate was still on probation) because he had the dog killed before there had been time for an appeal. There was no law in Tanzania on the naming of animals. The Tanzania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals had earlier won an appeal and allowed the dog owner to claim for compensation. Justice Nyalali praised the media for bringing this matter to people’s attention as it concerned people’s rights.
Dar es Salaam has another new hotel of quality. The Hotel Sea Cliff is situated in a spectacular position on top of the cliff at the north eastern point of the Msasani peninsula at the end of Toure Drive, 11 kms from the city centre and 22 kms from the international airport. Beautifully finished, the hotel has 70 rooms and suites; its three conference rooms accommodate up to 100 persons. The attractive garden has a large swimming pool and there is a professionally equipped and expertly managed Fitness Centre. The ‘Dhow Restaurant’ offers international cuisine and there is an Afro-Mediterranean restaurant and bar situated on the edge of the coral cliff overlooking the Indian Ocean.
Abdallah Said Fundikira (38), the son of Tanzania’s first Minister of Justice, Chief Abdallah Said Fundikira, an airport immigration officer, has been acquitted after being accused of forging a Tanzania citizenship certificate for an alleged Shs 200,000. The magistrate said that Fundikira had no case to answer.
District Commissioners came under heavy fire from both the President and the Prime Minister at a recent seminar in Dodoma. President Mkapa accused them of taking no action in the face of humiliation and harassment being suffered by villagers at the hands of ward and village executive officers. He criticised drunkenness, the use of abusive language and promiscuity among their ranks. The following day Prime Minister Sumaye said that the presentations of development reports by DC’s, particularly on agriculture, were grossly unsatisfactory. They lacked clear targets, projections and strategies towards achieving the targets. “We can’t run the government by mere words” he said. Some of the DC’s were reported in the ‘Daily News’ to have been fumbling with their figures, excusing themselves for having no data and sneaking out of the meeting to search for data. The Prime Minister told one DC that what he was presenting was ‘porojo’ (aimless words). The DC for Bukombe said that the civil service was not dogged by its present structure but by hypocrisy, sadism and boot-licking. Leaders who were too loyal and treated their superiors as demigods prospered while competent, firm and ‘unsaying ones’ were frustrated. “Shikamoos are used as criteria to weigh up leaders” he said.
Some 11,000 house crows have been killed in Dar es Salaam during the last 12 months according to the Tanzania Wildlife Conservation Society. But they remained a great threat to people’s health. The Indian crows, which came in the latter part of the 19th century and are estimated to number 400,000, scavenge at rubbish dumps and contaminate water in wells. They are aggressive predators of local birds and domestic poultry – Daily News.
At a meeting on the proposed East African Road Network at Arusha in May, Minister for Works Mrs Anna Abdullah said that her government had increased its revenues for the Road Fund from Shs 3.75 billion in 1991 to Shs 35 billion by the middle of this year. The revenue came from fuel levy and other duties on motor vehicles, licenses, registration and transfer fees. The government would set up in this financial year a National Roads Agency (TANROADS) to undertake management and maintenance of the roads network. It would be monitored by a government/private sector board. Included in the first phase would be the Dar es Salaam-Dodoma-Isaka-Mutukula Corridor.
Many thanks for the great response to the questionnaires sent out with our last issue of TA. Readers were asked to express their interest in or lack of interest in the various sections of ‘Tanzanian Affairs ‘. Well over 100 readers responded and almost all the comments were flattering. Political news came out as easily the most interesting part of the journal. 99% of readers found this section ‘very interesting’ and no one found it ‘uninteresting’. The section on ‘Readers letters’ came second – I hope we shall be receiving many more of these now that we know that 98% of our readers will read other reader’s letters! The next most popular group of subjects included economic news, book and other reviews, and ‘Tanzania in the Media’. Other subjects which came slightly lower in popularity included stories of personal experiences in Tanzania, news about Zanzibar, obituaries, ‘Business News’ and ’50 Years Ago’ (12% of readers were not at all interested in this section). There were fewer readers interested in the arts (21% said they were not interested) and music, especially modern Tanzanian music, was even less popular. 28% of readers described news about sport as ‘not of interest to me’. Perhaps if Tanzania had qualified for the World Cup finals! The percentages reflect a very high rate of interest in virtually every aspect of Tanzanian life. Many readers said that they read TA from cover to cover and passed it on to others to read.
Readers were invited to comment and many did. One suggested a clearer layout. Others wanted weather reports, more on trends in Swahili, an annual accumulative index (any volunteers to compile up to 27 of these? – I can supply a complete set of back issues); stock market reports; more on community/school links (please see the Britain-Tanzania Society’s Newsletter for these), more on the living standards of ordinary people under the ‘reforms’, and a new section on public transport. Other readers said ‘Do not drop any of the present sections’ (we agree), ‘provide more photographs’ (this may be possible but space is a problem), ‘an environment slot please, especially on Tanzania’s exceptional biology’, ‘please ask advertisers to give some idea of prices’, ‘more on literature’, ‘more articles from Tanzanians’, ‘more about small scale development projects’, ‘more on problems and events in other African countries’ (must say no to this one – there is never enough space to cover Tanzania!), ‘a little more background e.g the make-up of the National Assembly (see TA No. 53), ‘more on local government’, ‘a travel up-date section please ‘. Finally, one reader asked for a statement of purpose. This is easy. It is to keep people informed about what is happening in the country. That is all.
Some readers broadened the scope of the debate. One commented that many Tanzanians have strong opinions about expatriate ‘aid’ and how it is exploited by sections of their communities; another said that the length of TA can be off putting initially (do not fear – it will not get any longer!); another congratulated us on leaving political correctness behind and being neutral to the IMF.
Many thanks again. All comments have been noted but please remember that we have only 48 pages three times a year and an awful lot happens in Tanzania all the time! – Editor.
President Mkapa and Mwalimu Nyerere were among those who attended a mass at St Alban’s Anglican Church in Dar es Salaam on May 16 for the late Archbishop Trevor Huddleston KCMG (84), President of the Britain-Tanzania Society and former Bishop of Masasi who died on April 20. In his letter of condolences President Mkapa said that the people of Tanzania remembered Rev. Huddleston with particular fondness and gratitude for the tremendous pastoral and development work he did in southern Tanzania in the early ’60’s. A memorial service was held at Westminster Abbey on July 29.
Rev Huddleston went to Masasi in 1960 and stayed until 1968. In its obituary the ‘Times’ said that the years which followed were as happy as any in his life; he was able to establish many new facilities – a hospital and a teachers training college were two examples.