Tanzanian Press coverage of Mwalimu's death

Tanzanian Press coverage of Mwalimu's death

Former President Julius Kambarage Nyerere died at St Thomas’s Hospital in London at 10.30am on October 14 at the age of 77 following an 18 month battle with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. He had been in the hospital since September 24. There then began to arrive in Tanzania messages of condolence from Heads of State and others around the world and Tanzania witnessed an outpouring of national grief on a scale that the country had never seen before. Members of the United Nations stood for a minute’s silence in New York. Mourning continued in Tanzania for 30 days until November 12.

A biographical outline

JULIUS KAMBARAGE NYERERE was born in Butiama, Musoma Region in 1922, a younger son of Chief Nyerere Burite, chief of a small tribe, the Wazanaki. He first went to school at twelve years of age, but within three years he won a place at Tabora Secondary School, at that time the premier school of Tanganyika. In 1943 he went to Makerere College in Uganda to read for a teaching diploma and then went to teach at St Mary’s Roman Catholic School in Tabora. From 1949 to 1952 he was at Edinburgh University studying history, economics and philosophy and on his return took up a post at Pugu Secondary School, near Dar es Salaam. In 1953 he became President of the African Association of Tanganyika and in 1954 of its successor organisation, the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU). In 1955 he resigned as a teacher to devote himself full-time to the work of TANU. In that year, and again in 1957, he addressed the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations in New York. In 1957 he became a Member of the Legislative Council and in Tanganyika’s first elections in 1958 he was elected as a Member for the Eastern Province. In 1960 he was Chief Minister and in 1961-62 Prime Minister of Tanganyika. Tanganyika became independent in 1961. In 1962 Nyerere resigned as Prime Minister to devote himself to the work of T ANU and to build a bridge between the nationalist movement and the elected government. In December 1962 Tanganyika was declared a Republic within the Commonwealth and in 1964, after the violent revolution in Zanzibar, Nyerere was the architect of the Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar and the setting up of the United Republic of Tanzania of which he was elected President in 1964. In 1963 he had tried to persuade the leaders of Uganda, Milton Obote and of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta, to form with him an East African Federation but was not successful. The highlight of his attempt to build socialism in Tanzania was the Arusha Declaration of 1967 and he then nationalised the commanding heights of the economy. In 1971 he forced though a radical programme of villagisation (ujamaa). In 1978 Uganda’s ruthless dictator Idi Amin invaded Tanzania and Nyerere sent 45,000 Tanzanian troops to overthrow him. Mwalimu was one of the few to support Biafra in the Nigerian civil war. From 1964 he had invited the Organisation of African Unity’s Liberation Committee to establish its headquarters in Dar es Salaam and Tanzania soon became the training ground for African liberation movements from around the continent. He was Chairman of the Frontline states from 1975 to 1985 and Chairman of the OAU in 1985. He was also the driving force behind South-South cooperation and was prominent in the setting up of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). Almost up to the time of his death he struggled as official mediator with the internal problems of Burundi. He retired voluntarily from the Presidency in 1985 but remained a power behind the scenes until his death.

The funeral ceremonies

On SATURDAY October 16th there was a Requiem Mass at Westminster Cathedral in London. Eirlys Park describes the scene: ‘They began to gather before ten and the cortege came, a dignified sad family dressed in black, with the flag draped over the coffin. I didn’t know we had so many Tanzanians in Britain. But those in the packed Cathedral (over 1,500) were by no means all Africans. The Britain Tanzania Society contingent, of about 20, sat together half way down the Cathedral but also there were grey-haired couples, nuns, missionaries, ex-civil servants, young and not so young hippies, solemn. All were there to pay their last respects, and were remembering. As the church filled I had not expected that Mwalimu would be with us and I caught my breath and suppressed a tear. Was it my imagination, or was even the flag looking sad too, limp, lifeless? So different from the young banner we watched rise in the independence stadium on the eve of uhuru. The reading – ‘Let us now praise famous men’ – was read by Charles, the youngest of the three sons. (The main address by Tanzanian High Commissioner in London Dr Abdul-Kadir Shareef was moving indeed – “We mourn the passing of a man we love, respect and admire”. The High Commissioner made it clear that this was a mourning ceremony for everyone and made specific reference to the presence of Muslims amongst us – probably for the first time in that place – Editor). As the coffin returned down the aisle, a European man ran across, touched the coffin and collapsed head down on his knees. We were all bereft. As the crowd waited to walk past the coffin a young girl began to sing. Her voice rose to the ceiling of that great building and echoed loud as it was joined by all the other members of the Furaha choir and other Tanzanian women there. An African lament in a London cathedral to a man who was small of build but great of stature. He had stood proud on the world’s stage and fought for freedom, rights and his beliefs but yet, he was man enough to say “I made mistakes”. May he rest in peace.’

On SUNDAY 17th the body arrived at Heathrow airport where the Air Tanzania plane was parked using the facilities usually employed for the British Royal family.

The plane arrived in Dar es Salaam at 9.03 am on MONDAY 18th and then began what the Tanzanian ‘Guardian’ described as the most emotional event ever in the history of independent Tanzania – a week­long series of funeral ceremonies. Millions were watching silently at the airport, in the streets and on TV as the coffin was driven on a gun carriage in a motorcade slowly through the streets of Dar to Mwalimu’s house in Msasani where many more were assembled to pay tribute. On TUESDAY 19th a Requiem Mass was held at St. Joseph’s Cathedral. At the National Stadium a huge and majestic air-conditioned glass structure to accommodate the coffin had been erected. It is to be moved to the National Museum later to house a Nyerere archive. Three million people are estimated to have filed past the body during the lying in state which continued day and night.

On WEDNESDAY 20th amidst another vast throng at the National Stadium the official funeral took place. Over 400 leaders from 61 countries and eight international organisations attended, including the Heads of State of almost all the countries in East and Southern Africa plus President Obasanjo of Nigeria, Vice-President Krishna Kant of India, US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Princess Ann representing Britain and many others. Some 200 people collapsed on sighting the body of the Father of the Nation.

On THURSDAY 21st the Dar es Salaam ‘Daily Mail’ reported that, by l0am the streets of Musoma, on the shores of lake Victoria, were deserted as the population moved to the airport and lined the road to Mwalimu’s Butiama birthplace. It was a fiercely hot day and the plane bringing the body did not arrive until 4.50pm, two hours late. But people stayed where they were. There was total silence as the plane touched down and then the choir of St Cecilia Musoma Catholic Church broke into a sorrowful hymn. Young and old, men and women, were shedding tears. The cortege reached Butiama, 32 kms away, at 8pm and was received by members of the family and of the clan.

On FRIDAY 22nd the body lay in state at Butiama. The impressive series of commemoration ceremonies came to an end on Saturday 23rd when Mwalimu Nyerere was buried. Some half a million people from the surrounding areas had come to this small village of 50,000. Uganda and South Africa had provided planes to bring mourners from Dar es Salaam. He was buried about 10 metres from where he was born and about 20 metres from where his father and his mother had been buried. Mwalimu was laid on his side facing east. As his coffin was laid into the grave mourners wailed and many fainted. Speaking at the ceremony (his fifth major speech in as many days) President Mkapa, in the presence of President Museveni of Uganda and former President Kaunda of Zambia, gave thanks to all who had been involved in the funeral and in looking after Mwalimu in his final weeks and also to the British Prime Minister Tony Blair for his assistance.

Some individual tributes

“Africa has been orphaned by Mwalimu’s untimely death” – President Chiluba of Zambia.

“People can celebrate too. He was a person who had brought so much pride to Africa” President Jerry Rawlings of Ghana.

“… a world statesman and a truly revered leader who would forever be remembered for not only being father of the Tanzanian nation but also for having become the voice of freedom and unity of Africa -Vice-President Krishna Kant of lndia.

“Nyerere will be remembered for the good work he did, not only for Tanzania, but for the whole of Africa” -Nigerian President Olesegun Obasanjo.

” … Our political elder … ” -President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda.

“Recognised throughout Africa and the world for his dignity and intelligence and for his unquestioned personal and political integrity ­Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien.

“For the men and women who have served the great cause of development in the world, one of the lights of our lives has gone out … While world economists were debating the importance of capital output ratios, President Nyerere was saying that nothing was more important for people than being able to read and write and have access to clean water” James Wolfensolm, President of the World Bank.

‘ …. When he told his mother in 1985 that he had decided to retire as President her response, which he gleefully repeated, was “Julius, you are a silly boy”. But his decision to stand down only added to the high regard in which he was held. Nevertheless, from that day until his death, Nyerere remained the first among equals. His endorsement was to be a vital component of any contemporary Tanzanian politician for, in truth, he never ceased to be Tanzania’s leader … ‘ former Tanzanian journalist David Martin in the Dar es Salaam Guardian.


International Press coverage of Mwalimu's death

International Press coverage of Mwalimu's death

There can hardly have been a significant newspaper in the world which did not publish news of Mwalimu’s death and an appropriate obituary. The following extracts are selected at random. The majority of the obituaries were balanced, pointing out the weaknesses as well as the strengths of Mwalimu’s contributions to Tanzania and the world.

THE LONDON TIMES: … one of the most cultured and personable African statesman of his time but circumstances conspired to turn him into a nationalist campaigner, the leader of an emergent nation and the prophet of a revolutionary socialist philosophy for Africa… he achieved a reputation for personal incorruptibility and principled dealings which made him stand out among post-independence African leaders. But his experiment in agricultural socialism was over-ambitious and ultimately disastrous …. as his own political position became increasingly embattled, an instinct for survival conspired to make this once liberal and, by nature, gentle man become impatient and coercive in his dealings with those who rivalled or opposed him… In the field of international affairs Nyerere … earned a reputation for clear thinking, plain speaking and moral superiority ….

The WASHINGTON POST: … although Mr Nyerere’s economic programme had little success, his social policy is widely revered for having instilled a sense of African identity that cuts across ethnic lines ….

AFRICA TODAY: Why has Nyerere still got a grip on the collective imagination of Tanzanians and East Africans almost a decade and a half after he retired as President? The answer is simple. Mwalimu is Tanzania . … . Quite unlike the typical African leader he had better things to do than loot his country’s wealth. He achieved national unity …tribal and clan tensions tearing apart states all over the continent are insignificant in Tanzania.

THE INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE: Idealistic, principled and some would say misguided …

The FRANFURTER RUNDSCHAU’S headline translates as ‘The Voice of Africa is Silent -Tanzania’s former President Julius Nyerere will be a loss not only for the black continent’.

The London INDEPENDENT: The Nyerere generation of African leaders espoused old-fashioned socialism, collectivism and even Maoism which now seem redundant and damaging but which were crucial in their day to nation-building. These concepts were certainly founded on more substance than the greed and power hunger which have discredited the ‘strong new leaders’ …. Nyerere’s triumph was to build a lasting physiognomy for a place which had no logical raison d’etre apart from in the pencil and ruler of a 19th century map-maker … his humility and honesty remain a guiding light for contemporary leaders …. Nyerere turned Tanzania into an economic desert but he never lost the affections of his countrymen -(in introducing his Arusha Declaration) he failed to understand that people were not made in his image ….

The DALLAS MORNING NEWS … Mr Nyerere was known as a benevolent dictator. He wasn’t known for harsh human rights abuses and he lived modestly … a charismatic presence …

ASIAN VOICE: Nyerere was a universally respected Mandela before his time ….

BBC FOCUS ON AFRICA: (The funeral) was perhaps the greatest outpouring of grief ever witnessed in sub-Saharan Africa … the tributes were sincere and heartfelt … here at last was an African leader worth mourning.

The Kenyan SUNDAY NATION: Humility, courage, universalism, support for man’s liberation, belief in human dignity … he has always stood taller than his compatriots in reputation, performance and respect …

The GLASGOW HERALD: He leaves behind a reputation for incorruptibility and principled leadership … he will be remembered – like Nelson Mandela – not as a great economist but as one of the key strategists behind Africa’s liberation from colonial rule and apartheid during a span of three decades …. family members who gathered around him during his last days say that he took great satisfaction from the success of the African liberation movements and he was also delighted that his lengthy and unceasing campaign for African debt relief had met with a fair measure of success at last. …

NEW AFRICA: Julius Nyerere will be remembered as an African hero, the father of his nation and above all as a warm, friendly person. A man of charisma and charm. He was as much loved outside his country as within. Throughout his life he occupied the moral high ground …. the plaudits still ring for him and yet, his one unique project, his great economic experiment of ujamaa and collectivisation, ended in failure. He took one step too far. He reached for the impossible and paid the price of failure …..

The WALL STREET JOURNAL wrote a highly critical article comparing Nyerere with the Chilean dictator Pinochet and the London SPECTATOR accused him of seriously damaging his country because of his disastrous economic policies.

In the TANZANIAN PRESS during the first week of mourning there was only one story. Two brief extracts from hundreds of thousands of words:

Under the heading ‘Even criminals respect Nyerere’ the GUARDIAN reported that the police recorded no incidents of crime in Dar es Salaam for a full week after Mwalimu’s death. And, under the heading ‘Why Mwalimu died in London’ the Guardian’s Lawl Joel wrote ‘ ….. In October 1949 he was in the UK for his degree …. the UK was the first overseas land he ever set foot on. No doubt he was right to call the Queen ‘Mama’. “Malkia ni mama yangu” he reportedly said. For in the land of Mama he reached the acme of his educational pursuit.. .. Then he got sick and was bedridden in October 1999. The race to save his soul ended in the land of Mama …. with October and a year of nine, 1999, Mwalimu reached some apogee here on earth …. .it was a pleasure to see the grandeur, the fanfare and the respect of (his) work before Mwalimu came home. The British were not a colonial power. They were brothers and sisters in grief. Even as they wept and grieved, they wept and grieved with us. A union of a kind … ‘


The Judge Robert Kisanga Committee considering the Government’s White Paper on constitutional change finished its work and presented its report to President Mkapa in early November. The report was published just as this issue of ‘Tanzanian Affairs’ went to press. There was much speculation on what it would say about the future of the union with Zanzibar.

The death of Mwalimu Nyerere had already rekindled the debate on the constitution of the United Republic. Mwalimu had always fought fiercely against any change to the existing two government structure (one government for the United Republic and one for Zanzibar). The ‘East African’ wrote in November however that it believed that the Kisanga Report would be likely to recommend the setting up of an interim government for Tanzania in 2000 pending further consideration of a new constitution. A proposal for a new federal structure with a government for Tanganyika, a government for Zanzibar and a Union government has attracted widespread support. But the policy of the Mkapa government was still to continue with the status quo. On November 2 opposition leader in the Union parliament, Ms Fauna Maghimbi (Civic United Front -CUF), who comes from Zanzibar, said that the present system had a lot of contradictions which should be addressed.

Meanwhile, the irrepressible opposition activist Augustine Mrema finally won what might be the final stage of his battle to be accepted as chairman of the Tanzania Labour Party (TLP) following a general meeting of the party. He had joined it (or ‘gatecrashed’ it as claimed by some of the former leaders of the party) in a surprise coup in mid-1999 (TA No 64). The result of a court case brought by these former leaders was that Mrema, the party’s former chairman and new Deputy Chairman, Leo Lakamwa, and the new Secretary General, Harold Jaffu, were recognised in their respective posts. The Judge said that the court had no power to grant an injunction against them -they would be be denied their rights to engage in the political life of the country because in Tanzania political life was not possible outside political parties. But the original leaders of the TLP who had taken the matter to court refused to accept the verdict and insisted that Mrema’s membership of the party was illegal. Later, following a speech in Moshi during which he was alleged to have insulted the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) leadership and the late Mwalimu Nyerere, Mrema was detained by the police for a short period and charged with sedition and defamation.

Many were surprised to learn on August 18 that in the by-election in the BUKOBA RURAL constituency where the CCM MP, former Minister of Labour and Youth Development Sebastian Kinyondo, had been removed from his seat by the court following allegations of corruption in 1968 (he had obtained 42,269 votes compared with CHADEMA’s 1 0,1 09 votes in the general election) had been re-elected unopposed. Apparently a CHADEMA candidate had collected a form but had managed to list only 23 referees instead of the 25 required under the rules. Two names on the list were apparently repeated. He then failed to appeal within the required time and Mr Sebastian Kinyondo was declared the MP again.

Meanwhile the former leading opposition party NCCR-Mageuzi took a further step in its decline when its outspoken Chairman of the Dar es Salaam branch, Dr Masurnbuko Lamwai, resigned. He complained that, although the party had received from the government Shs 500 million for its by-election expenses in the Ubungo and Temeke by­elections, he as one of the party’s candidates, had been granted only Shs 5 million and had received no support from the leadership in his campaign.

Opposition CHADEMA leader Bob Makani is reported to have said that the opposition parties had learnt from past mistakes and had begun to discuss closer cooperation in the future. But the CCM seems more certain than ever of winning the next elections later this year. President Mkapa seems to fear that he might be chosen unanimously as his CCM party’s candidate for the elections and has expressed a wish that somebody should stand against him so as to make for a real contest.


President Amour has put much speculation to rest by announcing that he will not try to have the constitution of Zanzibar changed to enable him to stand for a third term as President in the 2000 elections.

Following the resumption of normal functioning of the House of Representatives (after signing of the June 9, 1999 agreement between the CCM and opposition Civic United Front (CUF) parties -see Tanzanian Affairs No 64) President Amour said to MP’s on July 28 “I am overjoyed in seeing tolerance among you during this entire budget session of parliament. The accord was a historic milestone towards peace and reconciliation” .

The Daily News reported on November 2 that the Commonwealth Secretariat, which had negotiated the agreement, had set May 2000 as the deadline for its implementation. The first step was the setting up of a 14­member Inter-Party Committee (IPC) of the House of Representatives. The CCM and CUF chairmen of the IPC (Haje Mkema and Abubakar Bakari respectively) announced that six consultants (three foreign and three Tanzanian), appointed by the Commonwealth to review the constitution, election laws, electoral commission and judiciary had started work on November 2 and had been given one month to submit their proposals. But, according to the Daily News, the government had made it clear that it would only implement proposals it found palatable because the IPC had no legal powers to force it to ‘swallow all proposals’ .

British High Commissioner Bruce Dinwiddy during a visit to meet President Amour in mid-August last year called on Zanzibar to speed up the trial of the 18 CUF activists who have been in custody for two years on charges of treason. He said that this long detention without trial was damaging the reputation of Zanzibar and the human rights record of Tanzania in the eyes of the world as the accused had been declared ‘prisoners of conscience’ by Amnesty International. Talking to the Swedish Ambassador (whose government refuses to resume aid to Zanzibar until the treason case is resolved) on August 17, President Amour said that the government would ensure that the treason case would be expedited and fairly handled. He questioned why the case was connected to aid provision. He said it was a legal matter and even the Commonwealth-brokered agreement had been silent on the issue. On December 3 the newspaper ‘Mtanzania’ quoted a government spokesman as saying that the treason trial would take its course without internal or external interference. It would be unconstitutional for the government or President to interfere with the judiciary. On December 30 OAU Secretary General Salim Ahmed Salim added his voice to the chorus of criticism of what was going on. “We must admit that justice delayed is justice denied” he said. He added that the delay was tarnishing the country’s Image.

As long ago as September 10 the Guardian had quoted State House spokesman Geoffrey Nkurlu as saying that hearing of the treason trial would start soon but at the end of 1999 it had still not started. The same paper later quoted Zanzibar Attorney General, Mohamed Ali Omar, as having wondered why the police had not yet arrested the main CUF leaders -Vice-Chairman Seif Sharrif Hamad and Secretary General Shabaan Mloo -in addition to the 18 already held. The Attorney General said that the leaders had been mentioned by some of the 18 suspects in the case during investigations. “One cannot arrest the dancer without the drummers” he was quoted as saying. Both CUF leaders then declared that they were ready to be arrested. The Director of Criminal Investigations was then said to have denied that he had received orders to arrest Hamad and Mloo and eight others who had also been mentioned. A CUF spokesman said that these contradictory statements by government were designed to further delay the case. On September 22 Union Minister for Home Affairs, Ali Ameir Mohamed (who is from Zanzibar) told the Guardian that he was surprised that the trial had not yet started. He added that law enforcers would be summoned to explain why they were not executing orders which would enable the trial to start. On December 29 the Swahili paper Majira quoted Zanzibar Chief Justice Harnid Mahamoud Hamid as saying that the trial would start before the end of February 2000. It could take place only after the present session of the Appeal Court had finished. Some 61 prosecution witnesses were said to have been lined up. The paper thought that one of Zanzibar’s Nigerian judges would hear the case.

The Swahili press reported on November 16 that the 18 accused had written to participants in the Commonwealth Conference in Durban, which was attended by 45 heads of Government, accusing them of failing to put pressure on the Zanzibar government to speed up their trial. They were quoted as saying that, while the Commonwealth had taken a tough stand on minimal human rights abuses in Kenya and Zambia, the organisation didn’t seem to care about their predicament ~ they had been languishing in prison for two years without their case being heard. They said that Tanzania should be suspended from the Commonwealth Club.


After a year of debate over the precise terms of the agreement the Presidents of Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda signed a treaty in Arusha on November 30 re-establishing an East African Community. The original East African Community (EAC) had lasted from 1967 until 1977. But, although the new treaty apparently established a customs union and represented a step towards political and economic integration on the EC model, a decision on the setting up of the originally envisaged Common Market seems to have been postponed indefinitely. (We hope to have more on this in our next issue ~ Editor).


There has been much discussion inside and outside Tanzania in recent months about what appeared to be the determination with which the government was tackling small scale corruption but its apparent lack of attention to corruption involving ‘big’ people. However, on December 28, former Works Minister Nalaila Kiula and his former Principal Secretary, Director of Roads and Aerodromes, Chief Engineer Rural Roads and the Director of a construction company appeared in the Kisutu Magistrates Court in Dar es Salaam to answer corruption charges involving the loss of Shs 3.3 billion. They were charged under the Economic Sabotage and Organised Crime Control Act and were initially remanded in custody. Giving details of the case, the Guardian reported that on January 2 1966 the Minister had allegedly been found in possession of houses in Dodoma (valued at Shs 25 million), and Dar es Salaam (Shs 5.5 million), various sums of money (Shs 33.9 million) an air ticket to Tokyo for his wife, and a car (Shs 18 million) which the prosecution alleged had been ‘reasonably suspected of having been corruptly obtained’. Similar charges were made against the others. It was said that the accused would have to apply to the High Court for bail and this was granted on Deceember 31. House Speaker Pius Msekwa announced later that Niula would remain an MP until any changes against him had been proved.

Other developments in the government’s anti-corruption drive have included the following: Two lorry loads of smuggled goods were intercepted at the Geita lakeshore and the guilty persons were fined a total of Shs 11 million in August. 105 drivers were arrested in a crackdown on people with faked drivers licenses. The very active Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) seized goods worth about Shs 15 million on the Tanzania Kenya border on August 14 as tax had not been paid on them. On September 27 the CID began questioning 16 people suspected of committing theft and fraud between January and September 1999 in 34 branches of the National Bank of Commerce. The Judicial Services Commission announced in October that one magistrate had been sacked and two others retired for acting against professional ethics. Two businessmen and six land officers are in court on charges of bribery involving acquisition of plots of land. Ten oil marketing companies have had their licenses revoked for suspected tax evasion. However, the former Director of National Parks has been acquitted on charges of corruption in the Arusha Magistrates Court.


AFRICAN DECISIONS, in its June-August issue, reported on the praise Tanzania had received from IMF officials for its steadfast implementation of macroeconomic policies and its progress in structural reform during the past three years, despite severe economic disruptions caused by adverse weather conditions. The key to the macroeconomic stabilisation effort had been a strong fiscal stance, a rigorous cash management system and the introduction of VAT supported by tight monetary policies.

The first anniversary issue of the lavishly illustrated publication THE SWAHILI COAST included articles in its fourth issue on the Mwaka Kogwa festival which ‘encompasses the many faces of Islam, Zoroatrianism and traditionalism’ in Zanzibar, a brief history of trading by dhow, what it described as the ‘hidden grace and lost splendour’ of Pangani, an article on the doors of Zanzibar plus a selection of Swahili seafood recipes.

Kate Kibuga explained in a succinct article in the COURIER (July­August) the background to and reasons for the increase in violent attacks on women suspected of being witches, especially in northern regions of Tanzania. She traced the original ceremonial and advisory roles of older women and how these had changed under the influence of their struggle for day to day survival, the refusal of young people to listen to their advice, and the loss of traditional checks against witchcraft which used to be made by councils of elders. Many more widows now lived alone and could acquire an air of mystery in the village; they often had bloodshot eyes from cooking over smoking fires all their lives. But they were also being used as scapegoats by younger people for social upheaval, new diseases, freak weather conditions and huge increases in living costs (Thank you Debbie Simmons for sending us this article –Editor).

The DALLAS (TEXAS) MORNING NEWS also published an article on August 13 on the same subject entitled ‘Old Women victims of superstition’ in which it explained that the recent increase in attacks on old women suspected of witchcraft among the Sukuma people of Shinyanga was linked to the mining boom in the area (gold, diamonds and semi-precious stones). More than 90% of the people believed in witchcraft and, near the Mwadui diamond mine, people were digging up their own plots of land looking for diamonds and tended to put their faith in witchcraft. Some old women were being killed more for reasons of greed than superstition. Some were victims of attempts by their next-of­kin to get them out of the way and inherit their property. University of Dar es Salaam Sociologist Simon Mesaki was quoted as saying that the relocation of peasants into ujamaa villages in the 1970’s had seriously disrupted traditional life and local chiefs who had dealt with community problems had been replaced by distant bureaucrats (Thank you Peter Park for this item. The Shinyanga Police Commander stated recently that 84 alleged sorcerers were murdered in 1997 -40% less than in the previous year and some 310 suspects had been charged with killings in 1997 and 1998 ~Editor).

The July 12-18 issue of the EAST AFRICAN asked what Tanzania’s musical identity was now in view of the domination of Congolese Lingala music and American Hip Hop and R&B in the country. It reported that, seeking to strike a balance, was a group of talented musicians called Tatunane which had brought about a unique fusion of traditional African rhythms with jazz, R&B and other dance beats. The leader of the group was quoted as saying that “What Tatumane had done was a sort of ‘back to my roots’ thing … we have blended different melodies from Tanzania’s 124 ethnic groups with modem instruments”. Although having an uphill battle to gain popularity amongst Tanzanians they have a strong following in Scandinavia, Western Europe, Japan and Canada and now have made 5 CD’s –Thank you Geoffrey Cotterell for sending this news ~ Editor}.

The South African BUSINESS DAY reported in September that a furore had blown up in Tanzania’s tourist industry because the Mount Kilimanjaro National Park authorities had increased the tariffs for climbers in December by 100%. Some 4,000 tourists were said to have booked to climb the mountain. Warden Michael Mombo said that raising the tariffs was a way to control the numbers and environmental damage (Thank you David Leishman for sending this item from Malawi ~ in fact, 1,154 people eventually climbed the mountain to celebrate the new millennium but two tourists died while trying to do so – Editor).

‘Unchanged for six centuries the dhow is one of the most successful and beautiful trading vessels ever created’ wrote Matt Bannerman in the November 21 issue of the SUNDAY TELEGRAPH. He had gone in search of the place where dhows are still being built and found it in the Chole (Mafia) shipyard. ‘In a patch of shade, a little way from the big but still skeletal jahazi under construction (each one takes about a year to build) two small boys work industrially … I watch as their dexterous fingers assemble the rigging on a perfect replica of the jahazi their fathers and grandfathers are building. The little boat is made from balsa planks and stitched together with coconut twine and is not a toy but a demonstration of their advancing skills. Some day, they explain, they hope to be allowed to join their elders in the construction crew …. ‘ (Thank you Donald Wright for sending this item-Editor).

‘Where are you most likely to meet the man or woman of your dreams’ asked the London OBSERVER in its October 10 issue. ‘Apparently it often turns out to be Mount Kilimanjaro.’ A travel agent was quoted as saying that “Travelling with a group of like-minded people builds tremendous camaraderie. At the very least you can expect to form some lasting friendships” (Thank you Jane Carroll for sending this …. Editor).


At the beginning of November President Mkapa called the Regional Commissioner, the Regional Administrative Secretary, the Regional Police Commander, District commissioners and MP’s from Kigoma region to an emergency conference to discuss the increase in crime in the region.

Two months earlier Regional Administrative Secretary Raphael Mlama had explained in an interview with ‘Tanzanian Affairs’ the costs and the benefits for Tanzania of the massive influx of refugees. Between August 1998 and August 1999 over 100,000 refugees from Burundi and the Congo had entered Kigoma region. On the benefits side he said that Tanzania received help from the UN High Commission for Refugees and many NGO’s and other agencies and their help included the construction of new roads. The $1.42 million 93-km Nyakanazi -Kibondo road was inaugurated on August 27. UNHCR had provided the funds to facilitate transport of food and goods to refugee camps in the region. Other benefits included new water supplies, rehabilitation of schools, increased employment opportunities, provision of social services, re-afforestation projects and an improved market for produce. But many of these benefits had to be placed against the problems refugees brought with them. By far the most important was the serious deterioration in security. Kigoma used to be a haven of peace but now there was a serious crime wave and highway robbery -“They use machine guns to steal a radio” he said. In Kasulu district villagers had begged the government to relocate them, such was their fear of crime. Some refugees also introduced new diseases like cholera, rabies and sexually transmitted diseases. The environment was damaged as vast cities had to be carved out of previously virgin forest. Heavy lorries carrying supplies for the refugee camps also damaged the roads. It was impossible to control the refugees who often went back and forth across the Burundi and Congo borders. On their return many would try to obtain additional entitlements to food and supplies by concealing their earlier stays in the camps.

Meanwhile in Kagera Region, which once hosted over half a million refugees, the crime wave they have left behind is such that the authorities now advise travellers by road to take a police escort with them.


EXCHANGE RATES (December 20): £1 = Shs 1280 $1-Shs 797

There have been highly significant developments which are likely to ease Tanzania’s debt problem. Leaders of the world’s eight leading economic powers have offered to write off $100 billion of Third World debt and Tanzania is one of seven new countries brought into the debt relief programme. The major powers have also agreed to restrict their sales of gold which has stabilised the price of the gold being produced by Tanzania’s burgeoning gold mining industry.

President Mkapa on September 2 in Stockholm explained Tanzania’s recent decision to leave COMESA There was lot of overlapping of regional organisations and attempts to rationalise their objectives had failed. Comesa did not have a regulatory mechanism to take into account imbalances in industrialisation in the region. Tanzania had given one years’ notice and would see what happened during that period before deciding whether to pull out or reconsider its decision -Daily News.

Responding to criticism of his proposal to introduce a positive discrimination policy backed by law to economically empower indigenous Tanzanians, Minister for Industry and Commerce Iddi Simba pointed out that, since South Africa had adopted a similar policy in 1994, Black African businesses had increased their ownership of businesses on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange from 0.3% to 11%. He added that it would be absurd to associate the Tanzanian government with any policy which propagated racial discrimination. The government would not stop the further progress of any successful enterprise he said.

Two of Zanzibar’s oldest hotels -the Africa House (13 rooms) formerly known as the ‘English Club’ and the Zanzibar Hotel (24 rooms) -have been leased out by the government to Zanzibar Hotels and Tours Co Ltd. They are to be upgraded to 3-star standard without changing the outside structure. 80,000 tourists are now visiting Zanzibar each year.

The leading newspaper group in Tanzania, the Guardian Ltd, announced in August that it would have to retrench 100 of its workers. One of its rivals, ‘The African’ reported that the parent company (IPP Ltd) had started experiencing financial difficulties at the beginning of 1999.

Tanzania has its first desalination plant. It cost $500,000 and has been installed by Coca Cola Kwanza Ltd. as a strategic move because Dar es Salaam goes through dry spells with low water levels each year -East African.

Winners of the award for British consultancy of the year 1999 (Category B) are CMS Cameron McKennal Mott Macdonald who received a 25-year contract to privatise and operate Kilimanjaro Airport. Some £7 million is being spent in the fIrst phase of its rehabilitation -The Times.

The Bill under which the 35-branch National Bank of Commerce (NBC) has been privatised was passed in the National Assembly on November 9 under a certificate of urgency. This had to happen before the end of 1999 if Tanzania were to benefit from further IMF assistance and new debt relief. Under a Memorandum of Agreement, 70% of the bank was scheduled to be sold to the 1000-branch Amalgamated Bank of South Africa (ABSA). The newly appointed ABSA management of ‘NBC (1997) Ltd’ soon began to collect billions of shillings from bad debts. “The existing bad risk customers are going to pay the money back” declared what the Guardian described as the ‘tough talking’ new Managing Director Gerald Jordaan. Jordaan said it was not his policy to flood the place with South Africans (there would be not more than 25 expatriates) but only those local workers (who total 1,100) who merited their positions would be retained. He was not worried about the other banks in Tanzania (more than 20) many of which commanded international repute -“these banks create for us a competitive atmosphere” he said. One of the expatriate directors was quoted in the Guardian as saying that, when ABSA took over the Bank, it had a negative capital base -it was bankrupt. On August 31 the new bank announced that Shs 3 billion of debt had been recovered during the first four weeks since the takeover. On August 31 Jordaan said that the names of bankers who had been allegedly involved in fraud or theft but had been simply dismissed, suspended or left to go free would be submitted to the police the following week together with full details. The amount of money lost was colossal he said. The other part of the NBC, the National Microfinance Bank (NMB) has started operations with support from ‘Development Alternative Incorporation’ of the USA which has brought in four full-time experts.

The EU has lifted its ban on the import of Tanzanian fish from lake Victoria but has not lifted the ban on Kenyan and Ugandan fish.

The Tanzania Telecommunications Co Ltd expects to earn Shs 80.4 billion this year -a record for the company. The TTCL was established in 1993 and in 1994 had earned only Shs 33.2 billion -Daily News.

The London-based international tribunal looking into the tariff dispute between TANESCO and the Malaysian-financed IPTL power project (see several recent issues of Tanzanian Affairs -Editor) decided that the case fell outside its jurisdiction.

The duty on imported second hand clothes was increased in October from $0.55 per kilo to $2.50. Wholesalers complained that they would have to pay Shs 25 million for a container load of 500 bales (each of 45 kgs) compared with Shs 5 million before.

The Tanzania Cotton Lint and Seed Board has established a Cotton Development Fund to help farmers in their purchase of cheaper pesticides and cotton seed at half the normal price and would also support education and research. The fund would obtain its revenue through a 3% levy on Free on Board (FOB) cotton prices -Daily News.

In its determination to harvest the maximum quantity of cloves the government increased the producer price to Shs 600 compared with Shs 400 a kilo for first grade cloves and closed schools for a month from August 20 to enable schoolchildren to take part in the harvest. They also sent a team of doctors from Mnazi Moja hospital to Pemba to treat people falling from clove trees.