Archive for Issue 71

TA ISSUE 71

TA issue 71

TANZANIA AND TERRORISM
AGREEMENT IN ZANZIBAR – and then a setback
DEBT RELIEF
MKAPA SCORES 90%
MUSIC -breaking Congo domination
DHOW FESTIVAL

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TANZANIA AND TERRORISM

Hardly any country in the world remained untouched by the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington on September 11 and Tanzania has been no exception. President Mkapa immediately sent Tanzania’s condolences to President Bush who replied on September 21: “On behalf of the American people I am grateful to you and the people of Tanzania for your kind expressions of condolence and concern …… ” Tanzania had been itself one of the first targets of Al Qaeda terrorism when the American Embassy was blown up with the death of 12 people on August 7 1998.

Signs of Muslim militancy have been growing gradually for several years in various parts of Tanzania, although they are still on a very small scale. There have been many reports in the local press of such militancy:

In mid-August a certain Rajabu Dibagulu was jailed for 18 months in Morogoro for offending the Christian community by issuing the inflammatory statement ‘Jesus is not God’. On August 24 groups of Muslims took to the streets of Dar es Salaam to protest just before a High Court judge declared the sentence invalid and released the prisoner. On September 1 there was a dispute at the Kwa Mtoro Mosque following an invasion by militant youths disputing its ownership. This followed threats by Muslim activists that they would invade churches when the government banned a demonstration they wanted to hold.

The Guardian reported that the police believed that small bomb explosions at the CCM subhead office and a CCM branch office at Kariakoo, Dar es Salaam were due to Muslim radicals. 17 people were arrested. “The fight has just begun” President Mkapa said on August 30 when he visited the affected CCM party offices. “We are hunting them down” he said.

After the New York events Majira reported (September 14) that, while watching the dramatic images on TV some people in Zanzibar were seen celebrating. Others were wearing American T-shirts indicating their support for the victims. But at the famous joint known as Joe’s Corner in Mkunazini, youths were dancing and cheering. One of them was heard saying, “Let the international policemen also have a taste of terrorism, after all Palestinians suffers from it everyday.”

On October 19 thousands of Muslims held a peaceful demonstration in Dar es Salaam to condemn US attacks on Afghanistan. They held placards praising Osama bin Laden and torched American flags. Mwananchi reported that there was a high security alert at the Bugando Hospital in Mwanza after the Director received a letter from the ‘Osama bin Laden Defence Squad’ saying that a bomb would go off on 10 October between 11 a.m. and 12 noon. There was no bomb. Another bomb scare was raised at a secondary school in Tanga when a telephone call was received from a ‘Bin Laden group.’ The police arrested some people for distributing seditious photographs of President Bush and bin Laden. Clerics at the Tungi Mosque in Temeke, Dar es Salaam were told, at a meeting to show solidarity with the Taliban, to prepare for the holy war (Jihad) declared by Afghanistan. One preacher, Sheikh Musa Kileo, quoted verses from the Koran saying that Islam was not a pacifist religion, nor a ‘turn­the-other-cheek’ religion. He asked who was prepared to ‘die for Islam’ and many among the congregation lifted their fingers. Another cleric, Sheikh Musa bin Issa said it was the duty of a Muslim to defend a fellow Muslim “irrespective of whether he has committed any crime or not.” On September 28 a message, said to be from the head of Taliban, Mullah Mohamed Omar, was circulating in city mosques. Written in Arabic with a Swahili translation, it urged Muslims all over the world to be ready for Jihad (holy war) against the ‘crusade declared by Bush.’ Majira reported on September 24 that two Muslims had appeared in Tabora Magistrate’s Court for claiming that they supported Osama and could blow up the State House. They were found with audiocassettes attacking Christianity. The Guardian reported on October 10 that branches of the Cooperative and Rural Development Bank in Dar had had to close for the afternoon after alleged threats to blow up the building. A food vendor on the other side of the street complained that some of his customers had fled without paying for the food they had eaten when word went around that a bomb was about to explode.

Meanwhile at a meeting of the Ahmadia Muslims at Mnazi Mmoja, reported in Mtanzania, Vice President Dr Ali Mohamed Shein commended the sect for advocating tolerance and peace among the population. Inspector General of Police Omari Iddi Mahita, addressing the 70th Interpol General Assembly in Budapest, Hungary was quoted as saying that it was unfortunate that Tanzania was considered to have been hosting some terrorist elements unknowingly. Some of them had been involved in the bombing of the US Embassy. He said the Tanzania Police Force supported all strategies geared to bringing the terrorists to justice. The US had sent a list of 50 suspected terrorists, but Director of Criminal Investigations Adadi Rajab said that none of them was resident in the country. On November 26 the East African reported that Zanzibar-born Ahmed Gailani, (otherwise known as ‘Ahmed the Tanzanian’, ‘Foopie’, ‘Fupi’ and ‘Al Tanzani’) was on a US list of the ten most wanted terrorists in connection with the Dar embassy bombing. The Bank of Tanzania was said to have circulated the full list to banks and financial institutions with instructions to freeze their accounts. There were numerous anthrax scares in various parts of the country but tests all proved negative. Minister of Health Anna Abdallah reported that letters containing powder had been sent to the Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner and the Regional Police Commander and to an independent television radio presenter. She said that the letters were being mailed by mischievous individuals seeking to instil fear in other people. Two University staff members received a letter with powder from an Afghan refugee in Pakistan who was requesting assistance because of the on-going war in his country. The Tanzania Postal Service equipped its staff with masks and gloves.

TANZANITE AND TERRORISM
More sinister than much of the above were indications that the blue gem ‘Tanzanite’, which is found only in Tanzania and represents a major export market, might have been at the centre of an international network of money-laundering in the interests of AI Qaeda. The British Journal ‘Africa Confidential’ and the US newspaper ‘The Wall Street Journal’, quoting from much of the testimony in the trial oft he perpetrators of the bombings in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi (see Tanzanian Affairs No. 70) and other sources, described a widespread belief, not possible to confirm, that much of the Tanzanite goes from Mererani, near Arusha, where it is mined, first to Mombasa (a base for the 1998 US embassy bombers) without passing through customs, via Al Qaeda companies set up by a former personal secretary of Bin Laden (who is now serving a life sentence for organising the bombings) to Dubai, described as ‘a traditional smuggling port for India.’ Arusha Regional Mines Officer Alex Magyane was quoted as saying that links between Al Qaeda and the Tanzanite trade were continuing. Much of the trade was said to be conducted in the courtyard of a mosque at Mererani, near the prayer hall run by an Imam who recommended miners to sell to fellow Muslims, even if ‘infidels’ offered better prices. His Friday sermons were said to preach hatred of the USA and support for the Taliban regime. His followers called each other Jahidini (members of the Jihad). He had refused to discuss AI Qaeda but claimed that suicide attacks were legitimate in defending Islam.

In early December AFGEM, a South African company developing a large-scale Tanzanite mine in the Mererani mining area, expressed disappointment over the Wall Street Journal article because it had been skewed and it had been based largely on personal testimony, inferences and assumptions. The statement said that the mining and trading of Tanzanite was dominated by the Maasai, a small and peaceful tribe, rather than the Muslim fundamentalists referred to in the Wall Street Journal. The International Coloured Gemstone Association (ICA) agreed with AFGEM’s stand on the situation. In a press release issued on 27 November 2001, its President, Israel Z. Eliezri, voiced his frustration with the Journal for providing such a distorted picture of the trade. He noted that about 90% of the Tanzanite traders were members of the ICA, a reputable organisation committed to building up the integrity of the industry. The balance of non-ICA members were unlikely to be generating the millions of dollars mentioned by the Journal to fund AI Qaeda.

The Guardian (December 14) quoted the Nairobi-based ‘Africa Arise Worldwide’ as claiming that the AI Qaeda network was dealing with some rebel leaders in the Congo to smuggle diamonds and uranium to Dubai through Dar es Salaam and Nairobi. The Congo’s Ambassador to Tanzania was quoted as saying ”No one can wonder to hear that bin Laden is stretching his evil activities to the Congo where terrorists like him have been killing innocent people ….. for the past four years.”

COLLAPSE OF THE MARKET
The Tanzanian Mineral Dealers Association also denied that Al Qaeda was involved in the Tanzanite trade but some of the miners were quoted in the Guardian as saying that they had heard accounts of Tanzanite dealings with Al Qaeda members in the mid-1990’s. The Association complained that stories about Al Qaeda had damaged the US market for Tanzanite. Of some 80 mineral dealers in Mererani, most had had to close down as, after September 11, orders from America, which normally took 80% of the gems, collapsed and efforts to find new markets were only just beginning.

The results were said to be dire. The Guardian reported on November 22 that armed robbers in the Arusha Region had stolen some Shillings 300 million in just two weeks as a result of the drastic fall in prices of Tanzanite and the slump in the tourism sector. It quoted a figure of 100,000 young men having abandoned mining activities and losing their jobs in tourism. Over 1,100 tourists cancelled their reservation immediately after September 11. But Paris-based international gem dealer Paulo Fagundes told Tanzanian Affairs that he had been at the Munich Gem Fair in November and had not noticed any reduction in the price of Tanzanite on the European market. (For more details on what it is like to search for gemstones at Mererani see ‘Tanzania in the International Media’ below ­Editor).

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MKAPA SCORES 90%

The Guardian (November 27) reported the results of a survey entitled ‘Attitudes to Democracy and Markets in Tanzania’ by specialists in the universities of Dar es Salaam, Cape Town and Michigan State.

President Mkapa scored 90% approval overall; 61% of the 2,198 adults surveyed expressed much satisfaction with his performance. The report said the President attained far more positive ratings than any other political leader, possibly because of his efforts at fighting official corruption in society. Three quarters were satisfied with the performance of their regional commissioners; two thirds with their local mayors or council chairmen; 58% with their MP’s and 52% with political parties generally. Zanzibar President Aman Karume scored only 54%. Only one quarter felt the government was doing a good job in reducing the gap between rich and poor.

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CELEBRATIONS

The country celebrated 40 years of independence on 9th December. President Mkapa, addressing a large gathering at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam said: “We have been independent for 40 years; it should not take us another 40 years to complete our independence by winning the war against poverty …. With determination, initiative and cooperation Tanzania can succeed in getting rid of poverty. The debt relief which Tanzania has obtained, the correct social and macro-economic policies being pursued as well as peace, stability, solidarity and natural resources constitute a firm basis upon which to accelerate the war on poverty” he said.

He pardoned 4,000 prisoners particularly those with HIV/Aids, cancer, TB, those above 60 years of age, and women who were pregnant or breast feeding. The President also reduced sentences on other prisoners by three months except for those serving for offences connected to illicit drugs, graft, banditry, rape, sodomy and cattle rustling – Guardian.

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ZANZIBAR – A COMPREHENSIVE AGREEMENT

A comprehensive 52-page agreement (Muafaka) was signed on October 10, after eight months of negotiations, between the respective Secretaries General of the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party, Philip Mang’ula and of the opposition Civic United Front (CUF) Seif Sharrif Hamad. The long standing political crisis in the isles has been explained in many issues of ‘Tanzanian Affairs’ since 1995 when the results of the elections in the Isles in that year were questioned by some observers. The situation was exacerbated when the 2000 elections were widely considered as having been rigged. Opposition dissatisfaction culminated in over 20 deaths during rioting on 26 and 27 January 2001 and the flight to Kenya of more than 2000 refugees. President Mkapa admitted that these events had been ‘a stain on the history of the nation’. After the signing, which was a happy and emotional event, donor agencies indicated that aid to Zanzibar would be resumed once the agreement was implemented.

THE AGREEMENT IN DETAIL
The agreement is comprehensive and responds to many but not all of CUF’s demands, including reform of the much criticised Zanzibar Electoral Commission, the introduction of a permanent register of eligible voters, a review of the existing constitution and electoral laws (by February 2002) to make them conform to a multi-party political system, fair coverage of both parties in publicly-owned media, and payment of compensation to those affected by earlier disturbances. CCM refused to accept CUF’s demand for a re-run of the 2000 elections but accepted that CUF would be involved in government affairs through the offer of ambassadorial posts and membership in various institutions. There would be by-elections in the 16 CUF constituencies which were declared vacant when CUF MP’s had been expelled following their boycott of proceedings in the House of Representatives. There would be an independent enquiry (to be concluded by April 2002) on the rioting. Talks regarding a possible coalition government were to start not later than June 2003 and would be held under a 10-person joint ‘Presidential Commission on Implementation and Monitoring’ to monitor implementation of the agreement. The precise powers of this commission are not clear but it does indicate a move towards sharing of power. After the signing of the agreement, 109 criminal cases related to January’s unrest including a murder charge against CUF Assistant Secretary General Juma Duni Haji, were dropped.

“FROM NOW ON I WILL SLEEP MORE SOUNDLY” – MKAPA
At the ceremony marking the occasion President Mkapa said: “This is a day of great pleasure and satisfaction to me personally. From now on I think I will sleep more soundly. For, it is true that the political crisis in Zanzibar has weighed heavily on my shoulders. The deaths that occurred in January 2001 in Unguja and Pemba (Tanzanian Affairs No 69) disturbed and saddened me greatly…. We were used to hearing of such deaths in other countries, not in ours. The decision of our fellow citizens to seek refuge outside the country also made me sad, and shamed our nation. We are used to receiving refugees, not creating refugees…. Our people expected too much from me in bringing this crisis to an end. Political parties, likewise, expected too much from me. High Commissioners and Ambassadors, and their Governments, all the time wanted me to do much more; sometimes without regard to constitutional requirements and the limits of my powers. But, more importantly, they forgot that one person couldn’t solve a crisis like this, unless he can make miracles, and I could not make miracles. The only miracle option I had was to revert to African traditions and ways of resolving conflicts, under which even before colonialism, our elders, when confronted by a major crisis, used ‘to sit under a tree’ discuss, listen to each side, weigh each argument, without regard to how long it took to reach an agreement. The overriding objective always was to reach consensus -a consensus that takes into account the concerns and interests of each side, a consensus in which there are no winners and no losers, a consensus that will be respected by each side, because each side considers itself part of the process and of the agreement reached; all sides professing equal rights and equal responsibilities. And this is what we did this time…. There were those who said the drawn out negotiations were only a CCM tactic to buy time. There were those who wanted to resort to violent shortcuts. But the top leadership of both CCM and CUF stood firm, guided by the African way of doing things, and continued to ‘sit under a tree,’ day after day, week after week, month after month, and today as the Kiswahili saying puts it: ‘They said it can’t happen; it has happened!’ I should like on this occasion to thank most heartedly the Secretaries General of CCM and CUF, Honourable Philip Mangula and Honourable Seif Shariff Hamad, together with their negotiating teams. They all did an excellent job; with great wisdom; guided by a sense of nationalism; and when they were ridiculed they did not pay attention, focussing instead on the ultimate goal, the goal that puts national interests first, and the goal of the restoration of peace, stability, dignity and integrity in national politics. I am deeply grateful to my fellow Tanzanians for their patience. As the Swahili proverb says: ‘It is he who is patient that eats the ripe fruit’….. Tanzania is a country for all Tanzanians and not for a group of people. CCM is part of today’s signed agreement and I myself as the president of the Union and CCM National Chairman, I promise to implement fully the agreement. … ”

Zanzibar President Amani Karume added that the signing of the agreement would be meaningless, if it were not fully implemented.” CUF National Chairman, Prof. Ibrahim Lipumba, said that both CCM and his party should forgive each other, but not forget the past. “Forgetting what happened in the past six years may lead us to repeat similar mistakes in the future” he said.

BRITAIN AND THE EU WELCOME THE PACT
The EU congratulated the leaders of the two parties in particular and Tanzania in general for showing determination to resolve their long­standing conflicts peacefully and said that it would increase its assistance to NGO’s on the isles. The British government also sent congratulations “This is wonderful news for all good friends of Tanzania. I pay tribute to the leadership of both CCM and CUF for their vision and courage” British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said in a statement issued by the British High Commission in Dar es Salaam. Most of the 2,000 refugees who had fled Zanzibar after the January clashes have returned to Zanzibar although a group of 103 reportedly arrived in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, from Kenya on October 6.

THEN A SETBACK
Amidst all the euphoria however, when it came to enactment of legislation to implement the agreement, problems arose. The East African reported that three clauses in the Agreement had been changed and others dropped. Zanzibar Attorney General Iddi Pandu Hassan said that the agreement had been signed between the political parties and that the Zanzibar Revolutionary Government had the right to examine the agreement if it felt that the security of the state was at stake.

The Guardian reported that he had deleted provisions allowing for discussions on the possible formation of a coalition government, and for regular monthly discussions with Zanzibar President Karume. Punishment for those who ‘distorted’ the agreement were apparently excluded from the Bill.

CUF’s reaction was swift. On November, 14 at its National Conference in Zanzibar attended by over 1,000 delegates (said to have been paid for, in the new spirit of amity, by the Government) Secretary General Seif Hamad indicated that CUF would withdraw from the agreement if these changes were made.

The Government then presented the Bill to the Zanzibar House of Assembly (which has only CCM members as the CUF MP’s had been expelled earlier for boycotting the proceedings) and it was passed. Minister of State in the Chief Minister’s Office, Salim Juma Othman said that the amendments made were very minor and were designed to facilitate successful implementation of the agreement and would not affect its substance. Earlier, the Chairman of the Judiciary, Constitution and Good Governance Committee of the House, Ali Juma Shamuhuna, said that the Revolutionary Council did not err in amending the accord because the amended sections interfered with the powers of the President of Zanzibar and were against the Zanzibar constitution. Empowering the CCM-CUF monitoring committee to imprison a person for one year or impose a fine of up to Shs 500,000 for blocking the accord interfered with the powers of the judiciary. The House of Representatives also did not have powers to pass laws concerning the Union. During the session many CCM MP’s called on the political parties to respect the amendments put forward by the Revolutionary Government because the accord had not been a legal document but a draft of suggestions by the two political parties.

As this issue of ‘Tanzanian Affairs’ went to press CUF Chairman Lipumba was reported to have threatened to call for a nationwide demonstration on January 27, 2002, the first anniversary of the riots in Zanzibar, and said that CUF would not recognise the Bill passed by the House. However, discussions between the parties were said to be continuing

ZANZIBAR NOW OFFERS 100% FOREIGN OWNERSHIP
Zanzibar President Amani Karume has announced lucrative packages for potential investors in the isles. He told senior executives and potential investors at a Commonwealth-Tanzania Investment Conference in Dar es Salaam that foreign investors would be allowed to establish business ventures with 100% ownership, “We shall continue to remove administrative and legislative barriers to foreign direct investment,” he said. He added however, that the Isles Government would like foreign investors to consider entering into partnership with domestic investors and mentioned hotels, transport, agriculture, fishing and communication as viable sectors. There would be exemptions of export duty for all goods, exemption of import duties or sales tax charged on machinery, equipment, spare parts, raw materials, and supplies necessary for investments. There would also be a 10 year tax holiday on dividends and exemption of income tax for an initial period of 10 years.

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SIMBA RESIGNS ­- NGASONGWA RE-INSTATED

Following the issue of the report of a Presidential Committee into the Sugar Industry, with particular reference to the issue of licenses to import sugar, Minister of Industry and Commerce Iddi Simba resigned on November 5. However, because of the crucial role he had played in a July meeting in Zanzibar of trade ministers from the least developed countries (LDC’s) prior to negotiations for a new round of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks at Doha in Qatar in mid­November, Mkapa asked him to stay on until November 16 to lead the Tanzanian delegation. Tanzania opposed the new round because it claimed that developing countries could not yet face open competition and the subsidies some western nations gave to their own industries. Simba said that he had had to resign to ‘demonstrate his political maturity’ and to save the government from being defeated by a vote of no confidence in Parliament. The enquiry had followed a motion tabled by Kwela MP Chrisant Mzindakaya in the National Assembly attacking Simba for ‘indiscriminately’ issuing sugar import licences’. Mzindakaya was the MP who in 1996 had raised another alleged scandal which saw the resignation of the then Finance Minister Prof. Simon Mbilinyi. The Commission recommended repeal of Government Notice Number 301 of 2000 which had given the Minister for Industry and Commerce wide powers to register any person to import sugar. Simba stepped down a day before Parliament began a debate on the issue of sugar import licenses. He was reported to have authorised 44 companies, instead of only 10 gazetted last August to import sugar. The enquiry concluded that the import licenses were issued in an environment surrounded with circumstantial evidence of graft.

On November 23 President Mkapa surprised many when he appointed former Minister of Natural Resources, Tourism and the Environment Dr Juma Ngasongwa to replace Simba in this key cabinet post. Ngasongwas had himself resigned in December 1966 after he had been mentioned in Judge Joseph Warioba’s Corruption Commission which had probed a scandal involving the allocation of hunting blocks. Ngasongwa was subsequently reprieved.

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NEW ASSEMBLY AND NEW COURT LAUNCHED

The new East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) was inaugurated on November 29 and the new East African Court of Justice (ECJ) on November 30. The budget for the East African Community (EAC) has been increased by 237% in the 2001/2002 financial year as its activities rapidly increase. Each of the three partner states will now contribute a total of US$ 1,666,387.

The Speaker of the new East African Assembly is former Tanzanian Defence Minister Abdulrahman Omari Kinana. The treaty to re­establish the EAC was originally signed on 30th November, 1999 following the collapse of the earlier community in 1977. The two Tanzanian judges appointed to the new court are Justices Augustine Ramadhani and Joseph Warioba.

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MUSIC -BREAKING CONGO DOMINATION

Dodoma Modern Theatre 1994 (photo not included in original TA publication)


When I was working as a VSO in Dodoma in the early nineties, I joined a local band playing dance and taarab music. The band was made up of about 20 musicians (varying a bit from day to day) with two guitars, a bass, keyboard, an occasional accordion and saxophone and lots of drummers. There were usually about three or four singers singing together in tight harmony. The dance songs all started off slowly (rumba) then livened up (kwasa-kwasa/mayeno) and a song could last over 10 minutes, with lots of improvised solos. It was only after a few months of playing with them that I realised that all the instruments belonged to a local tajiri (rich man) and that none of these excellent musicians could afford to buy their own instruments.

Apart from the few who played music in their spare time, the band members had a very hard life. On one occasion I remember they were on tour and eventually ran out of money in Dumila (near Morogoro) not having enough money for food let alone the fare to Dodoma. They were about to start selling off the instruments, but luckily the manager of a local guesti (guest house) let them play for their food and after a few nights with good audiences they able to return – all noticeably thinner. The band made some recordings, and we played on Radio Tanzania, but not much of this trickled through to the band members whose main income was playing at weddings and political functions, and getting tips from guests.

I am glad to say that on recent visits I have found the situation improving. It seems that Tanzanian music has finally broken the domination of Zaire/Democratic Republic of the Congo and suddenly everyone is listening to Swahili bands. In the early nineties there were hardly any Tanzanian bands on the radio (I can remember only about 3 or 4 songs by Magereza Jazz & Mlimani Park Orchestra) and their recordings were usually pretty awful quality. Now following from Diamond Sound, which was a mixed Tanzanian/Congolese band, there are a group of bands like Tam Tam (African Revolution), Twanga Pepeta (African Stars) and Chuchu Sound who all attract large audiences. These days it seems like about 75% of dance music on the radio and in the discos is by Tanzanian bands. I was also glad to find out that several of the musicians I had known in Dodoma are now doing well in the Dar-es-Salaam bands.

In September I met Muumini Mwinjuma (‘Coach wa Dunia’) who is the band leader of Tam Tam at the Lion Hotel in Sinza, and I asked him what he thought was the reason for the changes. He mentioned that several of the band members had been playing in Nairobi but had returned to Dar seeing the economic prospects reviving. There are more restrictions on pirating cassettes -‘original’ cassettes are much more widely available and the bands (or anyway band owners) see more of the proceeds. Also the quality of the recordings has vastly improved – there is a studio in Dar and CD’s are available (though at TShs 12,000 (£10) a time they are not yet widespread). A big reason for the popularity is having songs in Swahili with meaningful lyrics that people can enjoy. The latest album from Tam Tam (Maisha Kitendawili – Life is a riddle) deals with difficult issues like Aids (‘Ndani kwetu limeingia Nyambizi – tujihadhari ­ kuna hatari’ – A monster has come among us – we should be on our guard, there is danger) as well as love songs. It seems that Tanzanians have finally developed their own style.

If you want to experience it yourself I would recommend you try the Tam Tam CD! These are available from Mr M Baraka who is the band owner of both Twanga Pepeta and Tam Tam at twangapepetas@hotmail.com. For other African music try ‘Stern’s Music’, 293 Euston Road, near Warren Street station in London, or www.sternsmusic.com
Jacob Knight

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DEBT RELIEF

The Guardian has reported that Tanzania is to receive over US$ 3 billion in debt relief after reaching ‘completion point’ under the enhanced framework of the ‘Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative’. The additional relief, which will be spread over a 20-year period, will be used to strengthen support for social sectors as envisaged under the Tanzania Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP). According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, prior to the relief, Tanzania’s foreign debt stood at $6.6 billion and it was now expected to fall to $5.8 billion in 2002. The World Bank said that the government would reduce debt servicing by 47% which would enable it to allocate more funds to education, health, water, roads and poverty eradication.

Tanzania will become the fourth country after Uganda, Bolivia and Mozambique, to qualify for substantially increased assistance under the enhanced initiative following its successful implementation of all the stipulated requirements.

FREE PRIMARY EDUCATION
The government has confirmed the abolition of primary school fees and the World Bank has announced its approval of a US$ 150 million interest-free credit to expand school access and increase school retention at primary level (Thank you Roger Carter for sending this item -Editor).

The first results of these policies were announced by President Mkapa who said that Tanzania had enrolled over 1,100,000 pupils in standard one this year, a 41 % increase over the 779,000 pupils enrolled in the year 2000. Speaking at the Tanzania Consultative Group meeting in Dar es Salaam, Mkapa said that this success was due to timely financial support to Tanzania’s Education Sector Development Programme (ESDP) and the Primary School Development Programme.

THE WAR ON POVERTY AND ECONOMIC GROWTH
On efforts to wage war on poverty the President said that though considerable progress had been made in preparing and costing sector­specific interventions to alleviate poverty, international financing mechanisms had not changed to suit the progress made. “Existing international financing mechanisms are, it seems to us, still largely similar to those of the preceding years. There is a pressing need to review them, in order to ensure realistic, effective, and more flexible support for interventions aimed at reducing poverty” he said. More flexible and untied forms of international assistance were critical to Tanzania’s poverty reduction efforts at this stage, when it was becoming increasingly important to embark on more cost-effective and imaginative programmes to uplift the poor. On the country’s economic performance, the President said reforms so far undertaken had paid off as Tanzania had started to distinguish herself as a country with improved investment prospects. He said that investment, as a per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) had started to increase and the overall rate of real GDP growth had accelerated to about 5% in 2000 with a projected 6% growth for the current calendar year. “Despite these welcome developments, the general economic performance still falls short of what is needed in order to meet our poverty reduction targets; we need to attain a much higher economic growth rate” observed President Mkapa. On poverty eradication efforts in hard hit rural areas the President said there must be new and deliberate efforts to help peasants increase crop production and sell at a profit.” No amount of investment and increased production in manufacturing, mining or tourism will be sufficient to sustainably lift an economy that depends on agriculture for 45% of its GDP, unless there is progress in agriculture,” he said.

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BUSINESS AND THE ECONOMY

Exchange Rates: £1 = Shs 1,300.
$1 = Shs 925

‘INVESTMENT TO CONTINUE’ – IMF
According to the IMF’s World Economic Outlook for 2001, Tanzania is among five African countries which are expected to continue attracting investment and long-term economic growth because of its pursuit of sound macro-economic and structural policies. The other countries are Botswana, Cameroon, Mozambique and Uganda but Zimbabwe and Cote d’Ivoire come out of the report badly. The report said that the outlook for private investment, economic diversification and longer-term growth was generally brighter in countries that had pursued sound macroeconomic and structural policies. As a result of this, relatively strong growth of around 5% and above was expected to continue in the five countries.

“POWER RATIONING OVER” -MINISTER.
The Deputy Minister for Energy and Minerals Dr Ibrahim Msabaha has announced that the days of power rationing in Tanzania are over. He was inspecting the 100MW Tegeta-based Independent Power Tanzania Ltd (IPTL) plant. He said that the final take-off of the IPTL, after three years of stalemate, was a major boost to government efforts to ensure all Tanzanian’s got electricity. The dispute between the Malaysian-financed IPTL and the Tanzania Electric Company (TANESCO) was solved by the International Centre for the Settlement of Investments in the middle of this year.

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