Archive for Issue 72

TA ISSUE 72

TA 72 cover

ZANZIBAR AGREEMENT – IMPLEMENTATION
BRITAIN, TANZANIA AND ZIMBABWE
AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL SAGA
END OF OFFICIAL OPPOSITION
PRIVATISATION PROBLEMS
NEW HIGH COMMISSIONER

Comments

LEADERSHIP DILEMMAS

The leader of the Government and of the ruling party Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) President Benjamin Mkapa and the leader of the most significant opposition party, the Civic United Front (CUF) Professor Ibrahim Lipumba have both been facing serious problems during recent weeks.

For Professor Lipumba the problem has been, as also for some of the other opposition party leaders, keeping their followers in line with party policies.

For President Mkapa the problems have been numerous and diverse and have included unpopular privatisations, threats of strikes, religious friction and increasing crime. The President has also faced several difficult foreign policy issues. Details follow.

On the other hand the President’s successful macro-economic strategy during recent years, which has resulted in substantial debt relief and major foreign investment especially in mining, is beginning to show results at the village level as schools and dispensaries see their financial allocations increase. Under the new National Primary Education Development Programme (NPEDP) $10 has been allocated for every primary school pupil between seven and 13 years old and some 1.3 million children had enrolled for Standard 1 in January 2002.

Comments

END OF OFFICIAL OPPOSITION

CUF, the strongest opposition party because of its strength in Zanzibar, was entitled, after the last election, to four special seats for women -the number being determined by the proportion of elected CUF MP’s in the National Assembly in Dodoma. They were duly nominated by President Mkapa and then insisted on taking up their seats contrary to CUF party policy. CUF MP’s elected from Zanzibar are boycotting National Assembly sessions as part of the party’s protest against how the 2000 general elections in Zanzibar were conducted. The women were then expelled from the party and lost their seats.

As a result of this, the number of all opposition MP’s in the House fell to 18 out of a total of 295 all of whom are CCM. Under Section 11 (4) of parliamentary rules, when the opposition numbers fall below 20 they lose their status and privileges as an official opposition. They can no longer chair parliamentary committees or act as shadow ministers and their leader no longer has a government car. Opposition leaders were indignant and spoke of ‘killing the spirit of democracy’ ‘digging the grave of democracy’ and ‘reverting to a one party state.’

On April 16th the Guardian reported that the High Court in Dar es Salaam had overturned the decision by CUF to cancel the membership of two of its parliamentarians (the others did not take up a case in court) and declared that they were still lawful MPs. The party was ordered to pay costs of the case. CUF said it would appeal. Meanwhile, the number of registered political parties in Tanzania has gone up to 16 following the registration on 18th January of the Forum for Restoration of Democracy (FORD). The party’s national chairman, Ramdhani Mzee said that development came as a result of democracy; in the absence of democracy violence and anarchy would reign.

Comments

IMPLEMENTATION OF ZANZIBAR AGREEMENT PROCEEDS APACE

The Government is proceeding rapidly with implementation of the 52-page agreement signed on October 10 2001 between the two parties in Zanzibar (see TA No.71) which has transformed the previously tense political environment in Zanzibar.

PRAISE FROM PEACE FORUM
Addressing a meeting of the International Peace Forum in New York, the architects of the agreement, CCM Secretary General Philip Mang’ula and CUF Secretary General Seif Shariff Hamad were praised for reaching the agreement themselves without outside mediation. The process they had gone through could be used in resolving other international conflicts they were told. Tanzanian Ambassador to the United Nations Mr Mwakawago suggested that the two parties might now help resolve religious conflicts in Tanzania.

IMPLEMENTATION
The following steps have been taken to implement the accord according to the Guardian and the Express:

– President Mkapa formed on January 16 a COMMISSION OF ENQUIRY to investigate the killings of the CUF demonstrators The Commission’s terms of reference include the investigation, without bias, of the cause of the events; the consequences; whether there is need to offer humanitarian aid to those affected; and, to make proposals on reconciliation. The Commission will also propose to the government steps that should be taken so that such happenings do not recur. Brigadier General (rtd) Hashim I. Mbita is the chairman of the team and Phillip Mcamanga the secretary. The Commission started work on March 25 and is required to present its report by July 31.

– The Zanzibar House of Representatives, meeting in Pemba on April 9 was due to pass an eighth amendment to the constitution under which an INDEPENDENT ELECTION COMMISSION under a Chairperson with legal qualifications equivalent to those of a judge, would be set up. Members would include two nominated by the government, and two nominated by the leader of the opposition. The Bill said that every Zanzibari should be granted a right to vote regardless of the time he or she had been living in the area where she or he had registered as a voter. This schedule aimed at quashing the previous rule which required a person to live in a particular area for five consecutive years in order to qualify as a voter. The changes also required the creation of a permanent voters register. The amendments would also set down principles separating the powers of the executive, legislature and judiciary. They said that all government organs and its servants would be governed in accordance with international conventions on human rights and principles of good governance. This change follows prolonged complaints that the government has been intervening in decisions made by the courts. For the first time Zanzibar will have its own Director of Public Prosecutions who will be appointed by the President to hold the post for five year periods extendable. STOP PRESS -The Bill was passed on April 17th.

– Zanzibar President Karume has set up a COMMISSION TO INVESTIGATE COMPLAINTS BY WORKERS AND CIVIL SERVANTS WHO ALLEGED THAT THEY HAD BEEN DISMISSED FOR POLITICAL REASONS. In view of the large number claiming compensation within the first few days (some 1,500) the Commission’s Chairman, Jaffa Ali Juma, said that workers would have to bring genuine evidence regarding their sacking.

– By-elections in 16 parliamentary seats now vacant because the CUF MP’s were expelled following a boycott will be held next year.

– President Mkapa has nominated an additional CUF MP to the National Assembly in Dodoma.

– For the first time CUF members attended a party given by President Karume in February.

But, according to the Guardian, four other opposition parties have objected to their non-inclusion in the discussions about the Zanzibar Agreement and have threatened to challenge the agreement in a court of law -Guardian.

Comments

BRITAIN, TANZANIA AND ZIMBABWE

The leaders of both Britain and Tanzania made it very clear which side they favoured in the recent presidential elections in Zimbabwe. Britain favoured the opposition and Tanzania was on President Robert Mugabe’s side. After the election international observers came up with differing conclusions. The OAU observer team led by Tanzanian Gertrude Mongella found the elections free and fair as did the 25-member Tanzanian team. But observers from Europe, the USA and some countries in Africa including Ghana and Senegal described the elections as not free and fair. South Africa’s team was divided although its leader said that the election had been ‘legitimate’. But it was the Commonwealth team, led by a Nigerian, who proved decisive in describing the election result as ‘not having represented the views of the people.’ On March 19 Zimbabwe was expelled from the Councils of the Commonwealth.

“DESERVED MANDATE”
After the election President Mkapa wrote as follows to President Mugabe: “I am writing to extend our warmest congratulations on the renewed and deserved presidential mandate the people of Zimbabwe have given you.” He went on to commend President Mugabe for having been firm in defending the inalienable right of the people of Zimbabwe to free, democratic and sovereign governance -it would be a great tragedy for anyone to try and determine the outcome of an African election in Europe, he said. Mugabe’s firm stand was good for all of Africa. He went on: “Please accept, Excellency and Dear Brother, the renewed assurances of my highest consideration.” Earlier, in Australia, President Mkapa had been quoted in the Tanzanian Guardian as saying before the election “These people want to choose presidents for our countries… .It is indeed baffling when they want the ruling party out when it comes to elections; they do not look at policies or what the ruling party has done for its people.” He expressed bewilderment at the way in which some nations, backed by their media, mounted campaigns aimed at scandalising Zimbabwe’s administration and usurping Zimbabweans freedom to elect a government of their own choice.

Leader of the 25-strong Tanzanian observer team, Kingunge Ngombale-Mwiru, said that some people take elections to be free and fair when they win but if they lose it is neither free nor fair. “This is anti-democratic …..

Tanzanian members of the SADC Parliamentary Forum who went to Zimbabwe as observers disagreed with the group’s final report which had not accepted the elections as having been free and fair. The Tanzanian group comprising five MP’s led by Dr Hassy Kitine, said that they had witnessed an unexpected atmosphere of peace and tranquillity in the whole of Zimbabwe, contrary to how the situation had been reported in the Western media. “My group, throughout its stay in Zimbabwe, never heard of, or witnessed any violations of the rules of the election process,” Dr Kitine said. They had been shocked by an announcement by their colleagues after they had left Harare which denounced the elections. A full Parliamentary Forum meeting (representing members from some 160 nations) meeting shortly after the election in Capetown voted by 63 to 2 to call for new elections in Zimbabwe.

Tanzania’s opposition parties said that the election had not been free and fair. They drew parallels between the Zimbabwe election and the 2000 Zanzibar election which they said had also included alleged intimidation of voters, doubtful election registers and badly managed polling stations.

Comments

THE AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL SAGA

The acquisition by Tanzania of a £28 million BAE ‘Watchman’ air traffic control system using a Barclays Bank low interest loan to pay for it, has caused a major stir, particularly in Britain where the issue has divided the cabinet.

BAE Systems approached the Ministry of Defence in Britain as early as 1997 because, as the equipment included a military element, an export license was required. Under the procedures, firms can be given the nod and told that although this is distinct from and does not replace the issuing of a formal license, it is only rarely that such approval is subsequently overturned. Only five orders have been overturned in 10 years. So, having been given the nod, BAE began to manufacture the equipment.

When the matter became public knowledge, a battery of objectors attacked the sale. Those opposing it apparently included British Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown and Secretary for International Development Clare Short, the World Bank and the IMF and many NGO’s devoted to Tanzania’s welfare including OXFAM. The project was considered too expensive and its military component was considered unnecessary. The project would wipe out two-thirds of the real savings Tanzania had gained from debt relief.

Clare Short, reportedly acting independently of other cabinet members, then froze £10 million of a £65 million British aid programme already allocated for budgetary aid this year. Another major aid donor, Denmark was considering doing the same after a heated debate in the Danish parliament. The leader of the ruling Liberal Party said: “We give them Shs 52 billion and they spend Shs 35 billion in buying military equipment which is of no use to the country” he said. In defence of the purchase the Tanzanian Government published a 10-page paper which said, inter alia, that the lack of modem radar denied the country the chance of increasing revenue from aircraft using Tanzania’s airspace; that the project would enable the country to reinforce its defence and safety; that buying two systems -one for civilian and one for military purposes -would be expensive; and, that nine other countries used the equipment (Thank you Roger carter for letting us have this statement ­Editor).

Defending the sale, President Mkapa was quoted as saying that there could be only two reasons for rethinking the matter. Either there was some element of corruption or the equipment was not worth the money. No one had given him one iota of evidence about corruption and no one had shown him that he was not getting value for money. “In the meantime” he said, “this contract has to be fulfilled. It is as simple as that. ”

As this issue goes to press the International Civil Aviation Organisation was said to be investigating whether the military control system was appropriate for Tanzania.

Comments

THE BUNYANHULU SAGA

Another headache for President Mkapa, which has been going on for six years rumbles on. Since 1966 there have been various accusations that some 50 small scale miners were buried alive during the establishment of a major gold mine at Bunyanhulu in Shinyanga Region by the Canadian company, the Kahama Mining Corporation Ltd.

The government and the corporation have insisted for years that no one was killed but recently a prominent Tanzanian judge proposed that there should be a commission of enquiry and opposition leader Augustine Mrema claimed to have obtained video cassettes indicating that several miners had been killed. In March this year a group of Canadian, American, British and Netherlands NGO members under the Dar es Salaam Lawyer’s Environmental Action Team (LEAT) arrived in Tanzania to investigate the matter. The government promptly expelled them from the country saying that they had infringed visa regulations.

LEAT said that nothing short of a fully transparent, open, public and completely independent commission of inquiry, conducted by credible and respected international and national experts would suffice to resolve these troubling questions. On March 22 two specialists from the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) of the World Bank arrived in Tanzania and were allowed to go to Buyanhulu and meet villagers. Their report was awaited as this issue of TA went to press. It was then reported that one of the miners, said to have been killed, had appeared live and well and had accused some of his fellow miners of seeking ‘international financial sympathy’. The video, he said, showed body parts filmed during ordinary mining accidents which were frequent in small-scale mining. Amnesty International stated that the cassettes did not prove that the killings had taken place.

Comments

THE TANZANITE SAGA

President Mkapa has set up a committee of enquiry to investigate allegations of money laundering for Al Qaeda at the Mererani Tanzanite mine near Arusha. The committee was formed after a meeting, attended by Energy and Minerals Minister Edgar Maokola-Majogo, in the USA to discuss the problem. The Minister is reported to have accused the South African firm African Gem Resources (AFGEM) which has been given a large mining concession at Mererani, of trying to sabotage its neighbouring small-scale miners, by inviting the Wall Street Journal to investigate the alleged link with Al Qaeda. (See TA No 71). Things then went wrong as the price of Tanzanite in its main market in America dropped some 50%. AFGEM protested its innocence. It said it had never invited a journalist from the Wall Street Journal to come and write on the alleged connection of the Tanzanite trade with al-Qaida. On 28 February the Minister was quoted as saying that AFGEM had given bad publicity to Tanzanite with the aim of sabotaging small-scale miners but the whole thing had boomeranged when AFGEM found it difficult to sell its gems. AFGEM said it had communicated with the journalist but with the intention of discouraging him from publishing his story.

In another attempt to deal with suspected Al Qaeda links the Bank of Tanzania was reported in the press to have frozen several accounts on suspicion that they were being used to fund terrorism. The East African reported (25th February) that an extensive investigation by US intelligence agencies did not find evidence of current Al Qaeda involvement in Tanzanian smuggling. Minister Mr Maokola Majogo has now introduced new measures including making Mererani a controlled area, regular inspection of licences, working towards a conducive tax regime, setting up export processing zones and the introduction of a cross sectional Tanzanite board.

Comments

OPPOSITION TO PRIVATISATION

According to the Tanzanian Sunday Observer, the Trade Union Congress of Tanzania (TUCTA) has issued a three-month ultimatum to the government demanding an immediate halt to what it termed “unbearable practices” towards workers in the country before it stages a nationwide strike. The main issue was what were alleged to be expected redundancies if and/or when T ANESCO and the Tanzania Railways Corporation (TRC) are privatised.

TANESCO
As this issue of Tanzanian Affairs went to press, problems at the Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO) were multiplying. In an environment in which the rapidly growing South African involvement in the Tanzanian economy is being widely criticised, and workers have had difficulty in the past in obtaining redundancy terms when other parastatals have been privatised, a management agreement was signed in April with the South African firm ‘Net Group Solution Company’ to run TANESCO. It was understood that this would lead to its privatisation in two years time. While its 65,000 workers were to be retained, some ten executives were to be given other assignments.

But, according to Mtanzania, TANESCO workers then announced that they were not going to cooperate with the new management. They demanded special terminal benefits before the new management takes over, something which the government has firmly refused. Then there were reports in the press that workers were going to blow up electric installations. The union leaders said that these threats were personal opinions expressed at a meeting where no resolution was passed.

TANESCO then caused further consternation when it announced new tariffs which would increase the cost for domestic consumption by 300% while lowering the high costs for industry which have been discouraging investment. Related to this was the expensive Malaysian-financed generating plant (IPTL) which has been the subject of litigation for some three years -see earlier issues of Tanzanian Affairs. TANESCO had appealed against a court decision that it must pay IPTL a monthly capacity charge, from the beginning of the dispute, totalling Shs 174 billion. TANESCO had won this case but IPTL electricity was still more expensive than what TANESCO was paying for other supplies.

Then Mtanzania reported that 46 MPs had petitioned the government to be more transparent on the whole issue of TANESCO -the management contract, the rise in power bills, the issue of the employees and IPTL. It was alleged that there might have been corruption in the drawing up of the original agreement. Prime Minster Sumaye told the MPs to submit any evidence of corruption to the Prevention of Corruption Bureau for appropriate action.

The government then began to climb down. It agreed to meet the workers and on April 18 it relented on the power tariffs. Prime Minister Sumaye announced a cheaper rate for domestic consumption which would now be from 0 to 100 units instead of 0 to 50 as previously announced and also said, according to the Guardian, that TANESCO would remain a parastatal. In his broadcast speech Sumaye said 350,000 consumers would benefit from this revised tariff. He said the price hike was partly necessitated by the IPTL contract. Regarding the four South African management contractors, Sumaye said they would be answerable to the TANESCO Board of Directors. He said the firm was awarded the contract after a tender was floated, with the involvement of the Energy Ministry, the Attorney General, the PSRC, the T ANESCO Board and the World Bank. There were 11 bidders which were eventually short-listed to two ­from South Africa and Ireland. But this did not appear to appease several MP’s.

The next day President Mkapa announced that Minister for Energy and Minerals Edgar Maokolo-Majogo had changed jobs with Minister of State (Poverty alleviation) Daniel Yona and that Yona was the new Minister for Energy and Minerals. The President gave no reason for the change.

STOP PRESS: Mtanzania reported on April 22 that the Government had forwarded the IPTL agreement to the Anti­Corruption Bureau. The Dar es Salaam Express under the heading “Word ‘Kaburu’ must go” objected to TANESCO workers saying that the government was selling the country’s major means of production to South Africa. What made their comment a candidate for critical examination was the fact that they used the label ‘Kaburu’ to refer to the South Africans. ‘Kaburu’ was a Swahili word referring to any person who is racist and was used to refer to South Africans during apartheid..

AIR TANZANIA

Rai reported on April 18 that Air Tanzania Corporation (ATC) was ‘in a dire condition’ and had been asked to sell its 10 houses to help pay allowances for 94 staff members made redundant (out of a total staff of 500). ATC had been affected by the same recession as most other airlines in the world following the events of September 11 last year. Rai added that, as a long term solution, the government had decided to privatise the airline. The Guardian had reported on 1st April that the government had given ATC Shs 2.5 billion in sureties to prevent its collapse because of lack of cash to pay for insurance cover. Representatives of the airline were reported to have said that ATC’s poor performance should not be blamed on the management but on the government because it had given it such a limited fleet of planes and an inadequate capital base. Meanwhile the executive director of the privately owned successor to Alliance Air, said that his newly-launched airline ‘AfricaOne’ was ready to team up with ATC. At the end of March ‘AfricaOne’ had received the first of four planes it was acquiring but was unable to operate in Tanzania because it had not yet received permission to fly from the Civil Aviation Authority.

RAILWAY PRIVATISATION
38 MPs contributed to the debate in Parliament which passed a new Railways Bill in February designed to provide for the winding up of the Tanzania Railways Corporation (TRC). It is replaced by a new entity -‘Reli Assets Holding Company Ltd’. The government is not selling the TRC infrastructure but will lease out railway services to a private institution. The Tanzania Railway Workers Union has stated that it plans to take the government to court over this intended privatisation. Its Secretary General said that the government had contravened the Security of Employees Act of 1964 which provided for consultation with trade unions about any proposal to make redundant any employee.

IN DEFENCE OF PRIVATISATION
The Parastatal Sector Reform Commission (PSCR) has been coming under heavy fire for its privatisations but its Chairman, John Rubambe, has defended it in an interview published in the East African. Around the world he said, the Commission was regarded as efficient and effective. It had privatised 326 parastatals (taxpayers had been able to stop subsidising failure) out of 390 entities listed for divestiture. Tanzanians bought 100% of the 122 privatised firms, 14 were sold to foreign investors and 190 became joint ventures. The government had retained shares in 190 firms which would later be sold to countrymen through the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange. President Mkapa reminded CCM MP’s that privatisation was included in the party’s manifesto at the last elections.

Comments

MUSLIM MILITANCY ON THE INCREASE

Following fighting between two rival Muslim factions at the Mwembechai mosque in Dar es Salaam on 14th February, riot police used tear gas canisters and live bullets to disperse groups of youths who were hurling stones at them in streets around the mosque. One policeman and one civilian were killed and 53 persons were arrested. Prime Frederick Sumaye had his car stoned. Many recent incidents are understood to be caused by power struggles between young radicals and older conservative elements to control the mosques. In Zanzibar a number of small explosions have been directed at bars and guest houses selling alcohol. The police banned a march planned for April 11 by a new, unregistered, splinter group, the ‘Islamic Union Institution’ which was aimed at freeing those arrested for the killing of the policeman.

Mwananchi reported that the High Court had warned Muslims against marching to demand release of leaders charged with murder. The Registrar of the High Court said that such demonstrations contravened section 107 A (1) of the constitution. He said a murder case was not bailable and so there should be no outside pressure.

In an attempt to restore calm the Mosques Council of Tanzania (BAMITA) has called on Muslims in each mosque to elect autonomous committees of believers, so as to reduce conflicts and invasion by non-believers. The Council underscored the importance of the office of Chief Kadh which was designed to assist in providing the government with Islamic legal advice as well as to protect the rights of people.

Meanwhile, President Karume has assented to a Bill allowing for the establishment of a Mufti’s office in Zanzibar. The duties of the Mufti will be to promote Islam and remove misunderstandings said to be existing in the Muslim community. He will have the power to impose fines or prison sentences on Muslims who go against his directives and also the power to issue permits and sanction religious seminars as well as keeping the records of the mosques.

Comments