Archive for Issue 83

BUSINESS & THE ECONOMY

In an effort to boost the capacity of local microfinance institutions the Governor of the Central Bank of Tanzania, David Balali, has launched the ‘The Financial Sector Deepening Trust (FSDT)’. The objectives of the fund are to support any organization that contributes to realizing the objectives of the government’s ‘Poverty Reduction Strategy Plan (PRSP).’ The Trust’s investments will include research and development of financial markets, products and services, training, capacity building, strengthening smaller financial institutions as well as developing regulatory and supervisory frameworks – The Guardian.

The Guardian has also reported some good news for coffee farmers in Kilimanjaro thanks to the introduction of the Tanzania Kilimanjaro brand initiated by a company called Peet’s Coffee & Tea. The coffee is being marketed as a single origin coffee in the US as the result of a project funded by USAID, the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, Farm Africa and other private donors.

Creditors have been closing in on the once high-flying flag of the road transport sector – The Scandinavian Express Services Limited – which operates throughout East Africa with its luxury buses. The liquidation bid has been filed in the High Court by Shell Tanzania seeking to recover about Tzs 1.5bn in unpaid oil supplies. This petition was immediately followed by those of several major local banks leaving the future of the company in a gloomy state. Nevertheless, this could in a way be a blessing in disguise to the credit market in general as it will instill a much needed debt-repayment culture.

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MUHIMBILI DOCTORS STRIKE

Doctors at Muhimbili Hospital went on strike over pay in November demanding that their starting salary should be raised substantially. On November 20th the government complied by raising junior doctors’ salaries by over 60% from Tsh. 226, 000 to Tsh. 420,000 and to Tsh. 1,141,000 from Tsh. 1,030,000 for specialists and consultant doctors. On November 25th the doctors rejected the award. The government then sacked 176 doctors, nurses and pharmacists and quickly moved to replace them with doctors from the Tanzania People’s Defence Forces (TPDF) and Ministry of Health. Heavily armed police stormed the hostels to evict the sacked junior doctors and the interns who were still at the hospital. Some retired doctors reported at the hospital for duty. When the striking doctors changed their minds and accepted the pay award, the government said it would consider only individual requests to return to duty. In an interview with The Express, MNH Managing Director Dr. David Treggoning said the hospital administration was forced to take the decision to sack the doctors but they had not wanted t do so.

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MISCELLANY

Lake Victoria, the source of the White Nile could be reduced to a swamp within decades unless action is taken to save it according to the Executive Director of the UN Environmental Programme, quoted in THE TIMES (2nd November). The report compared past and present satellite pictures revealing the growing danger to African Lakes. The water level of Lake Victoria, which provided fishing and transport for 30 million people, had dropped by a metre in the past 10 years alone he said. (Thank you Simon Hardwick for this – Editor) . Read the rest of this entry »

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OBITUARIES

ROGER CARTER, who died in December, was one of the founders of the Britain Tanzania Society (BTS) and built it up over the years into the significant organisation it has now become. He originally graduated in Natural Sciences and Economics from Cambridge and then, in the 30’s, worked with an educational settlement during the depression. He later helped the Quakers in Germany to assist people wanting to leave the country and was himself on the last train from Berlin before the second world war began. From 1964 to 1976 he was in Tanzania, firstly as an Educational Planner in the Ministry of Education, and later at the University, helping in the development of the Department of Engineering.

(Thank you Nick Carter for giving me this information. A much fuller obituary has been published in the BTS Newsletter. Readers wishing to see this are invited to contact the editor, Julian Marcus at e-mail address: xxomitted to avoid spamxx – Editor).

DR FREDERICK THOMAS KASSULAMEMBA (61) who had a long career in secondary education in Tanzania from 1971 onwards took his PhD at Reading University. He then became a lecturer in the Foreign Languages and Linguistics Department of the University of Dar es Salaam and later worked on education with underprivileged ethnic minority children in England. He died on October 3. (Thank you Ken Mpopo for this – Editor).

MRS RUTH JASON KESSI (68) died in a hospital in Geneva on 26th October from breast cancer which she had been battling against for two years. She was a teacher and had taught in many countries including Russia where she married her husband Jason. She was also a member of the Britain Tanzania Society. Prof. Esther Mwaikambo writes that she was a woman of strong character, courageous and highly principled. Her body was cremated in Geneva and the ashes were spread in the gardens of her homes in Marangu and Dar es Salaam and in the Indian Ocean near her beach plot.

MRS SOPHIA MUSTAFA (82), one of the most famous freedom fighters of Asian origin in the 1950s died in Toronto on September 1 after a short illness. Known in Tanzania as ‘Mama Sophia’ she lived in Arusha from about 1950 to 1980 and played a huge role in helping nationalists led by Mwalimu Nyerere to gain independence for Tanzania in 1961. She was elected an MP in the 1960’s, representing both Arusha and Moshi districts – Guardian.

FATHER GEOFF SWEENEY, who died in December 2004, first went to Tanzania as a missionary in 1945 and worked in the country for 50 years. He was essentially a pastoral man in Bukoba and Singida dioceses where his little white Suzuki became a familiar sight on the rough roads of the area. He grew to love the people and they loved him. From 1987 to 1990 he took over as guestmaster in the Regional House at Nyegezi. (Thank you John Sankey for sending this – Editor).

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REVIEWS

Edited by John Cooper-Poole (UK) and Marion Doro (USA)

TREVOR HUDLESTON – TURBULENT PRIEST
. Piers McGrandle. Continuum, 2004. ISBN 0 8264 7123 4 h/b £16.99.

‘Trevor meant nothing to people of my generation; he is as relevant to them as the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the three day week’

So Piers McGrandle starts his biography of Trevor Huddleston. It was a sentence that brought me up short. To people of my generation, Trevor was a household word, the scourge of apartheid, a highly political presence in Stepney and subsequently Archbishop of the Indian Ocean. He was also an unyielding critic of anyone who could not recognize that the one subject which could not be discussed objectively was the sin of apartheid. In spite of some 30 years of friendship, I fell victim to his wrath when treading the BBC’s path of objectivity at the World Service. Read the rest of this entry »

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