Archive for Issue 93

TA ISSUE 93

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TA 93 cover featured President Kikwete and President Hu Jintao on the occasion of the Chinese leader’s visit to Dar-es-Salaam in February 2009.

A pdf file of the issue can be downloaded here

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TEST OF POPULARITY

President Jakaya Kikwete remains outstanding in the popularity ranks in Tanzania gaining 62% support according to the professional research agency – Steadman Group – in its quarterly opinion poll. The poll was held from February 13 to 19 and involved 2,000 respondents, distributed across the country. The National Chairman of the opposition Civic United Front (CUF) Prof Ibrahim Lipumba and the National Chairman of the opposition CHADEMA party Freeman Mbowe tied at 14% each in the popularity rating.

The poll further showed that Tanzanians were likely to vote for either Maalim Seif Shariff Hamad, the Secretary General of CUF (23%) or Dr Mohammed Gharib Bilal, the likely candidate for the ruling CCM party (21%) as the President of Zanzibar. President Karume cannot stand for a third term.

The national soccer team coach Marcio Maximo also received a substantial vote as did CCM Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda.

The main issues of concern

Asked about the main issues which should be tackled immediately, the killing of Albinos came first (39%) and corruption (18%) came second. A little less than 20% said they would like the escalating costs of living to be looked at constructively. On the government’s performance in the last twelve months, 41% approved. Asked whether democracy was effective in the country, 57% said that there were minor problems but 26% said there were major problems.

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ECONOMIC CRUNCH BEGINS TO HIT

Kikwete at IMF

Bob Geldof, IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn and President Kikwete share a joke at the IMF conference (Photo Stephen Jaffe/IMF/Getty Images)

At a meeting organised by Tanzania and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Dar es Salaam from March 12 to 13 President Kikwete said that the consequences of the world economic crisis were not yet too pronounced in Tanzania but the country was being affected. Examples: the postponement of a $3.5 billion investment in aluminum smelting and a $165 million nickel mining project. A Swedish company, SEKAB, which had leased 40,000 hectors of land in Bagamoyo and had invested $250 million in an effort to produce ethanol (see TA No 91), had now decided to abandon the project.

Other negative consequences of the economic downturn were the falling world prices for Tanzanian commodities. The 2009 price of cotton, one of Tanzania’s major exports, had fallen from $0.82 in 2008 to $0.45 this year. Arabic coffee had fallen from $158 to $104 per 50 kilometre bag and Robusta coffee had dropped from $93 to $65. The prices of most minerals except for gold had also fallen and there was expected to be a decline of from 7% to 18% in tourist arrivals in 2009.

Also affected had been Tanzanite where the fall in price was some 80%. In Mererani, Arusha district, the owners of the nearly 200 Tanzanite mining pits had reportedly opted to suspend their operations between October 2008 and January 2009 rather than operate at a loss. The situation had been made worse by political unrest in Thailand, one of the leading markets for Tanzanite gems.

The price of Nile Perch, of which 80% are exported, was likely to fall by 50% in 2009. This situation was complicated by stiff competition from Vietnam – Sunday Observer.

However, on the brighter side, Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Mustafa Mkulo said he expected that Tanzania would be among first the beneficiaries of the $750 million aid package agreed by the G20 powers at their meeting in London. “We have already communicated our interest in the package” he said. “How much we get depends on decisions of the IMF board” – The Citizen.

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PRAISE FOR WAR ON CORRUPTION

France is just one of many donor nations which have said it is encouraged by actions taken by the Tanzanian government in tackling corruption cases, and is now happy that the money it donates will not end up in the pockets of corrupt individuals.

European Union (EU) head of delegation Tim Clarke and Swedish Ambassador Stefan Herrstrom also hailed the actions being taken by the government. Clarke said that legal steps being taken against senior state officials implicated in corruption scandals were a true indication that there was maturity in the political leadership – Guardian.

The following is a summary of recent events:

The ‘Radar’ deal

After nearly three years of investigation, the UK`s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has published remarkably detailed accounts of what it believed had happened during the negotiations leading up to the purchase in 2002 by Tanzania from Britain’s BAE Systems of an air traffic control (radar) system at an inflated price of $40m including an apparent figure of $12 million as ‘commission.’ (See many previous issues of TA– Editor). The report was summarized in several Tanzanian newspapers. It named former Infrastructure Minister and now Attorney General Andrew Chenge and several other persons, including Sailesh Vithlani (a Briton of Asian background, who is alleged to have played a major role) and Dr Idriss Rashidi a former Governor of the Central Bank plus six British people as having been involved in the deal. The SFO believe that Chenge was ‘a conduit’ through which the lost money was distributed to selected top government officials whose decisions were crucial to the deal. The SFO established that Chenge received money through a slush fund he set up in Jersey when he was serving as Attorney General. According to information provided by the authorities in Jersey, the $1.5m was transferred from a Frankfurt branch of Barclays Bank to Chenge’s account in Jersey. Chenge was said to have used the money to pay others involved in the radar deal.

The SFO established that on September 20, 1999 Chenge personally authorised the transfer of $1.2m to the Royal Bank of Scotland International in Jersey. The SFO report concluded that Rashidi and Chenge were key figures in the deal, but they were acting with the full support of top government officials. The SFO investigation established that, to avoid being caught, the facilitators of the deal gave Vithlani the codename ‘Mr Fat’, while any mention of bribing or corruption was replaced with the euphemism ‘commitments’. In what is believed to have been a tactic to obscure the deal’s corruption, Vithlani and his partners registered a front company in Panama which received $8m between 2000 and 2005. The payments came from ‘Red Diamond Trading Co Ltd’ registered in the British Virgin Islands, alleged to be a front company of BAE Systems – until December 2005 when it was terminated through a settlement of $3.36m.

Meanwhile, in Tanzania, the Guardian has reported that the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) had been contacting various sources outside the country in order to build up convincing evidence to enable it to prosecute. The Bureau urged people to be patient while the investigations continued.
To add to his troubles Mr Chenge was recently involved in a car crash in which two women died – Mtanzania.

Andrew Chenge MP

Andrew Chenge is escorted to Kinondoni court to hear the charges against him with regard to the recent traffic accident (photo Mroki Mroki/TSN)

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POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS

Intense competition for seats

Some CCM MP’s are not sure of retaining their seats in the elections next year due to the intense rivalries in their constituencies. Raia Mwema named 15 well-known MP’s and ministers whose seats were said to be in danger. The battle seems to have already begun although this is contrary to electoral law.
Meanwhile CHADEMA Chairman, Freeman Mbowe has launched a series of rallies under the title ‘Operation Sangara’. In one ward in Moshi people donated more than TShs 300,000 to help the Operation and in another ward people donated TShs 600,000. Mbowe said CHADEMA needed financial support, unlike CCM, which got TShs 2 billion in state subventions every month – Majira.

Opposition MP bugged

The rooms in a Dodoma hotel in which the opposition CHADEMA’s Secretary General Dr Wilbroad Slaa and a fellow CHADEMA MP were staying was bugged recently. The device used was a digital sound recorder made in Russia. Mwananchi quoted the acting CHADEMA Secretary General John Mnyika as claiming that the bugging was part of a broader conspiracy against Dr Slaa and other outspoken MPs.

By-election ‘inquests’

There have been all kinds of ‘inquests’ into what happened in the recent Mbeya by-election which was won comfortably by the ruling CCM party. The big surprise was that the results set a new record with 65% of the registered voters failing to turn up to vote. Why? One reason given was that they did not see any real choice between CCM and CUF, after the CHADEMA candidate (who was said to be popular) was disqualified because he used the wrong lawyer when submitting his application. Voters may have assumed that CCM would win easily and that there was therefore no point in voting. Officially, CCM was said to have won the seat with 73% of the votes but it was 73% of the 35% of those who voted. Questions were raised when counting of the small number of votes in the 17 wards took 10 hours despite the low turn out. CUF Chairman Ibrahim Lipumba told the Guardian that a big number of would-be voters reported having had their IDs taken away by village and ward executive officers as a condition for being given vouchers for fertilisers.
While support for CHADEMA on the mainland seems to be growing, CUF still seems to find it difficult to appeal to mainland voters. The two parties who are supposed to be joined in an election pact are falling apart as they are unable to agree on candidates to stand against CCM in by-elections. Although their leaders are reported to be working together in Parliament they seem to be having real problems cooperating at party level in by-elections.

Two by-elections pending

The present political temperature in Tanzania is likely to be revealed when two by-elections take place in May. One is at Magogoni in Zanzibar where, among the first CCM members to compete for selection as the party’s candidate, was the son of former Zanzibar President Salmin Amour but he received only five votes during the party’s selection process.

The other by-election was to be in Busandu in Geita District and once again it seemed that CCM might win because of the intense rivalry between the opposition parties CHADEMA and CUF, both of which selected candidates to fight each other.
CCM challenges Mbowe

According to Mtanzania the CCM has claimed that CHADEMA leader Freeman Mbowe had ‘misused’ TShs 78 million given to him by the British Conservative Party for buying motorbikes. He had also been asked to account for TShs 15 million earmarked for bicycles for party councillors around the country. The CCM Treasurer said “Let him stop beating about the bush. He promised bicycles to the councillors. Where are they? If they intend to fight corruption let them start with themselves instead of accusing CCM all the time.”

“CUF victory in Zanzibar is a pipedream”

According to Habari Leo President Kikwete surprised many when addressing a crowd in the CUF stronghold of Pemba by saying that it was unlikely the opposition parties in Zanzibar would ever get to form the government. It was therefore in their interest to cooperate with the CCM government to bring about development. “Don’t wait for your party to win power, because that day may never come,” he said.

Zanzibar Minister: “We won’t share oil revenue”

The Act which originally established the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) ruled that exploiting oil and natural gas was a Union responsibility and not the responsibility of the Zanzibar government. However, Zanzibaris have not been happy about this and the disagreement has held up exploration in Zanzibar territory.

Addressing the House of Representatives, Zanzibar’s Minister for Water, Works, Energy and Land, Mansoor Himid, said the government wanted to remove the clause on oil and natural gas from the list of issues dealt with by the Union government on the ground that it did not benefit Zanzibaris. He said it was a contradiction of the Union constitution and that of Zanzibar. CUF MP’s agreed.
A team of British consultants had recommended that oil remain a Union matter and that a special joint body should be set up to oversee licensing, prospecting and drilling. Himid told the House, to considerable applause, that the Zanzibar government rejected these recommendations.
The consultants had noted that the oil deposit in Zanzibar was very small and was therefore not economically viable. One MP said: “Even if it is only a pint it is ours and ours alone” – Mtanzania.

Muslims declare jihad

The ‘League for Awakening and Propagation of Islam’ in Zanzibar (JUMIKI), also quoted in Mtanzania, declared that people supported the Zanzibar government and were prepared to form a special squad to defend the oil deposits in the island. A spokesman said: “We will volunteer to work with local forces such as the coastal guards (KMKM), the National Service (JKU), fire brigade and militia to protect our oilfields.” Minister Himid later said that the government had accepted the recommendations of the House over oil and they would be tabled before the Revolutionary Council. The final recommendations would be handed to Zanzibar Chief Minister Shamsi Nahodha to present to the joint Union Consultative Committee. Nahodha promised to work on the recommendations of the House “in the interest of Zanzibaris.”

CUF elections

The CUF party held elections for its top posts in March. Its leader, Prof. Ibrahim Lipumba (56), although he was unsuccessful in fighting for the presidency of Tanzania in 1995, 2000 and 2005, won a landside victory amongst party delegates with 646 votes. A retired army officer, Stephen Massanja came second with 10 votes but a Professor Abdul Safari (56) who came third with six votes, complained that the entire party machine had been mobilised against him. Seif Shariff Hamad, the leader of the CUF party in Zanzibar, easily held on to his position as Party Secretary General – The Citizen.

‘Pinda and the Speaker should learn from Obama’

The Muslim newspaper An-Noor in an editorial in April wrote that, while he was in Turkey, President Obama told Muslims that the USA “is not, and will never be, at war with Islam”. Extracts from the article:

‘Obama then spoke to university students. As he was answering their questions, the mosques started calling worshippers to prayers. Obama told the students he would have to wind up as it was time for prayers. This is a far cry from the attitude of our Speaker Samuel Sitta and Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda. For them Friday prayer time was an appropriate time for them to present speeches for winding up the Parliamentary session. Our leaders need to learn from their mentor (Obama), for many a time we see state officials ignoring Muslims while planning their meetings. Of course, Obama has a long way to go, for his peace overture to Muslims is not enough while he continues arming and empowering Israel to massacre Muslims in Gaza.’

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NEW CHAIRMAN OF AU

Gaddafi

Colonel Gaddafi at the AU summit

President Kikwete has completed his term as Chairman of the African Union (AU) and Libya’s leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, has succeeded him. At a summit meeting in Addis Ababa, Colonel Gaddafi lost no time before making some highly controversial statements. “Our parties (in Africa) are tribal parties – that is what has led to bloodshed.” He referred to countries like Kenya where elections were followed by ethnic killings and there was also war-torn Somalia. “We don’t have any political structures, our structures are social” he said. The best model for Africa was his own country (where opposition parties are not allowed).

The meeting had to be extended into a fourth day after disagreements over Gaddafi’s plan to create a United States of Africa. He envisaged a single African military force, a single currency and a single passport so that Africans could move freely around the continent. He called for integration to begin immediately. But many of his fellow leaders said the proposal would add an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy. They said they would study the unity proposal, make a report and meet again in three months time. The BBC quoted one participant as saying that Gaddafi then appeared to admit defeat and laid his head on the table in despair, before he left the meeting. Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf said: “He didn’t walk out, he just got tired.”

Before arriving at the summit, Col. Gaddafi had circulated a letter saying he was coming as the King of the traditional kings of Africa because in August 2008 a group of 200 traditional leaders had name him the “King of Kings” of Africa.

The BBC’s Mark Doyle commented that many people were wondering what direction the 53-member African Union would take under his leadership over the next 12 months.

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CONDOMS CONDEMNED

The use of condoms against Tanzania’s AIDS plague was condemned by religious leaders and others in a series of widely publicised events in March this year.

On the BBC TV’s Newsnight programme a lady representing the Catholic Church became so excited in her defence of the ‘Catholic way’ that the presenter, Jeremy Paxman, had to ask her to calm down. Such outbusts, he said, were not the way debates were conducted on his programme.

Jonathan Clayton writing in the Times recalled that, on a balmy late afternoon in September 1990, Pope John Paul II visited Mwanza and gave a speech that many believe set the tone for the AIDS crisis in Africa. Those inside the packed church and a huge crowd gathered outside hung on to every word. The Pope promised to give answers about the strange ‘slimming’ disease that had seemingly come from nowhere to destroy local and other communities. He was unequivocal. He said that condoms, then internationally accepted as the only real way to curtail the spread of the disease, were a sin in any circumstances. He lauded family values and praised fidelity and abstinence as the only true way to combat the disease. AIDS activists, including many Catholics were appalled. Clayton wrote: ‘For many, in that one afternoon, the Vatican destroyed more than a decade of patient campaigning and sentenced millions of Africans to death.’

During his recent visit to Germany Pope Benedict XVI reiterated Pope John Paul’s view with passion and thus raised further controversy.

Mwinyi provokes a storm

Ali Hassan Mwinyi

Former president Ali Hassan Mwinyi speaking just before the incident (photo Issah Michuzi)

A few days earlier in Dar es Salaam, on Maulid Day at the Diamond Jubilee Hall, some in the audience were reported to have been incensed when former President Ali Hassan Mwinyi advised Muslim clerics to discuss the use of condoms to help reduce the impact of AIDS.

A Mr Ibrahim Said was so angry that he climbed on to the platform and slapped the face of the former President. The result was that he was arrested and subsequently sentenced to one-year in prison. The Magistrate said the accused was being convicted on his own plea of guilty and the penalty was the right one for the offence, which had attracted widespread public interest. Before pronouncing sentence, the Magistrate gave the accused the opportunity to ask for the court’s leniency but the man then loudly began praying and reciting verses of the Holy Koran. The magistrate intervened and instructed the accused to go on with his prayers silently. The accused complied and then thanked the magistrate for giving him the opportunity to pray to the Almighty God. He had earlier said he attacked the President because he was promoting the use of condoms.

A fatwa (edict) was then issued by the Islamic Association (Jumuiya) in Dar es Salaam which said that extra-marital sex had been forbidden by God and no human being had the authority to amend the Koran. The question of condom use could be discussed in the case of married couples or in case of life and death but not otherwise. “Let Mwinyi inform us when have people died from abstinence,” said the fatwa. It called upon Mwinyi to retract his statement and ask for forgiveness from God. The congregation donated TShs 700,000 for Ibrahim Said. A businessman said that in the government’s eyes Said might be guilty but he would be rewarded in heaven. He agreed to donate TShs 10,000 every month to his family as long as Said was in prison.
At a mosque in Kinondoni Said was proclaimed as a ‘Muslim hero’. Hundreds of worshipers resolved that politicians should be banned from officiating at Muslim functions – Majira.

In Mwanza the head of a mosque was reported to have said that it was wrong for Mwinyi to mix religion with politics, adding that the meeting was an Islamic platform where promotion of condoms should not have been allowed – Mwananchi.

Clarification

In mid-April Muslim sheikhs and clerics met for four hours under the ‘Mwinyi Baraka Islamic Foundation’ to discuss the speech by the former president. They agreed that Mwinyi had not advocated condom use during the Maulid function but was merely describing the division among clerics on the issue of condoms. A spokesman of the Foundation, Hamis Mataka, told reporters that they had deliberated on two viewpoints elaborated by President Mwinyi. One was that in Islam extramarital sex is forbidden and sinful and should therefore be avoided at all costs. On the other hand those who failed to abstain should resort to safe sex so as to avoid spreading HIV/Aids. The meeting appointed a committee to go and see Mwinyi and apologise to him for the physical assault on him.

During the meeting the Chief of the Muslim Council (Bakwata), Sheikh Issa Simba, complained that there was a proliferation of sheikhs and clerics many of whom he said were ‘unqualified and half-baked’. He called for a procedure for approval of clerics. A committee of scholars and jurists was formed to coordinate such a procedure at national and international level – Nipashe and many other newspapers.

Finally in April Nipashe reported that the person who had slapped President Mwinyi had been transferred to Mirembe mental hospital.

Meanwhile the AIDS rate goes down
There has also been some good news on AIDS. The prevalence rate in Tanzania has dropped to 5.7% from a high of 7% in 2004, according to the most recent HIV/AIDS and Malaria Indicator Survey 2007/08. The study was carried out among people aged between 15 and 49 in all 26 regions on the mainland and in Zanzibar (see TA No 91). The government recently imported 100,000 female condoms (AIDS is more prevalent among women than amongst men) to be distributed countrywide as part of its efforts to empower women.

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AIR TANZANIA & THE RAILWAYS

The crisis ridden Air Tanzania Corporation Ltd (ATCL) is once again in trouble, in spite of having been bailed out in January with $2 million by the government. Some ATCL workers have blamed the Director of Operations and other officials for the collapse of the airline. They referred to what they described as some dubious contracts, for example, the employment of four foreign pilots at a monthly salary of $10,000 who ended up with no work and the money was lost. An aircraft was said to have been leased at $370,000 a month but it did not fly for seven months – Mwananchi.

In August 2008 the airline’s planes were barred from flying for what were described as safety reasons. In December it was banned from flying by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority because it was found not to be airworthy. This forced the airline to ground its planes, leaving the monopoly of the local routes to the successful privately-owned Precision Air and air charter companies. The main shortcomings were said to be poor inspection of aircraft and lack of pilots and aircraft engineers.

In December 2008 the government set up a seven-member task force under the chairmanship of Prof. Idris Msolo, the Vice Chancellor of the Ardhi University College, to make a critical analysis of the problems. Some of the regulations needed updating including the safety management manual, the risk management manual, the security manual and also five operational programmes including those dealing with pilot and aircrew training.

ATCL has 300 workers and three aircraft, a situation which Minister for Infrastructure Dr. Shukuru Kawambwa, described as unsatisfactory, saying that the number of workers may have to be reduced to enable the company to operate profitably.

Since June 2008 ATCL had lost about 60% of its market share on both domestic and regional routes, with routes between Dar es Salaam and Mwanza and Johannesburg plagued with cancellations – Sunday Observer.
Company Chairman Mustapha Nyanganyi blamed the government for not heeding several SOS messages sent out for financial help. He urged the government to inject something like $67 million to revive the ATCL, but other authorities were said to have estimated a need for between $300 million and $600 million.

The workers accused the managers of sloppy performance and called for their immediate removal. However, as many people pointed out, few public airlines in Africa are currently performing well. The government has entered into discussions with a Chinese investor for a possible partnership with ATCL.

President Kikwete has criticised Tanzania Railways Limited (TRL) for making crucial decisions on operations of the central line without involving the government. The railway was not the property of TRL, but of the government of Tanzania even though the RITES Company (from India) had taken over management responsibilities. He told TRL officials that they were just employees tasked to operate the railways. Kikwete explained that the government and RITES were in partnership and therefore, all decisions must be made jointly. The disputed plans included obtaining credits without involving the government, applications for more tax relief and the proposed removal of rail tracks between Tanzania and Kenya on the grounds that they were not profitable. The President said that that removal of any rail tracks would be tantamount to sabotage. He also wanted to see that all repairs of wagons were done in the TRL workshop in Morogoro and not elsewhere.

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TANZANIA IN THE INTERNATIONAL MEDIA

Compiled by Donovan Mc Grath

2009 marks the third year of Jakaya Kikwete’s presidency in Tanzania. Elections are scheduled for October 2010 and Kikwete, whose popularity is not as high as it was a year ago, is widely expected to achieve a second and final five-year term of office. However, such optimism is not without its challenges. There is an impending Bill that approves the amalgamation of several rival parties, strengthening the opposition. Old allies, like former-prime minister Edward Lowassa and businessman Rostam Aziz, may also challenge the president. Lowassa, who was forced to resign after being implicated in a corruption case of which he claims innocence, is currently thought to be considering presidential ambitions. It is Kikwete’s ‘moves against high-level graft in government and the ruling CCM’ that has earned him rivals among former allies – Extract from THE AFRICA REPORT (No 14. Dec – 08 Jan 09): ‘The CCM will want to maintain the tradition of allowing the sitting president to serve a second term, but powerful cliques are fighting Kikwete’s determination to reinstate a leadership code of conduct that will forbid business people from holding office and running their private companies concurrently. If this pressure were to threaten his hold on power, the president could yet go after more high-profile politicians and bureaucrats accused of corruption.
‘Another area of pressure on Kikwete comes from Zanzibar’s main opposition party, the [Civic United Front], which hopes to force Zanzibar’s President Amani Abeid Karume and conservative ruling party members into a power-sharing government before the 2010 elections.
Karume reneged on an earlier deal to do so but now says a coalition could follow the next elections, after he steps down.’

Under the headline: ‘Africa’s hungry tribe’ (OBSERVER MONTHLY Dec 08), freelance journalist Alex Renton expresses the plight of the Maasai of northern Tanzania who are experiencing increasing hunger due to high-prices of staple food. Focusing on a Maasai family living close to Oldonyo Lengai, ‘God’s Mountain’, near Engaresero village, Arusha, the reporter explains how they have resorted to selling family heirlooms in order to survive.
Extracts: ‘…[B]eaded bracelets, anklets, necklaces and chokers in the white, blue and yellow of the Kisongo clan. Some were studded with discs of tin or silver. One Maasai woman was selling her inheritance: wedding gifts, pieces from her mother. All were for sale to the tourists…
She had to sell something, or the family wouldn’t eat that night… There were no animals healthy enough to sell, so to put food in their children’s bellies they had to sell jewellery or beg or borrow money.
‘The principal problem is the global price of food staples – driven up over the past couple of years by the international oil price and the demand for biofuels.’
…A 25kg container of maize grains, enough to feed a family of five for a week, costs up to Shs 10,000 (£5). That may not sound much – but it is nearly double what it was in January.
‘…The biggest problems, though, lie with the volcano, Oldonyo Lengai… When it exploded at the beginning of the year the displacement of people fleeing it also disrupted the food supply.’ – Thanks to Roy Galbraith for sending this – Editor.

Over 80% of the Tanzanian population is employed in the agricultural sector. Tanzania has approximately 44m hectares of fertile land, of which only 10.2m hectares at present is being cultivated. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that President Kikwete promises to invest heavily in agriculture. However, there is a major drawback as THE AFRICA REPORT (Dec 08-Jan 09) reported. Under the headline: ‘Roadblocks to Tanzania’s green revolution’, the reporters highlighted the difficulties faced by foreign companies who wish to invest in the country.
Extract: ‘Tanzania’s sugar industry […] has tripled following the privatisation of four government-owned producers in 1998, but in the last ten years there has been no new foreign investment in the sector. “I imagine that [the lack of investment] is because they [foreign investors] have not been able to find the land to set up a new project,” says Ashwin Rana, general manager of Kagera Sugar and chairman of the Tanzanian Sugar Producers’ Board. One producer, Kilombero Sugar Company, owned by South Africa’s Illovo Sugar, has been waiting to expand its production on a plot of 2,000 hectares to which it has been legally entitled since it bought its plantation in Morogoro ten years ago. There are villagers on the land and [the] government has been slow to relocate them or find a replacement plot. Illovo lost interest and in 2007 took the $200m it had earmarked for Tanzania and invested it in sugar plantations in Mali and Zambia.’

The lives of Albinos in East Africa, reports the ECONOMIST (17 Jan) are at risk from a ‘horrendous trade’. Tanzania’s Head of Police, in Dar es Salaam, distributed ‘free mobile phones to several hundred locals with albinism.’ Extract: ‘Each phone comes with a “hot line” to the police. Albinos text in their location if they suspect they are being tracked by gangsters determined to kill them and harvest their body parts. ‘According to the Tanzanian Albino Society, at least 35 albinos were murdered in Tanzania last year to supply witch doctors with limbs, organs and hair for their potions.’ This is not solely a Tanzanian problem as the killing of albinos has spread to Kenya, Uganda and Burundi. Thank you Simon Hardwick for this item – Editor

The WEST AUSTRALIAN (2 Dec 08), under the headline: ‘100 years ago: Antediluvian Monsters’, published a short article about an important archaeological discovery made in Tanganyika during the early period of German colonial rule: ‘The German Government is sending an expedition to investigate the remains of gigantic antediluvian animals discovered by Professor Fraas in the southern portion of German East Africa. The bones of the hind leg of one animal are 11½ feet long, while the spine is a third longer than that of any animal yet discovered.’ Thank you Douglas Gledhill for sending this item – Editor

‘Game hunting in Tanzania has over the years become a well-established industry and an important source of income for the government,’ writes Mike Mande for the EAST AFRICAN (19-25 January). There are 54 licensed hunting companies operating in the 158 hunting blocks located in the game reserves across 42 districts. This is an increase of the 1988 accounts that stated there were only 21 hunting firms and 128 hunting blocks during that period.
Between 2004 and 2007, Tanzania earned $48m from game hunting. The country’s game fees for each animal hunted are charged according to species. ‘For example, [the] fees for shooting an elephant can be as high as $20,000 while baboons are only charged $110; birds range around $30 each…
‘Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Shamsa Mwangunga said that 25 per cent of the earnings from hunting fees and licences go to the villages of the area where hunting takes place through the respective district councils. This money, according to Mrs Mwangunga, “is used to provide social services…‘The government sees the policy of 25 per cent contribution to district councils as part of its poverty alleviation effort.’

A recent letter to the Editor of TANTRAVEL brought readers’ attention to the poor state of the materials documenting slavery that are held in the Roman Catholic Museum at Bagamoyo.
On a recent visit, the historian Jeffrey A. Homburg noticed that much of the material (documents, photos, and artefacts) ‘is fast being destroyed by light, and heat … The labelling is also very poor and includes errors.’ The historian calls for outside intervention: ‘This is a World Heritage collection, and some action should be taken immediately to save it from oblivion.’ Thank you Liz Fennell for sending this item – Editor

Abdulaziz Y. Lodhi, the distinguished professor at Uppsala University, Sweden, wrote an interesting article in HABARI (Journal of the Sweden-Tanzania Society. Issue No 1, 2009) on the impact of Arabic on the Swahili language. His main argument: ‘Arabic in East Africa has minimal formal and academic recognition in spite of its historical predominance on the East African littoral and the rim of the Indian Ocean in general.’ Lodhi begins with a brief historical background on the status of Arabic, Swahili and English in Zanzibar and Tanganyika during the colonial era.
Extract: ‘…In 1890 when the Sultanate of Zanzibar became a British protectorate, Arabic had been the sole language of administration commerce, diplomacy, education, and liturgy in Muslim East Africa. Swahili gradually replaced Arabic in many fields during the 30 years of German occupation of Tanganyika, but after the First World War and the British takeover of Tanganyika, English was formally encouraged and spread there at the expense of both Arabic and Swahili.’
The article then briefly discusses the historical context of Arabic as a medium of instruction in Zanzibar where its use fluctuated according to colonial and post-colonial government policies, and then noted that Arabic, the spiritual language of the Muslims, which ‘is also the “Latin” of Swahili … is included in neither the programs of the Institute of Kiswahili Research (IKR), nor the Department of Kiswahili and African Languages at the University of Dar es Salaam. Only an extramural course is occasionally offered at the Institute of Adult Education in Dar es Salaam, but at the university, no graduate course in Arabic is offered. This is despite the fact that approximately 42 percent of Swahili vocabulary is of Arabic origin.
Towards the end of the article Lodhi restates his argument by saying: ‘there is an abundance of Arabic grammatical or structural loans in Swahili, which the other languages of East Africa borrow freely from Swahili…Arabic continues to make important contributions to the development of the modern Swahili lexicon, and indirectly the lexicon of other East African languages…However, it is English which is the largest language contributor to East Africa today, but its contribution is limited to nominals belonging primarily to the fields of modern technology and science.’

Disney returns to the genre of wildlife films on the big screen after an absence of almost fifty years – THE OBSERVER (11 Jan) wrote about The Crimson Wing, scheduled for UK release in the autumn, which highlights the plight of 1.5m flamingos that feed and breed on the shores of Lake Natron, a shallow soda lake at the foot of Ol Doinyo Lengai (Mountain of God). It is believed that a new soda ash mine, proposed by the Indian conglomerate Tata Chemicals, would be disastrous for the wildlife around the lake. Thank you Liz Fennell for sending this item – Editor

‘A new sweetened malaria drug for children will be introduced in Tanzania early [2009] after official approval from the Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA)’, writes the EAST AFRICAN (Nov ’08) Special Correspondent Mohamed Issa.
Extract: The tablet has a pleasant taste and speedy solubility, which eases administration for malaria’s youngest victims…
‘Malaria kills almost one million people each year, mostly children. The World Health Organization (WHO) says that of all malaria-related reported deaths, nearly 85 per cent are in children 5 years old and younger.’ The introduction of this latest ant-malarial drug is due to the fact that ‘many young children cannot swallow whole tablets and crushing them is an inefficient procedure.’ This latest drug in the fight against malaria is described as: ‘The new sweetened, fruit-flavoured Coartem dispersible anti-malarial tablet …’

January’s edition of NEW AFRICAN published an interesting article that connects Tanzania, USA and Russia through the life of Lily Golden. Golden, who is described as a Russian African-American professor of history, has an extraordinary family background, which includes African, Native American, Jewish and Russian ancestry. Born in Tashkent, capital of Uzbekistan, in 1934, Golden is the widow of Kassim Hanga, the Zanzibari nationalist who became one of the masterminds of the 1964 Zanzibar Revolution. The couple met in Moscow in 1957 and married three years later when he returned to the Russian capital to study economics. Hanga was a parliamentarian in the pre-independent Zanzibar Sultanate, then a British protectorate. During the coup he was appointed vice-president of the “revolutionary” government. He later became minister for union affairs in the interim union government of Tanganyika and Zanzibar following the merger between the Republic of Tanganyika and the People’s Republic of Zanzibar on 26 April 1964. 10 years ago, their daughter Yelena, a Russian TV-star, went on a trip to Zanzibar to discover her family roots and met her paternal grandmother among scores of relatives.

Lymphatic filariasis (LF) is a disease that affects poor people in Africa, India, South America, South Asia and the Pacific. Mandy Turner, writing for the GUARDIAN (24.11.08), reports on its sufferers in Tanzania. Its painful and debilitating symptoms include fevers and grotesquely swollen limbs.
Extract: ‘While malaria can be contracted from a single bite, LF needs hundreds of bites from mosquitoes infected with male and female worms, which must enter the victim’s body, find each other and mate. An estimated 120 million people [worldwide] have the disease – around 40 million have been severely incapacitated and disfigured by it. Disturbingly, a further 1.3 billion are at risk of infection.’
‘One-third of people infected … live in Africa … There is no cure for LF; the damage done to the lymphatic system is permanent …. The pathogenesis of the drug is still not fully understood. But there are drugs that can break the cycle of transmission …’
Ten years ago the World Health Organisation (WHO) launched the Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis based on a two-drug, once a year of at-risk communities. The WHO recommends a minimum of five rounds, before mass drug administration can be stopped.’
The Guardian reporter interviewed LF sufferers from various parts of Tanzania, an LF endemic country, where there is a concerted effort to eliminate the disease. President Kikwete has ‘launched a campaign to raise a further Shs 500billion (£250,000).’ Thank you Roy Galbraith for sending this item – Editor.

‘More refugees leave as UN, Tanzania closes camps’ reads the headline in THE EAST AFRICAN (January 5-11). Tanzania’s Burundian refugees (TA No 92) are continuing to return to their homeland as the peace process between major rebel forces and the Burundi government enters its final phase.
Extracts: ‘The long wait to return home by Burundians who fled to Tanzania to escape ethnic conflict is finally coming to an end, with the last camps closing down. As of January 2009, only a single camp hosting less than 50,000 refugees will be left …’ Approximately 165,000 Burundians have expressed their wish to stay on in Tanzania by submitting their applications for citizenship.

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OBAMA BRINGS HOPE

According to the Citizen, Tanzania now has hope of accessing billions of shillings in contraceptive funds from the United States following the departure from office of former President George W. Bush. President Obama has reversed an executive order by Bush that dried up family planning funds to many poor countries, including Tanzania. Pressure from religious bodies concerned about abortion had resulted in the loss to Tanzania’s family planning budget of substantial aid sums. Crucial contraceptives, like family planning pills, condoms and other related health services were funded heavily by money donated by the US to organisations such as the Marie-Stopes International and USAID, which channelled the funds to national family planning associations.

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