Archive for Letters

LETTERS

Archdeacon Capper
I was surfing the net looking for anything relating to Archdeacon Edmund Capper of Lindi. I found your Tanzanian Affairs Issue 61 with some notes regarding the obituary of the Archdeacon and a reference to his appointment to Lindi.

On 27 March 1950 I was married by Archdeacon Capper in the tempo­rary bamboo and makuti St Michaels Anglican Church in Mtwara. At that time permanent buildings were not permitted in advance of town planning. Archdeacon Capper visited St Michaels fairly regularly to perform services. I was the first to be married in the church and was followed later by two other members of our staff, Michael MacKie and Benjamin Kelly. We were members of a construction team building the port works of Mtwara, initially for the Overseas Food Corporation, ground nut scheme and when that folded the work was completed on behalf of East African Railways and Harbours. Our accommodation consisted of a series of one man bandas with bungalows for married staff along the shore line at Shangani which I believe is now a prime residential area. It was certainly very pleasant for us, with the tide right for an early morning dip before work.

I hope these brief notes are of interest to you and I would be pleased to hear any reactions.
Thomas Scott (e-mail editor for contact info)

Radio Congo
Simon Hardwick’s review of Radio Congo by Ben Rawlence intro­duced the book and its author very nicely. However, having read the book myself, I felt the review overlooked the most fascinating aspect – Rawlence’s determination to get past the single-story narrative that dominates most writing and international media coverage of the Great Lakes region.

For a western audience, the usual story goes no further than painting a muddy picture of war, rape and brutality in the jungle, fuelled by mineral wealth. Other travel writers focus on the inhospitable terrain, the lack of modern amenities and the hardships facing the western trav­eller. Rawlence, to his credit, avoids dwelling on either the challenges to travellers or the politics of warlords, focussing instead on the lives of “ordinary” people getting on with life. Yes, they live under the shadow of violence, but they’re struggling on, and Rawlence tells their stories with a rare dignity and respect.
Stephen Jones

Embellishment?
Re the obituary in TA 104 of Cameron Whalley. It is hard to believe that someone born in 1937 “joined a team of geologists employed by… Williamson, who was challenging the De Beers monopoly…(and)…later established the Mwadui Mine.” Mwadui was founded in 1940, which would make Whalley a very precocious young geologist. Williamson died in 1958, when Whalley was 21, if the date of birth is correct. The Telegraph obit also suggests he became a game warden in 1961, escort(ing) ‘celebrated visitors…among them Hemingway”. Hemingway died in July 1961, having spent late 1960 and 1961 as an invalid prior to committing suicide.
A bit of embellishment I fear, or, more charitably, a mistaken date of birth?
David Ackland

Transport
I read with much delight your coverage of the exciting developments in transport within Tanzania – new airlines, new hope for ferries and railways, ports being shaken up, and more. However, I felt the coverage neglected to mention a key point, without which the full meaning of these new developments is hidden.

I am referring to the broader politics, in particular the ambitions of the Transport Minister, Harrison Mwakyembe, for higher office. Tanzanian politics are more than usually hot at present, both with the rise of Chadema as a realistic alternative to CCM and in the internal dynamics of CCM itself. It is in these internal power struggles that the develop­ments in the transport sector are significant. Mwakyembe is earning political capital and demonstrating great capability in his handling of the sector, with at least one eye on the prospect of him, or an ally of his such as Samuel Sitta, becoming the next CCM presidential candidate.
Janet Johnstone

Oscar Kambona
I am a historian currently researching a political biography of Oscar Kambona (1928-97), who served as Minister to Julius Nyerere from 1960-67, and left Tanzania in 1967 for political exile in London until his return in 1992. I would be most interested to hear from readers of your journal about their recollections and thoughts concerning Oscar Kambona. Please send any such memories and views to me by email at: jbrennan@illinois.edu. No details can be too small. Many thanks for your attention and assistance.
James R. Brennan, Department of History, University of Illinois

Kicking us off our land
(abridged version from online campaign at www.avaaz.org)
We are elders of the Maasai from Tanzania, one of Africa’s oldest tribes. The government has just announced that it plans to kick thousands of our families off our lands so that wealthy tourists can use them to shoot lions and leopards. The evictions are to begin immediately. Last year, when word first leaked about this plan, almost one million Avaaz members rallied to our aid. Your attention and the storm it created forced the government to deny the plan, and set them back months. But the President has waited for international attention to die down, and now he’s revived his plan to take our land. We need your help again, urgently.

Our people have lived off the land in Tanzania and Kenya for centuries. Our communities respect our fellow animals and protect and preserve the delicate ecosystem. But the government has for years sought to profit by giving rich princes and kings from the Middle East access to our land to kill. In 2009, when they tried to clear our land to make way for these hunting sprees, we resisted, and hundreds of us were arrested and beaten. Last year, rich princes shot at birds in trees from helicopters. This killing goes against everything in our culture.

Now the government has announced it will clear a huge swath of our land to make way for what it claims will be a wildlife corridor, but many suspect it’s just a ruse to give a foreign hunting corporation and the rich tourists it caters to easier access to shoot at majestic animals. The government claims this new arrangement is some sort of accom­modation, but its effect on our people’s way of life will be disastrous. There are thousands of us who could have our lives uprooted, losing our homes, the land on which our animals graze, or both.

This land grab could spell the end for the Maasai in this part of Tanzania, and many of our community have said they would rather die than be forced from their homes. On behalf of our people and the animals who graze in these lands, please stand with us to change the mind of our President.

Comments

LETTERS

It is not often that my name is mentioned twice in the same magazine so I thought that readers who are interested in Tanzanian history and publications – post German – may like a bit more general information. The Institute of Commonwealth Studies at London University has published a brochure entitled “Administering Empire” with a list of pretty well all the publications of personal memoirs with an introduction by Tony Kirk-Greene CMG, MBE, FRHistS, Emeritus Fellow of St. Antony’s College, Oxford. The Tanganyika Rifles Officer who actually changed the flag at midnight is a friend of mine and lives nearby. To the list might be added “Towards Uhuru in Tanzania” by G. Andrew Maguire.

“Tanganyika Notes and Records” up to the time of Independence is also available on microfiche at the Rhodes House Mandela Library in Oxford which is part of the Bodleian Library, courtesy of the Government of Tanzania.

I am grateful to Dick Eberlie for his kind words about books written by former members of the Colonial Service which came to an end in 1966 when Her Majesty The Queen unveiled a Memorial at Westminster Abbey inscribed with the words “Whosoever will be Chief among you, let him be your Servant” which is a quote from the King James version of the Bible, St Matthew Chap XX verse 27.

Thereafter we became H.M.Overseas Civil Service. Tanzania was of course never a colony but a League of Nations Trusteeship Territory subject to annual visits by the United Nations. Settlement of immigrants from Europe and elsewhere was restricted as they could only hold leasehold land – not freehold. And Local Authority approval had to be obtained and compensation paid where appropriate. It was also prescribed by the Order in Council 1920 that “The interests of the indigenous population shall be paramount”.

I like to think that we honoured our mission.

Finally you mentioned one of my daughter’s two books.
“The Clever Rat and other African Tales” is available from Glenmore, Deanland Road, Balcombe, West Sussex, RH17 6LX Tel. 01444-811220 and “Tales of Abunuwas and Other African Stories” is published by “Mkuki na Nyota” at PO Box 4246, Dar es Salaam and available in England from Africa Books Collective, PO Box 721, Oxford, OX1 9EN. Prices are £12­99 and £15-95 respectively but cheaper on Amazon. Readers may like to know that these two books together retell in English with coloured illustrations (by English and Tanzanian artists respectively) the well known childrens’ stories “Hekaya za Abunuwas na Hadithi Nyingine” which has for many years been a primary school reader throughout Swahili speaking East African schools.

John Lewis-Barned

Large scale aid
Having read Theroux and de Waal, Robert Wise (TA 102) is concerned, rightly, ‘… about the effectiveness of large-scale aid which provides much money but fails to ensure local people are involved and trained.’ His concern will only be heightened by the East African piece entitled ‘So Homosexuality is unAfrican? What About Living on Handouts?’ (TA 102, p32), and had he also read Graham Hancock’s Lords of Poverty (now rather dated) and Dambiso Moyo’s Dead Aid (very current), he might start lobbying his MP!

I have written in to TA before on the subject, and won’t bore readers again with all the arguments against continuation of most ODA (official development assistance) to the LDCs. Just to relate a cautionary tale: a friend of mine, high up in DfID, some years ago, in response to my inveighing against the aid programme, cynically said, ‘If we (by which he meant the West) do not give it, China will gain undue influence in the LDCs’, thereby immediately revealing the kind of mindset which pervades Western governments, and, I hasten to add, many of the West’s huge charity bodies like Oxfam, SCF and World Vision: that aid-giving is a matter of international power politics and little else, as of course it was during the Cold War. ‘The West knows Best for the Rest’, as one might put it!

Mr Wise asks for monitoring and evaluation on small-scale projects. I would like to ask aid-giving governments and the UNO for the equivalent at the other end of the scale, because I have a sneaky feeling (often revealed by ‘think-tanks’) that much ODA aid has benefitted the First World rather more than the Third. Is it time, as Mr Wise infers, to concentrate on the usually more effective and efficient small-scale programmes, run, as often as not, on a volunteer basis, like the TDT’s?

In toto they are still ‘drops in the ocean’, but surely, after half-a-century of Independence in Africa, isn’t it time to withdraw the deadening hand of ODA, the mega-aid gravy-train? Most polls of taxpayers in the West show majorities in favour of doing so, and many Africans think likewise, if letters to the BBC Africa Service are any guide.
A.D.H. Leishman (Mr)

Biomass Fuels
I am particularly interested in the piece on Biomass Fuels in the last issue of TA. I wonder how this level of timber conservation is still possible. Sixty years ago the people of Ukerewe provided their own solution. They had a strong tradition of self-help manifested in the voluntary construction of roads, and, in the present context, growing their own firewood. The islands were even then densely populated and there was very little surviving ‘natural bush’ to provide firewood or building materials. Each household had to plant and maintain about half an acre of a fast growing deciduous tree and each village established a larger plantation for communal use.

Do these practices still exist in Ukerewe? Have they been adopted elsewhere in Ukerewe? They should perhaps be common practice.

Don Barton, District Commissioner, Ukerewe 1958-61.

Comments

LETTERS

Service in Tanganyika
Trevor Jaggar in his review of Charles Meek’s delightful book “Brief Authority” may perhaps have unintentionally misled your readers when he wrote, “Several (of those who ruled Tanzania while it was administered by Britain) felt moved to record their experiences. First there was Randall Sadleir in 1999…”

Your readers may wish to be reminded that Randall Sadleir was by no means the first to publish the story of his service in the district administration of Tanganyika in the years before Independence. The earliest of the series on my bookshelves is John Cairns who published his experiences in “Bush and Boma” in 1959. He was followed by E. K. Lumley with “Forgotten Mandate” in 1976, J. A. Golding with “The Golden Years” in 1987, Frank Burt with “Nakumbuka” in 1989, William Helean with “Bed in the Bush” in 1991, Tim Harris with “Donkey’s Gratitude” in 1992, and John Lewis-Barned with “A Fanfare of Trumpets” in 1993.
Then after Randall Sadleir’s admirable publication, there came Michael Longford with “The Flags change at Midnight” in 2001 – the fattest of all the books with some beautiful illustrations, and Donald Barton with “An Affair with Africa” in 2004. No doubt there are others, and together they demonstrate a deep love of the country and a profound commitment to its welfare in the years before Independence.
Dick Eberlie

Trevor Jaggar comments: ‘Excellent. I am delighted to learn about all these other books. In the time left to me, I must try and read some of them.’

Low birth weights
I appreciated No 101 Tanzania Affairs received today. Shedding light inter alia on Julius Nyere’s firm position re Whitehall policies towards independence movements in Southern Africa.

Addressing electricity deficits in Tanzania justifiably is well covered in your current issue. Less is generally known about the impact on low birth weight (LBW) of electricity black outs, reference abstract of paper below. LBW predicts subsequent short stature (stunting and underweight) and inferior adult productivity. Stunting for several reasons remains too high in Tanzania.

Abstract of paper on Transitory Shocks and Birth Weights: Evidence from a Blackout in Zanzibar. October 7, 2011: Do transitory economic shocks affect health? I show that an unexpected, month-long blackout in Tanzania caused a temporary drop in work hours for workers in electricity-dependent jobs. Using records from a maternity ward, I document a reduction in birth weights for children exposed in utero to the blackout, and an increase in the probability of low birth weight. The reduction is correlated with measures of maternal exposure to the blackout. Blackout-induced declines in maternal nutrition and maternal stress are the most likely causes. The blackout also increased births, but selection into pregnancy cannot fully explain the drop in weights.
Per Eklund (from Sweden)

A little comfort
My wife and I enjoy reading about Tanzania but feel that your scribes, mainly experts in their subjects, often forget, or do not appreciate, that the UK and Tanzania are essentially different. In the UK we are self-seeking individuals, even when trying to help others, while Tanzanians are members of groups; clans, tribes. They owe loyalty to others. Frequently we in the West complain about corruption, forgetting that in the Tanzanian culture the “big man” owes a debt to his supporters, what some writers refer to as “the politics of the belly”. The interesting discussion is as to the level at which this politics becomes genuine cor¬ruption. However after reading Paul Theroux’s Dark Star Safari, and various books by Alexander de Waal I am increasingly concerned about the effectiveness of large scale aid which provides much money but fails to ensure that local people are involved and trained.

On a recent visit I had the privilege to attend a child welfare clinic at a rural dispensary. The mothers, all of whom had been in their fields earlier, had been home, washed and changed themselves and the children and it was a delight to see the toddlers walking to the dispensary proudly carrying their medical records in plastic bags. While the checks were being made I wandered into the village. It was 11 am but the men of the village were already gathered around the beer pot, cheerfully solving the problems of the world. I was kindly invited to join them. During the course of our chat I remembered that local courts had been abolished after uhuru. I enquired as to how they solved disputes about field boundaries or repayments of dowry. I was interested to be told that they had three elders who dealt with such matters and that if they needed to appeal, there was another senior man who dealt with such matters for a larger area. And I did not have time to ask the next questions. How were they chosen? For how long did they serve? How were they remunerated? Were there similar groups in other areas? Would they be useful leaders in DEVELOPMENT situations where too often projects fail for lack of influential leadership.
Mention of development leads me to note that in the last two years the Tanzania Development Trust has supported a number of initiatives. I wonder whether it would be possible to review some of the earlier projects to see if they achieved their objects or what were the reasons for their failure.
Robert Wise

Professor Kim Howell (Dept of Zoology and Wildlife Conservation, University of Dar es Salaam) writes to inform readers that the journal “Tanganyika Notes and Records” which later became “Tanzania Notes and Records” is now available online at www.tanbif.org The project to make the journal available was funded by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), and is dedicated to the memory of Alan Rodgers who worked tirelessly to document Tanzania’s flora and fauna as well as serving on the editorial board of Tanzania Notes and Records.

Thomas Molony at the Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh, is looking to get in touch with anyone who personally knew Julius Nyerere during the period up to when he was teaching at St Francis College, Pugu. He is interested in the period when Mwalimu was in the United Kingdom (1949-1952), and before he left Tanganyika in 1949, and is restricting his research up to 1953. Please contact him at Thomas.Molony(AT>edac(DOT)uk, or leave a message with Seona Macintosh on XXXX, or write to Centre of African Studies, Chrystal Macmillan Building, 15A George Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9LD.

Comments

LETTERS

In total agreement with the congratulatory message from President Kikwete introducing your 100th issue, I am glad to have the opportunity to write to thank you for your commitment and imagination concerning Tanzania both today and in the past. TA shows a great sense of history and in-depth contemporary issues from all your very professional writers.

….I personally am very excited every time TA arrives and fascinated by the detailed articles and news items. Despite being part of the Teachers for East Africa Scheme in 1962 and not returning home until 1986 I find all news of Tanzania, past and present, vitally important to me now….

Others of your readers will probably remember this Government scheme involving young graduates idealistic to do their best towards the development of newly independent East African countries…..it was during this period that I met and later married my dear late husband Charles the local agricultural officer and we moved to Kenya….
Mrs Veronica Ziegler, Dorset

I write to congratulate you on your number 100 … It gave me huge pleasure to read the synopsis by edition number describing all the other material – reminding us of many memories. The celebratory cover also deserves special mention….
Ms C Coppard, London

We have received many other letters about our edition No 100 but space constraints have made it necessary to abbreviate the ones we have published above and to omit others. Much the same applies to several of the other articles we have received for which we wish to say thank you – Editor.

Dear Editor, your latest issue reminds me that I have meant for some time to write to you and say how good it is that TA is now online. Thanks for all your work. I still wonder however why it is not possible for the hard copies to have a contents page. TA is such a useful resource, but tracking back through issues is not easy.
Prof. Pat Caplan, Department of Anthropology,
Goldsmiths College, London

Space is always limited, and we have decided to stay with the current format with the major articles listed on the front page, and titles at the top of each page to aid navigation. Searching is best done using the website, where you can search for any text, and also restrict your search to a particular issue number or a particular article type (eg “reviews” or “obituaries” etc). There is also a “historic index” page listing the major articles in each issue – On-line Editor

Dear Editor, I am a regular visitor of TZAffairs.org. A few months ago I requested that all copies of TZ Affairs be made available online in the belief that it is the only undiluted and unadulterated account of events in Tanzania during those years. I am writing to sincerely express my thanks to the editorial board of TZ Affairs for deciding to spend time to see that those who are hungry for that record get easy access to it.
I wonder if you guys have copies of state-monitored newspapers of that time: for example Uhuru, Daily News, Mfanyakazi, Mzalendo and Sunday News. Front pages and editorials of those newspapers would be good reading for those interested like me. As I said before, I will volunteer anything in my power to help this website to expand its mission on spreading information about Tanzania.
Majura F. Selekwa, PhD. Assoc Professor/Mech Engineering, North Dakota State University.

Comments

CONGRATULATORY MESSAGES

Message from President Kikwete

President Kikwete

David Brewin (editor of Tanzanian Affairs)

MESSAGE FROM PRESIDENT KIKWETE
CONGRATULATORY MESSAGE
I congratulate the Editor and staff of the “Tanzanian Affairs” Bulletin on publishing the 100th issue. This is not a small achievement at all. It is a big one, indeed, for which you deserve many compliments from me, all Tanzanians, friends of Tanzania and the many readers of this Bulletin.

For us in Tanzania, it is another moment to thank you for the good work you have been doing over many years of telling the Tanzanian story. The “Tanzanian Affairs” Bulletin has been writing reports about Tanzania that are well researched and presented “without mixing fact and opinion” as Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, the first President of Tanzania, said in 1994. You have done justice to your readers in Britain, Tanzania and elsewhere by being analytical and objective in your work. I consider this to be critically important especially these days of plethora of media outlets, some of which leave much to be desired about what they write and the way they present developments in Tanzania.

I am sure I speak on behalf of many when I commend you for the decision to make available on line all past publications of the bulletin from 1985 to date. This will be of great value to historians and all people interested in Tanzanian affairs and the work of British-Tanzania Society. On 5th December, 1994 in his message on the occasion of the 50th issue, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere said “please keep up the good work”. Today, I would like to say “please continue to do the good work”.

Jakaya Kikwete
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED REPUBLIC OF TANZANIA
September, 2011

A MESSAGE FROM BTS VICE-PRESIDENT
The production of Tanzanian Affairs is one of the most important and most successful activities of the Britain-Tanzania Society. For 100 issues now it has kept us all up to date on economic, political, social and other developments in Tanzania. More than that – it has helped to keep the world at large informed about Tanzania. In 1984 David Brewin took over as editor and he and his correspondents have maintained a consistently high standard issue by issue. Congratulations are in order.
Derek Ingram

A MESSAGE FROM THE FIRST EDITOR
I have been so long associated with the Britain Zimbabwe Society – as its publications editor, conference organiser, Chair and President – that it is hard to remember that I began by editing the Britain-Tanzania Society newsletter. But the connection is a direct one. The Britain Zimbabwe Society was modelled on BTS though it has never attained its size or been able to emulate its development activities. I have put so much work into it over 30 years that I soon became a sleeping member of BTS. But I value it enormously. I owe everything I know about Tanzania for the past decades to its publications. I have long admired the Society’s ability to adapt with consistent loyalty and objectivity to ideological and political change. It remains a model for all other friendly societies.
Terence Ranger

Comments

A MESSAGE FROM THE PRESENT EDITOR

When a publication reaches 100 it is time to reflect about the past and the future.

In the case of Tanzanian Affairs, we hope to continue our policy of reporting facts and figures about developments in the country, as soon as possible after they happen. We do not want to preach to Tanzanians about what they should or should not do in their own country. We believe that our job is just to keep BTS members and other readers, who cannot find out what is happening in Tanzania elsewhere (in a concise form) informed about the latest developments there.

Maybe this policy is wrong. Perhaps we should take a more interventionist approach. Recent events in Britain (and Tanzania) including the scandal about the supply to Tanzania, by a British company, of inappropriate, out of date and over-priced radar equipment (with more than a touch of corruption on both sides) might, or might not, justify the expression of an editorial opinion. Especially when a British adjudication has ruled that the supplier should refund all the money to Tanzania, and then the supplier insists that it, the supplier, should determine how and when this money should be used by Tanzanians. Some might call this neo-colonialism!

What is the future of TA?
As editor I am often swamped with too much praise for my efforts. The work is shared amongst a team of volunteers, whose names are on the back cover of each issue. Jacob Knight, who edits the on-line edition and, for the main edition, selects the photographs and cartoons, writes quite a lot of the text, and, ‘puts the product to bed’ – or, more accurately, to the printer. He is especially deserving of thanks but the same applies to the whole team plus our numerous voluntary contributors.

There are some promising recent developments. The on-line edition of TA is attracting growing interest and the number of BTS members is also increasing.

However, there are also some danger signs about the long-term future.
Danger No 1 is that I, as editor, am not getting any younger. In fact there is plenty of evidence that I am getting much older! Yet, disappointingly, when an appeal was published in the BTS Newsletter for help in adding to our editorial team, there was no response. There are one thousand plus readers in our two editions!

If readers want TA to continue, and there is much evidence that they do, then someone who would like to be a volunteer reporter should please come to our aid. A phone call or e-mail from anyone interested and we will explain what we need in terms of editorial assistance.

Danger No 2. Letters to the editor no longer arrive. In the ‘old days’ we received many. Examples: A reader in No 38 was full of praise for a review by Alex Vines about the Swahili ruins in Zanzibar. Ronald Barton, in the same issue, corrected what he described as a ‘myth’, about responsibility for the establishment of the Rubondo Forest Reserve in Ukererewe. In No 46 there were two letters adding to an article we had published on the local manufacture of rifles in Tanzania. Paul Marchant, a regular writer in the nineties, was critical of many items he read in TA. In No 48 a Rwandan resident wrote about the naming of the Mjuru mountain in Morogoro region. The debate ‘English versus Swahili’ provoked many letters in the 1980s. In the nineties we had a letter from reader Ronald Munns in Australia questioning the genesis of the word ‘Mzungu.’ And so on.

Yet we have not had a single letter from a reader for almost two years! This is unfortunate as it must make our contributors wonder whether anyone reads the results of their efforts.

Why are there no letters nowadays? Perhaps letter writing is a dying art. People seem to prefer to Tweet or use Linkedin or Facebook. Maybe there is some fear about commenting on politics. Yet we have many Tanzanian readers who show no such fear in writing to Tanzania’s own remarkably free press.

So readers – give us a bit of encouragement to continue and if possible, give us a bit of help.
David Brewin (Editor)

Comments

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

We would like to receive more letters. Even critical ones like this one:

As you know, I am a strong supporter of Tanzanian Affairs and I hope you will not mind if I make some comments on the May-August 2011 issue. Gremlins seem to have struck in several places:. ‘Kilimanjaro’ is misspelt twice – on the cover and on page 38; Loliondo has nothing to do with the Serengeti road (page 14); and the apostrophe is wrong on MPs (p.4), CCM’s (p.6) and goverment’s (p.6).
Sorry to nitpick – can I help with the proof-reading?
John Sankey

(The contentious section of the Serengeti road is from Loliondo to Mugumu – see map in TA 97 – but we accept your criticisms and welcome your offer to assist with proof-reading).

Comments

LETTERS

New Director needed

I’m writing to let you know I have decided that the time is right to start looking for a new Director to take on the day to day management of READ International. My hope when I started READ way back in 2004 was that we’d create a charitable organisation that not only has a big vision, but one that actually achieves great things and is truly sustainable. Six years later and we have now sent over 850,000 books to East Africa, we have a great staff team, we have a network of thousands of volunteers and alumni, we have a solid financial foundation, we have ongoing relationships with funders, we have strong corporate partnerships, and we’ve been winning awards left, right and centre – as we shyly tell you about every few weeks at the moment!

We’re not planning on doing any of this in a hurry and most likely won’t have anyone in place for at least another 6 months. We shall start actively recruiting for the role shortly. Please spread the word:
http://www.readinternational.org.uk/about/read_vacancies/

Robert Wilson (Founding Director, READ International)

A Kirangi speaker needed

I am a PhD student at the School of Oriental and African Studies and
am doing a PhD in linguistics looking at the language Kirangi (Rangi/Langi) spoken in the Dodoma/Kondoa region. I have just returned from an 8-month field trip to Tanzania where I was conducting research. I am looking for a Kirangi-speaker living in the UK who may be able to assist me with some further research now I am back in the UK.

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
Hannah Gibson (contact editor for email address)

Comments

LETTERS

I have noted the astonishing news that Tanzania was the third largest recipient of international aid (official development assistance?) in 2007. I, for one, would like to think that what is driving the resurrection of the EAC to new heights, is precisely that kind of embarrassing and, I’m sorry to say, shameful news. Bar a hiccup involving the Royal Navy in 1964, and, while the OAU stood by, Nyerere’s honourable war to rid Uganda of Idi Amin in 1978, Tanzania has been at peace since internal self-government, half a century ago. Why should it still be needing so much demeaning outside support?
Tanzania is blessed with a coastline, is on a major shipping route, enjoys a large land mass with a variety of climatic zones and eco-systems, it harbours great existing and potential mineral resources, and its population is large, if ill-distributed, but not so large that the advantages of a sizeable market are outweighed overall by land-stress and pressure on resources. Yet it languishes in the arms of the aid gravy-train, for whom it is a veritable paradise – experts, official and NGO, on fabulous salaries crawling all over the place, aid funds sloshing about, too often diverted and secreted out of the public domain by the scurrilous and venal. The gap between rich and poor is, I suspect, greater today than at Tanganyika’s independence, and the purchasing power of the poorest, in real terms, lower than in 1961, certainly since the end of the 1960s.

Is Tanzania’s population still growing at a speed which means a GDP growth rate of 6-8% a year needs to be achieved? I think everyone is agreed on that, but it begs the question as to why the country can not achieve and, more important, sustain such growth rates. Is it still too small in global terms to be able to withstand outside economic shocks?
Aside from all the other well-documented, internal causes of under-development since the Independence era, the scandal of world terms of trade continue to dog the efforts of smaller states to consistently achieve higher growth rates; but to think that, even with a Doha Round resolution, those in economically-dominant positions globally are going to cede their dominance voluntarily to an extent acceptable to poorer nations, is wishful thinking.

With an internal common market the EAC is at last beginning to reach a stage where it can, like the EU, start building influence, and affect global decisions, in its own right, as a trading bloc, just as South Africa does now – remember, a century ago South Africa was four separate countries about to be amalgamated – having the size and economic muscle, if not yet to be quite a ‘ BRIC ‘ country. Following Nyerere’s vision of an East African state, Tanzania needs to hasten EAC integration towards eventual political federation or union, as its charter details. Is it a fond hope to think that an impetus towards irreversable political integration could bring to the fore a new generation of more altruistic, public-spirited politicians, sensible to a wider and more diverse population, and, through size, a more responsible standing in the world? President Kikwete is one of this younger breed of politicians, an ideal East African president?

A.D.H. Leishman

Comments

LETTERS

A nation in darkness
It does not need an advanced economic degree to understand, that no nation can ever claim economic progress where there is no reliable supply of energy, especially in this age. More than ninety percent of Tanzanians have been in darkness since the beginning of time, and little has been done to correct the chronic power rationing problem, while our leaders are taking advantage of the situation by continuing to line their pockets at the tax payer’s expense.

Our leaders are testing people’s will and resolve. Richmond, and Dowan masterminds have plunged the nation into darkness while themselves leading utopian lifestyles. They may never face justice for their criminal offenses.
The common man, the poor and the powerless, who can’t afford expensive generators, and do not reside in the affluent parts of the city where power is never off, have been left to dance to the tune of power rationing year after year. What a shame for a nation blessed with many rivers, abundant fossil and renewable sources of energy sufficient to power the entire nation yet leaving its people in despair, and constantly in darkness.

More than 90 percent of Tanzania’s population has no access to electricity. What plans do our politicians have in place to harness renewable sources of energy after most non-renewable sources are depleted?

It will be very dangerous and extremely expensive to pipe gas from Kilwa – Songo Songo to the Dar es Salaam, Ubungo power plant, a tiny facility surrounded by a huge population. Such undertakings can be done in Kilwa (at the source where space is unlimited ) and electricity could then be transported to wherever it is needed within the country, instead of exposing the population to danger, and burdening the nation with such a huge cost.

Research centers, communication facilities, factories and other businesses need constant and reliable energy supply to meet their production quotas, to retain the labor force; pay workers, and be able to compete in the domestic and international markets. The current environment of two to four working hours a day of a couple of days a month of electricity cannot foster economic progress. The country needs reliable electricity, full stop.

Tanzania is not lacking the financial ability to provide energy to her people. Billions are spent on expensive Land-Cruisers, unwanted and outdated Radar, the losses involving the EPA, the Richmond and Dowans fraudsters. This would be sufficient to bring to an end, the decades-old power problem.

The problem is simply the management; irresponsible, no vision, thinking of today and not the future.

I have never comprehended what the Minister of Energy does. Neither do I understand what TANESCO is for, because its leadership is still the same year after year. Commissions that have cost tax payers billions of shillings have been set up and their findings have never been implemented. The individuals implicated with fraud are still free, yet the petty criminals are paraded daily in the judicial system.

Our leaders must forgo their hefty sitting, training, and travel allowances. In other parts of the world, people pay to attend meetings, yet in our country our leaders must be paid to attend training which is very bizarre considering the fact that our economy is a donor dependant one.

The parliament must act swiftly to turn on the lights for all Tanzanians, otherwise the nation will continue to remain in the darkness with her economic future in limbo.

Unabated continuation of grand corruption will push the nation to a point of no return. Our politicians must read the signs on the wall, telling them clearly, that the nation is rapidly descending into the dark ages, as the voices of the tax payers finance their lucrative positions shouting ‘TURN ON THE LIGHTS’.
Hildebrand Shayo


Tanzanian Notes and Records

My mother Sheila Unwin has a large collection of Tanzania Notes and Records going back to 1934 which we need to dispose of. As they are of great historical interest can you advertise them free to a good home in the next newsletter. You may remember she recently published a book ‘The Arab Chest’.
Vicky Unwin. E-mail: <contact the editor for Vicky’s email>>

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