by Donovan McGrath

The dinosaur of Dodoma John Magufuli is bulldozing the opposition and wrecking the economy

Economist.com (UK): Critically ill in a hospital in Nairobi, Tundu Lissu, the chief whip of Tanzania’s main opposition party, Chadema, is a lesson to those who would criticise the Tanzanian president, John Magufuli … On September 7th Mr Lissu was gunned down in broad daylight near his house in … Dodoma, after returning from a session in parliament. The attempted assassination came just two weeks after he was arrested – for the sixth time – for such things as insulting the president… “This cowardly attack on one of Tanzania’s most fearless and prominent politicians raises concerns about the safety of all dissident voices in the country, at a time when space for dissent is quickly shrinking,” said Amnesty International … Tanzania, a country of 55m people … is rarely seen as one of Africa’s problem cases. Unlike Congo, Uganda or Burundi, it has never had a civil war or a military dictatorship… Yet, over the past two years, since the election of John Magufuli, Tanzania’s descent into autocracy has been stunning. It is a lesson in how when the presidency is strong and other institutions are weak, a single bad leader can set a country back many years… Mr Magufuli, who is nicknamed “the bulldozer”, impressed many when he came into office by cracking down on corruption. But his economic ideas have a whiff of the “African socialism” of Julius Nyerere, the country’s founding leader, who declared a one-party state, nationalised factories and forced peasants at gunpoint onto collective farms. Donors had to step in to prevent mass starvation… Mr Magufuli is not as ruinously radical. But he has caused traffic to collapse in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s main port, which serves six countries, by imposing a huge tax on goods that pass through it. Ships have simply gone to Kenya instead. More startling still is Tanzania’s dispute with Acacia, a British gold-mining firm. The government claims that its two mines have been producing more than 10 times as much gold as they declared (which would make them the two largest gold mines in the world, by far). Preposterously, it says the firm owes taxes of $190bn, or roughly four times Tanzania’s annual GDP… Other firms worry they may be next. Petra Diamonds closed its mine in Tanzania in September after the government seized a parcel of diamonds it was exporting. And on October 9th Aliko Dangote, a Nigerian cement billionaire, accused Mr Magufuli if scaring investors away… What will happen now? There are few constraints on Mr Magufuli. With the opposition neutered, the ruling party remains mostly unchallenged. Mr Magufuli’s allies in parliament have even suggested extending the presidential term from five years to seven. Tanzania suffered wretchedly under one bull-headed socialist. It cannot afford another. (19 October 2017)Thanks to Roger Bowen for this item – Editor

WWF slams down Stiegler dam plan

Morning Star (UK): The World-wide Fund for Nature (WWF) released a report … warning that the Stiegler’s Gorge hydroelectric dam, intended to electrify [Tanzania], would threaten wetland and put 200,000 fishing jobs downriver at risk. Tanzanian President John Magufuli … said  for the sixth time – for such things as insulting the president. in parliament. The attempted assassination came just two weethat the dam and resulting reservoir will cover only about 3 per cent of the Selous region the WWF says will be devastated. But the environmentalists dispute his figures… (5 July 2017)Thanks to Jeremy Jones for this item – Editor


This Young Woman is Fighting Poverty in Tanzania by Teaching Women to Make Clothes

Glamour.com (USA): Boke is from a remote part of Tanzania that is beautiful but impoverished. By the time Boke was nine, both of her parents had died and she and her sister were sent to live with their grandmother. The grandmother meant well, but struggled to care for the girls, leaving Boke to look after her sister and the home. That took a toll on her education, and even though Boke is a bright girl, she never graduated from primary school. Now 20 years old, Boke lives at City of Hope, an incredible children’s home and school for underprivileged children in Tanzania. At City of Hope, Boke has found stability and even become fluent in English, but she was still too far behind academically to graduate from high school like most of the students at City of Hope aim to do. Instead, Boke is learning a specialized skill that she hopes will guarantee her a stable future: She’s learning to sew. City of Hope was founded by John Chacha and Regina Horst, an improbable husband-wife team. He grew up on the border of Tanzania and Kenya, she was a Canadian-American Mennonite… In 2007, they opened City of Hope in Ntagacha, a region of western Tanzania that was then rife with violence. Today the campus is home to more than 100 orphans, plus a clinic, a primary school that enrols 450 students, and a new secondary school that enrols another 50. John Chacha died in an automobile accident in 2015 while travelling to enrol a student in secondary school, but City of Hope has continued to grow and thrive with Regina at the helm. And now Tenzi Chacha, John and Regina’s daughter, is rounding out the curriculum at City of Hope by adding a new program she calls SEW, for Sewing Empowers Women. Tenzi has been interested in sewing and fashion since middle school, and realized that sewing could be useful for women in Tanzania… (8 December 2017) 


Tanzanian President Magufuli pardons child rapists

BBC.co.uk: Children’s rights activists have condemned the pardon of two child rapists by the Tanzanian president. Kate McAlpine, director of the Arusha-based Community for Children Rights, told the BBC she was “horrified but unsurprised”. John Magufuli made the pardon in his independence day speech … Singer Nguza Viking, known as Babu Seya, and his son Johnson Nguza, known as Papii Kocha, were pardoned for raping 10 primary schoolgirls… The president selected a group of prisoners to be released, who he said had corrected their behaviour. Ms McAlpine said the pardon illustrated Mr Magufuli showed a “lack of understanding about violence against children”. She linked this latest speech to his June announcement where he banned pregnant schoolgirls from returning to school (see TA118). “He has a blind spot when it comes to recognising children as victims. Pregnant schoolgirls are pregnant because they are victims of violence.” … Child rape cases in Tanzania tend to be dealt with between families, or rapists have been known to pay off police and court staff, Ms McAlpine said… (11 December 2017)


Barrick cedes gold assets in effort to settle Tanzanian dispute

Financial Times (UK): This dispute has been going on for some time (see TA117 and TA118) … when the Tanzanian government banned the export of unprocessed ores in an effort to boost the domestic smelting industry. It then accused Acacia [of which Barrick owns 64 per cent], one of Africa’s largest gold producers and Tanzania’s largest private employers, of illegally under-reporting its shipments and of tax evasion.  After a series of talks, Barrick’s chairman John Thornton and President John Magufuli finally reached an agreement. Extract continues: Barrick Gold has agreed to cede 16 per cent of Acacia Mining’s three mines in Tanzania to the state and pay $300m as the first step towards settling a six-month dispute over its subsidiary’s operations. Acacia’s Tanzania operations in the three mines, which produce mainly gold but also copper, will be managed through a new company with all “economic benefits” being shared equally between the London-listed miner and the government, the two sides agreed in a deal … The government’s share will be delivered in the form of royalties, taxes and the 16 per cent free carry interest in the operations, Barrick said. The agreement does not settle a $190bn tax dispute between Acacia and Tanzania; the $300m is a “gesture of good faith”, Barrick said and would be paid by Acacia. Acacia’s shares soared 20 per cent on the news of the deal but they are still 60 per cent below where they were before the dispute began. President John Magufuli of Tanzania wants to wring a greater share of mining company proceeds, which he says are too generous to the companies and the result of contentious practices under previous governments. He has also targeted Petra Diamonds, another London-listed miner… Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man and one of the biggest investors in Tanzania, accused Mr Magufuli of compromising foreign investment. “They’ve scared quite a lot of investors and scaring investors is not a good thing to do,” he said… (19 October 2017) – Thanks to Jeremy Jones for this item – Editor


Tanzania’s anti-corruption government is stifling the “Swahili Wikileaks”

Quartz magazine (New York) online: Maxence Melo is a man who knows the insides of Tanzania’s courthouses all too well. In 2017 alone, he has appeared in court about 51 times he says, accused of obstructing justice, operating an unregistered website, and refusing to reveal the identities of users who shared sensitive information. Melo, 38, is the co-founder of Jamii Forums (JF), a popular Swahili social media networking site that is part whistle-blowing platform and part citizen journalism outlet. Since it was founded in 2006, he has been harassed, threatened, detained, interrogated, and at one point barred from travelling abroad. And over the last two years, as president John Magufuli’s government tightened its grip on both the digital and traditional media spaces, Melo has become the poster boy for the crackdown… The clampdown has taken on a new significance as the government recently introduced a law that would give it unfettered powers to police the web. The proposed Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations 2017 calls for the registration of blogs and online forums, orders internet cafes to install surveillance cameras, prohibits material deemed as “offensive, morally improper” or that “causes annoyance,” and recommends a fine of 5 million Tanzanian shillings ($2,230) or 12 months in jail for anyone found guilty. Observers and activists have argued that some of the definitions provided in the law are ambiguous, violate individual privacy, curtail citizen’s right to free speech and expression and go against the spirit of an open internet… Be for he left power in 2015, former president Jakaya Kikwete signed a cybercrime law – informally known as the “Jamii bill” – that gives authorities powers to jail those who offend the president or publish false information… The panoply of laws scapegoating digital media outlets is also targeting traditional outlets like newspapers. [In 2017], both Mwanahalisi and Mawio newspapers were banned in Tanzania for one and two years respectively …  (12 December 2017)


No pain relief, no running water: the perils of childbirth in Tanzania

Eva Paulo with her baby daughter, Neema Nkwaya, one day old, at home in Nyarugusu (both photos Sameer Satchu for WaterAid)

Guardian (UK) online: ‘Natural birth’ is the only option for many women here, and though dedicated midwives do their best, the risk of infection – and sepsis – is high. Extract continues: At the Nyarugusu medical dispensary in north-west Tanzania, Eva Paulo, 23, is in her 36th hour of labour… “This is too much,” she says, as another contraction racks her. “I don’t know why it’s taking so long. And the midwives, they don’t tell me anything.” It is, of course, a universal complaint of women in labour the world over. But for many women in Tanzania, “natural birth” isn’t a preference or an accomplishment – it’s the only viable option. Paulo is about to give birth for the fourth time in the most basic hospital conditions imaginable… While the staff will do their best, Paulo will receive no pain relief, no foetal monitoring and no medical interventions. The lack of doctors means caesarean sections are not performed here. Another problem – from which so many others stem – is a lack of water. There is no running water for hand-washing, sterilisation or laundry. Toilets are filthy, squat outhouses a short walk from the building. Each morning, staff at the clinic buy 20 jerry cans of water from a local vendor for 500 shillings (about 16p) each, for basic cleaning. The money comes out of their own pockets, which is significant for nurses who earn less than £200 a month.  Because of this, pregnant women are required to arrive with their own water… Without water, the delivery room cannot be properly cleaned between deliveries, of which there are several each day… (2 October 2017)


Police arrest woman in Tanzania over video of her kissing and embracing a female friend in crackdown on homosexuality

Mail (UK) online: … The woman, who police said resides in the north-western Tanzanian town of Geita, was arrested after a video circulated on social media showing a woman kissing and hugging another woman and presenting her with a ring… Tanzanian president John Magufuli’s government has stepped up a crackdown against homosexuality since coming into power in 2015 and threatened in June to arrest and expel activists, as well as de-register all non-governmental organisations that campaign for gay rights… The arrest of the woman in Geita was thought to be the first arrest of a lesbian suspect in the recent crackdown and police sources said authorities were also searching for the woman who was given the ring in the video clip… The clip drew condemnation on social media platforms in the socially conservative nation, with some Tanzanians condemning the celebration as immoral… (2 December 2017)


Dramatic moment when workers use a bulldozer to free five wild elephants after they fell into a pit while looking for water in Tanzania

Mail (UK) online: … The herd – three adults and two baby [calves] – were discovered in a small trench in Rungwa Game Reserve, dehydrated and unable to escape. Manyoni natives from the Singida region quickly alarmed employers from Chinese construction company Sinohydro. The construction workers were located about 40 km from the reserve, and were asked to assist with saving the trapped elephants. The multinational firm dispatched engineers and a bulldozer, more than an hour later, they brought with them a construction digger to help with the operation… The pit was so small that the elephants pushed each other in panic. After a gruelling five hours of continuous effort, a female elephant and her baby were the first to stumble out of the pit. Two others followed them later. Liang Jifeng from the Tanzanian Department of Sinohydro Bureau 13 confirmed to Chinese news agency Xinhua that they were remarkably saved but one adult elephant died from a lack of water… (3 October 2017)


Cows and chickens cause spat between Kenya and Tanzania

Mail (UK) online: A diplomatic spat over cows and chickens has worsened already frosty ties between Kenya and Tanzania, with Nairobi lodging a formal protest against its neighbour, the foreign minister said … The latest impasse between the two east African nations began … when Tanzania seized and auctioned off 1,300 cattle which had wandered across the border to graze in a region where herders typically pay little heed to frontiers. Then … Tanzania seized and burnt alive 6,500 chicks that had been brought into the country by a trader, fearing they would spread disease… Kenyan traders have complained of mistreatment by Tanzanian immigration agents which has sparked protests at the border, and tit-for-tat trade jabs have seen the two nations blocking the import of various goods from either country… Tanzania’s President John Magufuli, increasingly criticised over his iron-fisted rule, warned Kenya that any livestock wandering into his country would be confiscated… (8 November 2017)


Journalist Reported Missing in Tanzania

New York Times (USA) online: Dodoma, Tanzania – A news organization in Tanzania says one of its journalists is missing after he was kidnapped from his home. Francis Nanai, executive director of Mwananchi Communications Limited, said … their reporter Azory Gwanda, 42, was reportedly kidnapped Nov. 21 in Kibiti town near the commercial hub of Dar es Salaam… Gwanda had published a series of stories on the mysterious killings of civilians and police officers in the area. Dar es Salaam police chief Lazaro Mambosasa said the police are “shocked” by the news of the missing journalist… (4 December 2017)


by Donovan McGrath

African Billionaires: 30 under 30 (Forbes Woman/Forbes Life)
Jokate Mwegelo is one of the 30 under 30 class of 2017 in the June edition of Forbes Africa USA). A millennial who made her mark as a beauty queen, musician and actress in under a year and convinced Africa’s youngest billionaire to invest in her start-up company. Extract continues: Jokate Mwegelo has more followers than AKA and Bonang Matheba put together. She inspires girls from Angola to Zimbabwe without even trying. For an entrepreneur in a Tanzanian town, she has a celeb-style media following… It’s been a long road to here for 30-yearold Mwegelo. Her journey began in 2006 when taking a gap year after high school. To pass time, Mwegelo volunteered for the United Nations and entered the Miss Tanzania contest… She wasn’t crowned queen, but left an impression, which ushered in opportunities for acting; her debut was a role in a movie called Fake Pastors. The movie’s success was genuine. “This was a time when the movie industry was becoming more commercialized in Tanzania…” … It paved the way for more roles and earned her two awards in the Zanzibar International Film Festival and a stint as a musician collaborating with the likes of Nigerian multiple award-winning hip-hop star Ice Prince… “My parents were very strict and valued education…” … She graduated in Political Science and Philosophy at the University of Dar es Salaam… “As a former beauty queen, actress, media personality and fashion enthusiast, I felt I could do so much more with my image and for the industry… I felt like we needed a female billionaire…” … Five years ago, Mwegelo used her savings to found Kidoti Company, a lifestyle brand… She started designing clothes for popular artists, and then received a soft loan from Africa’s youngest billionaire, Tanzanian Mohamed Dewji. It changed everything… Kidoti designs and manufactures synthetic hair extensions, sandals and bags… [T]hey partnered with China’s Rainbow Shell Craft… The company promises to be a big success for Mwegelo, it doesn’t end here. She says giving back is a key part of her life. She launched ‘Be Kidotified’, a campaign which empowers young girls … She also launched ‘Msusi Wao’ translated ‘their hairsylist’, which connects hair dressers, financiers and customers. Africa certainly needs more female billionaires… (3 July 2017)

Everton’s Invasion in Tanzania Echo News (UK) online:
The Scouse invasion of Tanzania has begun… Koeman, Rooney and co flew direct on a special charter from Liverpool… Some went via Dubai, others through Oman and Qatar. The more creative opted for a night or two in Zanzibar before heading for Dar es Salaam … Everton players Idrissa Gueye and Leighton Baines, amongst others, visited Uhuru Primary School in Dar es Salaam. Extract continues: For the locals, though, there is no doubt who the main attraction [was], Rooney. … Keane, Tom Davies and Mo Besic headed off to meet members of Albino United Football Club, while Klaasen, Matty Pennington, Phil Jagielka and Dominic Calvert-Lewin embarked on a Tanzanian cooking challenge at the team hotel. The five-hour connecting flight from Dubai was routine enough, but what awaited fans at Julius Nyerere International Airport was anything but. A convoluted visa process led to lengthy, sweaty and frustrating delays crammed inside a tiny arrivals hall… [T]he delay meant fans were denied the chance to watch Rooney and co in action at Everton’s open training session at Tanzania’s National Stadium… In any case, they’d arrived, and could now take in a bit of Dar es Salaam… An ordeal at times, yes, but whatever else Everton’s historic African trip throws up, it’s already an experience! (12 July 2017)

Barrick Gold, Tanzania begin talks to resolve Acacia Mining dispute
Mining.com (Canada): To say Acacia Mining … is having a rough time in Tanzania is to underestimate the challenges the company, one of the largest gold producers in Africa, has been facing … The miner, Tanzania’s No.1 gold producer, is in the midst of a bitter dispute with the East African’s country’s government, which – among other things – has accused Acacia of tax evasion and illegal operations, served the firm with a $190-billion bill in fines and allegedly outstanding taxes, questioned staff and even blocked one of the firm’s senior executives … from leaving the country. “World’s largest gold miner Barrick hopes to reach an agreement over both the claims against its subsidiary and the current ban on mineral concentrate exports” (see TA117)… The Canadian gold miner said … it had formally begun talks [with] high-rank Tanzania’s government officials … Barrick’s chairman John Thornton and President John Magufuli met in June in Dar es Salaam … The stock, however, has lost more than 67% of its value since the export ban came in effect in March this year. The situation is so delicate that the miner warned … it would have to close its flagship Bulyanhulu mine by Sept. 30 if the prohibition is not lifted (31 July 2017).

Tanzania ‘witch killings’ claimed 479 lives from January – June 2017: report Africanews.com (South Africa): Five women accused of being witches and murdered by a mob … were among some 80 people killed each month in Tanzania this year by vigilantes taking the law into their own hands … Thousands of elderly Tanzanian women have been strangled, knifed to death and burned alive over the last two decades after being denounced as witches. The report published by the Dar es Salaam-based rights group Legal and Human Rights Centre showed 479 deaths related to mob justice reported in Tanzania from January to June this year, including women accused of witchcraft. While 117 deaths have been reported to have occurred in Dar (this year), Mbeya sits second with 33 people lynched followed by Mara with 28 and Geita with 26 deaths… Belief in witchcraft in the East African country dates back centuries as a way of explaining common misfortunes like death, failed harvests and infertility… The report comes a week after police in the western Tabora region launched a hunt for the suspected killers of five women in Undomo village. The women were accused of being witches, beaten to death and their bodies burned, police said (1 August 2017).

Tanzania president under fire for urging refugees to return to ‘stable’ Burundi
The Guardian UK (online): Tanzania’s president, John Magufuli, has drawn fierce criticism from activists after urging thousands of Burundian refugees to return to their home country. Magufuli has ordered the suspension of the registration and naturalisation of thousands of Burundian refugees, and told home affairs minister, Mwigulu Nchemba, to stop granting them citizenship. “It’s not that I am expelling Burundian refugees. I am just advising them to voluntarily return home,” said Magufuli. “I urge Burundians to remain in their country, I have been assured, the place is now calm.”… But Joseph Siegle, director at the Africa Centre for Strategic Studies in Washington, said Magufuli’s comments were “at odds with the situation on the ground, as all available reports on Burundi by the East African Community, African Union and UN demonstrate that the situation is getting worse and refugee numbers are increasing”. Siegle is among a number of regional experts who have attacked Magufuli, pointing out that the situation in Burundi remains dangerous… Magufuli’s order came shortly after he held talks with Pierre Nkurunziza, his Burundian counterpart, at the border town of Ngara on 20 July. Tanzania hosts 241,687 Burundian refugees and asylum seekers [hosting] “… more Burundian refugees than any other country.” … “Tanzania has an ongoing obligation under international refugee law to ensure that Burundians fleeing violence and persecution can remain in Tanzania,” said Maria Burnett, associate director at Human Rights Watch… (29 July 2017)

School bus crashes in Tanzania killing dozens
The Guardian (UK) online: A school bus has crashed in Tanzania killing 32 schoolchildren, two teachers and the driver after it plunged into a roadside ravine in the northern tourist region of Arusha, a senior police official has said. “The accident happened when the bus was descending on a steep hill in rainy conditions,” regional commander Charles Mkumbo said. “We are still investigating the incident to determine if it was caused by a mechanical defect or human error on the part of the driver.” The pupils killed in the accident, which occurred at about 9.30am in Karatu district, were aged 12 to 13, and from the Lucky Vincent primary school on their way to visit another school, Mkumbo said. Tanzania’s president, John Magufuli, described the accident as a national tragedy in statement. Tanzania, the second-largest economy in east Africa, has a poor road safety network but buses remain the main form of public transport between towns. More than 11,000 people were killed in road accidents in Tanzania between 2014 and 2016, according to government data. (6 May 2017)

Cancer rates are soaring in Africa, yet Tanzania’s radiotherapy hub stands idle
The Guardian (UK) online: A state-of-the-art oncology clinic lacks the funding and staff to get its equipment up and running, despite thousands of people requiring life-saving treatment. The white bulk of the cobalt-60 radiotherapy machine is just visible inside the dark cement bunker. The electricity in the room at Bugando Medical Centre is shut off. The machine, donated last year by the Indian government, looks ready to go, but it has yet to deliver a life-saving dose of radiation. Medical staff at Bugando, a tertiary care and teaching hospital in Tanzania’s second largest city, Mwanza, are keen to start offering radiotherapy to the growing number of cancer patients arriving at the hospital’s doors… But getting the expensive technology up and running has been a long struggle…The World Health Organisation warned recently that non-communicable diseases are likely to kill more people in Africa than infectious disease by 2030, and Bugando is on the frontline of this fight… (20 March 2017)

Tanzania to lose $553 million annually if Acacia exits its market
The East African (Kenya) online: … In the report on Acacia’s economic and tax contribution to Tanzania, the mining company’s total direct, indirect and induced economic contribution in Tanzania last year included more than 36,000 jobs, about $339 million of labour income, and nearly $214 million in tax payments. “In total … Acacia’s total tax contribution last year was an estimated $214 million,” the analysis shows. The total workforce was 3,000, whose wages and benefits totalled over $101 million, with an average of $34,000 per employee. “About 2,800 were Tanzanian nationals who received an average annual wage of $20,000, up from $17,000 in 2015. The average annual wage for its Tanzanian workers in 2016 was over 10 times higher than the average earnings of $1,878 for other Tanzanian workers throughout the economy in 2016,” the report states… (1 August 2017)

John Magufuli: Tanzania’s rising star
New African (UK/France) online: This edition featured a profile of Tanzania’s current president under the subheadings: “The Magufuli magic”, “An unlikely candidate”, “The bulldozer swings his scythe”, “The backlash” and “Magufuli balance sheet”. Extract: In the 1970s, responding to taunts from socialists Tanzanians that neighbouring, capitalist Kenya was a ‘dog eat dog’ society, the Kenyans came back with ‘Tanzania is a man eat nothing society!’ They were not far wrong. Tanzania’s nationalised industries and collectivised farms failed miserably to meet demand and led to empty shops as shortages of virtually all products, including essentials, began to bite. This has become a dim and distant memory in the country today. The shops are overflowing, prices are some of the lowest in the East African region and there is a sense of optimism and wellbeing. The transformation has been brought about by successive presidents who succeeded the iconic Julius Nyerere… Each leader has stepped in at particular tipping points and by force of personality and style, moved the country along a notch or two… The big question now was what sort of leader Magufuli would make… The answer was not long in coming. Right from the word go, he not only set out to make good his elections pledges, he went further – to the delight of the masses, but growing concern among the establishment. He did the unthinkable – he cancelled Independence Day celebrations and all the extravagant expenses government traditionally splurged out. Instead, he wanted the day spent on street cleaning and enthusiastically participated, emulating Rwanda’s President Kagame. He slashed the budget for the usually opulent opening of parliament by almost 90% and demanded that the money saved be spent on purchasing hospital beds and on road works. He cancelled foreign travel for government officials and put a stop to the purchase of first-class tickets. He decreed henceforth, government meetings would be held in state buildings rather than in expensive hotels. He trimmed down the delegation of 50 set to tour Commonwealth countries to just four. He publicly warned those selected as ministers and other government functionaries that he would not tolerate corruption, laziness or excessive bureaucracy. He told them they should expect nothing more than to work tirelessly to serve the people of the country alongside him. He made it very clear that the gravy train had come to an end. Government posting no longer meant a life of ease, privilege and the opportunity to make money… He made surprise raids at government offices to see for himself who was at their desks, who was absent and who used the well-worn trick of leaving their jackets on the chairs to indicate that they had just stepped out for a moment when in fact they may have been gone for weeks… [O]peration ‘squeezing the boil’ as they dubbed it … While he was busy ‘squeezing the boil’ of incompetence and corruption, Magufuli and his team also rooted out over 10,000 ‘ghost workers’ from various government departments. A nationwide fraud audit had discovered that $2m a month was going to pay the non-existent workers. The swinging blade did not stop there… The public servants found to have fake certificates were ordered to resign voluntarily or else they would face prosecution for the crime, which is punishable for up to seven years in jail… Despite the president’s popularity with the masses … his blunt leadership style, sometimes controversial statements and impromptu decisions … have been criticised, mostly by the opposition and also, increasingly by the lay public… In this context, he came under fire for failing to travel to the northern town of Kagera where 11 people had died and 192 injured following an earthquake. His response to the afflicted, who said that as a result of drought they had nothing to eat, shocked many. He asked them if they expected him to cook food for them. The National Muslim Council of Tanzania (Bakwata) has accused him of deliberately kicking out Muslims from senior government positions … Despite such sentiments, President Magufuli remains hugely popular. Policies such as free secondary education, free health care for elderly people, tax collection reforms and giving the war on drugs serious attention have all made him popular, especially among the ordinary people who live in rural areas, who see him as their saviour… A senior diplomat in Tanzania says that the majority of civil servants now show up for work, while in the past, many were busy attending seminars, and rarely had time to stay in office and do the work… The opposition have described President Magufuli as ‘a dictator’ … [H]is critics say that Magufuli has personally threatened media owners of newspapers critical of his presidency at public rallies and over 10 people have been charged for criticising him on social media since he became president. John Pombe Magufuli ‘s supporters and critics both agree on one thing. Everything this president has done has been unprecedented in the history of Tanzania… (8 June 2017)


by Donovan McGrath

Ngorongoro—The less explored calderas
This is an interesting article by traveller Graeme Green who was guided by local Maasai in the most remote areas of the Ngorongoro. The Sunday Telegraph (UK) published Green’s travel experience under the heading “Animal magic on the Mountain of God”, in line with the traveller’s focus on the remote region’s wildlife. Green begins the piece by likening the whooping calls emitted by hyenas following a fresh kill to that of ghosts. His Maasai warrior guide Peter Mwasini informs Green that the hyenas’ eerie sounds are in fact telling others to come, eat. Extract continues: We were inside Olmoti volcano, within Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania. While many come here to see the rich wildlife down in the “crater”, I was hiking into the lesser-explored calderas of Olmoti and Empakai, before trekking to the flamingo-filled shores of Lake Natron and Oldoinyo Lengai – the “Mountain of God”, Tanzania’s third-highest peak and its only active volcano… There were hyena tracks on the dusty trail. “Very fresh. Big. Not far from here,” surmised Goodluck Silas, our guide… Peter, Goodluck and ranger Saitus Kipalazia, armed with a semi-automatic rifle – spoke loudly as we walked, standard safety practice in this part of Tanzania where there can be big beasts hidden in the long grass… On my first evening I walked downhill with Peter to the Maasai village of Olchaniomelock (“Sweet Tree”)… Peter talked about life in this volcanic region: “Around eight years ago, Lengai erupted. Ash covered this area. I saw the fire coming up. Before it erupts, the animals know; you see zebra and antelope running.” … [The] next morning we drove down into Ngorongoro. “It’s actually a caldera, not a crater,” Goodluck corrected me … Extinct for 2.5 million years, it could once have stood taller than Kilimanjaro, scientists believe… [M]easuring nearly 12 miles from side to side … [t]he caldera brings an uneasy proximity of predator and prey; zebras and wildebeest galloped across the dusty grasslands, a pack of hyenas in pursuit. Later, we saw two lionesses cracking open a warthog. A jackal lingered, hopeful for leftovers, but he didn’t get a look-in as one lioness led five cubs to lunch. From the top of Engitati Hill, we watched a lone elephant trample through a swamp. Perhaps the spot of the day was one of Tanzania’s endangered black rhinos, viewed through binoculars, a tonne of thick body and prized horn ambling through sage brush… (22 January 2017)

The East African (Kenya): Plans for new radar systems to be installed at Julius Nyerere International Airport, Kilimanjaro, Mbeya and Mwanza airports to enhance surveillance of Tanzanian airspace are underway. The Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) expects the new radar systems to enhance the safety of Tanzania airspace and also parts of neighbouring states’ airspaces. A boost in income generated from various fees paid by airlines using the service is also expected. TCAA said the aim of the installation is to make civil aviation contribute more to the Tanzanian economy as well as match with global industry growth and needs.

Water utility
The East African (Kenya): Dar es Salaam, Nairobi, Kampala and Kigali are all experiencing water shortages. These major cities in East Africa are struggling to supply their growing populations with water from dilapidated distribution networks that depend on unreliable water sources. In the case of Tanzania’s commercial capital, Dar es Salaam, 40 percent of its 4.5 million population depend on alternative water sources outside of the city’s supply for their needs. Dar es Salaam needs 450,000 cubic metres of water per day, according to a report by the Water Irrigation Ministry. The completion of major projects recently in Ruvu Juu, and Ruvu Chini on the outskirts of the city has seen production increase to 504,000 cubic metres per day. However, inadequate infrastructure obstructs full access by residents, with various sections of the city experiencing rationing of between eight and 20 hours a day. An increase in water accessibility from 72 percent to 95 percent in 2020 by digging 20 wells in Kimbiji and Mpera on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam is planned by the city. These wells should have the capacity to produce 260,000 cubic metres of water per day.

The East African (Kenya): China has announced that it will prohibit trade in ivory by the end of 2017. Once implemented, this would close down the world’s biggest ivory market. This decision by China has come after years of growing international and domestic pressure. The extinction of certain elephant populations may also be averted. It has been estimated that more than 100,000 elephants have been killed in Africa over the past 10 years in the pursuit of ivory fuelled by Chinese demand. Wildlife researchers estimate 50-70 percent of all smuggled elephant ivory ends up in China. The success of the new policy depends on how strictly it is enforced. Paula Kahumbu, chief executive of the Kenyan conservation group WildlifeDirect, is suspicious of China’s motives and its commitment of fight the trade in ivory, believing that the Chinese are just buying good will.

Maji Maji Memorial in Songea
The East African (Kenya): The Maji Maji Uprising of 1905 is an important date in Tanzanian history. February 27 has been marked out by the people of Songea in southern Tanzania as a Memorial Day for the leaders of the Uprising who were executed on this day by the German colonialists. African resistance to German rule was fought between 1905 and 1907. The Maji Maji Rebellion features in historical records for the strategy and organisation of African fighters who believed in the superiority of their mystical powers against a heavily armed German force. African leaders, such as Abushiri of the Pangani, Mkwawa of the Uhehe and Sina of Moshi began the resistance as early as July 1905, breaking out in the Matumbi Hills, northwest of Kilwa. A museum can be found in the Songea district, Ruvuma Region, which houses the Maji Maji war memorial. Songea derived its name from Songea Lwafu Mbano, a Ngoni who led the resistance. Chief Songea Mbano was tortured to death. Close to Songea city centre are the gallows at Mathenge Mashujaa village where Ngoni fighters were hanged. Adjacent to the gallows is a raised stone with a plaque inscribed with the names of the dead. There are 33 names of chiefs, sub-chiefs, headmen and ordinary citizens. At the museum entrance in Mathenge village, a welcome sign reads “Karibu Makumbusho Ya Maji Maji” (welcome to the Maji Maji Memorial site). The Maji Maji exhibition includes photographs that tell the story of one of the root causes of the uprising. For instance, for transport, the Germans used African men to carry them around in hammocks.

Celebrating a Bard: Burn’s Supper in Dar
The East African (Kenya): The tradition of celebrating the great Scottish poet Robert Burns takes place all over the world, and so it comes as no surprise to hear of celebrations taking place in Tanzania’s commercial capital, Dar es Salaam, hosted by the Caledonian Society of Tanzania. The event was held at the Little Theatre in Msasani, Dar es Salaam. Scots turned up in their traditional dress: woollen kilts and multi-buttoned jackets. There was dancing and a generous supply of Scotch whiskeys. A special troupe of pipers from South Africa, all in Scottish traditional dress, played Scottish tunes, and poets recited Burn’s poems. In keeping with such an event, the arrival of the haggis was the star attraction as guests stand and cheer as it is brought in by a procession comprising of the chef, pipers and someone bearing the whiskey, who in this case was Serengeti’s chief executive Helene Weesie.

Tanzania to purge ‘the homosexual syndicate’
The Times (UK). Extract: The Tanzanian government has threatened to publish a list of gay men who are allegedly selling sex online. The warning comes as part of a clampdown on homosexuality since the authoritarian President Magufuli came to power in late 2015… “I will publish a list of gay people selling their bodies online,” Mr [Hamisi] Kigwangalla [deputy health minister] wrote on Twitter… Homosexuals face life imprisonment but the sentence was rarely enforced until Mr Magufuli took office. While the president has made no public statements on homosexuality, there has been an increase in anti-gay rhetoric. Some ministers have made moves against organisations they say were promoting the practice… Paul Makonda, the governor of Dar es Salaam … said that he would arrest anyone linked to gay people on the internet. “If there’s a homosexual who has a Facebook account or with an Instagram account, all those who ‘follow’ him—it is very clear that they are just as guilty as the homosexual,” he said. (20 February 2017)

Singing Wells Project: Making Tanzania’s folk music great again
Music In Africa Foundation (Johannesburg—online). Extract: The Singing Wells Project (SWP), a collaboration between a London-based record label, Abubilla Music and Kenya’s Ketebul Music has pitched camp in Tanzania this year, seeking to identify, preserve and promote traditional music… They have identified 11 music groups and solo artists from three communities, the Kwere, Zaramo and Gogo. The recordings will cover a range of folk music genres, from vanga to mdundiko, godo, shiranga, mdomole and bingilia. They also intend to revive the memory of the famous Ngoni drummer, the late Mzee Morris Nyunyusa, who, despite being blind, made memorable compositions, some still played by Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation as their signature tunes… (25 January 2017)
38 Obituaries

Tanzanian broadcaster suspends staff for publishing fake news about Donald Trump
Newsweek (USA—online). Extract: A public broadcaster in Tanzania has suspended nine of its workers after it ran a fake news story … The article claimed that Trump had praised President John Magufuli, who came to power in Tanzania in 2015 and has sought to crack down on public sector corruption. The article claimed that Trump eulogized Magufuli as an “African hero” and “my namesake”—Trump’s middle name is John—whose performance far exceeds other African leaders, who were “doing nothing.” … (15 March 2017)

Duolingo’s Luis Von Ahn on How the Language App Added Africa to the Mix
Time magazine (USA). Extract: Luis Von Ahn[‘s] simple idea to take on the Rosetta Stones, Berlitzs and Pimsleurs of the world with an addictive, video-game-like app is changing how we think about learning languages. And now, for the first time, Duolingo is adding an African language to its 68-course lineup: Swahili, the lingua franca of eastern Africa. “We started looking around and realized that we are teaching almost every European language you can think of, but we had no African languages,” says Van Ahn, who spoke to TIME while at the Design Indaba in Cape Town … (3 March 2017)


by Donovan McGrath

Decline of fishing in Lake Tanganyika ‘due to warming’ BBC News online published an article by the environment correspondent Matt McGrath on the ‘new research [that] blames rising temperatures … as the key cause of decline in one of the world’s most important fisheries.’ Extract continues: ‘Lake Tanganyika is Africa’s oldest lake and its fish are a critical part of the diet of neighbouring countries. But catches have declined markedly in recent decades as commercial fleets have expanded. However, this new study says that climate warming and not overfishing is the real cause of the problem… The chemical analysis of the cores and the fossils found there indicate that fish numbers have been dropping in parallel with the rise in global temperatures. The scientists say that in tropical lakes a warming of the waters reduce the mixing between oxygenated top layer and the nutrient-rich layer at the bottom. This increasing stratification of the waters means fewer nutrients get to [the] top, meaning less algae which means less food for fish. “Our idea was to look at the fish fossil and record and see when that decline actually started,” said Prof Andrew Cohen from the University of Arizona, “If it happened before the start of industrial fishing in the 1950s, you’d have strong evidence that the decline is not simply driven by this fishing activity and that’s exactly what we found.” The scientists don’t discount the impact of fishing over the past six decades… “Fishing in the lake is a Wild West activity, there are nominal controls but no teeth,” said Prof Cohen…’ (8 August 2016)

Rwanda, Tanzania ban sale of Samsung Note 7, Kenya holds back The East African (Kenya). Extract: ‘Kenya will not join Rwanda and Tanzania in effecting a ban on the importation and distribution of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, which has been dogged by battery issues that has seen its production terminated… Rwanda and Tanzania effected a ban … citing safety concerns. Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority communication manager Innocent Mungy urged citizens who had bought the Samsung Note 7 to switch it off and return the device where they had purchased it, and sellers to follow the safety instructions provided by Samsung…’ (15-21 October 2016)

‘Seeds of hate’ sown as Tanzania starts LGBT crackdown The (UK) Guardian correspondent Sophie Tremblay says the ‘situation for the gay community deteriorates as ministers partially ban lubricants and restrict pro-gay charities …’ Extract continues: ‘Tanzania’s justice minister has announced controversial new plans to suspend the registration of any charity or non-governmental organisation that supports homosexuality. Claiming that he was protecting the “culture of Tanzanians”, Harrison Mwakyembe’s announcement comes days after the country’s health minister imposed a partial ban on the import and sale of lubricants to discourage gay men from having sex and “curb the spread of HIV”… The sudden crackdown has come as a surprise in a country that has until recently been tolerant of its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Unlike in neighbouring Uganda … Kenya and Zimbabwe, gay Tanzanians have not experienced the same levels of violence and discrimination, and politicians have until now generally ignored the topic. James Wandera Ouma, the founder and executive director of LGBT Voice Tanzania … has said the plans are proof that “the environment for the LGBT community is very bad right now and it’s getting worse.” Ouma said the political mood shifted in early July, when Paul Makonda, the regional commissioner for Dar es Salaam … told citizens during a religious rally that he had started to crackdown against gay people. Makonda said he would use social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook to identify and arrest people suspected of being gay. Ouma said since Makonda’s speech he knew of at least 20 men who had been arrested by police outside bars and clubs popular with the gay community… Though sodomy is a criminal offence punishable by life imprisonment, there is no law prohibiting homosexuality in Tanzania…’ (8 August 2016)

Tanzania suspends U.S.-funded AIDS programs in a new crackdown on gays The Washington Post online. Extract: ‘… Tanzania is turning its antihomosexual fury in a new direction – targeting HIV/AIDS programs that have helped tame a disease that once ravaged the region… [T] he minister of health announced that Tanzania will ban HIV/AIDS outreach projects aimed at gay men, pending a review… Tanzania’s actions appear to mark the first time that a country has suspended parts of the United States’ hugely successful foreign HIV/AIDS initiative in an attempt to crackdown on the gay community… The ban comes after months of bitter speeches and threats from Tanzanian officials aimed at the gay community and at organizations treating its HIV/AIDS patients. This year, police raided two U.S.-funded HIV/AIDS organizations and seized confidential patient information and supplies, officials said. In September, the deputy minister of health, Hamisi Kigwangalla, accused HIV treatment organizations of “promoting homosexuality.” “Any attempt to commit unnatural offenses is illegal and severely punished by law,” Kigwangalla said in the statement. People convicted of same-sex liaisons in Tanzania can be jailed for up to 30 years… But even as assistance programs have sharply reduced the death toll from AIDS, some countries in eastern Africa have been escalating their campaigns against homosexuality… Even though Tanzania’s penal code refers to homosexuality as “gross indecency,” the government had long permitted organizations to help gay men who had AIDS or who were at risk of contracting it. But since John Magufuli was elected president last year, the government’s tolerance on the issue has disintegrated. Although Magufuli has not said anything publicly about homosexuality, a number of his appointees have made harsh remarks… The government also banned the distribution of lubricants that help ensure that condoms do not tear…’ (23 November 2016)

The octopus hunters of Zanzibar BBC News online (UK). Extract: ‘The powdery white beaches of Zanzibar’s east coast are best known as a holiday destination. But each day, as the tide begins to ebb and the beachgoers return to their hotels, a small army of men and women armed with sticks and spears wade out across the coastal flats in search of one of the Tanzanian island’s finest delicacies – octopus. During a single low tide a skilled octopus hunter can spear more than 10 of the slimy invertebrates, which thrive amid the maze of rocks, corals and sea grass that lie beyond the beaches. The catch is highly prized by the island’s tourist hotels and provides an important source of protein for coastal communities. Tanzania is the largest producer of octopus in the western Indian Ocean… Traditionally a female-dominated activity, more men are now turning to octopus for a source of income. “The octopus has helped me to drive my life forward,” said Ali, who makes about £1.90 ($2.30) per kg (2Ib 3oz) for his octopuses. According to data from the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation, catches in Tanzania have increased from 482 tonnes in 1990 to more than 1,250 in 2012…’ (19 October 2016)

Tanzania reiterates total ban on use of plastic bags by next January The East African (Kenya). Extract: ‘The government … will not back down on its decision to ban the use of plastic bags in January [2017]. Owners of plastic bag manufacturing factories have been advised to take the necessary steps to stop production before the deadline, and invest in the production of alternative bags and plastic waste recycling facilities. The instruction was contained in an advertisement posted in various media outlets … by the Vice President’s Office… [T]he Minister of State in the Vice President’s Office, January Makamba … said that by instituting the ban, the government had revisited the 2006 regulation on the production, importation, sale and use of plastic bags …’ (20-26 August 2016)

On Resilience: How Ninon Marapachi Went From Poverty In Tanzania To Wall Street Domination Forbes online (USA) published Ally Bogard and Allie Hoffman’s interview of the 38-year-old Tanzanian woman who works for one of the biggest banks on Wall Street. The following is a summarised extract of the interview beginning with what Ninon Marapachi says about herself when the interviewers posed the question “What would be the most surprising thing about your professional journey that even the people that were closest with you wouldn’t know?”: Ninon answered by saying that the thing she had learned, more than anything throughout her career, was to ask for things, which she always got. Originally from Tanzania, the hardship of her family situation caused her to push herself so hard that to literally think of failure was not an option. She always knew she really needed to make it, because she needed to change her family’s situation. Ninon received a scholarship through the Norwegian government and spent her last two years of high school in Norway. Later, Ninon talks about her early beginnings in Wall Street: “My sophomore year, I started as an intern at Merrill Lynch in NYC. In 2001, 50 of us interns met with a very senior leader. After he presented, I emailed him, thanking him and asking him if he’d be available to talk to me one-to-one. He said yes. I got in front of this senior leader, I told him my story and my background – I told him I’m not American, I don’t have a visa, my family are very poor and I love working in finance. I told him I’d love to be hired, but if they wanted to hire me, then they should hire me as soon as possible, and I gave a very clear deadline for reclassifying and opting to graduate early. It was kind of crazy ask; it just came to me to be that bold. Literally on July 1st, 2001, I got called to his office and he said, ‘You asked for this,’ and there was an offer in front of me. I’ve been there ever since.” Towards the end of her interview Ninon said: “I have a story to tell and I want to impact a lot of people … who might not believe that a black woman can be in finance, an African woman can be on Wall Street…” (16 November 2016)

Taarab maestro’s last lovesong New African magazine. ‘Mohammed Juma Bhalo’s passing robbed the East African coast of one of its brightest lights. Paul Goldsmith celebrates a departed rock star, and traces the history of his art.’ Extract continues: ‘On the night of 5 April 2014, the Taarab music star, Mohammed Juma Bhalo … passed away. He died in his home in the heart of Mombasa’s old town holding his wife’s hand… The singer of traditional Swahili ballads and love songs was born in Malindi, Kenya and went to Tanzania as a young lad, where he worked as a fisherman and at other manual jobs. He returned to Mombasa, where he began to concentrate on his career as a musician… During his heyday … beginning in the late 1960s, Bhalo achieved rock star status across Kenya’s coast and beyond. Taarab is a modern offshoot of a much longer literary tradition. It achieved popularity during the pre-World War II period through the music of the Zanzibari diva, Siti binti Saad. Another legendary member of this cultural tradition, Bi Kidude, will be forever associated with the drums she still beat with vigour as a centenarian… [T]he people of Mombasa accorded Mohammed Juma Bhalo a sending-off worthy of a true Sheikh. Massive crowds formed in the streets around his home to escort the jeneza to the overcrowded mosque …’ (November 2016)

Private schools seek tax waiver The East African (Kenya). Extract: ‘… “The government should equate schools to business institutions and waive taxes to allow the smooth delivery of quality education,” said Peter Nayar, director of Eden Garden Education Trust, which runs a chain of schools. The chairman, of the Tanzania Association of Managers and Owners of Non-government Schools and Colleges Mrinde Mnzava, said that the government should find a way to waive taxes charged on private schools to make them affordable for more Tanzanians…’ (15-21 October 2016)


by Donovan McGrath

Bamboo: Africa’s untapped potential taking root in Africa April 2016 edition of New York-based United Nations’ Africa Renewal magazine published a feature, with individual subheadings for the handful of African countries involved in the cultivation of bamboo for the growing global market. Tanzania is one of the countries featured under the subhead­ing Tanzania: New income for 5,000 rural women. Extract: Bamboo has been increasing in importance as a non-timber forest product in Tanzania over the last two decades, according to INBAR [International Network of Bamboo and Rattan]. Locally bamboo is sought for handicrafts, residential fencing, flower farming, farm props for banana plantations, furniture and other minor cottage industry products like basketry and toothpicks… INBAR, in partnership with the International Fund for Agricultural Development, helped to establish 100 bamboo nurseries and set up micro-enterprises, and trained 1,000 locals in a specially created Bamboo Training Centre. Today some 5,000 women in these rural communities produce handicrafts and desks for local schools and sell charcoal briquettes.

Tanzania featured in a number of articles published in the Financial Times (UK), which included comments on mobile phone technology and President Magufuli’s handling of the economy and the political situation in the country. The following are extracts of these articles. Thanks to Carol Wilcox and Jeremy Jones for sending these items – Editor

Tanzania’s new president shakes up east Africa’s ‘sleeping giant’:
Extract: Mr Magufuli, 56, embarking on his first five-year term, is creating a buzz of expectation that at last Tanzania has found a leader capable of awakening the “sleeping giant” of east Africa, one with huge, largely unexploited, gas and mineral resources. “He walks the talk,” says Samuel Wangwe, principal research associate at the Economic and Social Research Foundation in Dar es Salaam. “When he says something, he follows through. He’s not a liar.” The presidency commands huge constitutional power – and Mr Magufuli has not been afraid to use it… He pressed ahead with a highly flawed electoral process in Zanzibar, semi-autonomous island, which deprived the Zanzibari opposition of what looked like victory. Nor has he been shy of using sweeping cyber crime legislation to silence critics. This month, a court sentenced a man to three years in jail for insulting the president on Facebook… He scrapped normally lavish independence day celebrations and, borrowing a stunt from Narenda Modi, India’s prime minister; took to the streets with a broom, declaring he would spend the money saved on sanitation. He has clamped down on foreign travel for officials, personally vetting all trips. His predecessor, Jakaya Kikwete, was so fond of foreign tours he was christened Vasco da Gama, after the Portugese explorer… Mr Magufuli’s supporters argue that he must first use his authority to take on a system corroded by corruption and complacency before he can rebuild institutions. But even advocates worry about his tendencies to run government by fiat and take snap decisions without, they say, thinking through the consequences. A crackdown on illicit sugar imports has led to shortages. Last week, his government demanded, with no consultation, that foreign-owned telecoms companies list on the local stock exchange within six months [see following item]. One Lawyer accused the president of hypocrisy, saying he talked about fighting corruption while encouraging the police to steal tyres of illegally parked vehicles… (FT 27 June 2016)

Tanzania wants foreign-backed telecos to list: Dar es Salaam aims to keep tabs on revenues and widen share ownership
Extract: An amendment to a new finance bill will require the eight operators in Tanzania, one of Africa’s fastest-growing telecoms markets, to float 25 per cent of their shares on Dar es Salaam’s thinly traded stock exchange. Johannesburg-listed Vodacom, a subsidiary of Vodafone, Stockholm-based Millicom and India’s Bharti Airtel will need to list part of their business alongside five local operators. The mandatory listing, which appears to reverse an informal agreement with the main operators, is part of a government strategy to squeeze more revenue from the private sector. An executive at one of the foreign operators, who did not want to be named, described the move as a complete surprise given it had been made without any consultation. Phillip Mpango, finance and planning minister, has told the national assembly that the measure would “help the government trace the exact revenue generated by these companies”, as well as allow Tanzanians to hold shares in telecom companies. He denied that the bill was a reversal of policy, saying it merely enforced a stipulation in the Electronic and Postal Communication Act of 2010 for foreign telecoms companies to list locally… John Magufuli, Tanzania’s new president, has accused some foreign companies, particularly in the mining sector, of seeking to avoid local taxes by declaring losses in the country and repatriating profits and dividends overseas. (FT 30 June 2016)

Tanzania’s fintech and mobile money transform business practice
Extract: Ramadhani Saidi Gereza is a barometer for the way the mobile phone technology is changing Tanzania. The engine oil seller in Dar es Salaam’s Kariakoo market says mobile money has transformed his business. “People from upcountry used to send cash by bus and I had to go further to collect their money,” he says. “Now I don’t have to. It’s much more efficient.” Yet it is not all good news. The country’s eight mobile operators offer various incentives to attract customers, but they do not always deliver, Mr Gereza says. “Bonus payments [for custom­ers] are delayed or we don’t get them so I tell my city customers to go and get cash and pay with that [instead].” These glitches are a result of the continuous innovation the operators feel compelled to adopt as they compete in one of the most promising markets in sub-Saharan Africa. Johannesburg-listed Vodacom, which is majority owned by Vodafone, is the largest mobile operator by subscriber numbers. Its main rivals are Tigo, a brand name of Stockholm-listed Millicom, and India’s Bharti Airtel. Together, the three operators control some 90 per cent of the market of 34m active mobile contracts out of a population of 55m. The GSMA, a global body representing operators, predicts Tanzania will be among the top seven subscriber markets in sub-Saharan Africa in the next five years. Mobile money is the main battleground. While Kenya’s M-pesa has won international plaudits for its groundbreaking mobile money system, Tanzania has arguably overtaken its northern neighbour in the depth of its mobile money market… The World Bank reported last year there were more mobile money accounts per 1,000 adults in Tanzania than anywhere else in Africa… “Mobile money is so successful because the competition is cash, not the banks,” says Diego Gutierrez, Tigo’s general manager for Tanzania. Some 60 per cent of adults have mobile money wallets in the country, while only 15 per cent have bank accounts, Tigo says… (FT 13 July 2016)

Tanzanian president’s tough tactics alienate political opponents
Extract: When John Magufuli became Tanzanian president in November it was widely expected that he would shake up government. He campaigned under the slogan “It’s all about work” and had garnered a reputation for action in his previous role as works minister. Less clear was how he would handle the nation’s politics… Western diplomats argue he failed his first political test soon after being inaugurated. He backed the decision by the Zanzibar electoral commission chairman to annul the semi-autonomous region’s October election results based on unproven claims of irregularities. The opposition boycotted the re-run in March and US and EU diplomats boycotted the inauguration of the islands’ president… Of more concern, according to Ms Anyimadu, is the opposition MP’s decision to boycott parliamentary sessions overseen by deputy speaker Tulia Ackson. The action was prompted by their belief that she was mistreating them and stifling democracy at the behest of Mr Magufuli, who appointed her. Opposition MPs were further incensed by a speech Mr Magufuli gave last month in which he ordered opposition parties, for the sake of developing the nation, to confine their political activities to parliament and not engage in campaigns that could obstruct the government until the 2020 election. Freeman Mbowe, chairman of Chadema, called the move “regrettable”. “[The president] should know that he can’t and won’t silence us,” he said after the speech. Elsewhere, the new government also appears to have curtailed Tanzanians’ democratic rights. The police have banned opposition rallies … (FT 13 July 2016)

Zanzibar – where ‘politics is like religion’
In Stone Town, the historic centre of Zanzibar City, people are still talking about politics months after the elections were supposedly set­tled… Zanzibar, which joined Tanganyika in 1964 to form the union of Tanzania, has been seething with political tension for years… In 2000, some 35 people were killed after police shot into a crowd following a contested poll. There were further fatal clashes in 2005. Tensions bubbled to the surface again last year when the electoral commission annulled October’s election on the grounds of alleged irregularities. The main opposition candidate for president, Maalim Seif Sharif Hamad of the Civic Unite Front, declared himself the winner… Internationally, the election is regarded as a serious blot on Tanzania’s copybook. Most foreign diplomats refuse to interact with Zanzibar’s new government… The stand-off has raised fears of radicalisation of Zanzibar’s Muslim majority population… Fatma Karume, granddaughter of Zanzibar’s first president, says the situation is explosive. “Zanzibar has never wanted to lose its identity. Now we are being swallowed up.” (FT 13 July 2016)

Superstition is fuelling a grisly trade in human body parts. Tanzania
shows how it can be curbed This article, published in The Economist (London), is a fairly recent addition to the publications concerned with the treatment of people with albinism in Tanzania.
Extract: To be born with albinism is hard luck. This genetic condition, in which people lack pigments in their skin, hair and eyes, affects on in 20,000 worldwide and is more common in Africa… For centuries people have believed that albinos are cursed. In parts of Africa babies born with albinism were once routinely killed. That ghastly tradition has died out, but others persist. In Swahili many people call albinos zeru (ghost) or nguruwe (pig). Children with the condition are often bullied at school and forced to eat separately from their peers… Women are at higher risk of rape because of a myth that sex with an albino can cure HIV. Worst of all, many albinos are murdered by people who think that their bones contain gold or have magical powers … Some witchdoctors claim that amulets made from albino bones can cure disease or bring great wealth to those who wear them. A gruesome trade in their body parts has spurred killings in Tanzania, Burundi, Mozambique, Zambia and South Africa. Sometimes family members sell their albino nephews or cousins for cash… Superstitions die hard, in any part of the world. Yet the senseless killing of albinos can be curbed. Tanzania, once one of the most dangerous countries in Africa for people with albinism, has sharply reduced the number of murders by clamping down on demand. It has banned unlicensed witchdoctors and increased penalties for those caught trading in body parts. It investigates albino murders energeti­cally: in recent years it has arrested and convicted several “albino hunt­ers”. The police have issued mobile phones to many albinos so that they can call an emergency number if they feel unsafe. The recent appoint­ment of an albino lawyer to the cabinet may also have helped reduce the stigma attached to the condition… (11 June 2016)

Tanzania Breweries now partners with traditional liquor outlet owners

Published by The East African (Kenya). Extract: Tanzania Breweries Ltd (TBL) plans to expand the market for its traditional liquors Chibuku, and Nzagamba, by using existing “drinking dens” as outlets and the owners as agents. TBL managing director Roberto Jarrin said integrating tradi­tional beer makers in the business would save the brewers some of the costs of making the liquor… But not all traditional brewers are excited about the programme. “I once bought Chibuku from agents for sale, but it was not profitable because the people are not used to it,” said Aurelia John, a traditional liquor brewer. “I don’t mind the hard work it takes to make my own product, which people are used to.” … Aisha Khalid, who used to brew skadi from sorghum, sugar and yeast, says she used to make a profit of Tsh10,000 ($4.6) in four days after investing Tsh15,000 ($7). When she started selling Chibuku, her profit dropped to Tsh7,000 ($3.2). However, she says being an agent is not as tedious as brewing, and the liquor is guaranteed to be safe for consumption… According to a study by CanBack, traditional beer accounts for 50 per cent of the alcohol consumed in Tanzania. Homemade brews from more than 120 tribes make up almost 92 per cent of that segment. Mr Jarrin said that in order to ease replacement of traditional beer with TBL brands, they are considering making it in traditional flavours taking the cue from popular local brews like banana beer (mbege) from Kilimanjaro, palm wine (mnazi) from the coastal areas, bamboo wine (ulanzi) from the southern highlands, and maize beer (komoni) from the central zone… (11-17 June 2016)

Success of Mkuki na Nyota

Walter Bgoya

Walter Bgoya

This is a very interesting profile, by the Ugandan writer A.K. Kazia, of the Tanzanian publisher Walter Bgoya, published with the heading A luta continua! in the July 2016 edition of the New African (UK). Extract: [Walter Bgoya was born in 1942] in the placid northwestern Tanzanian district of Ngara, on the border of Rwanda and Burundi … Leaving Ngara extruded him, as with so many of his generation, into the wider world of black struggle… The years he was a civil servant, from 1965 to 1972, would be the most intense years of his life… In his 20s, Walter would meet and become friends with founding Angolan president, Agostinho Neto, get on first-name basis with Samora Machel, and beyond expectations, find himself, as Tanzania’s Charge d’Affaires in Addis Ababa, playing host to the warring parties of the Biafran war … [H]ow does one characterise a publisher, in East Africa of all places, that issues Tax Dispute Resolutions under the same logo as War and Peace in Contemporary Eritrean Poetry? Add to these a war-chest of titles covering topics from anthropology, law, children’s books, culture and arts, health, political economics, biography, history. The common thread that connects all these, is the idea of Africa. There are the titles that overtly say so: New Imperialism by Wole Soyinka, and The Long Road to Socialism by Samir Amin (both based on the Mwalimu Julius Nyerere lectures) … Straight up, Mkuki na Nyota is a refuge for liberation-era thinkers in East Africa scarcely able to find a publisher in Kampala or Nairobi. The subject matter of these books is what the University of Nairobi’s Dr. Tom Odhiambo calls “local knowledge.” “Even when [Bgoya] was at the [Tanzanian Publishing House], the idea was that whatever you publish has to be the local in conversation with the global.” The white hair, the stately bearing, and the crackly, charismatic voice punctuated with French and Kiswahili expressions and inflected with Nyerere aphorisms, a Tanzanian pastime, do not conceal the youthful energy of Bgoya, now 73. For the 18 years that he ran the Tanzania Publishing House, books became an extension of the struggle, the years in which the dives of Dar es Salaam jumped to the sounds of liberation: these were the acronym-days of FRETLIMO, FRELIMO, SWAPO, MPLA, FRITLIN, POLISARIO, ZANU, ZAPU, ANC… Mkuki na Nyota was conceived in crisis. Structural Adjustment Policies, the austerity programme to which indebted African governments signed up under duress, gutted the Tanzania Publishing House (TPH) … Out of a job and still not fifty, Walter decided to go it alone. Employing his daughters as secretaries, he issued a children’s book, Karibu Tusome (Let Us Read). As luck would have it, a new literacy project in Tanzania, promised to buy two-thirds of the titles produced to promote reading. They took 2000 copies of the book, and hence launched Mkuki na Nyota… Tanzania offered more opportunities for a publisher than many African countries. Its language policy favouring Kiswahili, was perhaps its greatest strength… Tanzania made Mkuki na Nyota; Tanzania needs Mkuki na Nyota. To remain the Swahili nation, it needs publishers like Walter…


compiled by Donovan McGrath

[Hong Kong] Government pledges bill outlawing local ivory trade

This piece published in the South China Morning Post explains the efforts in Hong Kong to outlaw the local ivory trade which affects wildlife in Africa, especially Tanzania. Extract: The government aims to submit a bill kick-starting efforts to outlaw the local ivory trade this year and insisted it was not stalling, contrary to concerns voiced by lawmakers and wildlife campaigners. At a Legislative Council environmental panel . . . wildlife campaigner and pro-Beijing lawmaker Elizabeth Quat pushed the government for concrete details. Environment undersecretary Christine Loh Kung-wai told the panel: “I don’t want to give you the impression that we are stalling, but at the present stage it is difficult for us to make an estimate. But within this year we can submit this bill, and the council can pass the bill into law.” . . . Her response raised concerns the administration was dragging its feet. . . Alex Hofford, wildlife campaigner at WildAid Hong Kong, said the government appeared serious about its plans, but added: “We would like to see them set a concrete timeline with actual dates.” . . . (published 23 February 2016) – Thank you Richard Wong for this item

How ‘Ivory Queen’ was trapped using technology
Towards the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016, The East African newspaper in Kenya published a variety of articles on the politics, art, culture, economy and environment of Tanzania. Our selected items begin with the following piece which looks at how Tanzanian law enforcement used technology to catch criminals in the illegal trade of ivory. Extract: One day in October last year, agents from a Tanzanian crime unit raced past Dar es Salaam’s Palm Beach Hotel in pursuit of the suspected leader of a global elephant poaching ring. The chase was the result of new breakthroughs in Tanzania’s fight against an increasingly rapacious poaching trade, which has felled 60 per cent of the country’s elephant population in the past five years. The agents’ target that day was Yang Feng Glan, a 66-year-old Chinese national dubbed the “Ivory Queen,” who is accused of running a smuggling empire stretching from the game parks of Tanzania to the clandestine ivory markets of Asia. . . A Tanzanian court in October charged Ms Yang with heading a criminal network responsible for smuggling out 706 pieces of ivory worth Tsh5.44 billion ($2.51 million) between 2000 and 2014. . . The new techniques follow work done in neighbouring Kenya, where poaching rates have nosedived. In both countries, the police have started concentrating on the poachers’ own technology – guns and phones – and using it against them. . . The history of a suspect’s gun, the phone calls he or she makes, and the money they move, create a trail of evidence. . .

The capture of Ms Yang started with a tip-off in 2014. . . [L]ocal informants pointed crime squad agents towards Manase Philemon, a suspected Tanzanian ivory dealer who was barely literate but could mysteriously speak Chinese. Under interrogation, Mr Philemon fingered Ms Yang, who police believe taught him Mandarin. . . After Mr Philemon’s tip-off, she became the [National and Transnational Serious Crimes Investigation Unit]’s top target. . . They called it “follow the gun, save the elephant.” Immediately after a suspect is captured, the agents focus on the suspect’s weapon. Tracing how the poacher obtained that gun leads to the person one level above in the syndicate, and points in the directions of a team. . . But just as they began building a case against Ms Yang, she vanished. . . Ms Yang fled to Uganda . . . More than a year later, her phone revealed where she was. . . NTSCIU is able to pull up poachers’ phone numbers and call histories . . . Computer software is used to delineate links between on-the-ground poachers, dealers and transnational criminal gangs. A server flags to NTSCIU mobile phone numbers when they become active, but does not record calls. . . Mobile phones also help agents follow the money. Many Africans send and receive money via their phones. That means agents who monitor phone calls can also track payments, helping to build a picture of who is involved. . . It was thanks to Ms Yang’s phone that about a year after she had left for Uganda, Tanzanian agents discovered she was back in Dar es Salaam. . . (published 27 February – 4 March 2016)

Rare pink diamond discovered in Tanzania
This next item from The East African (Kenya) is short and is reproduced almost in full here: Petra Diamonds Ltd has recovered a 23.16 carat pink diamond of exceptional colour and clarity from Williamson mine in Shinyanga province in northern Tanzania. Petra said the diamond will . . . be offered for sale by appointment at Antwerp in Belgium. Pink diamonds found only in a handful of mines globally, are highly coveted. The Williamson open pit mine is Tanzania’s sole producer of diamonds and is based on the 146 hectare Mwadui kimberlite pipe. (published 19-25 December 2015)

COP21: Youth cycle around Africa for a ‘fair deal’ in France
Special Correspondent Zeynab Wandati writes for The East African (Kenya) -Extract: “I get so much joy from cycling; I get to be me and one with the earth,” said Godfrey Mwagema, the president of the Association of Cyclists in Tanzania. . . The idea is to put pressure on national and world leaders to deliver on climate justice and commit towards keeping global emissions below 2°C. Low carbon emissions are a key part of international negotiations on climate change. The Tanzanian team had been cycling for 15 days, from the Tanzania-Malawi border to Namanga, covering a total of 1,640 kilometres. . . Esther Joshua, the only female in the Tanzanian team, said that she was motivated to join the campaign in order to encourage people to find alternative forms of energy other than charcoal. “In Tanzania, people are cutting down trees in order to burn charcoal. We are telling them to use gas instead . . .” (published 28 November – 4 December 2015)

Illustrations by Dar artists highlight causes
This item in The East African (Kenya) included a cartoon illustration the foreign mining agent mentioned in the short piece. Extract: The exhibition in Vipaji Gallery in Dar es Salaam, titled Domo-Cartoon and curated by Gadi Ramathan featured works by illustrators and the pieces highlight certain causes. An illustration by Said Michael depicts a foreign mining agent, hacking away at the bottom of a cliff and filling bags with precious minerals. Meanwhile, on top of the now perilous undercut cliff, are villagers in their humble dwellings. His work represents the sentiments of those living near mines, who are accusing mining companies of displacing them from their ancestral homes, and work is part of a campaign against land grabbing in the country. . . The exhibition had works of acrylic on canvas, showcasing nostalgic silhouettes of fast disappearing trees native to the Tanzanian coast such as the Mnazi, the common tropical palm tree (cocos nucifera). . . (published 20-26 February 2016)

Off Grid Electric lights a path for Tanzanians
From the Financial Times (UK). Extract: You could call it a lightbulb moment. Eric Mackey had relocated from the US after graduating from the University of California, Los Angeles with a degree in ecology and evolutionary biology, to work with an aid agency in east Africa helping to set up mobile clinics and train rural health workers. Upon arrival in Tanzania, however, it was obvious the most pressing need among local people was cheap, reliable electricity. Most Tanzanian homes are lit using kerosene lamps, generating fumes that are as damaging as smoking two packets of cigarettes a day. Families often store this fuel on the floor in fizzy drink bottles, which creates a further risk of someone accidentally scorching their internal organs by taking a toxic drink from the containers. “It seemed unfathomable that millions of people live like this,” Ms Mackey recalls, adding that she felt it was “incredibly unfair” that some of the world’s poorest people pay the most for the dirtiest energy. The irony is that east Africa has an abundance of the most powerful energy source available to us: the sun. With modern technology its power could be harnessed at a much lower cost than liquid fuels, Ms Mackey reasoned, so she sought out a Masters programme where she could develop a business plan. . . Ms Mackey met Xavier Helgesen [at Oxford’s Saïd Business School] and they started building a solar energy business, Off Grid Electric. “He was a talented entrepreneur, eager to start focusing his attention on energy in Africa,” Ms Mackey says of her co-founder. “I knew how to make ideas work there.” They quickly brought in a third partner, Joshua Pierce, who knew something about building energy systems and became chief technology officer. . . Off Grid Electric now provides affordable solar power to low-income communities in Tanzania, and raised $70m in 2015 in order to extend their reach to a million customers in the country. The company employs more than 800 people full time, primarily in sales and regional service teams, who travel door-to-door in rural Tanzania and Rwanda to connect and maintain the solar energy equipment. These teams are now installing more than 10,000 solar units in homes and businesses every month. The goal, over the next three years, is to create 15,000 jobs across east Africa. . . (published 4 April 2016) -Thanks to Jerry Jones for this item – Editor

In Tanzania, a Horrific Fishing Tactic Destroys All Sea Life
At the end of 2015, America’s National Geographic magazine published an eight-page article, produced by its Special Investigations Unit, which focuses on wildlife crime, on the dangerous fishing methods employed by some Tanzanian fishermen. Extract: . . . Strewn in the shallows of the Indian Ocean lie shards of dead coral reefs. Why? Because poor Tanzanian fishermen are using explosives, illegally, to kill hundreds of fish in seconds. Blast fishing . . . not only destroys large numbers of fish directly – but indirectly as well by killing coral and the rich array of marine animals that depend on it. Experts believe that in Tanzania, blast fishing is occurring at unprecedented rates, in part because a boom in mining and construction has made it easier for people to get their hands on dynamite. Bottle bombs made with kerosene and fertilizer are also used.

. . Blast fishing in Tanzania dates back to the 1960s and was outlawed in 1970. Cheaper and vastly more productive than traditional methods, such as basket traps and hook and line, it’s also dangerous: Errant blasts can shatter limbs, even kill people. Tossed overboard, one bottle bomb can kill everything within 30 to 100 feet of the blast. The explosion can rupture a fish’s swim bladder, the organ that gives it buoyancy. Most of the dead fish sink, but fishermen are ready with nets to scoop up those that float on the surface.”With numerous blasts occurring daily on reefs all over the country over a period of several decades,” Greg Wagner, of the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, wrote in a 2004 study, “the overall impact of dynamite fishing on coral reefs in Tanzania has been devastating.” It was European armies during World War I that introduced dynamite fishing as a way to catch a quick, fresh meal, according to marine expert Michel Bariche. Some countries, such as Kenya and Mozambique, have succeeded in shutting it down, but it still goes on in Lebanon, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Myanmar, among others. Tanzania is the only country in Africa where blast fishing still occurs on a large scale, says SmartFish, a fisheries program funded by the European Union. . . (Sourced online 30 December 2015)

Tanzania loves its new anti-corruption president. Why is he shutting down media outlets?
This is an interesting piece by The Washington Post (USA). Extract: Tanzania’s President John Pombe Magufuli strode into office in November promising to reduce corruption, cut wasteful spending and improve public services. These initiatives are welcome in the East African nation, which, while seen as a bastion of political stability in an at-times volatile region, consistently ranks low on human development and high on graft. But Magufuli’s government imposed new restrictions on the media recently, and brought that commitment into question. Magufuli’s popularity ballooned when he cancelled expensive independence-day celebrations in December and instead encouraged citizens to come together and clean the streets. There’ve been media bans in Tanzania before – but many expected better from Magufuli. The first move came on Jan. 15, when Nape Nnauye, Tanzania’s new information minister, announced a permanent ban on the printed weekly Mawio ( a Kiswahili-language newspaper). The government banned Mawio for “inflammatory” reporting. Its publisher and managing editor said the ban shows the government can’t bear criticism. Days later, the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) – the agency that regulates the country’s communications and broadcasting sectors – announced a three-month suspension of six television and 21 radio stations if they failed to pay license fees. Within a day of TCRA’s announcement, 15 of the 20 radio stations and one of the six television stations had paid their required dues. Civil society activists in the country cried foul, saying the suspensions of those that did not pay infringed on the public’s right to information. There’s a widespread feeling that Tanzania’s government often applies rules and regulations selectively, upping enforcement primarily when it feels threatened. . . . There’s some reason to conclude that the government is shutting down broadcasting because it wants to ban criticism. . . Magufuli’s government could be protecting against further erosion of public support for the ruling party, Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM), which has dominated Tanzanian politics since independence in 1961. . . The current Mawio ban smacks of politics. The “inflammatory” articles were about the ongoing stalemate in semi-autonomous Zanzibar, where poll results were nullified after accusations of “irregularities” – including apparent victory for the main opposition party. . . (Sourced online 25 January 2016)

Why CCM should shun racists for the sake of democracy in Zanzibar
This article by Fatma A Karume first appeared in Habari, a journal produced by SVETAN – the Sweden-Tanzania Association. Extract: . . . At the age of 10, my great grandmother, Bi Amani, was kidnapped from her village in Central Africa by slavers and survived the walk across the continent and the dhow journey from Bagamoyo to Zanzibar; my great-great grandfather came as a trader from Kutch Province in India; my great, great, great grandfather sailed into Zanzibar from Muscat with the aid of the ever present monsoon winds, not long after the arrival of Seyyid Said bin Sultan, the Lion of Oman; and further still, my great, great, great, great, great . . . great grandfather sailed into Zanzibar from Persia. I am no different from thousands of ‘Waswahili’. . . [A]nd yet . . . members of the CCM youth league, UVCCM, had the audacity to tell us that we are not welcome in Zanzibar. . . [M]embers of the CCM youth wing carried two placards. Both placards informed the country and the world at large that people of mixed race, who they referred to in a derogatory manner as ‘machotara’, are not welcomed in Zanzibar because we are apparently servants of the Sultan, while, according to their views, Zanzibar is for Africans only. . . Daniel Chongolo, the CCM Acting Head of Publicity and Ideology, had the decency and honour to issue an unreserved apology on behalf of CCM for the discriminatory placards displayed by the CCM youth league. On the front page of the ‘Daily News’ of Thursday, January 14, 2016, the general public was informed that “CCM is working to identify and eventually take appropriate action on people behind the discriminatory poster displayed by one of its members in Zanzibar . . . and Nape Nnauye, the CCM Secretary for Ideology and Publicity, was quoted as stating, “I would like to reiterate that CCM is against all forms of segregation, and this is known all over the world. It is unfortunate that the party is taking the blame for the wrongs committed by just a small number of our supporters.” . . . I suggest that CCM takes a good look at itself and starts cleaning up the racist fringes of the party for everyone’s sake, and, most of all, for the sake of democracy in Zanzibar because, believe it or not, we need to have a strong and viable CCM as a counterbalance to CUF. . . (Issue No 1/2016)

Emails Reveal How Far Clinton Was Willing to Go to Promote Ex-Ambassador’s Interests
Online news outlet Vice News published an analysis of emails released by Hillary Clinton, revealing how she was lobbied hard by former US Ambassador Joe Wilson on behalf of Symbion, an energy firm with interests in Tanzania. Extract: Wilson’s pitch to Clinton, sent on October 6, 2009 touted Symbion as a do-gooder energy company that delivered both profits and much-needed infrastructure development to developing countries. … “[We] have already begun work on a training center in Tanzania, where we will be bidding on all of the upcoming MCC financed power generation and distribution projects,” he writes.

The MCC — or Millennium Challenge Corporation — is a quasi-governmental body run out of the State Department that awards infrastructure grants to developing countries. The Secretary of State serves as the chair of the MCC board. Before Wilson got in touch with Clinton, his company had never won an MCC grant in Africa — but less than a year after his pitch, Symbion won a $47 million energy contract in Tanzania to expand and rehabilitate power distribution networks — the same contract Wilson mentioned in his email. What role, if any, Clinton played in Symbion’s obtaining the MCC contract is not clear. The MCC committee in Tanzania that made the final decision has since been dissolved, its documents are not publicly available, and the contents of Clinton’s responses to Wilson have not been made public. Clinton did attend the groundbreaking event at Symbion’s Dar es Salam plant in June, 2011 alongside Wilson’s boss Symbion CEO Paul Hinks and MCC CEO Daniel Yohannes. She didn’t mention Wilson in her remarks. (Published online, October 2, 2015)

President Magufuli didn’t ban miniskirts but….
Published on This is Africa, an online news outlet: When I saw the [Kenyan] Standard’s report that Tanzania’s president, Dr. John Pombe Magufuli, had banned miniskirts “in bid to curb spread of HIV/AIDS”, I laughed, but wasn’t surprised. Although I hadn’t seen the news in any of Tanzania’s news outlets, and I know I should have doubted that my brilliant, most loved president would make such a statement, a part of me still believed that the ban was true. How could the president who has declared war on corruption, bad governance, and poverty, who has sworn to burst all boils that ail our great country, ban miniskirts? And how could I, a Tanzanian with utmost faith in him, believe such a lie? …

Last month, in my initiation into the Tanzanian civil service, I attended an induction seminar. Among many things taught there, were the civil servant’s rights and responsibilities; the seminar also touched on how to behave and dress. The instructor, a woman in her fifties, an experienced public servant, walked into a room full of new employees. She talked to us in a motherly tone, warning us of the consequences that come with certain behaviour. Then she talked about the acceptable dress code, pulling out the same poster that hangs in our HR’s office door, and every public office. The poster is fair, crossing out all unacceptable ways of dress for both men and women. But when she got to the women’s clothing, her voice became firmer. “Ladies, watch out for the way you dress,” she said, locking eyes with me, “those miniskirts and tight dresses will get you in trouble.” The class laughed.

While the ban story is untrue, it doesn’t mean women in Tanzania can wear miniskirts and visit or work in government offices, nor does it mean they can freely wear them in the streets. It also does not guarantee their safety if they were to walk in the streets dressed in the way they choose to. … To refute the rumours started by the Standard, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement: “There is no doubt that H.E President Magufuli and his government is strong proponents of decent dressing, but the ministry wishes to put the record straight that the president has not issued any ban on miniskirts for any reason.” Who defines decent dressing, and where do we draw the line?
(Published online, February 3, 2016)


by Donovan McGrath

Climate Change
The December issue of New African magazine featured a climate change special report. The following is a summary of the part Tanzania is playing in the harnessing of wind power. Extract: Tanzania’s Singida Wind Farm, set to produce some 100MW, received a major boost from IFC Infradventures in December 2012 after the signing of a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) with Six Telecoms Ltd and Aldwych International to develop the $285 million wind farm. It will be owned and operated by Wind East Africa Ltd… Singida Wind Farm is expected to be Tanzania’s first-ever wind power project and when operational it will be a major complex producing 300MW-600MW of power… (New African, December 2015)

The Ruaha Carnivore Project: Oxford helps to save one of the world’s most significant lion populations

>>Dr Amy Dickman with Barabaig tribesmen. Photo Ruaha Carnivore Project http://ruahacarnivoreproject.com/

Dr Amy Dickman with Barabaig tribesmen. Photo Ruaha Carnivore Project http://ruahacarnivoreproject.com/

Research into the ecology of big cats helps resolve human-carnivore conflict in Tanzania. Extract continues: Southern Tanzania’s Ruaha landscape has at its heart Ruaha National Park, which at 20,000km is the largest in East Africa.. . In the dry season, wildlife – both predators and prey – congregate around the river. When it rains, however, prey move to safer water sources elsewhere, so predators – lions in particular – are drawn onto village lands, seeking food. To the Barabaig, therefore, lions have long been very bad news. For Dr Amy Dickman … this historic tension between humans and wildlife was the greatest obstacle to the work of her Ruaha Carnivore Project (RCP)… ‘According to our data, about 18% of villagers’ cash income was being lost because of carnivore attack [on their cattle, explains Dr Dickman] … Young Barabaig men have traditionally tracked and killed lions… This has resulted in an extremely high rate of lion killings around Ruaha, so addressing it was a top conservation priority. It quickly became clear to Dr Dickman that, if the alarming rate of destruction was to be stopped, winning over the Barabaig would be vital. Reluctant to interact at first, the villagers proved suddenly amenable when Dr Dickman’s group put up a solar panel for electricity … Eventually the two sides were able to meet and discuss how preserving lions could become more materially worthwhile to locals than killing them… Attacks were countered by reinforcing bomas (livestock enclosures), and placing guarding dogs to alert herders when predators approach … (Campaign Report 2014/15) Thank you Roger Searle for this item – Editor

Jane Goodall’s ongoing campaign

At 81, travelling 360 days a year to champion the cause of chimps, Dr Jane Goodall is still lithe of limb and incredibly fresh-faced in her trademark ponytail. She was visiting Kenya recently on the 55th anniversary of her chimpanzee research in Tanzania’s Gombe Stream National Park. Her ground breaking discoveries -including the use of tools by chimpanzees and their social and cultural bonds – revolutionised wildlife research … Dr Goodall is currently promoting her latest book, Untamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall… Although the 50-year study of chimpanzees in Tanzania’s Gombe National Park remains central to her mission, she now speaks on issues such as illegal trade in wildlife, climate change and food security… “It’s ironic that humans are the most intelligent creatures that ever lived on earth are destroying it,” she said. She spoke … of how chimpanzees in the wild have disappeared from four African countries in recent times. Even Gombe, which half a century ago was a vast forest around Lake Victoria, is diminishing as it is being cleared for subsistence farming. These are the reasons why Dr Goodall has turned activist… She is happy though that through the Roots & Shoots programme started in 1991, there is now three times more forest in Gombe today, meaning there’s three times more forest for chimpanzees… (East African 25-31 July 2015)

Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH)
The following is an extract of a recent advertisement in The East African newspaper: The Government of United Republic of Tanzania has set aside funds for the operation of the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH) during the Financial year 2015/2016 … The objective of this assignment is to prepare a Detailed Master/ Development Plan of the Technology Park that among other things will provide a state of-the-art facilities and infrastructures to meet the needs of high-tech companies (e.g. ICT, Life Sciences, Physical Science, etc) and investors… (East African 3-9 October 2015)

Tanzania’s shame: The country’s elephant population has plummeted under the watch of its outgoing President
[S]tatistics showing what a success [President Jakaya Kikwete] has been—2.7m jobs created, 5,000 more schools, households with electricity rising from 10 to 36 per cent, malaria cases down 60 per cent. The one figure they hardly ever mention, however, is the shocking and shameful number of elephants slaughtered on his watch—nearly 100,000. Under Julius Nyerere, the father and first President of postcolonial Tanzania, the country championed elephant conservation … Under Kikwete it has become an elephant slaughterhouse. Since he took office in 2005 … nearly 10,000 of those magnificent creatures shot, speared or poisoned for each year he has been in office. A third of all the elephants killed in Africa are in Tanzania. More than a third of all ivory seized in Asia emanates from Tanzania… Kikwete has no excuses… Tanzania’s problem is a deep, pervasive, endemic corruption that makes it not a victim of China’s lust for ivory but a willing and active accomplice… “Collusion between corrupt officials and criminal enterprises explains the unprecedented scale of poaching and ivory smuggling in the country…” Britain’s Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) reported last year… Kikwete’s administration has responded with words rather than actions—not least to keep the donor dollars flowing… (Prospects July 2015)

Nine-year-old is youngest Briton to climb Kilimanjaro
Zain Ackrim … hiked to the top of Africa’s tallest peak in just over six days … His brother Rehan, 12, and ten other people including his father, Raheel, 49, joined him on the 5,895m climb to raise money for schools in Africa. The previous record for a British junior was held by Jack Rea, from Wetherby, West Yorkshire, who was ten when he reached the top in July last year… (Times 26 August 2015)

Shock cancellation of music festival
Sauti za Busara, which means “Sounds of Wisdom” in Kiswahili, is held every year in February in Stone Town, Zanzibar… “Due to a shortage of funding, Busara Promotions has reluctantly announced their decision to cancel the 2016 edition of Sauti za Busara,” said Busara Promotions in a press statement, adding that it is the first time in 13 years that the international music festival will not be held… “… We set ourselves a target of raising $200,000 before July, which is when we hoped to announce dates for Sauti za Busara 2016. We extended our deadline to August 19 but we were only able to raise $42,000,” said Yusuf Mahmoud, the chief executive officer of Busara promotions, adding, “Selling tickets for Sauti za Busara was never a problem, but these only cover 30 per cent of the festival costs.” … Since 2004, we have not had any financial support from the government of Zanzibar, Tanzania or from the East African Community and support from donors, embassies and commercial sponsors has reached an all-time low,” said Mr Mahmoud. “The Busara Board and management will work hard to ensure the festival resumes in 2017. This could mean moving its location or making it a biennial event.” (East African 29 August-4 September 2015)

Behind the scenes challenges of the Swahili Fashion Week
This article written by Caroline Uliwa featured as the “Cover Story”. The Swahili Fashion Week (SFW) has built a reputation as the prime event on the region’s fashion calendar… At last year’s SWF, I realised I was not doing justice to the fashion story by reporting the obvious – the runway, the models, the fabrics and the organisation of the day’s event while overlooking the fact that key suppliers hardly featured or even got a mention… I’ve taken the time to dig for more information on the background players… There are no leatherworks machine manufacturers or even distributors that I know of in Tanzania. And to import one, a company has to pay three times – for buying the machine, for shipping it here and to the ‘powers that be,’ lamented Jared Jessup, the director of KAULI, a Moshi-based handbag manufacturer… Jessup made this observation: “As far as I can tell, there is excessive export of leather in its bluest [rawest] and cheapest form. I suppose it’s because there really isn’t anywhere else for it to go. A shame too, as some of the tanneries here really can do fantastic work at finishing. So, it would be nice if there was some types of institutional mechanism within the higher tax structure to support the growth of inter-linked industries such a leather production and end products of leather either through VAT relief or by welcoming international distributors of sewing and leatherwork equipment.” … What this tells me is that the government has not been doing its job in co-ordinating this industry, which can be a massive employer and also an export income earner for the country … (East African 31 October-6 November 2015)


by Donovan McGrath

Editor’s Note: This section of Tanzanian Affairs, is very popular with readers, as it includes interesting and often moving stories that readers can relate to. It is reliant on the contributions by the TA readership, and it would be greatly appreciated if you could send in any news items you find concerning Tanzania. We would also like to hear your comments on any items published in TA.

By the river of Msimbazi, a health crisis looms
“I will live here until I die,” says Mussa Kibwana, crouching in an ankle-deep pile of decaying garbage. The main road in his neighbourhood is made entirely of trash – plastic bags, bottles and far more sordid kinds of waste. Kibwana lives in Magomeni, a small ward in the Kinondoni district of Dar es Salaam. The garbage is left over from last year’s rainy season, deposited there by the flooding of the Msimbazi River… “The trees around this area block the dirt in the river, and when the water can’t pass through, it rises and flows into peo­ple’s houses.” The Msimbazi is severely polluted, he explains, and its bacterial levels are as dangerous as the flooding itself. But the pollution is both a gift and a curse to communities by the river – when the flooding starts, their only protection comes in the form of “waste walls.” They use trash found in the Msimbazi to build barriers along the banks which help keep the rising water at bay… [I]t just so happens that the garbage is the cheapest way to fight the floods. The Msimbazi is the longest river in Dar es Salaam … Garbage block­ages not only force the water higher during the flood season … but prevent it from flowing during the dry season as well… [T]he residents of Magomeni aren’t the only ones polluting the river – the Msimbazi is a discharge sight for textile industries, municipal waste stabilisation ponds, and home sewage pipes… (East African, April 11-17, 2015)

Dangote Cement to Begin Production In Tanzania
The sub-Saharan Africa’s leading cement producer, Dangote Cement, said it will begin production of cement in Tanzania’s Mtwara region in August. This is contained in a statement by the Office of Tanzania President, Jakaya Kikwete, in Dar es Salaam. It said the date was announced at a meeting between President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote and Kikwete … The 500 million dollar factory, which has an annual capacity of 3 million tonnes, will double the country’s annual output of cement to 6 million tonnes. However, Dangote faces challenges in accessing coal and natural gas as sources of cheap power to run the factory. Tanzania, East Africa’s second-biggest economy, has made big natural gas discoveries and had coal reserves of up to 5 billion tonnes, but lacks infrastructure to deliver the energy to major factories… The Tanzanian plant will supply the domestic market and export to landlocked countries in the region. It will be competing with other Tanzanian cement producers, including Tanzania Portland Cement, owned by a subsidiary of Germany’s Heidelberg Cement AG. There is also the Tanga Cement, owned by Afrisam Mauritius Investment Holdings Limited; and Mbeya Cement, owned by France’s Lafarge SA. (nigerianobservernews.com – 6 May 2015)

US forces train game rangers in Tanzania
Extract: An elite unit of the US Armed Forces was … in Tanzania to train game rangers and wardens in how to use American war tactics to fight poaching and wildlife trafficking in the country. The first ever exposure of the game rangers and wardens to American combat skills ended on March 27 with a graduation ceremony attended by senior diplomats and Tanzania wildlife conservation officials… The use of the US military in the war against trafficking of animal parts is the latest endeavour by the government to end rampant poaching, which has reached alarming levels in the whole of East Africa… (East African, April 4-10, 2015)

Reports: Nonprofit VETPAW kicked out of Tanzania
By Jon R. Anderson, Staff writer. A small but splashy veterans group with lofty plans to take on African poachers has been kicked out of Tanzania in the wake of what appears to be a self-inflicted publicity blitz run amok. A six-person team with VETPAW – Veterans Empowered to Protect African Wildlife – was ordered to leave the East Africa nation following a burst of controversy. According to VETPAW posts and comments online, the team had been accompanied by an Animal Planet film crew that was producing a show on the group… In a recent press conference surrounded by dozens of fatigue-clad Tanzanian park rang­ers whom VETPAW had come to train, the head of the country’s Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources said he was “saddened” by recent posts that have been circulating widely online. Those have included pictures of “tactical model” Kinessa Johnson – a former Army diesel mechanic now with VETPAW – posing with various weapons and gear. Most, if not all, of those pictures appear to have been taken before her tour to Tanzania but have been posted recently in the group’s social media accounts, spurring a spate of blogger and media interest. “Meet the Badass, Tattooed Army Vet Who’s Hunting Down Poachers in Africa” was typical of many headlines. Overblown media hype of a group that was just there to train, not fight? Maybe, but then some of her actual com­ments surfaced… “We’re going there to do some anti-poaching. Kill some bad guys and do some good,” Johnson says in one YouTube video posted from the gun industry’s annual SHOT Show in Las Vegas in January as VETPAW was preparing to depart for Africa… (militarytimes.com – 7 May 2015)

Rich getting richer, poor getting poorer? Africa’s inequality struggle
Fast cars thunder down tree-lined avenues. Luxury yachts sway in the sparkling marina, while diners in trendy beach-side restaurants clink Champagne glasses, enjoying the gently ocean breeze. This isn’t Miami or the French Riviera, but Luanda, the capital of Angola. The city is a poster-child for the extraordinary economic boom experienced by many African nations since the early 2000s, its crane-filled skyline testament to the breakneck speed of construction seen in recent years. But it’s not just Luanda. From million-dollar mansions dotted along Mozambique’s coastline, to high-end shopping emporiums in Nigeria’s metropolises, oases of influence have sprung across the continent which has been home to seven of the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world… “On the one hand you hear glowing stories of growth and prosperity, shiny new buildings being built, big cars, nice homes, and lots of consumption. But Africa is producing bigger and bigger numbers of poor people, so poor so desperate” says Ali Mufuruki, CEO of Tanzania’s Infotech Investment Group and member of the International Monetary Fund’s Group on sub-Saharan Africa. He adds that the growth statistics measure only those who are active participants in the economy leaving out the marginalized masses who often find themselves in sporadic, informal employment… Reasons for these diametrically different realities are complex, but the main culprit seems to be the nature of the growth pattern which enabled the already wealthy to get richer, without a significant impact on the rest of the population. Rakesh Rajani, a Tanzanian civil society activist, says that a lot of the growth has been driven by industries like mining, oil and gas and, to some extent, tourism – all of which don’t employ a huge number of people… (edition.cnn.com – 12 May 2015)

The albino children locked away to be safe from witch-doctors
The terrible plight of albinos in Tanzania continues (see related article in TA111): It was from neighbours that Scola Joseph first heard of two strange men in the village asking after her children. She knew immediately the moment she dreaded had com. Packing small bags for Elijah, 3, and Christine, 5, she led them away from their home and towards the nearest town, to a government camp where hundreds others like them were living under protection. It is the only way to keep them alive. Buhangija is one of nine such centres in Tanzania. This is where the country’s endangered class of albino children are moved in an attempt to keep them safe from witch-doctors, who claim their body parts, ground up and put in charms, can bring wealth and fortune… Albinism, caused by the lack of pigmentation in their skin, hair and eyes, affects about one in 20,000 people worldwide, but is for unknown reasons more common in sub-Saharan Africa and Tanzania particularly, where it claims one in 1,400. At least 75 children and adults with albinism have been killed here since 2000 and more than 62 others have escaped with severe injuries following the witch-doctors’ attacks. With witch-doctors paying as much as $75,000 for a full set of body parts … [S]ome of those implicated in the killings are members of the victims’ own families. The UN warned recently of a marked increase in attacks on albi­nos, which it said were at greater risk with the approach of national and local elections in October… January Makamba, a candidate vying to take over from President Jakaya Kikwete, said a better solution had to be found for people with albinism to live safely in Tanzania. “It’s an embarrassment to this country that we have to keep them in camps like this,” he said… (Sunday Telegraph, 5 July 2015)

Tanzanian low-cost water filter wins innovation prize
A water filter which absorbs anything from copper and fluoride to bacteria, viruses and pesticides has won a prestigious African innovation prize. Its inventor, Tanzanian chemical engineer Askwar Hilonga, uses nanotechnology and sand to clean water. He told the BBC his invention should help the 70% of households in Tanzania that do not have clean drinking water. The prize, worth £25,000 ($38,348), was the first of its kind from the UK’s Royal Academy of Engineering. Head Judge Malcolm Brinded said, “His innovation could change the lives of many Africans, and people all over the world.” The sand-based water filter that cleans contaminated drinking water using nanotechnology has already been trademarked. “I put water through sand to trap debris and bacteria,” Mr Hilonga told the BBC’s Newsday programme about the filter. “But sand cannot remove contaminants like fluoride and other heavy metals so I put them through nano materials to remove chemical contaminants.” … “For people who cannot afford water filters, we have established water stations where people come and buy water at a very very low, affordable price,” he added… (bbc.co.uk – 2 June 2015)

Cholera hits refugees in Tanzania
About 3,000 refugees fleeing political turmoil in Burundi have been infected in a cholera epidemic in Tanzania … Up to 400 new cases of the deadly disease were emerging every day … mainly in Tanzania’s Kagunga peninsula where tens of thousands of Burundians have taken refuge … ([London] Guardian, 23 May 2015)

Inside the elephants’ graveyard of Tanzania
Herd numbers face wipeout at the hands of poachers, but little is done to halt the slaughter. Extract continues: As Howard Frederick flew in a Cessna low over the scrubland of Tanzania’s Selous game reserve, it was the complete absence of elephants rather than the piles of scattered bones he saw that chilled him the most… Tanzania had lost two-thirds of its once mighty elephant population in just four years as demand from China for ivory tusks sent a highly organised army of rifle and chainsaw-wielding criminals into its game reserves… Having let the way in calling for a ban on elephant ivory exports in the Eighties, Tanzania has grown complacent about safeguarding its bountiful wildlife… Run by big criminal syndicates based in Dar es Salaam, the poachers worked in “highly mechanised teams”, according to Mr Frederick. “You would have lead teams who would go out and scout an area, then kill teams come in, ambush and kill whole groups,” he said. “They move on to the next area while the butchering team comes in and chops all the tusks, and then the transport team comes in. “It’s progressed from being very casual poaching to teams of highly organised individuals.” Tanzania’s herds … in 1976 … had 316,000 elephants, the largest population on the planet… In Selous and its surrounding ecosystem, the elephant population was the lowest since counts began, down from 109,000 in 1976 to 13,084. The Tanzanian government said it would beef up protection and accepted offers of help, including one from the Americans who sent marines to train its rangers… (Sunday Telegraph, 19 July 2015)

Radio: Twiddle that dial
With half the adult population in Tanzania tuning in to local radio, community stations have an influence way bigger than their budgets – and have even been known to save lives. Extract continues: Baloha FM had only been on air for five weeks when a deadly storm struck the village of Mwakata in north-west Tanzania, killing more than 40 people and destroying hundreds of homes. The radio station’s founder, Samada Maduhu, found himself catapulted into the emergency relief effort in early March of this year: “The district commissioner, MPs, representatives of NGOs [non-governmental organisations], UN agen­cies and officials from ministries were here broadcasting information to the victims,” he recalls. In the following days, people stranded by the torrential rains were found because they were able to call in to the radio. Such commu­nity engagement often lies behind the impulse to create a local radio station. Micheweni FM, situated in the remote rural area on the Zanzibar Archipelago island of Pemba, began in reaction to local conservative voices preventing young girls from attending school. “You only need to educate one girl and she can change the whole world,” says Ali Massoudi Kombo, manager of the station, which is the only media in the district of more than 130,000 people. Micheweni FM only began broadcasting in 2010, yet girls now outnumber boys by two to one in classrooms, according to the local government’s district plan­ning officer, Hamadi Massoudi… (Africa Report, June 2015)

How a displaced Polish family found itself as refugees in Tanzania
(See related article in TA108) As the world marks World Refugee Day on June 20, millions of people around the world today are stateless or are refugees. This story traces the journey of one Polish family uprooted from their home during the Second World War who found themselves stateless refugees in Africa in the 1940s. Extract continues: The letters are written in ink in a tight, classic script… Some of the earlier ones are datelined Teheran or Morogoro, but most were written from Tengeru and address to “Our dearest Papa.” … And they are written in Polish… The writer of this momentous news was the almost 13-year-old Stanislaus Odolski, who lived, along with 5,000 other Poles, at Tengeru, northern Tanganyika, one of the first refugee camps in Africa, from 1944 to 1948… [F]ew East Africans ever expected to see large groups of Polish people deposited in their midst as refugees… [The wife of Anton Odolski – “Dearest Papa”, his] daughter and son Stan were among the 37,272 Polish – but stateless – civilians, including 13,948 children, who were evacuated from the Soviet Union and travelled overland to Teheran and then on to various parts of the world under British influence for resettlement since they could not return to Poland. The Odolski family landed in Nairobi; some of the Polish refugees went to Masindi in Uganda. They went to Tengeru via Morogoro… (East African, June 20-26, 2015)


by Donovan McGrath
Editor’s Note: This section of Tanzanian Affairs, is very popular with readers, as it includes interesting and often moving stories that readers can relate to. It is reliant on the contributions by the TA readership, and it would be greatly appreciated if you could send in any news items you find concerning Tanzania. We would also like to hear your comments on any items published in TA.

The South China Post (Hong Kong) continues its news on the illegal ivory trade in East Africa (see TA107 and TA110 ). Many thanks to Ronald Blanche for these latest articles of interest – Editor

For man and beast
The main focus of this feature, written by Sarah Lazarus, is Richard Leakey’s involvement in wildlife conservation in Kenya, which is to be depicted in the forthcoming blockbuster movie Africa by Angelina Jolie. However, the following extract is edited to focus on Chinese interest in ivory.

[The movie] Africa is loosely based on Wildlife Wars, Leakey’s memoir of the late 1980s and early 90s, when he successfully combated ivory poaching in Kenya… “The threat to elephants is greater than it’s ever been,” says Leakey. “It’s partly because the human population in Kenya has increased and people need to make a livelihood, but particularly because the economies of Asian countries, especially China, has grown exponentially. Ivory is a part of Chinese culture and history — it’s a commodity that indicates a certain status.

If we’re serious about saving a species as important and symbolic as the elephant, then we’ve got to bite the bullet and say, ‘We don’t need ivory.’ It’s complete and utter nonsense to say, ‘We need it.’ What modern society needs is a healthy environment across the planet, and that includes elephants.” It is estimated that 33,000 African elephants are killed for their ivory every year… Last year a tipping point was reached; more elephants are now being killed than are being born. With only 350,000 left in the wild, they could be driven to extinctions within a decade. (South China Sunday Morning Post 1 March 2015)

China urged to end trade in ivory
British naturalist David Attenborough [writes Bryan Harris] has joined some 70 high-profile figures, including the comedian Ricky Gervais and the conservationist Richard Leakey, to urge China to help end the ivory trade. They have signed an open letter to President Xi Jinping, asking him to outlaw the trade and educate people about the true deadly cost of ivory. “The elephants of Africa are dying in their tens of thousands every year to provide ivory for misguided consumers in China and elsewhere. Without your help, they will continue to perish and be pushed towards extinction.” The signatories include 39 members of the British parliament… (South China Sunday Morning Post 1 March 2015 – Hong Kong)

E-commerce sites ‘advertising ivory sale’
China’s e-commerce websites are carrying thousands of adverts for illegal wildlife products, including ivory, rhino horn and tiger bone. (South China Morning Post 4 March 2015)

The elephant in the room
Every year, thousands of elephants are killed for their tusks in Tanzania, and the trade of their ivory is sophisticated, global and hugely lucrative. In March 2013, after China’s President Xi Jinping toured Tanzania on a state visit, he and his fellow officials left the country with plenty of good will, a pile of signed cooperation deals, and some warm memories. But according to allegations in an investigation conducted by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), the Chinese delegation also left with a large amount of illegal ivory… while President Xi was mingling with Tanzania’s elite, officials reportedly took advantage of the reduced checks for diplomatic visits to take bags full of ivory back to China…… [I]n some Chinese traditions, ivory as well as many other animal parts are thought to have medicinal qualities…. these beliefs are often compounded with ignorance about how the items are actually harvested. The Chinese word for ivory literally translates as “elephant teeth” and there is a widespread misperception that ivory can be taken without killing the animal… (New African January 2015 – UK)

The African Wildlife Foundation has contracted a Tanzanian-based group to train sniffer dogs and handlers for canine detection units at ports and border crossings. An aerial census in 2013 found that elephant numbers had declined to just over 13,000 from over 39,000 in 2009. Despite national efforts by Kenya and Tanzania, poaching is still ram­pant … (East African)

Families seek safe havens for albino children
Kizito Makoye writes: … Buhangija centre in Shinyanga, which shelters children with special needs, said the number of albino children seeking protection had almost doubled to 218 from 115 Witch doctors will pay as much as $75,000 for a full set of body parts from an albino, according to a Red Cross report.

Beatrice Lema, 16, an albino girl whose parents brought her to the Buhangija centre … from the neighbouring Simiyu region, said she feels much safer there than at home. “I don’t want to die, I want to stay safe. I have a lot of friends to play with and I believe no one will come to hurt me here,” There is growing outrage over the lack of protection for albinos —only five successful prosecutions to date … (Thomson Reuters Foundation trust.org 25 February 2015)

Warship that inspired ‘African Queen’ still going at 100
Once a feared gunship defending an African lake for Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, the legendary vessel — which inspired the 1951 classic “The African Queen” — has been sunk and refloated twice, renamed and repurposed as a ferry. The MV Liemba began its life in a shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, in 1913 where it was named the Graf von Götzen after German East Africa’s former governor… As it marks 100 years of service, the MV Liemba [see TA98], originally a symbol of colonial power, is now an essential lifeline for the people who live along the lakeshore…

The tale of the warship and the battle for Lake Tanganyika inspired British novelist C.S. Forester to write his 1935 novel “The African Queen”, later adapted by Hollywood in the movie of the same name starring Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn… The MV Liemba may not stay afloat much longer without a complete overhaul… But it may be cheaper to simply replace it with a new ferry, ending a century of fascinating history… (news@yahoo.com 19 February 2015)

Cardiff hotel murder suspect found
A man suspected of murdering a woman in a Cardiff hotel room on New Year’s Eve has been arrested by police in Tanzania. Sammy Almahri, 44, from New York, was wanted following the discovery of 28-year-old Nadine Aburas’s body at the Future Inn, Cardiff Bay. An international search was launched and officers from South Wales Police major crime unit were sent to Tanzania to work with local police. They were able to trace Almahri’s movements over hundreds of kilometers across the country.” Extradition proceedings will now begin… (bbc.com 20 January 2015)

Illegal logging threatens tree species with extinction
Over 70% of wood harvested in forests is unaccounted for, causing huge losses of government revenue. Illegal loggers are slipping into forests at night and transferring their natural wealth to highly organised syndicates, seemingly with impunity… Indigenous tree species such as mninga and mpodo are facing local extinction due to high demand for their wood in the construction and furniture industries. (theguardian.com 14 January 2015)

TPDF operating Seabird Seeker aircraft
Writes Gareth Jennings and Lindsay Peacock. The Tanzanian People’s Defence Force (TPDF) Air Wing has received into service the Seabird SB7L-360 Seeker surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft. A video of local musicians singing in front of items of Tanzanian military hardware shows a Seeker aircraft with the serial number JW-9704. This suggests that at least four such aircraft may have been received.

Prior to this, Tanzania was not believed to have such reconnaissance aircraft, the TPDF inventory being made up almost entirely of Chinese-built fighter jets, trainers and transport aircraft. (janes.com 7 January) Built by Seabird Australia and Seabird Jordan, the Seeker is a small single-engine aircraft with a crew of two, a cruising speed of 200 mph and a range of 500 miles.

Taarab music school in Zanzibar
In Zanzibar, taarab music is finding new patrons and audiences. Musician Mohammed Issa Matona has been the driving force in the music’s continued popularity… Taarab was born from a rich mosaic of Indian Ocean influences… In 2002, the desire to preserve this music led Matona and violinist Hildegard Kiel to create the Dhow Countries Music Academy, Zanzibar’s first music school… In just over a decade, more than a thousand students have passed through the school’s doors… (Africa Report April 2015)

Pay-as-you-go Solar

Mpower operative with solar cell

Mpower operative with solar cell

Despite their relative prosper­ity, until 2013 the Nosim Noah family had no electricity. “We waited 10 years for them to turn the power on – 10 years and nothing,” says Noah. Then, one afternoon, the Noahs had an unexpected knock on the door. An agent from a new electrical company M-POWER said that, for a sign-up fee of only $6 he could install a fully functioning solar system in their house – enough to power several LED lights and a radio. The payoff was immediate. While Noah’s wife used to spend $18 a month on kerosene, she now pays a monthly average of $11 for her solar lighting, and she no longer has to go into town to charge her cellphone…

The idea is not to electrify every appliance in a household. Instead, it is to install a small solar panel not much bigger than an iPad to power a few lights, a cellphone charger, and other basic necessities that can still significantly alter people’s lives. Going smaller better fits the budgets of the rural poor. People use the money they normally would spend on kerosene to finance their solar systems, allowing them to pay in small, affordable instalments and not rely on government help. (Christian Science Monitor Weekly 26 January – photo from article)


by Donovan McGrath

Why Silence is golden for LGBT people in Zanzibar
by columnist Bryan Weiner.
On the north side of Stone Town the big all-night disco at Bwawani Hotel is getting started with their Tuesday gay night. On the other side of town, local women gather at a small barber shop to get their hair and henna done by the gay stylists. According to some accounts, same-sex relationships in this predominantly Muslim society are actually quite common, particularly as the male/female relations are so tightly con­trolled by culture and religion. I have been a gay mzungu (white person) living in Zanzibar for six months and have attempted to find the sort of gay community that exists here. It has been difficult. The gay commu­nity is hidden and secretive, but it is thriving in its own manner.
Tanzania is, of course, one of the 76 countries that penalize homosexual­ity. The penal code gives a minimum 30 years and a maximum life in prison for homosexuality, one of the harshest in the world. But no one has been convicted for homosexuality and the press only gives offhand mention to the topic. Silence on the issue isn’t a coincidence, but has been very strategically planned. Both the anti-gay voices and the LGBT voices are being silenced as Tanzania simply doesn’t want to address the issue, it is tied to many other issues at play in society. Historically, colonialists and missionaries brought the strict anti-homosexuality laws that are currently in place in many African countries, criminalizing many authentic indigenous homosexual practices. Now in 2014, these laws are brought up as indigenous and homosexuality is decried as a practice from the West. (RGOD2 online 29 August 2014)

21m children in rubella vaccination campaign
The symptoms of rubella can seem almost benign: mild, flu-like dis­comfort and a rash. But it can cause children to be born deaf and blind if their mothers catch the disease during pregnancy. And if the Ebola outbreak has taught the world anything it is perhaps that ignoring basic healthcare … can have devastating consequences. That is why a campaign to vaccinate 21 million children against measles and rubella in Tanzania is so important. (The Guardian – online 27 October 2014)

Campaigning for a child marriage-free Tanzania
A drive to end child marriage is underway in Tanzania. At the age of 16, Mahija Mwita was forced into marriage to a man 12 years older than her, so that her parents could get a bride price to help them solve the family’s problems. Mwita’s story mirrors the plight of hundreds of girls who are forced into early adulthood. The “Child Marriage-Free Zone” campaign was initiated by the Ministry of Community Development. Speaking in Dar at the launch of the campaign the international chil­dren’s rights advocate Graca Machel said that Tanzania’s ongoing constitutional review was an opportunity to change laws that facilitate gender-based violence. Wiltrudius Lwabutaza, a human rights lawyer, said the Law of Marriage Act of 1971, which sets the minimum age of marriage at 15 for girls, contradicts the Sexual Offences Act of 1998 which defines rape as non-consensual sex with a girl who is under 18 years.
(DW – online 1 September 2014)

Police officers fired for a kiss
When is it OK to kiss a colleague? Two Tanzanian police officers, whose kiss was widely shared on social media, have both have lost their jobs. The image was uploaded to the internet by a third officer, and drawn to the atten­tion of the Kagera police authori­ties. News of the punishment has surprised many on social media. Masoud George, a lawyer at the Tanzania Legal and Human Rights Centre, says that severe as the punishment seems, the decision is unlikely to be illegal. (BBC News Trending – online 14 October 2014)

Google gives a glimpse of Jane Goodall’s chimpanzees
Chimpanzees and their remote forest home in Tanzania have joined camels in the Abu Dhabi desert on the list of things you can see on Google Streetview. A camera team spent nine days mapping Gombe national park, where Jane Goodall made her ground-breaking discovery over 50 years ago of chimps not just using but making tools. The Google images show chimps riding on their mother’s back and the spectacular view from ‘the peak’ – reportedly Goodall’s favourite spot in the park, which sits next to Lake Tanganyika.
(Guardian online 23 October)

Old postcards tell history of East Africa

One of the fascinating postcards (Joel Bertrand oldeastafricapostcards.com)

One of the fascinating postcards (Joel Bertrand oldeastafricapostcards.com)

One of the fascinating postcards (Joel Bertrand oldeastafricapostcards.com)
A website set up by Joel Bertrand entitled oldeastafricapostcards.com, uses postcards from a century ago to reveal the history of the region’s places and people. The visual record shows the fast changing face of East Africa, but one place that seems to have registered little change is Zanzibar. Many of the Zanzibar postcards could as well have been taken from today’s scenes. When Bertrand set out to collect the postcards several years ago, he searched all over the world. He got all of them from Europe, and did not find a single one in Africa. However, this is not surprising since they were created and sent “home” by Europeans. (East African 20-26 September)

Putin’s African hunter
Giles Whittell tells the story of Sergey Yastrzhembsky. Like many senior Russian personnel, Sergey wanted to give up his work with President Putin and escape from Russia – which can be difficult and even dangerous. He tried several times to get Putin’s permission to leave and eventually the President agreed. He had prepared himself and learnt to become an African hunter; his first hunt was in Tanzania’s Selous Game Reserve in 1997. He is also a top photographer, making films about Africa’s endangered tribes including the Maasai. He now stays strictly out of politics. (The Times 30 October)

Raid at Majira newsroom
Reporters of Majira newspapers are scared of doing investigative stories after unknown people invaded its newsroom and made away with com­puters and documents with crucial and sensitive editorial information. Sources within the newspaper connect the incident to its publication of an investigation into drug peddling and the captivity of Tanzanian youths in private homes in Pakistan. (Media Watch July-August)

Happy anniversary to The Citizen
Editor Joachim Buwembo recalls with pride the launching of The Citizen newspaper in Tanzania exactly 10 years ago. President Mkapa wrote a welcome message that was published on page one of the maiden issue. The following year, Mkapa handed over to President Kikwete. And next year, President Kikwete will hand over to his successor. So in just 11 years of operation, The Citizen will have covered three sitting presidents. (East African 6-12 September)

Chinese Company to Build New Satellite City
China Railway /Jianchang Engineering Company Ltd. will construct a $1 billion satellite city and a $500 million financial district in Tanzania. Under the accord signed with Tanzania’s National Housing Corporation, Salama Creek Satellite City will be built in Uvumba, a district on the outskirts of Dar. The new financial services district will be in the suburb of Upanga. (Bloomberg Businessweek online 24 October)

A Fish in the Sand
The film Samaki Mchangani [A Fish in the Sand] is scheduled to be screened at Mlimani City. Samaki Mchangani is the second short film by Kijiweni Productions, a Tanzanian-owned film company run by director and young filmmaker Amil Shivji, a Tanzanian of Indian ancestry and son of Issa Shivji, a constitutional law lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam. (East African 13-19 September)

The Scottish Referendum and Tanzania by Columnist Elsie Eyakuze
The referendum on Scottish independence has had a ripple effect, raising the question of self-determination in other societies around the world that yearn for self-determination. Here in East Africa, there is something rather comfortingly familiar about the Scottish independence quest. In fact, just raising the topic naturally leads to a discussion about the beautiful islands of Zanzibar that may or may not be voluntary parts of the Union of Tanzania.

Tanzania came very close to managing the process of making a new constitution. Early on, it was bogged down by fundamental concerns about how many governments Tanzania should have if it was going to continue being a Union. Over the many decades of our coming together, rather than maturing into a complacent satisfaction with each other the Mainland and Zanzibar have developed a chronic condition of per­petual debate about what is fair of not in our agreement. It is taboo to even talk about the Zanzibari independence movement if you happen to be a Mainlander.

Tanzania has always prided itself – and with good reason – for flying the flag of the pan-African dream. The interesting contradiction is that we are also reluctant to join politically with any of our neighbours. One of the most compelling factors of the Independence movement in the sixties was its ability to rally disparate peoples under the banner of freedom. And isn’t it interesting that this very same notion of freedom can be used to tear apart existing territories to give rise to new ones based on identities that more often than not pre-date our countries? Generation Independence may have rewritten our histories to suit its nation-building agenda, but somehow tribalism refuses to die. Maybe that is because our tribes are who we really are. The Scots seem to be suggesting so… (East African 20-26 September)