Archive for Tz in International Media


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

Dr Amy Dickman with Barabaig tribesmen. Photo Ruaha Carnivore Project

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. ( – 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… ( – 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… ( – 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… ( – 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 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… ( 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… ( 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. ( 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. ( 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

One of the fascinating postcards (Joel Bertrand

One of the fascinating postcards (Joel Bertrand
A website set up by Joel Bertrand entitled, 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)



by Donovan McGrath

Microwave link with Zanzibar upgraded
‘Tanzania has upgraded the microwave link connecting Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar, a move expected to double the capacity of voice and improve data quality… The $1.6m project, agreed in 2012 between Japan and Tanzania, is in line with the government’s Vision 2025 to enhance use of communication as a tool for sustainable development.’

Mafikizolo live in Dar
‘In East Africa, among songs that have made Mafikizolo, the Afro-pop duo from South Africa, a household name, are Ndihamba Nawe and Emlanjeni. … In Dar es Salaam, Khona [from the duo’s latest album, Reunited] continues to top music charts. Not surprisingly, Mafikizolo’s recent concert at Mlimani City Hall was jam-packed… Unfortunately, the sound system was poor. The bass notes were so loud that the guy on trumpet didn’t get to perform… But judging from the reception Mafikizolo got, it seems the crowd chose to ignore the poor sound qual­ity…’ (East African 19-25 April)

Horror behind the smiles of Maasai girls

FGM campaigner Elizabeth Lesitey - photo from the Standard

FGM campaigner Elizabeth Lesitey – photo from the Standard

‘Almost all Maasai girls face the threat of female genital mutilation … Charity workers are trying to stamp out the procedure among the Maasai in Tanzania … They want to change the mistaken belief that it only happens to Muslim girls … 70% of Maasai girls are cut, having their clitoris and other external genitalia removed with a razor blade, compared with 18% in Tanzania as a whole – despite it being illegal in the country since 2007. The story of Ngaiseri Muteko shows change is happening. The elderly Maasai woman can’t remember when she began cutting girls… Until earlier this year, neighbours would bring their daughters and pay her 10,000 Tanzanian shillings (£3.50) for each child she cut… With someone helping to force the girls on to the ground, she would use a small razor blade then pour milk on the wound, followed by ash from the fire in her hut, which she said has healing properties. Girls spend three months in the hut recovering. But in February Ngaiseri threw away her razor blade and declared she would never use it again. The change came just nine months after meeting Elizabeth Lesitey, a 29-year-old worker for the charity World Vision. Elizabeth, herself a Maasai and a mother of three, has targeted 62 cutters and so far managed to persuade 33 to give up… Ngaiseri earned a good living from the practice, so Elizabeth gave her three goats and eight chickens, funded by World Vision, to provide an income. Many of the girls Ngaiseri cut were suffering from what the Maasai call “lawalawa”, a urinary tract infection caused by unhygienic conditions. For years Ngaiseri and oth­ers believed that the only cure for little girls was to cut off their external genitalia. But Elizabeth busted this myth by taking a girl suffering from “lawalawa” to hospital, where she was cured by doctors using medica­tion. This sent shockwaves through the community. On International Women’s Day in February, alongside 29 other cutters, Ngaiseri made a declaration in front of her community that she would never cut another girl…’ (London Evening Standard 18 July)

WHO: Aids now the number one killer of adolescents in Africa
‘According to the World Health Organisation report Health for the World’s Adolescents, East Africa is one of the regions where the disease kills more youths than road accidents, the number one global killer of 10-19 year-olds. On the global level, HIV is the second most com­mon cause of death among adolescents. Other leading causes of death are suicide, lower respiratory infections and interpersonal violence. According to the UN Programme on HIV/Aids (UNAids), in 2012, Tanzania had 230,000 children under 14 living with HIV, Uganda had 190,000, Kenya 200,000, Rwanda 27,000 and Burundi 17,000.’ (East African 31 May – 6 June)

Tanzanian artist’s journey through life
‘Robino Ntila has been painting since 1975. Born in 1954, he first went to Dar es Salaam in 1968. Ntila is a veteran of Nyumba ya Sanaa, an artist’s association founded in Tanzania by Sister Jean Pruitt from the USA. “Before I joined Nyumba ya Sanaa I was enthusiastic about art… In 1971, I used paints for the first time. I had just completed secondary school. I spend time with artists. There was a Congolese artist who was the first to commercially paint the savannah landscape with Mt Kilimanjaro in the background. I was also introduced to some batik techniques called ‘moderne’”… Ntila uses subtle techniques for his work, which range from realist to abstract, mixing cubism with aspects of African silhouettes… He worked at Nyumba ya Sanaa for 30 years.’ (East African 7-13 June)

New taxman appointed
‘Rished Bade has been appointed the new Commissioner General at the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), replacing Harry Kitilya, who retired last December. Prior to his new appointment, Bade was deputy commissioner general. Top priority for the new taxman will be to cut down on revenue leakages and widen the tax net to support the government’s growing spending needs.’ (Citizen and others)

Witch doctors arrested over albino killing
‘Albinos in Tanzania have become targets for body-snatchers seeking to sell them to witch doctors. Two witch doctors have been arrested after a woman with albinism was hacked to death, police say. Albinos have suffered widespread persecution in Tanzania, where witch doctors say magic potions made with albino body parts can bring good luck. Such killings have declined in recent years, but this latest attack has prompted a human rights group to call for all witch doctors to be banned. …the group, Under the Same Sun said the current regulation of witch doctors was clearly not working. The attack occurred in a village in Simiyu region (formerly part of Shinyanga) – a remote rural area where there have been killings of albinos before … According to Under the Same Sun, the last killing of an albino in Tanzania was in February 2013. The government has been trying to address the problem, and an albino MP was appointed several years ago.’ (BBC News Africa 14 May)

Mo-Cola: Tanzania’s new soft drinks war targets poor consumers
‘Cash-conscious consumers in Tanzania will soon have a new product to spend their hard-earned money on: Mo Cola. The fizzy drink is the latest home-grown offering to go into battle with established market leader Coca-Cola, which has been bottling its secret recipe in Tanzania for more than 60 years. That the market for such cut-price drinks is growing in Tanzania is an illustration of the financial realities faced by the country’s consumer class. Despite impressive 7% a year GDP growth, the number of poor people in Tanzania has not fallen in the past 15 years.
‘Mo Cola is named after Mohammed Dewji, chief executive of MeTL [see TA 108], a family conglomerate he says turned over $1bn last year, serving the needs of Tanzania’s largely poor population with everything from sugar and spaghetti to fuel and pens. Although Dewji is keeping the launch price of Mo Cola under wraps, it is likely to undercut Coca-Cola… It follows another local family corporation, Bakhresa Group, which brought out the Azam Cola in 2011 following a $30m invest­ment. Bakhresa estimates it has 15% of Tanzania’s soft drinks market… Entrepreneurs have long understood that, however little a family has, food and clothes will always be a priority. Developing new drinks ranges is part of an effort to capture a little bit more from the country’s poorer consumers. “There is money to spend even though people have limited value in their pocket,” said Dewji, who has put $48m into developing his drinks line – enough for 36m crates a year…’ (Financial Times online 18 April)

Zanzibar bombing leaves one dead
‘One person was killed and several others were wounded in a bomb attack near a mosque on Tanzania’s Ocean Island of Zanzibar … Police said the bomb went off in the commercial district of Stone Town … The attack coincided with the opening of the Zanzibar International Film Festival, which draws international visitors … There was no immediate claim for responsibility. Zanzibar has been the scene of sectarian and political tensions in recent years, although the island has been generally quiet for several months… There have also been wider tensions surrounding this year’s 50th anniversary of Zanzibar’s union with mainland Tanzania, with some opposition parties wanting to break ties and return to independence. The unrest had sparked fears of a tourist exodus…’ (Telegraph online 14 June)



by Donovan McGrath

Where Tanzania Taps Its Feet

Jahazi Modern Taarab. Photo John Kitime

Jahazi Modern Taarab. Photo John Kitime

The focus of this article by Rachel B. Doyle is on the vibrant live music scene in Dar es Salaam. This extract is on the venues, artists and music styles:
The concrete lot next to the Hotel Travertine in downtown Dar es Salaam was full of swaying women in elaborate floor-length gowns trimmed with sequins… Jahazi Modern Taarab were performing a spirited song about love gone wrong, featuring a male-female call-and-response… For certain songs, the crowd rushed to the dance floor en masse. Stop by the hotel on any Sunday and you’ll find the band in full swing … part of a boisterous and exciting music scene that rivals that of any in Eastern Africa… “Tanzanians, they love music. I think they want us to play every day so they can come,” said Jackie Kazimoto, lead singer of Jagwa Music, one of the city’s most thrilling live acts.

Dar’s soundscape is a riot of genres, from modern taarab, which mixes a traditional Swahili sung-poetry style with electronic and Arab-influenced rhythms, to mchiriku, the raw, urban sound that Jagwa Music plays, which is generally found in neighbourhood block parties. You can also dance to classic rumba or bongo flava, the local brand of hip-hop… At the open-air venue Mango Garden, you can enjoy a tasty chicken pilau dish while dancers in matching outfits stomp to catchy Congolese-style rhythms of African Stars Band, whose songs blare from radios across the city…

Leo Mkanyia, a 32-year-old Dar musician, attributes this diversity to the country itself. “We have 125 tribes, and all of them have different tunes, different melodies, different music and traditional music instruments,” he said. I met Leo at Kibo Bar at the Serena Hotel, where he was per­forming for guests as the leader of a five-piece band. “People here are proud of their music. They love their music, and support it.” (New York Times – online 18 March)

Port of Call
Alexander Wooley highlights major problems with goods passing through Dar es Salaam harbour.
Extract: Dar es Salaam had its first boom in 1887 when the German East Africa Company set up operations there, turning the city into the main shipping portal into German East Africa. After World War I, Dar came under British rule and became a provincial trading post… The port has remained important regionally, but has been well off the major shipping routes between Asia and Europe. Now the Tanzanian government wants to change that. It hopes that with a few improvements it can turn Dar into a major regional trade hub, catapulting Tanzania into the global ranks of middle-income countries. Those plans rest on Dar becoming an increasingly important port for six neighbouring countries: Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zambia.

But to get there, Dar has some work to do. The port clears $15 billion of goods each year, but it is woefully inefficient. It is not among the hun­dred busiest ports in the world; Durban, which ranks 42nd in container traffic, is six times busier than Dar. Goods – sometimes entire containers – disappear. Ships sway idly at anchor, gathering barnacles while they wait ten days, on average, before being able to berth in the port and then ten more days to unload cargo and clear it through customs. With rental rates for large merchant ships typically ranging from $10,000 to $20,000 per day, the delays add tens of thousands of dollars to shippers’ costs. The standard international waiting time is two days. In 2012, container vessels at Mombasa, Dar’s only real rival in East Africa, took less than a day to berth ships and three to four days to unload, clear, and transport their cargo. And whereas the Kenyan port charges flat rates, Dar’s fees are based on the value of the merchandise, which partially accounts for why Tanzania’s dock fees are 74 percent higher than Kenya’s.

Last year, a World Bank report estimated that if Dar became as efficient as Mombasa, it would boost the Tanzanian economy by $1.8 billion per year, equivalent to seven percent of GDP. The report noted that the port’s inefficiency, coupled with poor roads and “administrative obstacles” – tariffs, corruption, bureaucracy, and technology gaps – mean that it is nearly two and a half times more expensive to import food from Vietnam to Tanzania than from Germany. Dar’s problems are not just Tanzania’s. Five or six African countries that it serves are landlocked (the DRC has a port on the Congo River at Matadi)… From a distance, Tanzania, with its long coastline and natural harbour at Dar es Salaam, appears primed to avoid these traps. But the view from the ground is different. The country is open to global trade but not always accommodating; goods offloaded after a long stay in Dar must then venture the poor roads that meander across the country to reach their final destination. (Foreign Affairs – online 5 February)

$523m Dar port deal takes a new twist
Extract: ‘Tanzania has cancelled a $523 million tender for the expan­sion of the Dar es Salaam port, arguing that the Chinese contractor had overpriced the project. The government d instead chose Impala Africa, a Congolese firm, in a deal that adds a fresh twist to the planned expan­sion of the port’s berths 13 and 14. Some analysts have questioned how the company [Impala Africa] was chosen to handle such a big project… Transport Minister Harrison Mwakyembe said that the earlier estimates by the Chinese firm, which put the cost well over $500 million, were much higher than what Kenya spent to expand the port in Mombasa…’
(East African 4-10 January)

The 10 Most Powerful Men in Africa 2014

Two Tanzanians are on the Forbes 2014 list: January Makamba and Mohammed Dewji.

Extract: Leonard Ravenhill once wrote “the opportunity of a lifetime must be seized within the lifetime of the opportunity,” and some of the business moguls and entrepreneurs, emerging political leaders, rising corporate titans from Africa are seizing the opportunity of turning the continent around… Our list is distinctive in that it identifies African men who are innovative, courageous, daring and often disruptive in their fields, often times without much fanfare…

January Makamba

January Makamba

January Makamba… is one of Tanzania’s rising stars in government. He is currently the Deputy Minister of Communication, Science and Technology and is rumoured to run for President in 2015. Makamba is a Member of Parliament for Bumbuli constituency. Before running for the Bumbuli seat, Makamba was aide to Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete for five years. Named Young Global Leader class of 2013 by the World Economic Forum, Makamba comes from a political family; his father, Yusuf Makamba
was Secretary General of the ruling CCM party…

Mohammed Dewji

Mohammed Dewji

Mohammed Dewji… is the Group Chief Executive Officer of Mohammed Enterprises Tanzania Limited (MeTL) and at 39 is the youngest member of the Forbes’ Africa’s 50 Richest list with an estimated net worth of US $500 million. The MeTL Group began as a family business, a small trading company which Mohammed transformed into one of the largest industrial conglomerates in East Africa, with interests ranging from real estate, agriculture, finance, distribution and manufacturing. The company employs more than 24,000 people across Tanzania and according to Dewji, generates annual revenues of US $1.3 billion. Dewji has been a Member of Parliament since 2005. (Forbes – online 31 January)

Fancy a cheeky Tanzanian red? Three Tanzanian wines making a splash
This article mentions African wines beyond the well-known South African Capes.
Extract: Tanzania’s Dodoma region produces three wines – dry white, red and “natural sweet”. Khadija Madawili, technical manager at SABMiller Tanzania, said the red has a smooth, rounded taste and is best with “Nyama Choma,” a local delicacy of roasted spiced meat, while the “natural sweet” is the perfect compliment for light salads or simply enjoyed as an aperitif. The Dodoma region is home to a number of grape varieties, including Chenin Blanc, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Makutupora, a local dry red. Madawili added that the dry earth and sandy soil, combined with low humidity, is perfect for producing dry white and red wines. She said: “We have two harvests a year, in March and August/September. After harvest the farmers leave the plants to rest for only one month.” (CNN – online 9 January)

No homosexuality debate in Tanzanian Assembly
Extract: In Tanzania, the Constituent Assembly has barred any debate on homosexuality. It all started when a member from Zanzibar, Asha Makame, warned the Assembly that there were MPs in the House financed by countries wanting to advance the homosexuality agenda… The Assembly’s interim chairman, Speaker of Zanzibar House of Representatives Pandu Ameir Kificho, said the Assembly was not the right place to discuss sexual behaviour.’ (East African 1-7 March)

Tengeru: A Long lost Polish history

Tengeru graveyard - Photo Adam Bemma

Tengeru graveyard – Photo Adam Bemma

David Meffe tells how a typical European tradition to mark All Saints’ Day also took place in a Tanzanian village.
Extract: In many parts of Christendom, the day [1 November] is a national holiday commemorated by a visit to graveyards, in order to plant flowers and light candles in remembrance and celebration of one’s ancestors. This tradition is especially prominent among the people of Poland. However, one such visit this month took place not in Poland, but curiously enough, here in East Africa, in a small village called Tengeru on the outskirts of Arusha. The community boasts a little known history that begins in war-ravaged Eastern Europe and ends in the shadow of Mt Meru… When Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, many Poles were released from camps in order to raise an army to aid in the national struggle against the Nazis… However… many had nowhere to go and the British, then allies of the Soviets, agreed to a proposal in which refugees from Europe would be spread across the vast British Empire for safety… a group of roughly 5,000 Polish citizens ultimately found refuge in… Tengeru in what was then known as Tanganyika Territory. Here, the Polish refugees lived for nearly 10 years in harmony with the local residents, after which some continued with their journey, finding homes in Britain or America, while roughly 1,000 decided to settle and call Tengeru home for several generations…

[I]n a tiny walled cemetery 149 refugees are buried under white stone crosses or Jewish Stars of David… Today, Tanzanian Simon Joseph is charged with preserving the cemetery and acts as curator for visitors and the hundreds of pilgrims who come every year to pay respects to their long lost ancestors. Joseph inherited the site from his father who lived and worked with the small Polish community for many years… The maintenance and upkeep of the graveyard is funded entirely by the Embassy of Poland in Kenya, as well as by visitor donations… Today, only one living refugee of the Tengeru community remains, 97-year-old Arusha resident Edward Woytowicz… Once Mr Woytowicz dies, he will be the final soul laid to rest among his people, the end of a journey that spanned several thousand kilometres in search of peace and freedom in East Africa…’ (East African 14-20 December)

Tanzania must be a rich country to pay MPs so much
Elsie Eyakuze shares her thoughts on the amount Tanzanian politicians pay themselves.
Extract: If we were all given the ability to vote on our own salaries, who wouldn’t go for the millions? …an infographic available on the Internet showed that Kenyan politicians have awarded themselves a salary that is 97 times the GDP per capita. Tanzania’s politicians, on the other hand, have had to keep up a facade of humility and egalitarianism, which must undoubtedly irritate them. Socialist hangovers are no joke… It was only a matter of time before the prosperity of our neighbours’ political classes would serve as an inspiration to us. And so the news that this current crop of parliamentarians have awarded themselves a severance package of close to $100,000 is only shocking in the sense that we’re a country of people who aren’t used to knowing all that much about what kind of money our politicians make… The question is, how did we end up with a political system with a gaping loophole like this? Our politi­cians literally hold the keys to the public kitty…

Rumour has it that being a politician here is very expensive and sometimes a risky investment… Greed only explains some of the problem, the rest is just an aspect of belonging to a patronage system that is likely to force you to find creative ways to recoup your costs, like a big fat package at the end of your term. Unfortunately, this is not a good time for us to see our politicians put their hands all over our public funds again. Don’t these folks believe in spin doctors? A move like this is going to raise the obvious questions: Just how poor or rich or whatever is this country anyway? How can we afford to pay parliamentarians that kind of money when we can’t seem to do anything halfway decent in the areas of public service that affects the quality of life for the majority? … Maybe we need to coin a term for our particular political principle: Contradictory development. (East African 8-14 February)

Tanzanian citizens will have the right to information – Kikwete
President Kikwete has at last broken the government’s silence on enacting the much sought Freedom to Information legislation. He declared in an interview in London during the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in October, that the government is working on a bill which will be tabled before Parliament in April this year. He was interviewed alongside the Executive Director of Twaweza NGO, Rakesh Rajani
(Media Watch November – December 2013)

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by Donovan McGrath
To our readers: If you see an interesting mention of Tanzania in the newspapers and magazines you read, please let us know or send us a copy. Many thanks -Editor.

The poisoned chalice of Tanzania’s land deals
For more than ten years, Tanzania has encouraged foreign investment in land deals with its vision of modernisation and revival of the agri­cultural sector. 4.5 million hectares is being sought by foreign investors for biofuel or food production, encouraged by the 2009 Kilimo Kwanza (Agriculture First) initiative. However, inadequate land-management legislation has seen few success stories in the selling of land.

Extract: ‘… supposed beneficiaries, such as smallholder Ahmed Kipanga, a 37-year-old father of five from the coastal Kisarawe District, feel short-changed.

“I used to till my land and grow enough food to feed my family,” he told IRIN [UN news agency] in Mbeya, 600km south of a home he no longer has access to, adding that he was also able to earn around US$250 selling his surplus crop for each of the year’s two seasons. I just gave my land because we were convinced by a politician that it would make us rich. I knew I would get money for the land, and also get a well-paying job when the [investment] company began operations, they didn’t do anything and they sold our land to another company we didn’t even know,” he added. Kipanga now has no farm to grow food on and struggles to make ends meet by crushing rocks manually. A 7-tonne truckload brings in around $90, a sum he splits with two friends…

Some 27 agricultural investment deals have been signed since 2008, covering 274,228 hectare, according to data compiled by the Land Matrix. Of these, 11 projects have either been abandoned (including a 34,000 hectare Jatropha plantation in Kilwa District), or have yet to start production more than a year after contracts were signed. Just eight are operational.’ (IRIN UN Humanitarian News Network – 7 November)

Tanzania: the ideal destination for drug gangs
‘Tanzanian authorities battle to curb rise in drug smuggling into and out of the country’
Extract: ‘In his speech on the World Day against Drugs on 26 June, Tanzania’s prime minister Mizengo Pinda lamented that drugs are a national tragedy. According to Pinda, more than 10,799 Tanzanians have been charged with drug-dealing in the past five years. And the minister for foreign affairs and international co-operation, Bernard Membe, conceded last year that Tanzania is one of five countries in the Southern African Development Community implicated in illicit drug trafficking…

Last year more than 103 Tanzanians were arrested for cocaine smuggling in Brazil, and 200 in Hong Kong. A recent report of the Tanzania Drug Control Commission indicates that Tanzania has more than 4,684 registered addicts. The main market for drugs is Kinondoni in Dar es Salaam.

The 2013 report of the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) indicates that East Africa is a major target for traffickers wishing to enter African markets because of its unprotected coastline, major seaports and airports and porous land borders, which provide multiple entry and exit points. Also attractive to the drug syndicates are inadequate customs controls and cross-border co-operation, as well as weak criminal justice systems… Most ship-borne narcotics are thought to pass through Zanzibar … where they are offloaded and then moved to the mainland in small consignments in boats.’ (Mail Guardian, South Africa – 30 August).

Tanzanian “Beach Boys” in Cape Town
The photojournal describes encounters with a group of up to 100 Tanzanian youths, mainly stowaways, who live rough “under Nelson Mandela Boulevard at the foot of Cape Town, where the high rise buildings end and the docklands begin … [One Tanzanian] …had entered [the UK] through the Port of Hull in 2003 concealed in a Maltese bulk carrier called Global Victory, which he had boarded in the Port of Richard’s Bay on South Africa’s north coast. In his first months in the UK he had lived in Sheffield with a benevolent Cameroonian before bussing to Birmingham, where the Jamaican gangsters around Handsworth had permitted him to hustle small amounts of marijuana. [The mother of his daughter], a second generation Jamaican immigrant, had tried to save him from the streets by convincing her own mother to take him in, but with no other way of making money [he] continued to hustle by day and was eventually done for dealing [and] put on a flight to Dar es Salaam.” ( Sept 2013)

Tanzanian ‘mules’ ply Jo’burg streets
‘Tanzania is a transit point for drugs and South Africa is a prominent destination.’ Extract continues: ‘As a Tanzanian, you can’t help but notice the amount of Kiswahili that is spoken in the Jo’burg inner city… Some work as hairdressers or street vendors; others have joined the city’s criminal underworld. A large number are jobless, addicted to drugs and desperate to go home … In July this year, two Tanzanian citizens, Agnes Masogange and Melissa Edward, were arrested at OR Tambo International airport with six bags of tik worth more than TSh7 billion (R42.6-million). According to the South African Revenue Service, this was the largest seizure ever at a South African border… Some Tanzanian mules swallow plastic sachets of drugs and retrieve them later. This can have tragic consequences. Last year, two Tanzanians, Hassan Wanyama and Ali Mpili, died … after the cocaine sachets they had ingested leaked… As a result, all Tanzanians are now coming under suspicion. “At the border, they call us by the name ‘drugs’ and we are searched attentively and differently from others,” a Tanzanian woman said…’ (Mail Guardian, South Africa – 30 August)

During August, September and October 2013, The East African newspaper included a series of articles on music, dance, theatre, poetry and fashion. The following articles have been selected for your interest.

A taste of live music in Dar

Chaba Thomas, Mzungu Kichaa and Jcb Makalla performing at the Triniti club in Dar es Salaam in April. Photo KaLuLeTe

Chaba Thomas, Mzungu Kichaa and Jcb Makalla performing at the Triniti club in Dar es Salaam in April. Photo KaLuLeTe

Caroline Uliwa shares her experience of live music in a city restaurant. Extract: ‘It is the must-attend event for lovers of live performance in Dar es Salaam. Held every last Friday of the month at Triniti Restaurant in Oyster Bay, “The Beat” brings together Tanzanian artists performing bongo flava, reggae as well as blends of Afro fusion. The gig, hosted by Caravan Records and director Epsen Olsen aka Mzungu Kichaa [Crazy White Man], was started as a platform for Tanzanian musicians to develop their craft. Anyone who has come into contact with Mzungu Kichaa will tell you that though he’s Danish, he could just as well be born and bred Tanzanian. With his fluency in Kiswahili and command of Maa, he is very much a local musician. The night I attended, Twetulobo Band, consisting of five musicians playing Afro fusion and “Kuchele” traditional music from the Coast, was the first act… Malfred picked up from where Twetulobo left off and played songs from his debut album Hisia Zangu (My Feelings) … Then Mzungu Kichaa took the stage … [and] performed songs from his previous album [and his latest album ] Hustle …’ (East African 3-9 August)

In memory of Shaaban Robert
Extract: ‘Tanzanian writer Shaaban Robert, even in death, has been a role model to many Kiswahili writers and scholars in East Africa. Fifty years after his death, his works continue to influence the Kiswahili language and its writers. To keep his literary star shining, Kiswahili scholars and writers from East Africa and beyond … gathered in the Tanzanian town of Bukoba to celebrate his contribution to Kiswahili literature. Hundreds of visitors from Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Ghana attended the conference dubbed Shaaban Robert Week at St Francis Hall.

Prominent Tanzanian scholars Prof Mugyabuso Mulokozi, Dr S. Sewangi, Dr Y. Rubanza, Dr Aldin Mutembei and Felix Sossoo, from the University of Dar es Salaam, attended the meeting and spoke fondly of Shaaban Robert… Mr Sossoo, a Ghanaian who is a master’s student at the University of Dar es Salaam, mesmerised the conference with his presentation on Kufikirika and Kusadikika, two novels by Robert that have been used as setbooks in schools and colleges all over East Africa. Mr Sossoo, who speaks Kiswahili fluently, studied the language at the University of Ghana for his bachelor’s degree. He now teaches at the University of Dar es Salaam… Robert’s son Iqbal Shaaban, who is a businessman, also attended the conference, in which scholars called for the award of a posthumous honorary doctorate to the writer.’ (East African 21-27 September)

Modern dance keeping teens off Dar streets
Contemporary dancer Isaac Abeneko has found a positive way of engaging the youth in Tanzania …’ Extract continues: ‘… Abeneko noticed the soaring numbers [of street children] and went out on a quest to understand why such children stayed away from the classroom… Abeneko came up with a simple solution – art! Local schools did not integrate art into the curriculum through which such children could express themselves, thereby making the learning experience more interesting… The dancer had just arrived from Senegal, where he had been attending a dance workshop with sponsorship from the Vipaji Foundation, a Tanzanian-based organisation that brings artists together to share their skills… Upon his return, he was expected to share his knowledge with local dancers. That was how Abeneko began teaching dance at Dogodogo Centre, an NGO that empowers street children… At a concert … at the Russian Cultural Centre in Dar es Salaam, the teens from Dogodogo Centre were the main act with their Elimu ni dance, choreographed by Abeneko. … the show stopper of the night was the group of six boys … their Elimu ni dance, whose setting was a classroom, had a clear message about the importance of education…’ (East African 12-18 October)

Dance, the modern way
‘Caroline Uliwa was elated to see contemporary dance group Haba na Haba perform in Dar es Salaam …’ Extract continues: ‘… Every year, Haba na Haba holds workshops at which it invites dancers across the country to join renowned choreographers and dancers in learning contemporary dance. It was initiated by Isaac Peter, who later recruited Shaaban Mugado and Malim Masafa to help manage it… Among the pieces that stood out was Maendeleo [Progress], choreographed by Emilie Asla from Norway… The Nyuki [Bees] and Wanawake [Women] sets, with their traditional African dance elements, were equally fascinating… This year, Haba na Haba was sponsored by the Russian Culture Centre, the Vipaji Foundation, Asedeva and the Lumumba Theatre…’ (East African 24-30 August)

Tanzanian model rocks top US fashion show

Flaviana Matata in a Tracy Reese creation at the NY show

Flaviana Matata in a Tracy Reese creation at the NY show

‘At the recent Washington DC Fashion Week, in a sea of long hair, black clothes and huge floppy black leather bags, Tanzanian-born model Flaviana [Matata, a 2007 Miss Universe finalist] stood out with a nearly bald head and fitted sleeveless dress’ Extract continues: ‘Michelle Obama did not attend the African-American design­er’s Cuban-themed Fashion Week extrav­aganza. But as [designer Tracy Reese’s] most important fan, the US First Lady’s spirit was evident… at the Studio at Lincoln Centre in Washington DC.’ (East African 14-20 September)

A stain on China’s ties with Africa
Christopher Lee calls on Hong Kong to do more to curb the bloody trade in ivory that is decimating Africa’s elephants – first by not buying it, then by doing more to stop the city becoming a node for traffickers. Extract continues: ‘… The visage of Africa is changing too, as more than a million Chinese guest workers now work and live there… Casting a dark cloud over the relationship is the illegal ivory trade, however, I say “trade”, but it’s not a trade. Really, it is theft; theft and exploitation of Africa’s natural resources.

More than 35,000 African elephants are now poached for their tusks every year. This type of killing cannot be sustained… This is the disheartening side of the China-Africa relationship…… authorities [in Hong Kong] seized on of the biggest hauls of smuggled ivory ever. This means Hong Kong is playing a key role as a transit and con­sumption hub for illegal ivory…’ (Sunday Morning Post 10 November)- Thanks to Ronald Blanche for this and the next item – Editor

Chinese in court over ivory haul
Extract: ‘Three Chinese nationals have been charged for possessing 706 tusks from poached elephants. Police and wildlife officers have cracked down on suspected poachers amid a surge of killings of elephant and rhino … The three accused – Huang Gin, Xu Fujie and Chen Jinzhan – were arrested … in … Dar es Salaam. They had hidden the tusks, weighing 1.8 tonnes and worth an estimated US$3.1 million in contain­ers… the trio were posing as garlic importers and marine product exporters…’ (South China Morning Post 11 November)

US embassy bombing suspect charged in New York
Extract: ‘The al-Qaeda terrorist suspect charged with orchestrating the bombings of two American embassies in East Africa in 1998 was led in handcuffs into a courtroom in New York … Twelve Americans were among the 224 victims of the twin bombings of the embassies in Kenya and Tanzania…’ (Times 16 October)

Rats sniff out TB
Extract: ‘… in 2000, APOPO [a Belgian NGO researching ways to detect anti-personnel landmines using rats] established a laboratory at Sokoine University of Agriculture in Morogoro, Tanzania that then developed an extensive training ground and test minefield… Since 2008, around 80 Gambian giant pouched rats have [also] been trained to sniff out the killer disease TB. This disease kills almost 1.5m people each year … [WHO] says a single technician, with a microscope, can do 25 samples a day. A rat can sniff out 10 samples in a minute! … rats are so accurate that they can often identify positive samples that have been overlooked by a clinic… The rats have so far diagnosed more than 3,500 cases missed by local clinics… They cost nearly $8,000 to train, but live up to eight years and are cheap to keep…’ (New African)

Dar plan for satellite city
Extract: ‘… In 2008, the government announced its intention to take over 6,400 hectares of land – [later] increased to 50,943 hectares – for construction of a new city, in an effort to decongest Dar es Salaam. But there was uncertainty over compensation of the 750,000 residents … Those affected by the project will be paid Tsh141 million ($89,000) per acre as compensation … government has been breaking the law, given the secrecy surrounding its implementation. Citing the Urban Planning Act, [Kigamboni member of parliament Dr Faustine Ndugulile] said the law requires government to convene a meeting with residents of the area … But the MP says the government made the announcement through newspaper adverts in October 2008 without convening any meetings with the people to be affected…’ (East African 12-18 October)

Reactions after Zanzibar acid attack
Extract: ‘… Like the rest of the dozen or so tour guides … in historic Stone Town, [taxi driver and tour guide] Mr Ola refused to believe that a local resident could have been behind the acid attack … on two 18-year-old British women… “We’re not that stupid,” Mr Ola said, referring to the islanders’ dependence on tourist revenues. Without the sightseers and beachgoers who swarm the island, he said, “at the end of the day we’re going to eat grass.” … “If we knew who it was,” said another, “we would be the first to punish them.”’ (Herald Tribune 4 September) – Thanks to Elsbeth Court for this item

Tanzania Ranks High in Governance Survey
‘The Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance has ranked Tanzania number 17 out of Africa’s 52 nations in its 2013 survey.’ Extract continues: ‘The indicators include Safety and Rule of Law, Participation and Human Rights, Sustainable Economic Opportunity, and Human Development. Tanzania received 5 percentage points higher than the African average of 51.6%, and ranked third in East Africa (after Seychelles and Rwanda). Tanzania’s biggest improvements have been in Human Development (welfare, education, and health); and it ranked 12th in the continent for Participation and Human Rights…’ (Tanzania Invest 10 October)

100 most influential Africans
Extract: ‘… How do we determine these people’s influence? One yardstick we used was to emphasise that influence is not about popularity … impact on public, social and political discourse, however, is what largely helps us to determine their influence …’ The only Tanzanian in the top 100 is Patrick Ngowi. Extract continues: ‘… [Mr Ngowi is the] 28-year-old CEO of Helvetic Solar Contractors – a Tanzanian company that supplies, installs and maintains solar panel systems throughout the northern circuit of Tanzania… Combining the abundant natural energy that the African sky provides and the high demand for power, this young man has positioned his business to ensure that demand and supply will have a continuous flow. The interesting story is that Ngowi started his business at the age of 15!’ (New African December)



by Ben Taylor

Respected lawyer, human rights activist and politician, Dr Sengondo Mvungi died in Milipark Hospital, Johannesburg, on November 12th. He had been attacked in his home by bandits nine days earlier, in an apparent robbery. Though he was rushed first to Muhimbili National Hospital, and later to South Africa, Dr Mvungi never recovered from the attack. He died from his injuries a few days later.

Having begun his career as a journalist on the ruling party’s newspaper, Uhuru, Dr Mvungi later switched to the law. After studies in Dar es Salaam and abroad, he taught in the Law Faculty at the University of Dar es Salaam for over two decades. He had recently been appointed Deputy Vice Chancellor of the newly established University of Bagamoyo.
A staunch defender of media freedoms and human rights, his legal expertise and media background made him an obvious appointment to the founding board of the Media Council of Tanzania, where he was very active. He was among the founders of the Legal and Human Rights Centre, and practiced as an advocate of the High Court.

With the advent of multi-party politics, Dr Mvungi joined the opposition, running as the NCCR-Mageuzi Presidential Candidate in 1995. He knew he could never win, but saw value in making a contribution to the slow task of building a new political reality in Tanzania. It was a cause he continued to struggle for throughout his life.

Most recently, Dr Mvungi had been a prominent member of the Constitution Review Commission, bringing his sharp legal mind and unstinting defence of human rights once more to the service of his country.

“His untimely departure leaves us with a serious gap in a situation where we already had too many gaps,” wrote Jenerali Ulimwengu. “Our cumulative and collective actions have created around us an intellectual wasteland in which rather than blooms of flowering thought, angry shrubs produce only prickly and poisonous thorns, testimony to our degeneracy.”

“It may not explain the whole episode but Mvungi was killed by representatives of these shrubs, who may not even fully comprehend the enormity of their actions in terms of the loss inflicted on the nation. How could they ever understand, when all they were looking for was a little cash and some trinkets they could sell to get money to drink and to buy chicken and chips. The cheapness of life implied in their actions speaks to the cheapness of life generally, engendered by a nonchalant system that has manufactured disposable people who dispose of other people.”

Seasoned Tanzanian politician and diplomat, Ambassador Isaac Sepetu, died on October 27th, aged 70. Ambassador Sepetu’s career encompassed a spell as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs during the presidency of Julius Nyerere, Minister of Information in the Zanzibar Revolutionary Government in the 1970s and Minister of Economy and Planning in Zanzibar in the 1990s. He also served as Tanzanian Ambassador to the former USSR and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

To many younger Tanzanians, however, Ambassador Sepetu is perhaps best known as the father of Wema Sepetu, actress, model and former Miss Tanzania. Wema has become a staple of the celebrity-obsessed tabloid media, not least for her relationship with bongo flava star Diamond Platinumz.

Lionel Cliffe: An Africanist scholar and global citizen
By establishing the Department of Development Studies in 1969, the University of Dar es Salaam was stepping into an uncharted territory. The main task of the new unit was to teach an interdisciplinary course on socio-economic development to all entering students. The course would challenge the conservative spirit of the traditional social science disciplines and reflect the goal of building socialism in Tanzania. The first head of this bold academic venture was Lionel Cliffe, a British scholar who had come to Tanzania in 1961.

After teaching at Kivukoni College and a spell in the civil service, Lionel had joined the Department of Political Science of UDSM in 1964. Lionel was a socialist, sympathetic to Mwalimu Nyerere’s policies, and a firm supporter of the liberation of Africa from external domination. Right from the start, he undertook pioneering socio-political research and became involved in the effort to make the university curricula more relevant to national needs. The book One Party Democracy: A Study of the 1965 Tanzania General Elections (East Africa Publishing House, Nairobi, 1967) that he edited and co-authored and which contains several detailed investigations and political analyses is regarded as a pioneering work in the field that also provides a bright insight into the political dynamics of Tanzania of that time.

Lionel was not just an armchair academic. As a leftist student activist at the UDSM at that time, I vividly recall him providing much needed support to progressive student groups in ways more than one. Our student magazine, Cheche, had no external funder and was perpetually short of resources needed for bringing an issue into print. Though we did the printing ourselves, paper was expensive. Lionel helped out by selling printing paper from the departmental stock to us at the wholesale price.

By the time Lionel left the university in 1972, Development Studies had become an integral part of the local academic scene, and universities the world over began to imitate the department. Lionel edited (with John Saul) Socialism in Tanzania: A Interdisciplinary Reader, which remains a standard reference work for anyone interested in the post-Independence history of Tanzania and a relevant text for present day students of development studies, economics, education and political science that focus on Africa.

I pen these words with a heavy heart because Lionel Cliffe passed away after a brief illness on October 23, 2013. Until his death, he was engaged in African issues. Among his many achievements, he was a founder editor of the Review of African Political Economy and the first Director of the Centre for Development Studies at the University of Leeds. Over the years, he had established a distinguished academic reputation, and published on a range of issues spanning from land tenure and reform to political affairs and external barriers to development. He remained a champion of social and economic self-determination for the people of Africa and took a sharply critical stand on the Western strategies that promoted continued domination over the continent.

I last met this fine, ever smiling, soft-speaking human being in April this year. He was in Dar es Salaam to attend the annual Mwalimu Nyerere Intellectual Festival at the UDSM. He had regularly visited many countries in Africa over the years, maintaining strong links with progressive African scholars striving for social and economic justice.

Lionel engaged with us on an equal footing; at times we critiqued him, and at times, he critiqued us; but in the spirit of comrades undertaking a joint long term journey. He had the outlook of and functioned like a global citizen. At his passing, Africa has lost a good comrade; an upright champion our people’s rights. Let us pay homage to this stellar specimen of humanity by drawing sound lessons from the work of activists scholars like him and begin to recreate an African academia that will challenge the neo-liberal establishment and truly champion the rights and needs of the people of Africa.

One thing I am certain of: Wherever in the heavens he has landed, Professor Lionel Cliffe is already busy establishing an inter-galactic Institute of Development Studies, and boldly challenging the status quo. Most likely, he has us within his sights too. Let us then once more elicit his usual broad grin by retaking similar steps on this planet.
Karim F. Hirji
(Abridged, with permission, from a longer obituary in Pambazuka News)



by Donovan McGrath

I eat halal meat, and I just know these recent religious tensions aren’t kosher. Elsie Eyakuze shares her thoughts on recent religious tension in Tanzania.
Extract: “Let’s admit: We’re not coping well with our diversity anymore. There are some who will say that we never have been the haven of peace and tolerance that we purport to be, that we are rather fragile. There might be some truth to that. It is unlikely that Tanzania in its 50-odd years of Independence has managed to magically resolve one of the most intractable social divides… Since we no longer have the unifying elements of a socialist regime marching us through poverty to rely on anymore, it looks like we’re starting to take care of some of the business we never got around to in the tender period of our early nationhood.
Now identities are cropping up, and they’re always so obvious aren’t they? If not tribe, then religion. I respect the benefits that a strong iden­tity, a set of beliefs can confer on people. Just not at the cost of the col­lective good. That is what is frightening about the recent accumulation of stories about religious strife – it is not in keeping with our reverence for the quiet life. The secular life. The separation of church and state, and all that entails.
…We have stepped all over Zanzibar’s frail sovereignty to avoid even the hint of encroaching theocracy… I don’t know many Tanzanians who can look at their clans and not stumble across at least two major religions, an aunt who is a charismatic pastor, a couple of closet atheists and a handful of mixed marriages…. Which makes me wonder who is looking to benefit from the destabilisation that religious strife offers? … I can’t bring myself to imagine that we would be so stupid as to fall into the trap of religious strife … People of true and deep faith tend to be rather difficult to annoy to the point of violence. Which makes religious conflict one of the biggest contradictions I have ever encountered…”
(East African 6-12 April)

Radical preacher wanted over Zanzibar acid attack shot in police raid
“A radical Muslim preacher wanted for questioning over the acid attack on two British tourists in Zanzibar was shot … as he fled police trying to arrest him [in Morogoro].’ Extract continues: ‘Sheikh Issa Ponda is understood to have survived the raid and was on the run but injured police sources told The Daily Telegraph. He had visited Zanzibar in the weeks running up to the attack on Katie Gee and Kirstie Trup … Ponda earlier this month met with the imprisoned leaders of a Muslim separa­tist group, Uamsho, who police believe may have inspired the attack on the two women. (Telegraph online 10 August). (Editor’s note: there has been considerable concern in Tanzania regarding the portrayal of this acid attack in the UK press, including this article from the Telegraph. In particular, several British papers insinuated, as this article did, that the arrest of Sheikh Ponda was connected to the acid attack. The Tanzanian police have strenuously denied this connection.)

Why Dar is hot, and the rest of us are not
According to the East African, as far as African diplomacy goes Tanzania right now is that girl on the dance floor that every boy wants to dance with. If it is a Chinese leader coming to Africa, he must stop in Dar es Salaam. If it is a Western leader visiting, tea with the President at State House on Ocean Road will inevitably be on the cards. And now in the first week of July not only has US President Barack Obama decided to cherry pick only Tanzania to visit in the region, but former American president George Bush and his wife Laura will also be in town for a First Ladies conference.
An earlier article entitled ‘Why Obama chose Tanzania for his Africa tour’ explored three possible reasons why Dar is hot. First, it has vast oil, gas and mineral reserves that have been discovered in recent years, so the Americans don’t want the Chinese to feast on the goodies alone. They want a piece of the action. Second, its leaders are not involved in any major domestic or international controversy… Third, it is the most stable country in the region … the only country in the region whose political reserves have not yet been tapped out. Rwanda has to keep 24 hours DRC watch as well as peacekeeping in Darfur and the two Sudans’ border; Uganda, Burundi, and Kenya are still wading through Somalia’s murky political waters. And Tanzania has the largest unspent store of energies that can be unleashed through political reforms.” (East African 8-14 June).

Violent Episodes Grow in Tanzania, an African Haven
“As one of the leaders of an acrimonious doctors’ strike in Tanzania, Dr. Stephen Ulimboka was not entirely surprised when a group of armed men appeared, unannounced, at a meeting and arrested him. But when he saw that the car they were forcing him into had no license plates, fear truly hit him. … Tanzania has a reputation abroad as an island of stability in the often-chaotic region of East Africa. … President Obama arrives here on Monday to a country where human rights groups and the largest opposition party say episodes of intimidation and suppres­sion of political opponents are growing.
“The international community believes there is peace in Tanzania,” said Willibrod Slaa, the secretary general of the opposition party Chadema. “There is fear, not peace.”… Journalists have been attacked and in at least one instance killed while working. Last July, the government banned an independent weekly newspaper, Mwanahalisi, which had been reporting aggressively on Dr. Ulimboka’s kidnapping, linking the crime to the government. President Jakaya Kikwete denied any con­nection. … Analysts say the very real prospect that voters will choose another party in the next election, in 2015, has rattled some members of the government, particularly those who are afraid that a new party in power could mean aggressive investigations and prosecutions.” (New York Times 30 June)

Tanzania settles human trafficking case of former diplomat
President Obama can go to Africa next week with a clean conscience. The government of Tanzania, which had been in a years-long dispute with the State Department over a human trafficking judgment against one of its diplomats, has settled the case on the eve of the presidential trip. Diplomat Alan Mzengi in 2008 was ordered by a U.S. court to pay a $1 million judgment to a domestic servant he and his wife held against her will at their Bethesda home for four years while he was posted in Washington. The woman was maltreated and eventually escaped, but Mzengi didn’t pay the default judgment and instead returned to Tanzania, where he was reportedly working as an advisor to the presi­dent.
The victim was willing to accept only the $170,000 in back wages she was owed, but, despite years of efforts by the State Department, no serious offer emerged. Finally, Tanzania this week paid the $170,000; according to people familiar with the agreement, Mzengi himself paid a small amount of the total and his government provided the rest. The victim’s pro bono lawyer, Martina Vandenberg, said it was the first such payment for a case of diplomatic human trafficking in the United States.” (Washington Post 21 June)

Obama hopes to tap into Tanzania’s boom
“Discovery of large energy deposits and secession fears in East African country form backdrop for US president’s visit. … Obama is visiting Tanzania months after China’s new president, Xi Jinping, had finished a tour of the resource-rich country. As China continues to expand its foot­print on the African continent, the United States is moving to strengthen ties with countries it has had good relations with over the years. … The US government understands that there are political schisms and corrup­tion in Tanzania, but the country’s stability is important for US business interests and foreign policy, given the risk of terrorism on the coast of East Africa and the ongoing efforts to find peace in the Great Lakes region, as Tanzania shares borders with eight other countries.
… Despite the corruption and likely instability in the future, President Obama’s decision to visit Tanzania will be viewed by many as good judgment. The fact that Tanzania has held five successive democratic elections in a region plagued by political instability and tribal disputes does not only make it a good investment destination, but also gives it legitimacy and moral authority to broker peace in Somalia, where the United States is battling groups affiliated with al-Qaeda.” (Al Jazeera 30 June)

An Electric Moment for Tanzania Lingers
“The curving stretch of road along the Indian Ocean behind the State House was once simply called Ocean Road. Now, a black-and-white­striped post holds a sign bearing its new name: Barack Obama Drive. … After Mr. Obama headed back to the United States on Tuesday – ending a trip to sub-Saharan Africa that also took him to Senegal and South Africa – the American flag still waved alongside the green, yellow, black and blue of the Tanzanian flag, under the ubiquitous signs with Mr. Obama’s face and the Swahili word for welcome, “karibu.” … Mr. Obama retains the kind of celebrity status here in East Africa that he once enjoyed in Europe and other parts of the world, making his visit a public event as much as an act of diplomacy. The cheering throngs welcoming him to Tanzania were much larger and louder than those he saw on the first two stops of his trip.” (New York Times 2 July)

Funded at last! Zanzibar Cathedral
Extract: “In 2007 CED [Christian Engineers in Development] was asked to look at whether we could assist in efforts to conserve and repair Zanzibar Cathedral. The costs are considerable and CED had been sup­porting the Cathedral and Friends of Zanzibar Cathedral to find funding with the expectation that the EU would make a call for heritage projects and fund a large portion of the work. The Cathedral organised a spon­sored climb of Mount Kilimanjaro which raised around $20,000 … the World Monument Fund (WMF) … has taken a broader interest in the project and its significance on the World stage…
The works principally involve the tying of the barrel vault arch roof of the Cathedral, which is formed of approx 600mm thick coral and lime concrete, with high tensile steel bars (to be imported). Plan one is to provide steel thrust palates at either end of the tie rods, but if the wall construction proves to be very poor, then plan two may have to swing into operation – the casting of large reinforced concrete beams to spread the load. We hope and pray the project does not necessitate this!” (CED Newsletter No 97, May 2013)

The Bully of Zanzibar
“House crows compete for resources with other birds, prey on their eggs and chicks, and regularly raid poultry.” Extract continues: “When David Livingstone arrived on the island of Zanzibar in 1866, he was so appalled at the filth and the stench that he called it “Stinkibar” … In an attempt to clean up the island, the colonial governor of the time [who had seen crows eating rubbish in India] .. introduced the Indian house crow [in 1891] to clean up the filth, little knowing the havoc it would wreak in Zanzibar and beyond… “By 1917, the house crows were offi­cially declared a pest in Zanzibar …” [and] has been called the world’s most destructive crow. This aggressive monster is unafraid of humans … They are known to gouge out the eyes of infant cows, sheep and goats … it is difficult to bait the house crow because it can recognise human faces… Thriving on human waste … [t]he only thing known to repulse house crows is the avicide Starlicide, manufactured in America to get rid of the European starling… It worked well until the infamous 9/11 terror attacks, when the poison was banned for export by Americans for fear it could be used for other purposes… Kenyan authorities have taken no initiative to fight the menace. But [Tanzania] is killing one million birds a month…” (East African 20-26 April)

Not all Tanzanians have the ‘r’ problem – Ebby Exaud shares his experience with Swahili during a stay in Kenya.
Extract: “I went to Kenya to study for a bachelor’s degree six years ago, and, at first, I was surprised at the way everyone changed their intona­tion on learning that I was Tanzanian. “Naomba nikusarimie.” “Umerara poa ndugu yangu?” “Naomba nikuombe uniretee kazi yangu.” (May I greet you? Did you sleep well, my brother? Can I please ask you to bring back my work?) I don’t know who told these people that all Tanzanians speak like that. And I am not referring to the courtesy in speech but replacing “l” with “r.” It took me a long time to explain to them that not all Tanzanians have the “r” problem. It mostly comes from Sukuma who do. But it never stopped. The good thing with being a Tanzanian in Kenya is that you are considered the Kiswahili guru. I was always happy to teach my Kenyan friends proper grammar. I could not get over how they always said “mandizi” as the plural for “ndizi.” In Kiswahili mufti, the plural for ndizi is ndizi.
I had three roommates at the university, all Kikuyu… They said if I wanted to have a comfortable stay at the university, and in Kenya, I had to learn the language… My Kikuyu lessons didn’t last too long … just two days… I asked them to teach me how to say “Good night” in Kikuyu. Happily, they told me it was “Koma ngui ino.” So I sent Wahura [a Kikuyu girl] a “good night” text message in Kikuyu and she did not reply that night. In the morning, I learnt what I thought was a good night message actually meant, “Sleep, you dog”! She had a good laugh when she realised I had not meant to insult her. But it marked the end of my Kikuyu lessons. To this day, I do not know how to say “good night” in Kikuyu.” (East African 25-31 May).

Tanzanian artist draws out the life in women
Extract: “…In Tanzania, the Tingatinga style of art, named after its founder, Edward Said Tingatinga, was developed in the second half of the 20th century. And now, there is a new generation of artists who have created their own style. Among them is Beata Munita, a self-trained painter who has been working on canvas since 2009. Munita has a unique style in her use of colours, brush stroke, and mosaic back­grounds. The artist says she paints the stories of African women and their role in society. The purpose of her work is to express all aspects of women as mothers, workers, home makers and wives… Munita show­cased her art at the Alliance Francaise in Dar es Salaam. It was her first exhibition The 360 Degrees Woman.” (East African 29 March)

Young African Millionaires to watch in 2013
This online edition of Forbes featured ‘a handful of young African entrepre­neurs who’ve legitimately built multi-million dollar companies while in their 20s and 30s. Tanzanian Mohammed Dewji is among them.
Extract: “Dewji, 38, a Tanzanian businessman and politician, is the CEO and leading shareholder of Mohammed Enterprise Limited (METL), one of the largest industrial conglomerates in East Africa. His father, Gulam Dewji, founded the conglomerate decades ago as a trading com­pany but “Mo” as he is popularly called, now calls the shots… METL, which records an annual turnover of close to $2 billion, owns 21st Century Textiles, one of the largest textile mills in sub-Saharan Africa by volume… The group employs over 24,000 full-time employees… Mo Dewji [is also] a Member of Parliament for Tanzania’s Singida Urban constituency…” (Forbes magazine – online 15 July)

The Mtwara boom
Thousands of tonnes of drill pipes are neatly stacked in a yard at Mtwara port in southern Tanzania, waiting to be loaded onto vessels supplying gas rigs 100km (60 miles) offshore. There drill bits, guided with centi­metre-level accuracy, will bite into the seabed 2km underwater and then penetrate the reservoirs of gas that locals hope will fuel a long-awaited leap forward. When the British colonial authorities opened the deepwa­ter port at Mtwara in 1954, partly to replace a naval port at Simonstown in South Africa, it was billed as a turning-point for East African trade. But the port decayed and Mtwara and its cashew-growing hinterland were neglected by Tanzania’s rulers after the country became independ­ent, initially as Tanganyika, in 1961.
Work on a road linking Mtwara to Dar es Salaam, the commercial capital, began half a century ago and is still unfinished. Most tellingly, Tanzania’s education system has failed to equip the local Makonde peo­ple with skills. But the scale of the coming gas bonanza bears no com­parison with anything in the past. Tanzania’s gasfields abut even richer ones in the waters of neighbouring Mozambique. Britain’s BG and Norway’s Statoil have won licences to exploit the bulk of the gas found so far. Tanzania’s government wants the companies to put some of the gas to use in Tanzania and to invest in local infrastructure. Exporting the rest will mean constructing a liquefied-natural-gas plant that will be the biggest project in Tanzanian history.
The government has also signed up a Nigerian company (Dangote) to build a cement factory near Mtwara. A new railway will have to be laid to carry material from the port to the factory. Within a few years coal, ores, timber and food should be shipped out of Mtwara in greater quantities than before.” (The Economist 20 April) -Thank you John Walton, Simon Hardwick and David Leishman for this item – Editor

Africans moved aside for land
This issue looks at the forced movement of people from their land. In Ethiopia cattle-herders are being resettled into “main villages” to free up vast tracts of land to foreign corporations, while in Tanzania Masai herders are being evicted to allow a big-game hunting firm exclusive access to Masai village land (see TA 95,96 and 105)
“Masai herders may be victims of deal with Dubai hunting firm”. Extract continues: “Tanzania plans a new “wildlife corridor” on 600 square miles of Masai village land in the Loliondo Region … will evict 30,000 Masai – and allow exclusive access to the Ortello Business Corporation (OBC), a big-game hunting firm owned by the royal family of Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Tanzania’s tourism minister, Khamis Kagasheki … announced the creation and sale of the wildlife corridor as a kind of fait accompli…. Tanzanian officials claim the Masai are squatters on government land and that their cattle overgraze and threaten the health and migration of herds of wildebeest. Many biologists argue that the Masai, who do not hunt, pose little threat to the ecology and lived alongside wildlife, including the wildebeest, for centuries. Nomadic cattle rearing is a highly productive use of arid lands, well adapted to the inconsistent local weather patterns, they argue.
‘The way the Masai manage the range actually encourages wildlife,’ says University of Washington expert Benjamin Gardner. In recent years, the government of Tanzania has earned far more cash from tourism than from cattle, and the Masai argue that officials are taking their land under the rubric of environmentalism to line their pockets. The OBC has operated in Liliondo since 1992 and pays so well that Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete sent in national police during a 2009 drought to keep cattle and locals away from water resources near the hunting camp.
… The government might rethink its decision after an online petition received two million signatures and as Masai threatened to leave the ruling party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi … Tanzania’s mission in the United Nations issued a statement upholding Minister Kagasheki’s decision that evicting the Masai was an ecological necessity… Ced Hesse, principal researcher on dry lands and pastures for the Britain-based International Institute for Environment and Development, says Tanzania’s position is ‘not founded in any scientific evidence’.” (The Christian Science Monitor Weekly 10 June) -Thank you R J Searle for this item – Editor

The Karagosis are back
Up to the 1960s in Zanzibar, the Karagosi [Puppets: from Turkish Karagöz] show was the main Eid attraction, both for kids and grown-ups at Mnazi Mmoja grounds, followed by a ride on the wooden merry­go-round and a picnic on the grass with family and friends. Extract continues: ‘The Karagosi show is a revival of the old customs. The performance combines live actors and puppets on stage together in a funny, enchanting performance. The organizers are Creative Solutions and dramatist Issak Esmail Issak collaborating in their second summer production, “Ruya na Rabia”. The action takes place in the 30s and 40s in Makunduchi village on southern Unguja. The play is based on one of several published short stories by Issak Esmail Issak. The language is Swahili.
Ruya and Rabia are twins. One of them influences the other in habit and action so strongly that no one is able to tell them apart. Soon Rabia is lost at sea during Mwaka Koga (finalizing the year after Ramadhan and Eid). Ruya grieves and becomes ill. When she recovers she discov­ers she has inherited Rabia’s magic, whereby she is able to make those near her imitate all her actions… Ruya and Rabia is a comedy for young and old, played by trained young Zanzibari actors, exquisite puppets created by Aida Ayers at Creative Solutions and with original freshly composed music. The show was performed at Creative Solutions Centre at Mangapwani”. (Habari 2/2013)



by Donovan McGrath

Tanzania faces fresh pressure over airport – East African (5 January 2013).
Extract: ‘Tanzania is facing renewed pressure to shelve the construction of an international airport next to the world famous Serengeti National Park … “The government is facing real pressure from some circles, but it will go ahead despite all these,” [said Deputy Transport minister Charles Tizeba]. Construction of the $350 million airport was expected to start early this year … The Friends of Serengeti movement has repeatedly denounced having an airport so close to the World Heritage Site, saying it would attract more human activity near the fragile Serengeti-Mara ecosystem. Opponents of the project say the landing and takeoff of large planes in Mugumu could damage wildlife migration patterns…’

Fastjet threatened with licence removal – Independent (6 February 2013)
Extract: ‘Major turbulence yesterday hit Fastjet, the African budget airline backed by easy-Jet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, as a legal dispute saw the former owner of its Kenyan business threaten to take away its licence. Fastjet’s Africa operations have been licensing the Fly540 brand from Five Forty Aviation – majority-owned by chief executive Don Smith since 2008. But Five Forty claims Fastjet has not filed safety reports for the past three months and that one plane, “which flew with defects from Tanzania and landed in Nairobi on 14 December, should not have flown”. It also alleges Fastjet owes it $7.7m (£4.9m) in licensing fees …’ Thank you Roger Nellist for sending this article – Editor

Tanzania leads East Africa in switching to digital television – East African (5-11 January 2013)
‘Other countries have been held back by the pricing of set-top boxes or logis­tics.’ Extract continues: ‘Tanzania is the first East African country to switch off the analogue television signal despite fears that the pricing of set-top boxes would disrupt the process… The Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) switched off the analogue signal in Dar es Salaam on December 31, 2012 at midnight but said it will take a phased approach in order to ensure the process is smooth. But there were reports of technical hitches … TCRA linked the hitches to the lack of public awareness on installation of the set-top boxes rather than quality of devices or frequencies…’

West Cork volunteers install solar-powered plant in Tanzania – Southern Star (8 December 2012)
It is always nice to see Tanzania featured in local press. This little piece, which comes from Ireland, came a bit late to be included in TA 104, but here it is!
Extract: ‘… Two volunteers from West Cork, Xavier Dubuisson … and Sean Coomey … travelled to Tanzania to install a solar power system at a primary school run by the African Benedictines. The project was an international co-operation between Cork charity Solar Without Frontiers (SWF), Glenstal Abbey, St Ottilien Archabbey in Germany and the Mvimwa Abbey in Tanzania. SWF, set up by a group of sustainable energy specialists in Co Cork, aims to bring solar energy to disadvantaged communities in Africa… The school in Mvimwa caters for approximately 470 pupils, aged between four and 13. Boarders from all over Tanzania as well as local students attend the school, which is recognized as a centre of excellence in education in Tanzania… SWF estimate that the solar PV system will meet approximately 90% of the school’s electricity demand, resulting in a saving of £3,700 in diesel fuel cost.’ Thanks to Ann Moriyama for this article – Editor

When Dar, the haven of peace, was the Mecca of revolutionaries – East African (5-11 January 2013)
Extract: ‘…Right through the 1960s and 70s, the country’s capital Dar es Salaam attracted the global revolutionary set like a beacon. Among them was the late Guyanese historian Walter Rodney, the 32nd anniversary of whose assassina­tion was marked in June [2012]. He was among numerous academics, intellec­tuals, political activists, freedom fighters and dreamers from around the world who settled in Tanzania at different times during the Ujamaa era… Revelling in an atmosphere that not only fuelled their idealism but also served as a hothouse to incubate ideologies and movements they believed would change the world… The Organisation of African Unity Liberation Committee – earlier based in Accra, Ghana – moved its headquarters to Dar-es-Salaam. Tanzania became a reliable rear base for Namibia’s South West African People’s Organisation (Swapo) and the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (Frelimo) as well [as] South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC), the Zimbabwe African National Union (Zanu), the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (Zapu) and the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA)… Having oper­ated from Tanzania for many years, people like current Namibian president Hifikepunye Pohamba and his predecessor Dr Sam Nujoma retain fond memories of their years there… The late president Julius Nyerere’s leadership had made it clear that freedom for the country was meaningless as long as other African countries remained under colonial rule. It therefore welcomed African freedom fighters with open hands, including some who would eventu­ally perish in the course of the struggle. Among them was Eduardo Mondlane, the former Frelimo president who was assassinated in 1969 by a parcel bomb sent to him at the Frelimo headquarters in Dar es Salaam… Apart from the hands-on freedom fighters and activists, many distinguished academics and intellectuals were also drawn by the political environment in Dar. Thus Walter Rodney, who influenced so many African Independence-era intellectuals with his 1972 treatise How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, had two stints teaching at the University of Dar es Salaam. According to Horace Campbell, a renowned scholar … Rodney’s time in Tanzania was “perhaps the most important in the formation of [his] ideas”, and while based in Dar, “he was at the forefront of establishing an intellectual tradition which still today makes Dar es Salaam one of the centres of discussion of African politics and history.” …’

Transporting dinosaurs the hard way – Guardian (online 6 March 2013)
Dr Dave Hone takes a look at the issues facing palaeontologists past and pre­sent when it comes to moving fossils. Extract: ‘A key problem with excavating dinosaurs and other fossils is that these tend to be in remote places… That means that once you have dug up your bones and wrapped them in a protective plaster jacket, you need to get them to a road in order to get them to a museum. Off-road vehicles help of course, but can’t always get that close to the site… Naturally modern machinery makes a big difference, but even back in the late 1800s and early 1900s there were typically large numbers of horses (or camels in Asia) available, and distances to some form of road or railway were not too prohibitive. However, one major expedition really took the biscuit, cake and most of the sweet trolley when it came to transporting bones, and recently I was lucky enough to catch up with the last vestiges of their efforts. Descend to the bone cellar in the Berlin Museum for Nature today and there are a couple of neat racks of bamboo cylinders on the shelves representing the last of the dinosaur remains collected in east Africa over a century ago. Back in the first decade of the 1900s, a team of German palaeontologists began excavating what would prove to be one of the great dinosaur field sites in what is now Tanzania. Huge numbers of colossal bones were uncovered … and in just a few years of excavation they had amassed a collection of thousands of individual specimens (though sadly many were lost in World War II bombings). However, the terrain was horrific and funds were relatively low, and pack animals didn’t do well in the heat. So how do you transport single bones that weigh several hundred kilos some 60 kilometers (as the crow flies) to the coast? The solution was to have them carried by hand. A near army of locals were hired to help dig out the material and still more were employed to carry the bones out of the field. Local bamboo was cut and held together with wire to create cylinders that could be carried by a single person. The cylinders were then walked out in trains of people to the port of Lindi where they were packed into crates and shipped to Germany. Larger cases were created that could be carried by two to six people (and on one occasion eight), but beyond this they became too hard to manipulate over the rough ground and so setting a relatively low size limit on what could be carried. The biggest bones were therefore carefully broken into smaller chunks, marked up, and then reassembled back in Berlin. All together it required more than 5000 man-journeys (it was a four day walk to the coast) to shift 185 tons of material in 4300 individual containers in under five years. So many of these were taken out in such a short space of time, and so much work was required in Berlin to open, prepare, clean and mount the fossils that not all of the containers were ever opened. Fortunately while there may be a few still sitting unopened, their contents are not a mystery as a few years ago the museum had them CT scanned so we do know what is in there… Even with hundreds of bearers, the idea of carrying the best part of two hundred tons of bones cross-country for tens of miles seems staggering, and my respect of their achievements is colossal: the material is in superb condition. Still, I wouldn’t have minded a spare helicopter on a couple of my last few trips to ease the burden.’ Thanks to Tim Brooke for this item – Editor

Ngorongoro project on the spot – East African (19-25 January 2013)
Extract: ‘Controversy surrounds a TShs5 billion ($3.154 million) livestock project in Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater initiated three years ago, with claims of irregularities and misappropriation of funds. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA), which was to establish a 3,000 hectare livestock ranch for the Maasai community in the tourist site, is now trading accusations with the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) over the stalling of the project. In 2009, the government directed the NCAA to spend the cash on establishing a ranch that would be used to transform Maasai livestock hus­bandry in Ngorongoro. It was to be operational in July 2011, with a capacity to contain 70,000 cattle. But, a year and a half later, with nearly TShs2 billion ($1,261 million) spent, there is nothing to show for it. The East African has been informed that the funds were spent to pay a consultant and to conduct a study tour of France by elders from the Maasai community. The [PPRA], a parliamentary committee and the state are now suspecting swindling of some of the money. However, the NCAA management denies any impropriety, instead accusing the PPRA of interfering with the project in the implementation phase over procurement technicalities…’

Two tons of ivory seized at Kenya port – Evening Standard (16 January 2013)
Extract: ‘Kenyan authorities have seized at least two tons of illegal elephant ivory in Mombasa. Port customs officers impounded 638 pieces from Tanzania in a container bound for Indonesia that was said to be carrying “decoration stones”… There is a growing demand in China for ivory trinkets.’

Call of the wild: family of gorillas to be freed in African – Times (24 October 2012)
Extract: ‘…An 11-strong family of gorillas … will be released into the wild after living in captivity at a wildlife park. The group is headed by Djala, a 30-year­old male rescued from poachers in Africa and taken to the wildlife partk at Port Lympne, Kent, in the 1990s. His family consists of five “wives” and five offspring aged between 6 years and 8 months. They were all reared in captiv­ity… The release [in Africa], planned for early [2013], is the first time a rein­troduction of a family group has been attempted the conservation organisation [the Aspinall Foundation] said… The foundation, which runs a captive-breeding programme [as part of its Back to the Wild initiative], has already released 3 black rhino into the wild in Tanzania … where it says they are doing well…’
Thanks to John Sankey for this item – Editor

Kiswahili, lingua franca on a roll: Kiswahili has spread beyond region, thrives in unexpected places – East African (1-7 December 2012)
Ciugu Mwagiru writes about the swift spread of Kiswahili. Extract: ‘For those concerned about the loss of African heritage and our rapidly vanishing languages and cultures, the best news of the decade is that Tanzania plans to promote the teaching of Kiswahili in foreign countries and will be setting up offices for that purpose through its embassies abroad. Amos Makalla, the coun­try’s deputy Minister for Information, Youth, Culture and Sports, said recently, the project will kick off “very soon” with the opening of a teaching office in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, which also hosts the headquarters of the African Union… Tanzanian parliament ratified a protocol on the establishment of the East African Kiswahili Commission, which seeks to recognise Kiswahili as the regional bloc’s lingua franca. Tanzania became the second country to ratify the protocol after Kenya… The Ugandan parliament has yet to ratify the new protocol… Rwanda and Burundi … have already sought the green light from the East African Community Secretariat to embark on the promotion of Kiswahili in their countries… Kiswahili has become the second language for millions of people in East and Central Africa, where it is either an official or national language… Already an official language of the African Union, along­side English, French, Arabic, Portuguese and Spanish, Kiswahili has grown fast and now thrives in unexpected places: Libya, the Comoros Islands, Mayotte, Mozambique, Oman, Rwanda, Somalia, United Arab Emirates and even South Africa, Canada and the US… At the global level, Kiswahili has grown fast, and today, estimates show it is spoken by some 120 to 150 million people, a huge jump from 2007 figures. In that year, Kiswahili was estimated to have six mil­lion native speakers and 40 million second language speakers…’

Politics: President Kikwete’s loss of CCM influence means he will not be able to pick his successor – Africa Report (No 46 December 2012-January 2013)
This article was published in the Country Profiles/East Africa section in The Africa Report magazine, under the subheading: Constitutional Conflicts.
Extract: ‘Party Chairman Kikwete seems to have little influence in determining who will succeed him after his second five-year term ends in 2015, due to his declining popularity and power within the CCM. He has publicly complained that corruption and internal divisions may soon shake the party’s power. Former prime minister Edward Lowassa, who resigned in 2007 over corruption, is seen as the CCM’s leading presidential candidate… Other leading contenders are foreign affairs minister Bernard Membe and East African cooperation minister Samuel Sitta. Although nobody has publicly declared their intention to run for office, the potential presidential candidates have already started mounting campaigns with the party. An ongoing process to write a new constitution will continue with the Constitutional Review Commission (CR) touring the country to garner views… However, the constitutional review process has motivated separatist movements and radicals in Zanzibar who want the isles to be granted full independence…’

Should I stay or should I go? – Africa Report (No 46 December 2012-January 2013)
Extract: ‘The secession debate is taking centre stage in Zanzibari politics as a growing number of radicalised movements spread to the mainland. Mainlanders are increasingly sceptical of the union with the islands, which include Zanzibar and Pemba, while Islamic separatist movement Uamsho is questioning the authority of the National Muslim Council, which they perceive as pro-government… There have also been allegations that top leaders in the islands’ leading opposition party, the Civic United Front, as well as in the ruling CCM, are providing support to the separatist movement…’

$21m bailout to rescue Tazara from collapse – East African (9-15 February 2013)
‘This is the newest and most outreaching of railway systems in the Comesa and SADC sub-regions.’ Extract continues: ‘A total of $21.2 million will be injected into the troubled jointly owned Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (Tazara) in a bailout plan agreed by both countries… Slightly under half of the amount ($10 million) will be contributed equally by the Zambian and Tanzanian govern­ments … while the rest ($11.2 million) would come from “smart partnerships.” … The cash injection will rescue Tazara from its current hand-to-mouth modus operandi and set it on the path to recovery …’