Archive for Tz in International Media


by Donovan McGrath

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



by Donovan McGrath

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



by Donovan McGrath

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tanzania Breweries now partners with traditional liquor outlet owners

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

Success of Mkuki na Nyota

Walter Bgoya

Walter Bgoya

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



compiled by Donovan McGrath

[Hong Kong] Government pledges bill outlawing local ivory trade

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



by Donovan McGrath

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

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

>>Dr Amy Dickman with Barabaig tribesmen. Photo Ruaha Carnivore Project

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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