TANZANIA IN THE INTERNATIONAL MEDIA

by Donovan McGrath

How an emerging African megacity cut commutes by two hours a day

Two Dart buses operating in Dar es Salaam

(Guardian online UK) Could Dar es Salaam’s experiment with Africa’s first ‘gold standard’ bus rapid transit system offer an alternative to a future dependent on private cars? … Extract continues: Dusk falls in Dar es Salaam, and for hundreds of thousands of people in this African megacity-to-be the daily chaos and frustration of the journey home begins. People cram themselves into daladala minibuses … So far, so normal for a sprawling megalopolis of 6 million with virtually no public transport and only eight lanes of major road heading to and from the centre. Dar es Salaam, the de facto capital of Tanzania, is one of the fastest growing cities in Africa. Its population has increased eightfold since 1980 and swells by half a million people every year… But Dar es Salaam is pinning its hopes on a solution that could offer a different model for Africa’s megacities … Unlike many cities on the continent, Dar es Salaam isn’t trying to build a metro… but a more achievable route: the bus… Outside the city centre many rely on boda boda motorbike taxis … Their safety record is notorious… The Dart system boasts bus lanes separated from other traffic … ticket payment and control takes place at stations rather than on board … The average journey time from the centre to the terminus at Kimara has been slashed from two hours each way to just 45 minutes, according to sustainable transport group the ITDP … The ITDP awarded the system Africa’s only “gold standard” bus rapid transit (BRT) rating… (8 January 2019)

Tanzanians with albinism embrace a life beyond stigma and superstition
(Guardian online UK) In a country where myths about albinism can have deadly consequences, an organisation set up to battle discrimination is having a profound impact. Extract continues: Paschal Merumba has suffered prejudice from the day he was born. His mother refused to breastfeed her “cursed” baby, the second child in the family born with albinism; the first had already died of neglect… In 2013, Merumba was attacked by men who tried to kill him… He was saved when a neighbour ran screaming towards the group with a torch… “My life was spent in darkness,” says Merumba… Now 54, his life changed after meeting with Alex Magaga, who had worked on the BBC documentary, In the Shadow of the Sun, which tells the story of two Tanzanians with albinism… In parts of Tanzania, up to one in 1,400 people has albinism … Many die of skin cancer before the age of 40 … The myths and misperceptions surrounding albinism in Tanzania are “almost too numerous to count”, says [Sam] Clarke [Standing Voice’s communications manager – an organisation that defends the rights of people with albinism]… In Tanzania, 75 albinos were killed between 2000 and 2016… (23 January 2019)

Chimpanzees develop distinct local cultures, and we’re destroying them
(Washington Post online USA) Extract: The chimpanzees of Tanzania may be the most famous tool users in the animal kingdom. Famed primatologist Jane Goodall first observed them in the 1960s using grass sticks to “fish” for termites in their mounds. But since Goodall, other scientists have discovered that chimps have more than one way to catch a termite. Those in Congo, for instance, gnaw on the end of their tools of choice to turn them into paintbrush-like instruments, which seem able to catch even more termites than straight-tipped rods. In Uganda, some chimpanzees simply break into termite mounds with their hands. Everywhere chimpanzees roam, scientists are uncovering more fascinating behaviours such as harvesting algae with long poles, mining honey out of the ground using sticks and accessing hidden reserves of water inside trees with sponges fashioned from chewed-up leaves. These and other behaviours make up the basis of what scientists increasingly describe as chimpanzee “culture” – learned traditions that vary by location. And humans might be killing it, according to a study . . . in the journal Science. The study suggests that people and their disturbances of ecosystems may be hindering the transmission of chimpanzee culture, and in some cases, destroying it altogether. . . [M]ore than 75 scientists and other researchers compiled data from 144 chimpanzee communities found across 15 countries in West and Central Africa. . . Chimpanzees living in areas with the most human disturbance had less varied behavioural repertoires, the study found… The idea that chimpanzees possess distinct cultures is still relatively new … (7 March 2019)

Meet Tanzania soccer freestyle queen who earned praise from President Trump

Hadhara Charles


(CNN online USA) Extract: Tanzania rarely features in discussions of Africa’s soccer hotspots. But that perception might be changing thanks to the skills of soccer freestyle queen Hadhara Charles, which are winning plaudits from celebrities across the world including US President Donald Trump. A viral tweet of Charles displaying her range of flicks and tricks in a dress and flip-flops has been watched more than 10 million times, earning 125,000 retweets and more than 400,000 likes. President Trump was among those impressed, tweeting “Amazing!” just after a message in which he accused former FBI director Andrew McCabe of treason. British television host Piers Morgan also shared the clip with the comment “Brilliant.” The star herself was pleased to receive acclaim from such high-profile quarters. “It feels good that Donald Trump shared the video,” Charles told CNN.

“Here I am not paid. Sports doesn’t pay.” Charles, a mother of two, is a specialist in the art of freestyle soccer, which is based on juggling and tricks with the ball using any part of the body. Freestyle has become a popular pursuit around the world and the leading exponents compete in prestigious international championships… The freestyler has won acclaim in her home country and represents Tanzania in events in Gabon, Cameroon, South Africa and Ethiopia. In 2018, Charles came third in the first African Freestyle Football Championship. But prestige has not been accompanied by financial rewards for Charles, who still struggles to support her family. “I get these opportunities to travel but no pay,” she says. “If only I had sponsorship or some deal to support myself it will work form me (and) my two children will have enough for food and basic needs.” … Recognition from President Trump offers a moment of satisfaction for Charles. But her true ambition is to make those magical skills deliver a more comfortable life for her family. (26 February 2019)

Tanzanian ref banned for life by Fifa for taking bribes
(BBC online UK) Extract: One of Tanzania’s top referees has been handed a life ban from football after Fifa found him guilty of taking bribes. The case, opened in July 2018, was handled by Fifa’s Ethics Committee which ruled Oden Charles Mbaga had breached the Fifa Code of Ethics. Fifa told Reuters that the ban relates to bribes “to manipulate several national and international matches between 2009-2012” … Speaking from Dar es Salaam, Mbaga told the news agency he was questioned by Fifa in 2010 but had not heard anything since and knew nothing about match-fixing. “This is shocking news to me,” he said… Mbaga has also been fined $200,000. He has been banned for life from all football-related activities, not just refereeing, at national and international level… [F]ormer international referee Ibrahim Chalbou from Niger was also banned for life and fined $200,000 after being found guilty of taking bribes … (27 February 2019)

Tanzania male MPs face circumcision call to stop HIV spread
(BBC online UK) A female MP in Tanzania has called for checks to determine whether or not her male colleagues have undergone circumcision – a procedure known to reduce the risk of HIV transmission. Extract continues: Jackline Ngonyani said any MPs found not to have been circumcised should be required to undergo the procedure. Her suggestion divided opinion among her colleagues. HIV is seen as a major threat to public health in Tanzania. Around 70% of the male population is circumcised. Around 5% of Tanzania’s adult population is believed to have been infected by HIV – giving it the 13th highest rate of infection in the world, according to figures from 2016. The World Health Organization (WHO) says circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexual men contracting HIV by around 60%. Several African countries that are fighting HIV epidemics have launched campaigns to encourage men to undergo the procedure, which involves surgically removing the foreskin from the penis. Ms Ngonyani made the comments during a debate in parliament … Her suggestion was backed by MP Joseph Selasini… However, MP Joseph Kasheku opposed Ms Ngonyani’s proposal, describing it as uncouth and invasive. (6 February 2019)

Unique Tanzania forest granted official protection after research reveals it is on brink of collapse

The Endangered Magombera Chameleon. Photo by Andrew Marshall


(Independent online UK) ‘When I first began work in the forest 15 years ago it was clearly a biologically important place, but it rang with the sound of axes and machetes,’ says project leader. Extract continues: The Tanzanian government has agreed to set aside a unique forest as a new nature reserve after research revealed it was about to be wiped out for good. Magombera forest is home to a recently discovered species of chameleon and threatened animals including bush babies and elephants. But illegal logging and poaching have pushed the valuable ecosystem to the brink of destruction, with some estimates predicting it was on the brink of total destruction… Tanzanian authorities has reached the $1m (£0.78m) required to protect the land. The value of the forest has been recognised for many years. . . Thousands of trees are already growing back in areas of forest that had been stripped bare. The newly created 6,463 acre Magombera Nature Reserve houses an enormous amount of species within a relatively small area, and is considered among the most biodiverse forests in Africa… (17 January 2019)

Mnyamawamtuka: Scientists discover new dinosaur with heart-shaped tail

Reconstruction of a pair of M. moyowamkia in a rainstorm in Tanzania during the Cretaceous Period. (Mark Witton)


(Independent online UK) Extract: The plant-eating dinosaur was discovered in Africa and reportedly lived 100 million years ago. . . Apart from its vast size, the 30-foot dinosaur also displayed another fascinating feature – heart-shaped bones in its tail. Researchers named the dinosaur Mnyamawamtuka Moyowamkia from Swahili for “animal of the Mtuka” and “heart-shaped tail” and joked that the animal “wore it’s heart on its tail.” In addition to its unique bone structure, the discovery of the dinosaur’s remains, which were found in a riverbed in the East African Rift system of Tanzania, allows scientists to piece together information about how ecosystems evolved in Africa during the Cretaceous period. Previously, titanosaurs were identified in South America, but the new species discovered in Tanzania, Egypt and other parts of the African continent offer a more complex picture of their evolution… The new dinosaur … is one of three new titanosaurs to be found in the area… The fossilised bones of the dinosaur … suggests the animal also shared similarities with another dinosaur “Malawisaurus, from just across the Tanzania-Malawi border,” according to Dr Gorscak [research associate, and professor at Midwestern University]. The researchers also discovered other animals in the East African Rift, including relatives of early crocodiles and evidence of “insect farming” from fossilised termite nests, as well as clues about the evolution of monkeys and apes. “The African story is far from over …” (13 February 2019)

Canadians bring solar power to off-the-grid Africa

A couple enjoy clean electric lighting and television powered from a solar energy system (M-Kopa)


(Global and Mail online Canada) M-Kopa and Jaza Energy take different approaches, but their founders agree there is plenty of room for expansion in East Africa. Extract continues: Jaza Energy and M-Kopa, both started by Canadians, are bringing small-scale solar energy to communities in Tanzania and, in M-Kopa’s case, to Kenya and Uganda as well. Their main line of business is similar, and it’s one that the long term may be potentially disruptive for utilities in developed countries. Both firms deal in distributed generation – providing on-site, off-the-grid electricity that can be installed cheaply and quickly and which doesn’t necessarily require giant infrastructure such a power plants or transmission lines… “Our customers pay the equivalent of about 50 cents a day, making payment by phone. Over time, within a year or two, they are buying their solar system from us, in the same way as you would take a mortgage from a bank and buy your house,” [says Jesse Moore, M-Kopa’s CEO]. M-Kopa … has connected more than 700,000 homes in East Africa to solar power, with 500 homes added every day. The company says that by using solar power to light homes, its customers save the equivalent of 75-million hours of kerosene that would otherwise be burning, emitting fumes and contributing to climate change. Jaza, started in 2016, is smaller than M-Kopa, powering about 2,000 households, or about 10,500 people in Tanzania. It sets up its power units through small-scale retail hubs, often run by women, which are both sales points and solar-powered recharging stations. Customers take their removable power batteries to the local hub each week to swap… Unlike M-Kopa, Jaza doesn’t rely on mobile phones for payment … Swapping Jaza’s batteries costs households the equivalent of 55 cents Canadian each week, so it is indeed cheaper than M-Kopa’s panels… (17 January 2019)

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SPORT

by Philip Richards

National football team through to AFCON 2019 finals
The national team, Taifa Stars, led by captain Mbwana Samatta (see article below) reached the finals of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2019 finals later this year by securing a superb 3-0 win over the Uganda Cranes in front of a packed home crowd at the National Stadium, Dar es Salaam. This is the first time they have reached the finals of a major competition since 1980. In attendance at the game was President Magufuli who lauded the team’s efforts as part of the post-match celebrations (see picture below).

Goals from Simon Msuva, Erasto Nyomi and Aggrey Morris ensured that they achieved second spot in the qualifying group, behind Uganda Cranes themselves, who will join Taifa Stars in Egypt for the 24-team final stages taking place between 21 June and 19 July.

They have been drawn in Group C at the finals, and will compete with Algeria, Senegal and Kenya for a second-round berth.

More broadly, Tanzania has recently moved up 6 places in the FIFA global rankings to 131st. We wish the team every success in the finals in the summer, and hope to report further positive news in the next edition.

Captain leads by example – on and off the field

Mbwana Ally Samatta being interviewed after the AFCON finals


At 26 years of age, Mbwana Ally Samatta is one of the few Tanzanian footballers to make it in Europe, currently playing as striker for Belgian side Genk and captaining Tanzania’s national team, (reports BBC Sport website (6/11/18)). Having moved to Genk from Congolese side TP Mazembe in 2016, the number 10, who started his career with Simba SC, has become a positive influence both on and off the field in Tanzania.

On the field, he has recently led his country to their first AFCON finals for 28 years (see previous article). However, he has also been voted Tanzania’s most influential young person, encouraging young aspiring sportspeople to focus on education and schooling as well as cultivating their talent.

Samatta has registered 57 goals in 142 games for the Belgian club across four seasons, and with 20 goals thus far is currently the top-scorer in the Belgian top league in the 2018-2019 season. Genk look likely to win the league and earn automatic qualification for Champions League football next season.

His future may lie elsewhere, however, as Samatta has reportedly attracted the interest of larger European clubs, including Cardiff City, Leicester City and Everton of the English Premier League. We will watch his development and proud representation of his country abroad with great interest.

A short video of Samatta being interviewed is available on the BBC Sport website at https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/av/africa/46030892.

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REVIEWS

by Martin Walsh

TAKEN FOR A RIDE: GROUNDING NEOLIBRALISM, PRECARIOUS LABOUR, AND PUBLIC TRANSPORT IN AN AFRICAN METROPOLIS. Matteo Rizzo. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2017. xx + 216 pp. (hardback). ISBN 978-0-19-879424-0. £55.
Much like Matteo Rizzo, one of the most abiding memories of my first trip to Dar es Salaam (in 2006) was the seemingly endless network of patched-up, dilapidated minibuses emblazoned with colourful messages (that I was unable to understand at the time). And yet Taken for a Ride gives the reader a chance to demystify the mass transportation system in Tanzania’s major port and commercial city, and should appeal to anyone with a passing interest in major conurbations in sub-Saharan Africa.

This book draws on rich ethnographic accounts over at least seven separate periods of fieldwork, between 1998 and 2014. It goes into forensic detail to offer a rich historical tapestry of the provision of transport in Dar es Salaam. This begins with a discussion of the socialist period after Tanzanian independence (1961), and subsequently outlines the impact of the deregulation of what was previously a tightly regulated, state-run transport system in 1983. An explosion of private alternatives to cover an unmet demand saw the emergence of the daladala (minibus) system, a significant focus of the book.

One of the more impressive aspects of this book is that it manages to situate the opening up of transport in Dar es Salaam in two ways: 1) as part of the broader global ascent of neoliberalism, and 2) as part of the more specific political economy of Tanzania. For example, argues Rizzo, the speeding and overloading of daladala is a result of deregulation, as well as the economic reality of exploitation of bus workers by bus owners who demand high fees and leads the former to work very long hours. Yet a lack of viable employment alternatives leads Rizzo to connect this specific discussion of transport workers in Dar es Salaam to Mike Davis’ famous text Planet of Slums (2006) and his description of urbanisation in the Global South as marked by the creation of ‘cities without jobs’ (p. 3).

Rizzo’s historical overview also demonstrates that while daladala provide a vital service in light of chronic shortages in public transport provision by the state, they serve to question the neoliberal logic that favours private operators in unregulated markets. The process of deregulation, of course, went far beyond the transport system and represents a broader shift in Tanzanian political economy during the 1980s. Rizzo, however, goes beyond generic analysis by ‘grounding neoliberalism’ within the specific context of public transport provision in Dar es Salaam. It is noteworthy that the book concludes with a discussion of the Bus Rapid Transit Project, a recent public-private initiative that presents the latest attempt to change the dynamics of transport in Dar es Salaam.

Aside from the specifics of the transport system, Rizzo also details the complexities of labour mobilisation and the different class positions and identities held by drivers, conductors and fare collectors within daladala. While each of the chapters remain refreshingly concise, they still offer incisive analysis of: the differential experiences and related class positions of bus owners and workers; successes and failures of unionisation; and the specific and varied work trajectories of daladala workers. Rizzo sees the main contribution of the book is ‘the investigation of how “classes of labour” fare in the context of bus public transport’ and in order to do so he draws from what he describes as ‘undogmatic Marxist work on informal labour’ (p. 14).

The deliberate emphasis on the material and the economic realities of the transport network and its workers, and the laudable commitment to Marxist analysis perhaps leaves a rich period of longitudinal ethnographic research underexplored. This also leads to a bit of ‘straw man’ argument when it comes to the discussion of postcolonial theory, obscuring some the contributions made to the discussion of African cities that are not always divorced from material reality (especially in the work of Achille Mbembe). Not only does the text ‘ground’ neoliberalism, but it also emphasises a truly ‘grinding’ set of economic realities for most people in Dar es Salaam today. Indeed, I wholeheartedly embrace Rizzo’s general view that being exploited by (global and local) forms of capitalism is generally preferable to being excluded.

This book contributes a great deal to broader discussions about the politics of labour, informal economies, and class formation in African cities and is embedded and specific to the context of Dar es Salaam. While clearly an academic text, this is an easy book to read and will be of interest to a wide audience. It is a ‘must read’ for anyone engaging in urban life in Africa, and especially in Tanzania.
Rob Ahearne

Rob Ahearne is a Senior Lecturer in International Development at the University of East London. He has years of experience of living and working in the Mtwara region of southern Tanzania. He first spent a year there in 2006-07, where he helped to establish a small NGO working closely with three rural primary schools. He conducted fieldwork in Mtwara region in 2009-10 and was awarded a PhD at the University of Manchester in 2011 for a study of alternative life histories among older people. Rob has continued to conduct research in southern Tanzania, with a focus on incipient processes of natural gas extraction. He has published in various academic journals and regularly contributes pieces about contemporary Tanzanian politics to The Conversation.

TRACES OF THE FUTURE: AN ARCHAEOLOGY OF MEDICAL SCIENCE IN AFRICA. Paul Wenzel Geissler, Guillaume Lachenal, John Manton and Noémi Tousignant (editors). Intellect Books, Bristol, 2016. 256 pp. (hardback). ISBN 978-1-78320-725-1. £21.50.

Material studies, African history, and medical anthropology merge in this unique text, which is best be described as an archaeology of colonial biomedical research and futures in sub-Saharan Africa. Historians and anthropologists who study Africa have tended to engage with healing, medicine and bioethics in one of two ways: through stories of imposed colonial medical knowledge and systems on African societies or through the entanglements of Western-style medicine and traditional African healing in modern therapeutics. This volume is different, even playful, in that it successfully treats the material debris of, and present memories about, colonial medical programmes and projects to reflect on time, temporality, past failures, and contemporary disenchantment.

The book further addresses how underemphasised sources – materials and reflections from interviews – can make intimate and powerful stories that imbricate the past, present, and future to grapple with the metaphorical excavation of “past futures”. By doing so, the editors and contributors confront standard academic ways of knowing the world that emphasise linear histories dependent on purely archival sources. What they discover is what many archaeologists have known for some time: that materials (including their durability and wear), when considered alongside other historical sources, help to democratise pasts (contra the top-down perspective of French historian Pierre Nora) and to collapse time on itself (so there is a presence of many times at once).

The lead section of the book (pp. 9-38) outlines the volume’s theoretical foundations and its approach. To achieve the collective goal, the editors and authors articulate five case studies, one each from Cameroon, Nigeria, Kenya, Senegal, and Tanzania. They build collages of evidence from architectural ruins, laboratory equipment from the 20th century, formal texts, field notes, interviews, and photographs. From this, they make narratives that are intended to elicit emotions about ‘progress’ and life-and-death in the tropics. The book is an interrogation of time and power, à la Imperial Debris: On Ruins and Ruination, a well-regarded book edited by Ann Laura Stoler.

The lieux de mémoire captured by the authors of Traces of the Future subverts Nora’s treatments by bringing into clear relief Africans’ expectations of modernity across a tumultuous period. In Traces, most interviewees frame colonial medicine as a failed intervention. In many ways, the overall volume is illustrative of “dark heritage”. Its primarily visual orientation, including numerous glossy colour photographs, helps the reader to understand medical research and bioethics in Africa during the period from the 1940s to the1960s. In addition, and perhaps more importantly, the chapters motivate the audience to reflect in affective ways on the roles that states, institutions, and scientists (may) play in past and future vulnerabilities.

The chapter on Amani Hill Research Station in northeast Tanzania addresses how the site’s roles and representations of it have been appropriated and negotiated through time up to the present. From 1902 onward, the Amani facility was shaped by German, French, Soviet, East African, and then Tanzanian influences and interests. Past African participants and their descendants hold conflicting memories of it as a symbol of potential decolonised futures where Africanised medicine was anticipated to better meet the needs of patients and citizens. Images of dilapidated buildings and objects – as if frozen in time – in ruined laboratories at Amani accompany documents intended to elicit emotion and stir reflection in the reader. As the authors demonstrate well, material traces carry forward glimpses of stories to be renegotiated in present and future circumstances. These traces also often become the subject of rumour and innuendo.

The editors and authors of this chapter and the whole volume accomplish their goals, but there are also some concerning discordances and absences. It is worth considering whether the text treats objects as the perfect postcolonial subject, in that materials are interpreted in a way that validates the interpretations of Western-trained scholars. Why, instead, is there not a more substantial engagement meaningfully linking materials to people? The two primary types of sources – materials and oral reflections – in most instances seem to be overly disconnected rather than more fully entangled. Does this tendency in practice replicate a colonial gaze instead of critiquing it?

Two other observations deserve mention. It is unfortunate that the book does not quote more from archaeologists who work in Africa, and especially Africans who are archaeologists. There is a substantial global literature on entanglements among materials, memories, temporalities, and futures authored by archaeologists, including Shannon Lee Dawdy, Joost Fontein, Webber Ndoro, Ferdinand De Jong, and Alfredo González-Ruibal. Secondly, it is interesting that the historians and anthropologists who guide the volume promote “being with the past”. Archaeologists have long practised their craft in this manner. They work on landscapes, interact with people and materials, and so forth, while historians have tended to remain in archives, often never visiting the places or communities which they write about.

In fact, “archaeology” was considered a bad word among historians decades ago, including in the History Department at the University of Dar es Salaam. To Marxist historians there, archaeology was not considered a topic that engaged the present and future needs of Tanzanians. Moreover, in general archaeology was treated as a handmaiden to history. During the last two decades, historians and cultural anthropologists have begun to recognise the importance of materials to remake historical interpretations and representations from more inclusive perspectives.

In Traces of the Future, colonial science and its future orientation take on new meanings under changed circumstances in five areas of the continent. Under the deft artistry of the editors and authors, readers will realise the potential role of contemporary archaeology to dig deep in an era of disenchantment.
Jonathan R. Walz

Jonathan R. Walz, PhD, is Associate Professor and Graduate Program Chair at the SIT-Graduate Institute in Vermont, USA. His scholarly interests include the history and anthropology of eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean. He is currently stationed in Zanzibar, where he leads graduate and undergraduate programmes on human livelihoods, coastal ecology, and climate change.

Also noticed: THE SWAHILI WORLD. Stephanie Wynne-Jones and Adria LaViolette (edi
tors). Routledge, London and New York, 2018. xxv + 672 pp. (hardback). ISBN 978-1-138-91346-2. £136.

Let me begin by declaring an interest: I received a copy of this doorstopper because I contributed one of its numerous chapters. I’ll therefore confine this unsolicited notice to a broad outline of its contents and a few additional observations.

According to the publisher’s enthusiastic blurb, “The Swahili World presents the fascinating story of a major world civilisation, exploring the archaeology, history, linguistics, and anthropology of the Indian Ocean coast of Africa. It covers a 1,500-year sweep of history, from the first settlement of the coast to the complex urban tradition found there today. […] This is the first volume to explore the Swahili in chronological perspective. Each chapter offers a unique wealth of detail on an aspect of the region’s past, written by the leading scholars on the subject. The result is a book that allows both specialist and non-specialist readers to explore the diversity of the Swahili tradition, how Swahili society has changed over time, as well as how our understandings of the region have shifted since Swahili studies first began.” And that’s just an extract.

The introductory chapter by the editors, archaeologists Stephanie Wynne-Jones and Adria LaViolette, is followed by 55 others. Part I, “Environment, background and Swahili historiography”, comprises seven chapters including discussions of Swahili identity, genetic ancestry, and the early history of the Swahili language. Part II, “The Swahili Age”, is divided into sections on “Origins and early emporia”, “Swahili urbanism”, “Daily life”, “Trade and connectivity”, “Objects of exchange”, and “Swahili architecture”. While some of the 36 chapters in this part of the book are thematic, others deal with particular locations, including different settlements on the Tanzanian coast and islands. The third and final part, “The early modern and modern Swahili coast”, includes 12 chapters, divided between sections on “Colonial domination and the rise of Zanzibar” and “The contemporary coast”.

The Swahili World is one of a series of such tomes in the “Routledge Worlds” series. The publication of large multi-authored collections of this kind is a growing trend. Although the original recommended retail price was a wallet-shrinking £170, new hardback copies can now be bought online at not much over a third of this price, and the e-book is cheaper still. This is still a lot of money, and I must admit that one of my incentives for contributing to volumes like this is so that I don’t have to pay for them. The book was actually in my hands at the start of November 2017: Routledge, like other commercial publishers, have adopted the annoying practice of forward-dating so that their books seem to be hot off the press even as they are cooling down. Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to reading it.

Martin Walsh
Martin Walsh is the Book Reviews Editor of Tanzanian Affairs.

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OBITUARIES

by Ben Taylor

Ruge Matahaba
Media and entertainment entrepreneur, Ruge Mutahaba, died in a South African hospital in February at the age of 49, following kidney failure. Officially, Ruge was Director of Strategy and Programmes Development at Clouds Media Group, but he was much more than this. He had played a leading role in transforming the popular music and entertainment industry in Tanzania over the past two decades.

Ruge co-founded Clouds Media with his long-time collaborator and business partner, Joseph Kusaga. The new radio station arrived into a music scene dominated by decades-old Tanzanian classics and stars and their music imported from the DRC or USA, and up-ended it. Ruge promoted local acts, enabling young Tanzanians to develop a musical style and culture of their own. Bongo Flava may draw heavily on American hip-hop, but it combines this with elements from taarab and dansi music as well as the creativity and imagination of street Swahili to create something uniquely and recognisably Tanzanian.

Ruge didn’t invent the style, but he enabled it to flourish. And with Ruge at the helm, Tanzanian youth culture became cool again. As social and political commentator, Elsie Eyakuze, notes, “we youth went from being nobodies to a real demographic with a voice and power. And all this because one young man decided to dedicate his entire life-force to what he loved and to do it in the country he loved. That’s why nowadays anything youth is possible.”

“We believed there was room for us to make some money in the most unconventional ways, and to promote local content because some young men had started making music,” Ruge said. Besides Clouds Media, Ruge played influential roles in establishing the Fiesta concert series, Primetime Promotions, the Smooth Vibes record label, the Sauti za Busara festival, the Fursa campaign, and Tanzania House of Talent.

Ruge Mutahaba was born in Berkeley, California in 1970. He studied primary school in Arusha and Dar es Salaam, before progressing to Forodhani Secondary for O-level and Pugu High School for A–level studies. He later joined San Jose University of California for degrees in marketing and finance.

Perhaps the best evidence of Ruge’s impact on popular culture in Tanzania is to witness the response to his death. Thousands lined the streets in mourning, first in Dar es Salaam and later in Bukoba when his body returned from South Africa.

“It is with great sadness that I received the news on the passing of my son Ruge Mutahaba,” said President John Magufuli on Twitter. “I will forever remember him for his huge contribution in the media and entertainment industry as well as his efforts in mentoring the youth. My sincere condolences to his family and friends.”

Former Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete said he was at a loss for words. “My heart bleeds and is filled with sadness after receiving news on the death of Ruge Mutahaba. The nation has lost a young visionary and patriot. He helped me during and even after my presidency. May he rest in peace,” Kikwete posted on Twitter.

“I do not like small dreams, I like big dreams,” Mutahaba said while delivering a lecture at University of Dodoma. “You need to be aggressive and please do not stop until you are a star.”

Hatim Amir Karimjee
It is with profound sadness that the Karimjee Jivanjee family announce the passing of Hatim Amir Karimjee on 12 January, 2019 at the age of 73, in London, England, surrounded by family and close friends. He was born in Zanzibar, Tanzania on 27 July, 1945 to the late Amir Yusufali Karimjee O.B.E and the late Kulsum Amir Karimjee.

Hatim leaves behind a deep-rooted legacy of professional and philanthropic achievements honouring his family, his community, and his country. Hatim will be deeply missed and forever cherished by his wife, Razia, his son, Yusuf, his daughter-in-law Aran, his adored grandchildren Kaleem and Danyal, and his two siblings, Zamy and Mahmood Karimjee.

He will be greatly remembered for his generosity, his sharp wit and booming spirit; his appreciation of art, and his fervent love for food, wine and travel. Hatim’s appetite for life will live on through those who knew and loved him.
Hafiz Khandwala

Peter Le Mare
Soil scientist, woodworker, yoghurt maker, occasional needleworker and environmentalist, Peter Le Mare, has died aged 95. Peter worked on the Tanganyika groundnut scheme at Kongwa in the 1940s, initially living and working in tents until houses were built.

When the scheme, intended to supply vegetable oil for the UK’s post-war diet, folded in 1952, Peter moved to Uganda, before returning to Tanzania in 1963. Peter worked on fertiliser use for tropical soils at Ukiriguru, where, in 1965, he had the honour of escorting President Julius Nyerere, for whom he had great respect, around the research plots.

Peter went to Friends’ school, Saffron Walden, in Essex, and Leighton Park school, Reading. A conscientious objector during the second world war, he was instructed to “work full-time on the land”. He went first to Rothamsted Experimental Station, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, where he assisted with field experiments to improve soil fertility and the wartime production of food.

In 1945 he began working at the ICI Research Station near Bracknell, Berkshire, where he met Joy Smallwood, a horticulturalist. They married in 1946, before moving to east Africa the following year. While there, Peter sailed on Lake Victoria in a dinghy he had built himself and climbed Kilimanjaro.

The family returned to the UK in 1969 where, back at Rothamsted, Peter wrote his PhD based on his overseas work. In 1973 he became a research fellow at Reading University specialising in tropical food crops.
Margaret Le Mare

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TA ISSUE 122

TA cover featured gender rights activist, Rebeca Gyumi, Tanzanian gender rights activist, Rebeca Gyumi, who has been awarded the UN Human Rights Prize

Politics
Ferry Tragedy
Rebeca Gyumi wins UN Human Rights prize

A pdf of the issue can be downloaded here

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POLITICS

by Ben Taylor

President Magufuli with Japanese Ambassador Masaharu Yoshida at the opening of the Mfugale flyover at TAZARA

President Magufuli celebrates three years of achievements
At a forum held at the University of Dar es Salaam in November, President Magufuli spoke of his administration’s achievements, citing expansion of industry, economic progress, removal of ghost workers from the government payroll and more.

The President, who was seated with the rest of the audience, won the praise of all the dons who took part in the discussion, including professors Humphrey Moshi, Hudson Nkotagu, Martha Qorro, Kitila Mkumbo and Rwekaza Mukandala.

President Magufuli detailed a number of achievements, including infrastructure development projects that are currently underway, and reviving Air Tanzania. He added that during the three years, Tanzania had managed to accumulate a total of $5.4 billion as the country’s foreign exchange reserves.

“This amount, which is enough to cover six months of Tanzania’s import requirements, has never been realised before. This has been possible due to prudent policies and controlling wasteful spending, including banning unnecessary foreign trips by government officials,” he said.

Contrary to some reports that Tanzania’s business climate was worsening, President Magufuli said that the country was the leading source of foreign direct investments (FDIs) among member states of the East African Community.

He restated his determination to implement the Stiegler’s Gorge Hydroelectric Power generation project in the hope that it would ensure that Tanzania had reliable and affordable electricity. He noted that a total of 32.5% of Tanzania’s land area is protected, trashing arguments that developing the 2,100MW Stiegler’s Gorge hydroelectric power generation project in the Selous Game Reserve would have some dire consequences on the environment and on tourism.

He argued that the project would reduce power costs, attract more investments and reduce prices of locally produced products, slamming some experts who produced an environmental impact assessment report to the effect that developing the project was bad for the environment.

On the topic of ghost workers, President Magufuli said previously TSh 237bn was being paid as salaries to ghost workers and TSh 189bn to workers with fake academic credentials on an annual basis. “Before the crackdown(s), the total civil service payroll was TSh 777bn per year, but we are now spending just TSh 251bn to pay salaries to our employees,” he said, adding: “There was a certain public official who was pocketing the salaries of 17 ghost workers every month… that is how Tanzania was.”

On industrial development, the President stated that a total of “3,066 new industries” have been established across the country in three years that he has been in power. He said this means new employment opportunities for thousands of Tanzanians in the country. He added that his government has already issued instructions to investors who have failed to develop industries they acquired some years ago to surrender them to the government.

He also remarked that “Tanzania will no longer supply raw materials abroad; we cannot continue with that business, instead we are going to produce and export ready-made goods to them.”

Finally, he recounted how the government has tightened control on unnecessary expenditures such as foreign travel by public officials, which has increased the amount of foreign reserves with the Bank of Tanzania. “Some officials were just spending public funds on flights, people were travelling abroad unnecessarily, some were conducting meetings in Dubai instead of using their offices’ boardrooms,” explained President Magufuli.

The former UDSM vice chancellor Prof Rwekaza Mukandala compared Dr Magufuli and Mwalimu Julius Nyerere in various aspects. He said Magufuli has a similar zero-tolerance approach to the late Nyerere on issues of corruption, unemployment, aid dependency, and laziness. “His fate will be known after the 2020 General Election,” he said.

Opposition parties complain of tightening restrictions
The year 2018 has been a challenging one for opposition parties. First, they have suffered multiple defections to the ruling CCM – including ten MPs (7 from Chadema, 3 from CUF), almost all of whom were re-elected in by-elections to represent the same constituencies for CCM, and over 200 local councillors.

CCM attributed sweeping victories in the by-elections to the party’s acceptance by the public. In contrast, the opposition, particularly Chadema and ACT Wazalendo, called foul play and pointed to multiple irregularities, claiming that CCM had used state organs to rig elections. The two opposition parties ended up boycotting participation in by-elections while pressing for major reforms to contain irregularities recorded during the previous polls.

Second, opposition leaders have been very busy battling cases in various courts. Leaders involved in criminal cases include Chadema chairman, Freeman Mbowe; secretary general Vincent Mashinji; deputy secretary general (Mainland), John Mnyika; deputy secretary general (Zanzibar), Salumu Mwalimu; Iringa MP, Peter Msigwa; Tarime Urban MP, Esther Matiko; Tarime Rural MP, John Heche; and the women’s wing chair and Kawe MP, Halima Mdee. This group face charges of incitement, alleged to have been committed in Dar es Salaam in February, on the same occasion when the police are alleged to have inadvertently caused the death of a student, Akwilina Akwiline (see TA120). The case forced Mr Mbowe and Ms Matiko to spend Christmas and New Year in remand prison after a court decided they had violated their bail conditions.

In a separate case in November, ACT Wazalendo party leader Zitto Kabwe was arrested and held for three days before being brought to court following remarks he made regarding clashes between citizens and police in Kigoma Region. Mr Kabwe was charged with three counts of incitement including intent to sow hatred among citizens and police through words he uttered during a press conference. He is accused of saying he had received reports from Mpete village, Uvinza district that over 100 people of Wanyantuzu ethnic group had been shot dead in clashes with security forces, though the police were yet to release information about the reported clashes.

A further series of cases saw the Mbeya Urban MP Joseph Mbilinyi, widely known as “Sugu” and the party’s secretary in the Southern Highlands, Emmanuel Masonga, being convicted for five months jail term after being found guilty of using abusive language against President Magufuli. They were released on May 10 this year after spending 73 days at Ruanda Prison.

Third, late in the year, long-mooted plans to amend the Political Parties Act of 1992 reached parliament, where a Bill of amendments to the Act was tabled. This follows several new laws and regulations introduced in the past few years that similarly tighten controls on the media, social media and bloggers, and the use of statistics.

If passed, the Bill will give the Registrar of Political Parties powers that go well beyond the original purpose of his office – to administer the registration of political parties – turning the “Registrar” into something closer to a “Regulator”. Specifically, this includes extensive powers to demand information – membership lists, details of party finances, and “any information as may be required.” Further, it includes the power to intervene in internal party management matters, such as administration of membership lists, restrictions on parties’ constitutions, and internal party disciplinary matters.

The bill also includes a new prohibition on parties acting as “a group that influences public opinion or government action,” restrictions on the formation of coalitions between parties, regulation of civic education and capacity building within parties, and a prohibition on parties forming any “militia, paramilitary or security group of any kind.”

The opposition and human rights defenders think the amendments are intended to kill the opposition and turn the country into a single party state, something that was strongly refuted by government authorities.

2019 year of action – the “Zanzibar Declaration”
In response to these and other challenges, a group of six opposition parties have said they will dedicate 2019 to mobilising the public to demand more democratic space.

Representatives of six leading opposition parties — including Chadema, Civic United Front (CUF) and ACT Wazalendo — met in Zanzibar a week before Christmas and resolved to have a campaign of public action.

The declaration states that: “time has come to renew our commitment and strengthen our solidarity in pursuing a national agenda against rising authoritarianism, an agenda that goes beyond individual interests of our parties. This will require courage to withstand the onslaught that we will face from the regime, firmness in our solidarity when attempts will be made to break it, and commitment towards inviting and incorporating other potential allies as equals in this movement.”

“We pronounce that 2019 is a year of reclaiming our democracy and taking back our powers and rights as enshrined within the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, the Constitution of Zanzibar and other enabling pieces of legislation. We will hold public rallies in any and all corners of the United Republic of Tanzania. We will not allow an unconstitutional and unlawful order to restrict us to our individual constituencies. If the government is threatened by us exercising our constitutional rights, we dare them to take us to court.”

“We declare that we will unanimously embrace all citizens and all social and economic groups in the country willing to conquer their fears and join the grand coalition that we envisage to defend our democracy. We vow that we will no longer be silenced or intimidated; we will no longer succumb to the state sanctioned violence against our individual and collective rights and entitlements. We commit ourselves to taking this message of freedom to all our fellow leaders, constituents, and allies and support them in taking action, whether small or large, as a symbol of solidarity.”

In response, the deputy Minister of Home Affairs Hamad Yusuph Masauni immediately warned the opposition that they will face stern action from the state if they dared to go through with their plans.

Meanwhile, in Belgium, recuperating Singida East MP (Chadema) Tundu Lissu said that he was homesick as he marked one year since surviving an “assassination” attempt in Dodoma. Mr Lissu, was sprayed with 32 bullets out which 16 hit him when returning home after a parliamentary session. He was rushed to the Dodoma Referral Hospital, then to Nairobi in Kenya and finally to Belgium where he has made good progress. Speculation has grown that Lissu may be given the opportunity to contest for the presidency in 2020 on the Chadema ticket.

Nutty politics
The row over trade in cashew-nuts and the related tax revenues – see TA121 – took a new twist with the harvest of the 2018 crop. Farmers and middle-men refused to sell the crop to international traders on the grounds that the price being offered was lower than the cost of production.

With prices having fallen since 2017 for cashews on the global market, traders were reportedly offering farmers TSh 3,300 per kilogramme, down from TSh 4,500 a year earlier.

President John Magufuli ordered a 94% increase in the domestic price to help the farmers, but few private buyers were willing to pay the higher price. As a result, the President directed the government to buy the estimated 220,000 tonne crop, through the army and the Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank (TADB).

Military personnel have since been ferrying truckloads of the crop purchased by the government to selected storage areas.

In recent years, cashews have been the leading agricultural export product for Tanzania, with a reported value of USD $340m in 2017. This easily surpasses earnings from coffee, cotton, tea, cloves and sisal combined.

The President further directed that if no international buyers could be found to purchase the crop from the government, Tanzania would process the nuts in-country.

The country’s cashew processing plants, however, have been under-used for years and were found to be in poor condition. The Minister of Trade and Industry, Joseph Kakunda, removed two senior civil servants over the issue, citing negligence which he said had led to deterioration of the factories. “We can’t have people whose speed of work can’t match that of President Magufuli, said Mr Kakunda.”

According to reports, Mtwara has eight processing factories with an annual capacity of 12,500 tonnes. A further facility in Lindi region, which can reportedly process up to 20,000 tonnes annually when fully operational, was repossessed by the government from its private owner. However, this still leaves the country well short of capacity to process the estimated 220,000 tonne crop.

In addition to their roles in purchasing and transporting the crop, the Tanzania People’s Defence Force (TPDF) were instructed to evaluate the state of the factories and then bring them up to standard.

The purchase of cashews was also beset by problems. It emerged that many of those trying to sell nuts were not themselves farmers, but rather middle-men who had previously purchased the crop from farmers. The government directed that only those who could prove that they had themselves produced the crop, leaving traders facing the prospect of huge losses.

Observers have also argued that the imposed arrangements which guarantee farmers to receive the whole price, without the usual deductions for farm inputs, transport and other administrative costs will likely complicate loan recovery, especially for cooperative unions and farmer associations as well as private suppliers. An arrangement where farmers were being deducted TSh 30 per kilo to fund local education programmes will also be disrupted. Mtama MP and former minister Nape Nnauye told Parliament that TSh 400 million was raised this way for Lindi region last season.

President Magufuli sacked both the Minister of Agriculture Charles Tizeba and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment Charles Mwijage in a mini-Cabinet reshuffle, disbanded the Cashewnut Board of Tanzania and revoked the appointment of board chairperson Anna Abdallah.

The President’s actions on this issue have been popular with farmers in the southern cashew-growing regions of Mtwara and Lindi, but serious questions remain unanswered. Will the government find buyers on the international market willing to pay higher prices, will it be able to process a sufficient quantity of nuts within Tanzania, or will the government be left holding a product that nobody will buy and nobody can process? What will be the medium and long-term impact on the agricultural economy in Mtwara and Lindi, including other actors such traders, transporters, cooperative unions and providers of credit as well as farmers themselves?

The legality of some aspects of what has become known as “Operation Korosho” has been called into question, particularly the source of funds to purchase the nuts.

“The government needs 600 billion Shillings to pay farmers. This money requires parliamentary approval,” wrote opposition leader Zitto Kabwe on Twitter. “If the President wants to do this without following the law we will oppose him.”

Dr. Azaveli Lwaitama, a lecturer from Josiah Kibira University College, raised further questions: “I am a bit confused as to where the government is going to get the money with which to buy the cashew nuts at a price that free market traders are reluctant to pay. I am also confused about the extent to which the army personnel would quickly master the trade skills required in buying [and processing] the cashew nuts.”

“Finally, I am a bit confused about what will be the psychological frame of mind that will be generated among cashew nut farmers who will, in this case, stand across army personnel, presumably in army uniform, engaging in the business of selling their cashews. Was it not in Mtwara Region where the army was once deployed to educate the natives of those areas on the importance of allowing gas to flow from their region to Dar es Salaam? Perhaps the army personnel will be advised to wear business suits rather than army or national service uniforms!! It is certainly going to be an interesting situation for journalists to witness and share with the public, if allowed to do so!”

Rights and diplomacy
A diplomatic tiff between the government of Tanzania and several western governments, including major aid donors, was sparked by a crackdown on the LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender plus) community in Dar es Salaam.

The region’s firebrand Regional Commissioner, Paul Makonda, a close ally of President Magufuli, announced in early November the formation of a “hunting force” to seek out members of the LGBT+ community. The task force was to include members of the armed forces alongside the police and secret service.

This provoked an immediate international outcry, including condemnation from the UN Human Rights chief, Michelle Bachalet, the Tánaiste (Deputy Head of Government) of Ireland, Simon Coveney, and the Government of Denmark. The World Bank temporarily suspended travel by its representatives to Tanzania, on the grounds that it could not guarantee the security of LGBT+ employees.

In response the Tanzanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs slapped down the Regional Commissioner, issuing a statement: “The government of the United Republic of Tanzania would like to clarify that these are Paul Makonda’s personal views and not the position of the government.” It added that the government would “continue to respect all international human rights conventions which it subscribes to”. The crackdown effectively stopped before it had even begun.

Nevertheless, the diplomatic storm continued to roll on. The Danish government suspended USD $9m in aid payments, pending a review of the human rights and civic space situation in the country.

The European Union Ambassador, Roeland van de Geer, left the country at short notice, recalled to Brussels. He was reportedly given an ultimatum to leave the country. The EU then issued a statement saying he had been “recalled to headquarters for consultations at political level over the situation in Tanzania.”

The EU office in Dar es Salaam then released a short statement in which it suggests its fallout with Tanzania had been due to concerns about human rights issues and the rule of law. “The EU regrets the deterioration of the human rights and rule of law situation in the country (Tanzania) and will be conducting a broader review of its relations with Tanzania,” read the statement.

Members of the United States Senate released a letter expressing concern regarding Tanzania’s worsening human rights situation. Cosigned by Senators Robert Menendez, Edward J. Markey, Christopher J. Coons and Cory A. Booker, the statement is addressed to Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State. It decries the shrinking civic and political space that have been leading to erosion of civil liberties and democratic gains in Tanzania.

On the same day, the EU Parliament adopted a resolution taking stock of the human rights situation in Tanzania. The resolution reads, in part: “Tanzanian authorities must stop suppressing the country’s LGBTI community, and repeal laws criminalising homosexuality. MEPs express their serious concern about the deteriorating political situation in Tanzania, which has worsened since the election of President John Pombe Magufuli in 2015.”

The EU Parliament’s resolution clearly shows two related aspects of the international community’s concerns regarding human rights in Tanzania. First, there is the specific issue of the crackdown on rights of the LGBT community. Second, there is wider concern about the human rights environment in Tanzania as a whole. While the former issue has prompted a far more strident response from the diplomatic community than growing concerns about rights in general, this can be seen in part as “the straw that broke the camel’s back”. It is also likely in part a reflection of the domestic politics with the EU and US, where LGBT rights are higher on the public agenda than broader – and perhaps less clear-cut – general human rights concerns.

Within Tanzania, the former Executive Director of the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC), Dr Hellen Kijo-Bisimba, put the blame on Makonda’s appointing authority, President John Magufuli. She said that the President’s failure to hold his appointee accountable has intensified Makonda’s sense of impunity. “The RC has become so arrogant knowing that nothing can happen to him no matter what he does,” she said.
Under British colonial-era laws, homosexuality is illegal in Tanzania and same-sex acts between men are punishable by a maximum life sentence.

Anti-gay sentiment has increased under President Magufuli’s administration, forcing most gays, lesbians and other sexual minorities to live in secrecy. AIDS clinics have also been shut down, accused of “promoting” homosexuality.

President intervenes in pension dispute
President Magufuli personally intervened in a pension dispute that threatened to affect the pension entitlements of many retiring civil servants.
Following the merger of several pension funds into a single fund for public servants, Public Service Social Security Fund (PSSSF), the government had enacted new regulations that would have dramatically altered payment of civil service pensions. Previously, retiring civil servants were entitled to a lump-sum payment immediate on retirement worth 50% of their pension savings, with the remaining amount spread over monthly payments for 12 years. The new regulations would have halved the amount provided up-front and increased monthly payments.

Several trade unions leaders and MPs complained about the new arrangements, saying they had been imposed without consultations and that the government had “tried to sneak them through” without proper scrutiny.

President Magufuli stepped in and quashed the new pensions payment formula. Just hours later, he fired the Social Security Regulatory Authority (SSRA) director general, Irene Isaka. He further directed that a team of stakeholders be formed to come up with an agreeable pension payment formula.

The President’s move will benefit more than 58,000 public sector workers set to retire between now and 2023, the window within which the old pension payment formula will remain in effect. It was not immediately clear if those who recently retired under the new law and whose lowly payments raised the hue and cry will be considered for a top-up.

Workers welcomed Dr Magufuli’s decision to side with them and order a fresh look at the pension payments across the board.

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MO DEWJI ABDUCTION DRAMA

by Ben Taylor

In the early hours of the morning of October 11, 2018, the prominent businessman and philanthropist, Mo Dewji (see TA108 and other issues), was abducted outside the Colosseum Hotel in the Oyster Bay area of Dar es Salaam. He was released in the middle of the night ten days later on the grounds of the Gymkhana Club golf course. Mr Dewji (43), reportedly Africa’s youngest dollar billionaire, had been planning to visit the gym at the Colosseum Hotel, as part of his normal routine. Police said he was dragged away by masked armed men as he arrived at the hotel.

Paul Makonda, the Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner, said: “They fired a gun and then they opened the gate. Initial information indicates he was kidnapped by whites travelling in two vehicles.”

This kicked off a police operation to identify the perpetrators and to find Dewji. However, the operation did not achieve decisive progress towards either goal, and security forces in Tanzania were left still racking their brains when Dewji was found ten days later.

The Inspector General of Police, Simon Sirro, said the kidnappers dumped Mr Dewji at the Gymkhana Golf Club grounds, close to State House, at around 2am and escaped. Footage showed a tired-looking Mo with dishevelled hair and wearing a t-shirt and jogging trousers as he thanked the police and President Magufuli for their efforts to find him.

Mr Sirro told reporters that the police found four guns including an AK47, three pistols and 35 bullets in the vehicle used in the kidnap. The abductors had tried to burn the car before they fled, he added. “All indications still show that the kidnappers were foreigners,” Mr Sirro said, adding that Mr Dewji told the police that “they were speaking English and very little Swahili.” Dewji later noted that he recognised their accents as South African.

Journalists were shown pictures of a dark blue car, a Toyota Surf, which Mr Sirro said entered the country six weeks before the abduction, from a neighbouring country that he did not name but which is widely believed to be Mozambique.

The motive of the kidnap has not been established, leaving Tanzanians with more questions than answers. The police were not forthcoming with information, fuelling rumours and direct allegations by opposition politicians that even the government was a suspect in this case.

The (UK) Times newspaper reported that some sources had “suggested that the Dewji abduction was planned not to end in his safe release, but the spontaneous national outpouring of distress prompted a change of plan. Although the government shared on social media platforms appeals for information, the president was quiet on the fate of one of his country’s most famous sons.”

A former soldier with experience of South Africa’s mercenary industry told The Times: “Complicity in the plot at a high level would have been needed for two white foreigners to enter and exit the country without detection.”

Questions have also been raised over Mo’s relationship with the government. He is believed to have been among the financial backers of the ruling CCM party in the 2015 elections, but this friendliness with the party seemed to wane after his business was hit with large fines over importation tax.

As far back as 2015, the newly-elected President Magufuli talked tough about the Dewji family’s unwillingness to hand over land they possessed to the government – land that was wanted for the liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Lindi, southern Tanzania. The land title was subsequently revoked and handed over to the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation.

The family also owns an expansive sisal farm in Korogwe, Tanga, which had been subject to a separate dispute. In December 2017 the government moved to repossess the land, but learnt that MeTL (Mo’s group of companies) had secured a loan from an international bank using the title.

Dewji was born in 1975 in rural Tanzania. His father, Gulam Dewji, transformed his mother’s shop into a thriving import-export business, which enabled Mo and his siblings to be sent to private schools and exclusive sports clubs. Mo showed a talent for golf, and his father sent him to the Arnold Palmer Golf Academy in Florida. But, when it was clear he wouldn’t make it to a professional grade, he enrolled at Georgetown University, in Washington DC, to study international business and finance.

Dewji returned to Tanzania and joined the family business as chief financial controller and quickly set about expanding the operation. MeTL is now the country’s largest home-grown business employing a reported 24,000 people and accounting for an estimated 3.5% of gross national product (GDP).

He has featured on the cover of Forbes magazine, which ranks him as Africa’s 17th-richest person with a fortune of $1.5bn. He also served as an MP for ten years from 2005, representing Singida Urban constituency for CCM.

“I thank Allah that I have returned home safely. I thank all my fellow Tanzanians, and everyone around the world for their prayers. I thank the authorities of Tanzania, including the police force for working for my safe return,” tweeted Mo in his first public words following the ordeal.

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FERRY TRAGEDY

by Ben Taylor
Over 200 dead in latest Lake Victoria ferry tragedy

Rescuers on the upturned hull of the MW Nyerere


The MV Nyerere, a ferry operating on Lake Victoria, capsized on September 20th. The Tanzanian government have declared that 228 people died as a result while 41 were rescued.

The ferry was running its route from Bugolora on Ukerewe Island to Bwisya on Ukara Island with passengers and a cargo of maize, bananas, and cement as well as a tractor. It went down in the afternoon, 50 metres from the dock of its intended destination.

Survivors said the man steering the vessel made a sharp turn after realising he was preparing to dock on the wrong side of the ship. With the ship close to docking, many passengers had congregated on one side of the boat, with the result that it was unbalanced and unable to cope with the sudden change of course. It keeled over wildly, righted itself, and capsized on the other side, throwing dozens of passengers – none of whom were wearing life jackets – into the lake. Most of those who drowned were trapped inside the upturned hull.

Originally, officials believed that the ferry may have been carrying more than 400 passengers, approximately four times the reported maximum capacity of the vessel. The precise number of passengers is unknown as the official responsible for dispensing tickets drowned and the machine that recorded the number of passengers was lost in the wreckage. A week after the incident, the government stated that “close to 270” passengers had been on board.

President John Magufuli declared four days of national mourning and ordered the arrest of “all those involved in the management of the ferry”.

The government formed an investigative team led by a former army general to establish the cause of the disaster. Subsequently, President Magufuli dissolved the board of directors of the Tanzania Electrical, Mechanical and Electronics Services Agency (TEMESA), which runs ferry services on Tanzania’s mainland, as well as the board of the transport regulator, the Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (SUMATRA).

Just one week earlier, on September 14th, the local MP, Joseph Mkundi (Chadema), had complained in parliament that he had repeatedly warned the government that the MV Nyerere was “malfunctioning” and in urgent need of repair. A government spokesperson responded that new engines had been fitted recently.

The day after the disaster, the Minister of Home Affairs, Kangi Lugola, warned people against spreading false information that might cause turmoil. President Magufuli later cautioned politicians not to take advantage of the situation to gain political popularity.

The tragedy has led to renewed calls to address overloading on passenger and cargo boats. Overloading is seen as being largely responsible both for this latest incident as well as previous Tanzanian ferry disasters, notably the sinking of the MV Bukoba on Lake Victoria in 1996 and the MV Spice Islander in the Indian Ocean in 2011, causing the loss of 892 and 1,573 lives respectively.

One commentator argued that “most commentaries miss the point when attributing blame for such disasters. Rather than focus on the culpability of those endangering lives by overloading vessels, they lament the lack of life boats or life jackets, untrained navigators, inadequate maintenance and so on. … The elementary starting point— that government agencies perform all the roles that affect the safety of passengers, and therefore share full responsibility for disasters when they happen—is carefully avoided.”

Pope Francis, the United Nations secretary-general, Russian President Vladimir Putin and a number of African leaders expressed shock and sorrow. “His Holiness Pope Francis expresses his heartfelt solidarity with those who mourn the loss of their loved ones and who fear for the lives of those still missing,” the condolence telegram said, according to the Vatican.

“Our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims of the Lake Victoria ferry accident. Our thoughts are with you. We cannot thank the rescuers enough,” said President Paul Kagame of Rwanda in a tweet.

The ferry did not sink and was righted a week after the disaster.

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REBECA GYUMI WINS UN HUMAN RIGHTS PRIZE

by Ben Taylor

Tanzanian gender rights activist, Rebeca Gyumi, has been awarded the prestigious UN Human Rights Prize.

Miss Gyumi is the 31-year-old Founder & Executive Director at Msichana Initiative, a civil society organization which aims to empower girls through education and addresses challenges which limit girls’ right to education. She has worked for over eight years with an organization working on youth, as a TV personality and youth advocate. Ms. Gyumi challenged the constitutionality of section 13 and 17 of The Law of Marriage Act of 1971 that allowed girls to marry at the age of 14 and 15 where there is parental consent or court’s sanction. She won the case before the High Court of Tanzania in 2016.

“I was pretty much shocked. So shocked and caught unaware that I was even considered for such a prestigious prize,” she said.

Rebeca had previous won the UNICEF Global Goal Award in 2016, and was named 2016 Woman of the Year by New Africa Magazine.

The Prize, established by the General Assembly in 1966 (A/RES/21/2217), was awarded for the first time in 1968 on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, on what is now known as Human Rights Day, 10 December.

This is the tenth award of the prize, coinciding this year with the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Previous winners have included Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter, Denis Mukwege, Malala Yusafzai, Amnesty International and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Gyumi first saw the injustice around her as a 13-year-old, when some of her schoolmates dropped out of school because of pregnancy and were married off.

A few years later, while studying law at University, she learned about the Law of Marriage Act of 1971 and saw the potential in trying to mount a legal challenge against it. “It bothered me that the age for boys to be married was 18 but for girls it was 14,” she said.

In 2016, with just a couple of years’ experience as a lawyer, Gyumi and her colleagues started work on a legal case to petition against the Marriage Act, compiling reports to prove that child marriage for girls was an serious issue nationwide and why it needed to be stopped.

They won their case; the High Court ruled that sections 13 and 17 of the Marriage Act were unconstitutional and that the age for girls to legally marry should be raised to 18.

“I was so happy that day for the fact that a girl child had won. I was overwhelmed with joy,” she says. “I felt duty bound to fight for the girls I had interacted with. They didn’t have enough information to know how to challenge what was happening to them.”

Though her success was celebrated by many around the country, not everyone was happy. She was attacked for promoting a “Western culture”, and the government launched an appeal against the ruling in 2017, arguing that child marriage can actually protect girls who get pregnant out of wedlock.

The case is currently in Tanzania’s high court with a verdict due soon.

“For me I feel like we are at the moment where our country really needs to defend girls’ rights,” said Rebeca. “This appeal does not send a good message of our country’s intention to protect girls generally. It will look really bad on the government if they win. There is no victory in winning a case that allows girls to get married younger. It’s not a victory a country can be proud of.”

Winning the 2018 Human Rights Prize puts Gyumi on the international stage alongside other activists such as Malala Yousafzai, Denis Mukwege and Nelson Mandela, and it’s not something she takes lightly.

“It’s not just a personal honour but my country’s honour, putting our country on the map. It’s a proud moment for me and for the girls I stood up for and for the ongoing global progress that is happening around girls’ and women’s rights.”

Asked by CNN what her message is to other young girls out there, her answer was simple: “I encourage you today to be brave and stand up for your truth.”

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AGRICULTURE

by David Brewin

Abnormal climate change
As countries all over the world are reeling from abnormal climatic change, Tanzania has, during recent months, been unable to escape many of the effects. Parts of the country have suffered from severe drought and the onset of the rains in March exacerbated problems in various parts of the country. Some homes, roads and farms have been destroyed but Tanzania appears to have suffered less than most of its neighbours from these problems.

Need for more sugar
Tanzania has a sugar cane deficit of 135,000 tonnes. Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa is therefore issuing import permits to private sugar manufacturers, enabling them to import while seeking investment in both cultivation and processing of sugar as a permanent solution.

The government is also setting aside approximately $300,000 to companies wishing to develop sugarcane plantations in Tanzania.

The National Social Security Fund as well as certain pension funds are contributing to sugar cane cultivation and production at Mkulazi Farm in the Morogoro Region. The Mkulazi Sugar factory, which is under construction, hopes to start production in January 2019, and produce 30,000 tonnes of sugar per year.

In Kagera Region, the Sultanate of Oman has agreed to invest new funds to increasing production at its factory from 60,000 tonnes to 300,000 tonnes per year.

Coffee
Tanzania is not a major coffee exporting country but it does produce Arabica (70% of coffee exports from Tanzania) of high quality in Moshi and other areas, and also Robusta (30%) which is the basis of cheaper instant coffee. In 2017/18, Tanzania ranked 19th in the world in terms of coffee production, exporting 48,000 metric tonnes to countries such as Germany, Japan, Italy, Belgium and France.

The Moshi Coffee Exchange is an auction which takes place every week in the Kilimanjaro Region, where licensed exporters can purchase coffee alongside unlicensed local exporters.

Other counties with significant exports of coffee are Ethiopia (33% of its exports), Rwanda (27%), Uganda (18%), with Tanzania on 5% and Kenya on 4%.

According to Tanzania Coffee Board Acting Director General Primus Kimayo, coffee production dropped to 780,000 bags in 2016/17 from 1.03 million bags in 2015/16. It was expected that there would be further reductions to 716,000 bags in 2017/18. This makes it difficult for farmers to meet the government’s target of 1.6 million bags by 2021.

Tanzanian coffee producers could produce more if farmers focused on all aspects of the production process and increased yields substantially. In Uganda, for example, in 2013 the government deployed the army to provide agricultural extension services and employed soldiers to improve production of coffee seedlings.

But the recent dramatically increased popularity of coffee in Europe and China. For example, a heading to an article published by the British Guardian newspaper read “Coffee culture is taking China by storm”. It pointed out to Tanzania that opportunities could arise to benefit by increasing its production, especially of premium Arabica coffee grown mainly in Moshi District.

Nile Perch & Human Rights
Controversy has been caused in Tanzania over dwindling stocks of Nile Perch fish in Lake Victoria caused by over-fishing. Research by the Tanzanian Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries shows that there are an estimated 1 million tonnes of fish in Lake Victoria – mostly the Nile perch – valued at between $300 and $500 million. It is estimated that in 2017 Tanzania harvested 300,000 tonnes of Nile perch. Harvests in Kenya and Uganda were about 50,000 tonnes and 350,000 tonnes respectively.

The three countries involved (Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya) are so concerned about the over-fishing that they have launched a joint operation known as “Save the Nile Perch” with fishing industries in the Lake starting to implement the plan. Each country has provided a budget of USD $600,000 each to go towards the cost. Controversy has arisen in the Tanzanian parliament as the government introduced measures to protect the Nile Perch stocks from being further reduced due to overfishing, and also to reduce corruption in the industry.

No time was lost in beginning to implement the project, but as strong measures began to take effect, MPs in parliament began to reflect on concerns about side effects. The MP for Geita, Constantine Kanyasu, spoke of high fines of up to 50 million Tanzanian Shillings ($22,000) imposed on fishermen found in possession of immature fish.

The MP for Ubungo, Saed Kubenea, described the operation as humiliating for residents, as officers were beating people, confiscating fishing gear, and soliciting bribes from the fishermen. “We want the operation halted and the Tanzanian government to review its plans and come up with another operation that would be conducted with respect for human rights,” he said.

The MPs asked the government to form a special committee to review the exercise.

Carrots
The Arumeru District Commissioner has imposed a blanket ban on the importation of Kenyan carrots in a bid to protect local producers from competition. He stated: “During the harvesting period, carrots are imported to Tanzania from Kenya but, by the powers I have been given by the President, not a single carrot will be imported into the district.” He said that he and all carrot farmers would stand along the Arusha-Moshi highway to inspect all lorries, to ensure that middlemen did not import a single carrot from Kenya. These actions have, of course, brought into question Tanzanians commitment to open its borders for cross-border trade, as required by the East African Communities Common Market Protocol.

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