by Ben Taylor

Debate on Health Insurance scheme
The government has launched new health insurance schemes, aimed at those not in formal employment, prompting discussion of such a scheme should operate in order to serve citizens best. Known as Najali Afya (I care about health), Wekeza Afya (Invest in health) and Timiza Afya (Achieve health), the new schemes are run by the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF).

At the launch, the director general of NHIF, Dr Bernard Konga, said the newly introduced packages will enable more people to access healthcare products and services. Previously, he said, health insurance scheme mainly covered workers in the formal economy. Under the new packages, membership fees are pegged at between TSh 192,000 and TSh 516,000 for Tanzanians aged from 18 to 39 years.

Earlier, Mr Konga had appealed to the government to make health insurance enrolment mandatory, so the country would achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC). According to him, under the current system most people remain uncovered because it is optional to join the health insurance schemes.

“At least 65% of the population doesn’t have access to the quality health services in the country because they have not enrolled on health insurance schemes,” said Dr Konga. “This can be eliminated only if the health insurance enrolment is made mandatory just like it is in some countries.”

The Parliamentary Committee on Social Services and Community Development noted that it was “no walk in the park” for low-income families to afford the annual fees. The committee’s chairman, Mr Peter Serukamba, suggested that the fees be paid on monthly basis during the year. Other committee members pointed to the fact that many health problems are not covered by the schemes, including cancer, hypertension and diabetes.

Further, opposition party ACT-Wazalendo criticised the government over the new schemes, arguing that it sought to exploit people through turning provision of basic services into a business, and that it would create social classes in accessing health care services. They argued that nobody ever chooses to fell sick or suffer from one kind or other of disease.

The Minister for Health, Ms Ummy Mwalimu, responded in a tweet, saying “the packages are entirely voluntary. No one is forced to enrol in one form or the other. Besides, they have not replaced the Community Health Insurance (CHF) arrangement, where the annual contribution rate remains TSh 30,000 for a household consisting of up to six members.”

The NHIF itself was quick to defend the fees for the schemes, arguing that they were reasonable and reflect the high healthcare costs.

Health Insurance has expanded considerably in recent years, with coverage rising to around 30% of citizens in 2018 from 20% just four years earlier. Expansion has been led by two government initiatives, namely NHIF and the CHF. This progress, and the new schemes, will not achieve the government’s previous target of universal insurance coverage by 2020. However, household surveys suggest that those with health insurance are more likely to seek professional help when they fall ill, and that they pay considerably less for their health services when the do so.

Ebola scare flares briefly
Ebola-related panic arose in Dar es Salaam and Mwanza in early September, when two patients showed Ebola-like symptoms. One of the patients, a 34 year old Tanzania doctor studying for a post-graduate course in Kampala, Uganda, died in Dar es Salaam on September 8. She was undergoing treatment at the Temeke Hospital Ebola Treatment Unit and her burial was supervised by the authorities, according to a leaked report by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

In response, some foreign embassies – including both the UK and the US – issued alerts to their citizens resident or travelling in Tanzania. The UK notice stated that “it appears probable that this is an Ebola-related death.”

The government moved quickly to allay fears. “We took samples of those two cases and I can confirm that the patients were not infected with the Ebola virus,’’ said Health Minister, Ms Ummy Mwalimu at a press conference. She added that she was the only authority mandated to announce an outbreak of diseases such as Ebola and other life-threatening epidemics, and termed reports which say six other people had developed Ebola-like symptoms as rumours.

However, several commentators reacted with some scepticism, pointing to a later WHO report that itself expressed caution: “to date [late September], clinical data, results of the investigations, possible contacts and potential laboratory tests performed for differential diagnosis of those patients have not been communicated to WHO. This information is required for WHO to be able to fully assess of the potential risk posed by this event.”

As no further cases were reported, it seems probably that these cases were not in fact Ebola. However, the government’s defensiveness and lack of transparency led to one observer of global health matters to state that “Tanzania has lost a great deal of credibility” over the matter.

There is heightened vigilance across East Africa over Ebola due to an outbreak of the viral disease in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and a reported case in Western Uganda at the border with the DRC (see TA 124).

DRC is grappling with the world’s second largest Ebola epidemic on record, with more than 2500 lives lost and 3000 confirmed infections since the outbreak was announced on August 1, 2018.

“I urge the public to take precautions. We have enhanced screening for suspected cases at key border areas with Uganda and DRC and ports,” said Ms Mwalimu.



Edited by Donovan McGrath

Siwema Selestine and her daughter in Tanzania – Photo Harry Freedland/Standing Voice

‘We are not ghosts’ – Tanzania’s people with albinism turn the lens on their lives
(Guardian online -UK) Used to fear, abandonment, even attack, a group of young people in a remote rural community are learning that photography can tell their stories and give them a place in society. Extract continues: Film-maker Harry Freedland, who took [a] portrait of Siwema Selestine and her daughter in Tanzania, set up Standing Voice in 2013 after making In the Shadow of the Sun, which follows two Tanzanian men with albinism and documents the discrimination and escalating violence against people with the condition. Albinism is a rare genetic condition that stops the body producing melanin. It is widely misunderstood in some countries where strikingly pale skin can trigger fear, stigmatisation and even attack. Some believe the body parts of people with albinism change fortunes when used in witchcraft. Ukerewe, an island on Lake Victoria, Tanzania, is home to 350,000 people. Discrimination against people with albinism has been strong there. Globally, albinism affects one in 18,000 people; in Tanzania, it is seven times more prevalent… Albinism affects the skin, hair and eyes, causing low vision and susceptibility to skin cancer. Poor eyesight can be misinterpreted as lack of ability: many with the condition leave school without qualifications and have to take on menial work outside. Africans with albinism often die painful deaths from skin cancer at a young age because of exposure to the sun… (29 September 2019)

Tanzanian court upholds a law banning child marriage
(CNN online – USA) Extract: … A high court ruling in 2016 had declared “unconstitutional” sections of Tanzania’s marriage act that allowed the practice. It also directed the government to raise the legal age of marriage to 18 years within a year. That judgement followed a legal challenge by children’s rights activists, who argued that the existing law had pushed many girls into underage marriages. But Tanzania’s attorney general launched an appeal – one of its claims was that child marriage could protect unmarried girls who get pregnant. The Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed the attorney general’s appeal … With two out of five girls being married off before their 18th birthday, Tanzania has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world … (23 October 2019)

US man drowns while proposing marriage to his girlfriend in Tanzania
(Guardian online – UK) Extract: A woman has paid a heart-breaking tribute to her boyfriend, who drowned while proposing marriage to her in Tanzania. Kenesha Antoine posted a video on Facebook of her boyfriend, Steven Weber, swimming up to the window of their underwater room at the Manta Resort on Pemba Island, off Tanzania. “I can’t hold my breath long enough to tell you everything I love about you. But everything I love about you I love more every day”! the note reads. In the video, the Louisiana man flips the page to show the message “Will you marry me?” before pulling out an engagement ring box. Antoine posted on Facebook that Weber “never emerged from those depths”. “You never got to hear my answer, ‘Yes! Yes! A million times, yes’. We never got to embrace and celebrate the beginning of the rest of our lives together, as the best day of our lives turned into the worst, in the cruellest twist of fate imaginable… “Wherever in the universe Steven’s spirit now resides … he’s probably entertaining someone with a story about how he royally screwed up that proposal and died while being extra.” The Manta Resort confirmed in a statement that a guest had died… (22 September 2019)

US says man can bring back ‘skin, skull, teeth and claws’ of hunted Tanzania lion
(Guardian online – UK) Extract: The Trump administration has authorised a Florida man to bring back the “skin, skull, teeth and claws” of a lion he hunted in Tanzania, granting the first permit to import a lion from that country since the species gained protection under the US Endangered Species Act. Environmental organizations say the move could open the floodgates for importing other endangered species such as lions and rhinos. A freedom of information request made public by the US Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS) also revealed that the hunter, Carl Atkinson, was represented by lawyer John Jackson III, who is also a member of the Trump administration’s International Wildlife Conservation Council, a controversial advisory board that promotes trophy hunting… “It signals that the administration is ready to approve, trophy imports from Tanzania despite that country’s history of wildlife mismanagement,” [said Tanya Sanerib, the international legal director for the Center for Biological Diversity]. Under the Obama administration, the import of elephant trophies from Tanzania were banned … Under Trump, the FWS reversed course and decided to instead evaluate applications to import elephant and lion trophies from all countries on a case-by-case basis… In a statement, FWS simply reiterated that “legal, well-regulated hunting” can help fund and promote wildlife conservation… [T]he department indicated that it would issue a permit to a Michigan hunter to import the skin, skull and horns from a critically endangered black rhinoceros killed in Namibia. (15 September 2019)

Tanzania Is Pressing Burundi Refugees to Leave, Says Report
(New York Times online – USA) Extract: … Human Rights Watch says tens of thousands of Burundian refugees face mounting pressure to involuntarily leave Tanzania amid efforts by authorities there to reduce the number of Burundians in the country. The rights group in a statement… charged that the fear of violence, arrest and deportation from Tanzania is driving many of the 163,000 Burundians out of the country. Burundi fell into instability in 2015 after President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would seek a disputed third term. The election was marked by violence and allegations of rigging. Nearly 350,000 of Burundi’s 11 million people fled. Tanzanian authorities have expressed frustration over what they say is the U.N.’s slow pace in repatriating refugees back to Burundi… (12 December 2019)

U.N. Report Bolsters Theory That Hammarskjold Plane Was Downed
(New York Times online – USA) Extract: A prominent jurist investigating the mysterious 1961 plane crash that killed the United Nations secretary general, Dag Hammarskjold, in southern Africa has concluded that the aircraft may have been attacked, and that four nations – Britain, Russia, South Africa and the United States – may be withholding information that could solve the puzzle. The jurist, Mohamed Chande Othman, a former chief justice of Tanzania, issued the conclusions in a 95-page report … posted on the website of the United Nations … Mr. Hammarskjold, a 56-year-old Swedish diplomat considered one of the most successful leaders of the United Nations, was on a mission to help settle a secessionist war in newly independent Congo, a former Belgian colony. His chartered aircraft, a DC-6, went down after midnight on Sept. 18, 1961, moments before its scheduled landing in Ndola, a town in what was then the British protectorate of Northern Rhodesia and is now Zambia. Fifteen people aboard, including Mr. Hammarskjold, members of his staff and crew, were killed in the crash. The sole survivor, an American security officer named Harold Julien, died of injuries six days later… Mr. Hammarskjold has been exalted as a model international statesman. He is the only person to have been posthumously awarded the Nobel Peace Prize… Initial investigations by the colonial authorities attributed the crash to pilot error, but suspicions of foul play multiplied in later years. Some theories hold that colonial-era mining interests, perhaps backed by Western intelligence agencies, had plotted to assassinate Mr. Hammarskjold, who was an avid promoter of African independence from colonial powers during the pivotal period of the Cold War. Other provocative bits of information appear to corroborate a theory that South African or Belgian mercenaries may have forced Mr. Hammarskjold’s plane to crash. But the evidence is far from conclusive… (31 October 2019)

Tanzanian Idris Sultan ‘held’ for Magufuli face-swap
(BBC News online – UK) Extract: Popular Tanzanian comedian Idris Sultan is being held by police after sharing face-swap photos of himself and President John Magufuli, his lawyer says. Extract continues: His lawyer said he was being held under the controversial Cybercrimes Act, which forbids using a computer system to “impersonate” someone else. If charged and convicted, he could face up to seven years in prison… Sultan, the one-time winner of Big Brother Africa, shared two photos on his social media accounts which have more than five million followers. One of the pictures shows Sultan posing on a presidential chair with the national seal, while the other shows Mr Magufuli’s face on the comedian’s body. The caption was in Swahili and read: “We swapped roles for a day so that he could enjoy his birthday in peace.” Shortly after the photos were posted, an Instagram comment, thought to be from Paul Makonda, the Regional Commissioner for Dar es Salaam, told Sultan to report to any police station in the city for further instructions, adding that he “doesn’t know the boundaries of his work.” A relative told the BBC that Sultan had turned himself in … The 2015 Cybercrimes Act has been criticised by human rights activists, who say it infringes on freedom of expression. Sultan is the second high-profile celebrity to run into trouble with the government. Top African performer Diamond Platnumz was barred from performing in Tanzania last year for “behaving indecently.” … There is a “shrinking space for freedom of expression” in Tanzania, according to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International… (31 October 2019)

‘Tell us the right PIN or you’re dead’: Terrified couple are abducted by four men inside a fake taxi after touching down in Tanzania for a holiday
(Daily Mail online – UK) Extract: A couple has recalled the frightening ordeal of being abducted and robbed by four men in a ‘taxi’ moments after arriving in a large city in Tanzania. Chris Williams and partner Tiffany Zyp from New Zealand’s North Island [were] on the overseas adventure of a lifetime. The pair [were] driven around the city to various ATMs – withdrawing a total of $4200 at the demand of their kidnappers. They were also robbed of the $500 cash they had on them and their phones in the terrifying two-hour ordeal … The couple, both aged 31, had just arrived by bus in the eastern port city of Dar es Salaam and were looking for a taxi to drive them to Zambia for the next leg of their adventure, the New Zealand Herald reported. They decided to take a taxi after striking up a friendly conversation with a driver. They were joined by three other men once inside the taxi, who pinned the couple in the back seat and threatened them… The men eventually released the couple, handing back their passports and empty wallets, and told them to ‘act normal when you leave or our friends will get you.’ … One man has reportedly … been arrested and released on bail. (21 August 2019)

Duke’s hidden talent! Prince William leaves a Tanzanian boy ‘gobsmacked’ by speaking to him confidently in Swahili in a ‘truly special moment’ at the Princess Diana Legacy Awards
(Daily Mail online – UK) Extract: … The Duke of Cambridge, 37, was meeting 20 recipients of Princess Diana’s Legacy awards for tea at Kensington Palace when he shocked Erick Venant, 25, from Tanzania, by speaking to him in Swahili… [Tessy Ojo, Chief executive of the Diana Award charity] told People magazine: ‘One of the young people is from Tanzania, and he started talking to him in Swahili… It wasn’t just one sentence. This was not something he had just read out of a book.’ … Erick was among a group of Legacy Award recipients, from across the UK and Commonwealth countries including Canada, Nigeria, Tanzania and India, who have had a significant impact on society. He was awarded after leading a nationwide anti-microbial resistance campaign in 23 administrative regions of Tanzania, which educated over 49,000 students and teachers in 114 secondary schools… It’s not the first time the royal has revealed his talents as a linguist, after speaking Swahili to Tanzanian President John Magufuli while on a trip last year… While he is not believed to be fluent, Prince William taught himself Swahili during his time at university… The royal is believed to speak five languages in total, including French, Welsh, Gaelic and a little Spanish.
(28 November 2019)

Deeds and Misdeeds: Land Tilting and Women’s Rights in Tanzania
(New Left Review 118 – UK) Extract: Conflicts over land are on the rise in Tanzania. Almost daily, the news headlines announce five deaths here, two more there, on account of land-use struggles. Spokespeople for the ruling CCM party explain that this is just a temporary phenomenon, as their programme of land tilting unfolds; once boundaries have been demarcated and rights of occupancy formally registered, the conflicts will disappear… Though Tanzania has several big cities—in addition to Dar es Salaam, now a sprawling conurbation of almost 5 million, and Mwanza, the bustling port on Lake Victoria, the provincial hubs of Arusha, Mbeya, Morogoro and Tanga all have populations of over a quarter of a million—70 per cent of its citizens are rural, mostly poor subsistence farmers, living in some 12,000 villages across the vast country. Land issues, here as in many other parts of Africa, are a burning political-economic question… Tanzania is the largest country in its region. It has a population of 57 million … Since the liberalization of the economy, investment and growth – telecoms, tourism, construction— have been concentrated in the cities, in conservation areas (national parks, game reserves, etc.), and along the coast, creating disparities of growth. Nevertheless, tensions have so far largely been managed by CCM. The rise of land conflicts signals a worrying development, raising questions about the country’s approach to land formalization. This article draws on field research in different parts of Tanzania … our team … investigated tilting in some forty villages, assessing the certification data in the land registries of different districts… Tanzania is a slow adopter of land-formalization policies… In addition to kick-starting agrarian capitalism, a stated objective of the land-tilting programme … was to improve women’s rights… With Anna Tibaijuka’s tenure as CCM Minister for Lands from 2010, formalization found a female champion… [S]he promoted [the Peruvian econom ist Hernando] de Soto’s line: untitled land was ‘dead capital’… [T]itle deeds would reduce conflicts over land, as well as providing collateral for loans… [S]he reminded Tanzanians that tilting included the duty to pay land rents, fees and fines as dictated by the law … The donor-backed formalization programmes in Tanzania focus on issuing ‘certificates of customary rights of occupancy’ (ccros) for village land… The ccros have been explicitly designed for the mass of poorer farmers … Yet progress has been slow… Official estimates are that only 3 per cent of Tanzania’s rural land parcels have been conclusively titled to date. The outcomes—especially for women, the poor and other vulnerable groups such as pastoralists and hunter­gatherers—have been problematic… The process of mapping Western— or, more accurately, us-based—household models and ownership patterns onto the mosaic of Tanzanian kinship structures and local land-management systems has proven more than a little complicated…
(July/August 2019) Thanks to Jerry Jones for this item—Editor



by Ben Taylor

Ali Mufuruki (15 November 1958 to 7 December 2019) was one of the few businessmen of Tanzanian African origin to make it onto the Forbes Rich List, where, in 2011, his assets were estimated at $110m. The figure may have been exaggerated, and he did not appear on the list in subsequent years, but his achievements are not in doubt.

He was born in Bukoba to parents Abdul Hassan Mufuruki and Jalliya Rutaihwa. He was employed by Daimler-Benz and studied in Germany, where in 1986 he achieved a degree-level qualification in Mechanical Design Engineering from the Fachhochschule (or Technical High School) in Reutlingen. He returned to Tanzania to be head of mechanical engineering at the state-owned National Engineering Company. Two years later he created his own company, Infotec Computers Ltd, which installed and maintained computers across Tanzania, supplying both the hardware and software. The timing was perfect: computers were suddenly a key part of the business world. The business expanded rapidly and a few years later the South African based Woolworths Holdings Ltd licensed its interests in Tanzania to the Infotec Investment Group (his holding company). Its first store in Tanzania opened in December 1999, and the franchise was subsequently extended to Uganda. Mufuruki started many other companies; the long list included a franchise of Levi’s, the US-owned maker of jeans, and, with a Norwegian company, a business selling internet-based booking systems to tourist venues. It opened office buildings, locating its headquarters in one of them, a prestigious building in Mikocheni, Dar es Salaam.

But Mufuruki was not just interested in his own businesses. He served as a director or chair of a list of companies and committees far too long to list here (but including the Tanzanian arm of Coca Cola, Vodacom Tanzania, Air Tanzania, Mwananchi Communications Ltd and the Nation Media Group in Kenya). He became involved in the international circuit of business conferences where he spoke, very effectively, about the potential, but also the weaknesses, of businesses in Africa. In 2000, he was a co-founder – and from 2005 chair – of the Chief Executive Officers Roundtable of Tanzania, providing a voice representing business interests across the whole private sector (agriculture and services as well as manufacturing), not controlled or dominated by the government.

But his long-term legacy is likely to be the book which with three friends he published in 2017. [Ali Mufuruki, Rahim Mawji, Moremi Marwa, Gilman Kasiga. Tanzania’s Industrialization Journey, 2015-2056: From an Agrarian to an Industrialised State in 40 Years. Nairobi: Moran Publishers, 2017. Also on the internet at See also the review in Tanzanian Affairs Issue 120, May 2018]. It broke new ground in many ways. It was probably the first book about economic strategy in Tanzania written from within the business community, rather than by academic economists or consultants from overseas. It used the authors’ experiences of their business dealings in the Asian tiger economies, and the work of the Chinese economist Justin Lin and the Korean, Ha-Jung Chang, to demonstrate the benefits of government intervention to steer the process of industrialisation. It was far ahead of its time in much of what it advocated, e.g. that energy policy be based on solar power and not on gas and oil, with as much as possible of the solar hardware fabricated in Tanzania. It presented figures to show that Tanzanian wage rates are below those in China or Bangladesh, so Tanzania can undercut them in the production of labour-intensive products such as garments or the assembly of light electronic products, and export to the whole world, provided the infrastructure is in place and efficient. Its deeper purpose was to give Tanzanians confidence that they can take control of their destinies and make their nation a better place, socially as well as economically. Tanzania has lost another of its leading businessmen, but his ideas will live on in this book, and in his many speeches and presentations on the internet. [Andrew Coulson]

Professor Harold John Cooke, FRGS (1927-2019), was one of the last of the post-war geographers who pursued successful careers in both the Colonial Service and post-Independence African academia.

Born into a working class Manchester family, John entered Manchester University on a scholarship and graduated with a Geography degree in 1948. Following a year’s National Service in the Intelligence Corps in Egypt he was posted to Tanganyika as a District Officer (cadet) in the Colonial Service in 1951. There followed a series of postings, mostly in the districts surrounding Lake Victoria, and culminating in appointment as District Commissioner in the Bukoba District in 1960.

An accomplished mountaineer, he used his free time to climb the mountains of East Africa. He made three ascents of Mt Kilimanjaro, including, in 1957, the first recorded ascent of the Heim Glacier, and the first west-east transect across the entire massif.

In 1956 he married Sylvia Kaufmann, whose family fled from Germany to Tanganyika in 1936, in Tanga. She was to be his constant companion and partner until her death in 2018.

With Tanzanian Independence in 1961 John resigned as DC and moved to the coast where he taught secondary level geography at Tanga and then Karimjee secondary schools. In 1969 he completed a PhD on the Karst of the Tanga limestone, awarded by the University College of Dar-es-Salaam.
Later that same year, John and Sylvia moved back to the UK where John took up a job as a geography teacher, before taking the opportunity two years later to establish the Department of Environmental Science at the new Botswana campus of the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. In 1991 they moved to rural Wales for a quiet retirement. [Philippa John-Cooke]

Sultan Qaboos bin Said (1940-2020) of Oman was the world’s longest ruling King, and a much-loved friend of Tanzania. Though an absolute monarch, who served for almost 50 years, he was both relatively benevolent and popular, including in Tanzania, where historic bonds between Zanzibar and the Omani Kingdom remain powerful.

He came to power in a bloodless coup that overthrew his father, Sultan Said bin Taimur, in 1970, and went on to turn the country from a back­ward and isolated country into a prosperous, modern state, engaged in the wider Arab region. Less impressive was the lack of political change; Qaboos retained personal control of all the main government posts and refused to delegate any real power even to other members of the royal family that has ruled Oman continuously since 1749.

The sultans of Oman ruled over much of the East African coast from 1689 to 1856, maintaining extensive trade routes. In either 1832 or 1840, the sultans moved their capital from Muscat to Zanzibar.

In December 1963, Zanzibar had a brief moment of independence when the British, who had shared power with the sultans as a protectorate (1890-1963), left the islands as a constitutional monarchy back under Omani rule. On January 12, 1964, a violent revolution in Zanzibar overthrew the sultanate, ending over two centuries of power in the region.

Mwalimu Nyerere with Sultan Qaboos bin Said

And yet, the ousting of the Omanis from Zanzibar in 1964 left many Zanzibaris with have strong familial and historical ties to Oman. To this day, many East Africans share a special connection with Oman, and many Omanis speak fluent Swahili.

Sultan Qaboos made quiet but a concerted effort to maintain these ties of family and friendship, particularly after Tanzania began, in the 1980s, to open her doors to tourism and trade. This included various charitable and diplomatic initiatives, the establishment of direct flights between Oman and Zanzibar in 2011, funding the construction of a new Grand Mosque of Zanzibar and the restoration of the Beit el-Ajaib (House of Wonders), and a delegation that visited Zanzibar in 2017 to strengthen cooperation along the coast.

The Sultan’s death was mourned on Zanzibar and in wider Tanzania. Even before he died, residents of Stone Town gathered at Jaws Corner to pray for his health after news circulated that he was ill.

Sultan Qaboos never married and had no children. However, he left a letter nominating his chosen successor and a meeting of the royal family agreed to support his choice: his cousin, Haitham bin Tariq Al Said, the Minister of Culture.

James Mapalala, veteran politician and one of the leading pioneers of pluralism in Tanzania, died in Dar es Salaam in October, aged 83.

Mr Mapalala is probably best known for being the first prominent Tanzanian politician to publicly demand the reinstatement of the multiparty democracy. He did so in 1986, something that angered the government at the time. Accused of forming a political party contrary to the then constitution, he was jailed for two years in Lindi and later taken to detention in the Mafia Island before being released in 1989.

He officially formed the Chama cha Wananchi (CCW) in 1991, one of the two parties (along with Kamahuru, in Zanzibar) that merged in 1993 to form the Civic United Front (CUF). He was elected to be the first CUF national chairman, the position he served until 1994, when his tenure ended following a political wrangle that erupted in the party.

To many young Tanzanians, Ambassador Paul Ndobho (1938-2019) isn’t a familiar name. But to the older generation Ndobho is revered as a strong politician, who had guts to stand even against Father of the Nation Mwalimu Julius Nyerere.

In 1968, Ndobho opposed a bill, which was orchestrated by Mwalimu Nyerere, which sought to provide gratuity allowances to MPs and ministers. His main argument was that Tanzania was still too poor to afford such kind of expenditure. Standing up to President Nyerere at that time was seen as political suicide, but Mr Ndobho’s motion sailed through with only one legislator opposing it.

Ndobho became a legislator at the young age of 27 after he won the Musoma North parliamentary seat in 1965 through Tanzania African National Unity (TANU). The constituency included the home village of Mwalimu Nyerere.

He was appointed to various positions under President Nyerere’s administration, including: Kigoma regional secretary (1975) and Tanzania ambassador to Russia (1976). After the reintroduction of multi-party politics in the early 1990s, Ndobho defected to the then main opposition NCCR-Mageuzi, winning both the endorsement of former President Nyerere and the Musoma Rural seat in parliament.



Edited by Martin Walsh

SOCIAL MEMORY, SILENCED VOICES, AND POLITICAL STRUGGLE: REMEMBERING THE REVOLUTION IN ZANZIBAR. William Cunningham Bissell and Marie-Aude Fouéré (eds.). Mkuki na Nyota, Dar es Salaam, 2018. xx + 385 pp. (paperback). ISBN 978-9987-08-317-6. £28.00.

Political revolutions are, by their very nature, contested events, and liable to remain the subject of conflicting interpretations long after they have turned the existing order upside down and spun it around. This is especially so when they have been violent in their making and then evolved through further cycles of violence and repression, leaving large numbers of people dead and even more traumatised and intimidated into silence. The Zanzibar Revolution is a case in point, and this edited volume, published in association with the French Institute for Research in Africa (IFRA), grapples with collective and individual memories of the events of 12 January 1964 and their aftermath, and the continuing reverberations of these in the everyday life of Zanzibaris both home and abroad.

Social Memory, Silenced Voices, and Political Struggle begins and ends with reflections on the official commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the revolution in 2014, firstly in the editors’ thought-provoking introduction (‘Memory, media, and Mapinduzi: alternative voices of revolution, fifty years later’), latterly in a series of 15 black-and-white photographs by Ania Gruca (‘Capturing the commemoration: a documentary photo essay on the 50th anniversary of the revolution’). Anniversaries provide the islands’ government with a regular opportunity to reproduce its founding narrative, just in case its name (Serikali ya Mapinduzi ya Zanzibar, the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar) and longstanding slogan (Mapinduzi Daima!, Revolution Forever!) weren’t reminder enough.

As the introduction makes clear, people aren’t necessarily listening, but carry their own understandings of the revolution and the events surrounding it. An increasing number of these divergent narratives have been made public in recent years, and have been pored over and debated by scholars, including some of the contributors to this collection. Although it doesn’t set out to supply a definitive account of the revolution that reconciles different views, many of the essays in this book include information that adds significantly to the critical historiography of the Zanzibar revolution and related political and social developments in the years and decades which followed the overthrow of the fledgling regime that preceded it.

Following the editor’s introduction, Roman Loimeier’s chapter (‘Memories of the revolution, patterns of interpretation of the 1964 revolution in Zanzibar’) provides an excellent overview of historical events and their different interpretation by Zanzibaris and others, including academic historians. This is followed by two fascinating chapters that illuminate important biographies: Ann Lee Grimstad’s ‘The voice of the revolution: remembering and re-envisioning Field Marshal John Okello’, and G. Thomas Burgess’s ‘Memory, liberalism, and the reconstructed self: Wolfgang Dourado and the revolution in Zanzibar’). The next two chapters provide new insights into the impacts of the revolution on marginalised island communities: Nathalie Arnold Koenings’s ‘ “For us it is what came after:”: locating Pemba in revolutionary Zanzibar’, and Makame Ali Muhajir and Garth Andrew Myers’s ‘Uncommon misery, relegated to the margins: Tumbatu and fifty years of the Zanzibar revolution’.

Gavin Macarthur (‘“Glittering skin”: race, rectitude, and wrongdoing in Zanzibar’) and Kjersti Larsen (‘Silenced voices, recaptured memories: historical imprints within a Zanzibari life-world’) both use contemporary ethnography to examine how cultural memories of the revolution are expressed and embodied in private and public practices and performance. These chapters focus on the everyday experiences of Goans and others in Zanzibar whose world was overturned by the revolution. They are followed by Nathaniel Mathews’ discussion of the transmission and transformations of traumatic memories of the revolution among Zanzibaris who fled to Oman (‘Memory, history, and the nation among the grieving cosmopolitans: Omani-Zanzibaris remember the Zanzibar Revolution, 1964-present’).

In ‘Africa Addio, the revolution, and the ambiguities of remembrance in contemporary Zanzibar’, Marie-Aude Fouéré’s explores the dissemination and reception of the notoriously racist “shockumentary” that purports to show disturbing and bloody scenes from the first week of the revolution, including bodies on the beach and mass graves. This chapter was first published in an academic journal in 2016, but is well worth a second outing. It is followed by the book’s penultimate chapter, Ahmed Rajab’s refreshingly personal reflection on ‘Healing the past, reinventing the present: from the revolution to Maridhiano’, the latter being a reference to the political reconciliation which produced a Government of National Unity in 2010-15, before the next contested election and resumption of the usual partisan hostilities.

As this summary of its contents suggests, Social Memory, Silenced Voices, and Political Struggle covers a lot of ground, and is both compelling and informative. Unlike some collections, it is well conceived, and its contributions address a set of closely interlocking themes in interestingly different ways. Although it only scratches the surface of a vast topic (Interpretation Forever!), it will surely inspire future researchers to explore further. A degree of unevenness can be forgiven, though plain-speaking readers may be put off by some of the lapses into academic gobbledygook and Swahili speakers perplexed and dismayed by the unchecked claim (repeated from another source) that the literal meaning of kishuka (“little cloth”, i.e. loincloth) is “bird shit”. But these are minor stains on the overwhelming integrity and value of this book.

Martin Walsh

Martin Walsh is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Business Studies and Humanities, Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST), Arusha, Tanzania, and the Book Reviews Editor of Tanzanian Affairs.

Also noticed:
PEMBA: MUHANGA WA SIASA. Ahmed Omar. Zanzibar Daima Publishing,
Bonn, 2019. vii + 28 pp. (paperback). ISBN 978-0-359-50463-3. £18.86.

As its title suggests (Pemba: Victim of Politics), this book is a critical political history of Pemba island. The author, a biology and geography teacher from Wete, draws on his experience as a supporter of the opposition Civic United Front (CUF), interviews with other Pembans, and an eclectic variety of published sources to outline the history of the island from precolonial times to the present, with a focus on its political vicissitudes before, during and since the Zanzibar Revolution. Following a preface by the poet and publisher Mohammed Ghassani and a brief introduction, the main text is divided into 19 chapters, followed by more than four pages of references in a somewhat idiosyncratic order. The book is well produced and has a striking image of bicycles bearing sacks of charcoal on its cover. It is one of 15 works published on the enterprising Ghassani’s self-publishing platform ( and is available from different commercial sellers.

Martin Walsh

BUILDING A PEACEFUL NATION: JULIUS NYERERE AND THE ESTABLISHMENT OF SOVEREIGNTY IN TANZANIA, 1960-1964. Paul Bjerk. University of Rochester Press, Rochester NY, 2018. xvii + 374 pp (paperback). ISBN 978-1-58046-935-7. £25.00.

This book, first published in 2015, has now been reissued as a paperback. The hardback was originally reviewed by Robert Macdonald in Tanzanian Affairs Issue 113 ( and his review is reproduced below:

The immediate tasks facing those African governments which took power of newly independent states during the 1960s were to establish political control and limit neo-colonial interference; in other words. to establish sovereignty. This was not easy. Economic and administrative capacity was limited, and creating a stable political consensus was difficult in the absence of unpopular colonial rule. To complicate matters, external threats were posed by instability in neighbouring countries and by increasingly interventionist superpower policy in the context of the Cold War. The way in which the TANU government under the leadership of Julius Nyerere was able to negotiate these challenges and create a foundational sovereignty during the period 1960-64 is the subject of this book by Paul Bjerk, an assistant professor of history at Texas Tech University.

One major limitation facing any researcher investigating post-independence Tanganyikan government policy is that many of the official records from this period remain confidential. In addition to interviewing dozens of key protagonists, Bjerk has attempted to bridge this gap by presenting the contents of a wide range of diplomatic correspondence in which key issues are often discussed frankly. Indeed, the fact that the references and bibliography in this book run to almost 100 pages is testament to his substantial archival research across several countries.

In the introduction, Bjerk states that his book is not intended to be a biography or evaluation of Nyerere. However, sections on Nyerere’s education and his development of Ujamaa ideology – and indeed the book’s subtitle – at times create a contrary impression. Although other figures such as Oscar Kambona and Rashidi Kawawa receive plenty of attention, Nyerere is firmly situated as the book’s key figure, perhaps inevitably given the central role he played in policy formation during this period.

Bjerk’s work is structured thematically, starting with a focus on domestic sovereignty. He evaluates, in turn, measures to limit the threat posed to Nyerere’s government by opposition parties and labour unions, the origins of Ujamaa ideology, early attempts at villagisation, the 1964 mutiny and, finally, the creation of the national youth service. Throughout this section, Bjerk skilfully shows that sovereignty is not simply imposed from above but rather it is the product of social mediation in which both elite and non-elite discourses play important roles.

Bjerk then turns attention to the projection of external sovereignty through foreign policy. He discusses the way in which the Tanganyikan government sought a balance between its principled positions, for example its support for independence movements in Southern Africa and its desire to maintain a non-aligned position in the Cold War. This section also contains a chapter on the Zanzibar Revolution which shows that an American intervention had been imminent before Union with Tanganyika was finally agreed.

Casual readers may find the more academically complex parts of this book off-putting, for example the theoretical sections contained in the introduction and conclusion. However, Bjerk’s work will provide an invaluable resource for those engaged in the academic study of the immediate post-independence period in both Tanzania (Tanganyika) and Africa more broadly.
Robert Macdonald

Robert Macdonald was awarded his University of Edinburgh PhD in 2018 for a dissertation on Voter Behaviour in Tanzania: A Qualitative Study of the 2015 Elections.



TA124 cover – President Magufuli visits the fish market in Dar-es-Salaam following the plastic bag ban – photo State House

Feathers ruffled in CCM
Plastic bag ban earns minister sack?
Parliament passes TSh 33 trillion annual budget

A pdf of the issue can be downloaded here



by Ben Taylor

Selection of newspaper covers from July featuring the developing story

Two former Secretary Generals of the ruling party, CCM, Abdulrahman Kinana and Yusuf Makamba, stirred up a very public argument at the highest levels of the party in July. They wrote a letter to the Elders’ Council, an advisory body within the party, warning of the dangers that “unfounded allegations” in a tabloid newspaper pose to the party’s “unity, solidarity and tranquillity.”

This refers to the frequent allegations by publisher, Mr Cyprian Musiba, in his newspapers and on social media, that several senior figures within the party were involved in a plot to undermine the leadership of President John Magufuli. The supposed plotters named by Mr Musiba include Kinana and Makamba, as well as former Foreign Affairs Minister, Bernard Membe, various opposition leaders, government officials and civil society activists.

Mr Musiba has styled himself as a “media activist” seeking to “defend the President against a plot to sabotage him.” His publications have consistently backed President Magufuli and ferociously attacked many within the party and outside, on the basis of little or no evidence.

Mr Makamba and Mr Kinana, who served as CCM’s secretary generals between 2009 to 2011 and 2012-2018 respectively, called on the party’s elders to intervene. They argued that there must be something else behind Mr Musiba’s accusations, which they think is determined to drive the country “into a precipitous drop.” They suggested that for him to be doing this, he must have protection or even direction from a very high level.

They added that they preferred to seek resolution of the matter by raising it within the party rather than taking legal action against Mr Musiba, as others including Mr Membe have done, saying they want to clear their names rather than seek compensation.

The response from the party was sceptical. The secretary to the Elders Council, Pius Msekwa, former speaker of parliament, said there was little the council could do. Mtera MP, Mr Livingstone Lusinde, said the paid had gone astray and wondered how come they are agitated by the acts whose culture they helped create in the first place. Nzega Urban MP (CCM) Hussein Bashe described the letter as a “plot to deny President Magufuli a chance to contest as second term in 2020” and said it went against the party’s constitution.

More significantly, the current CCM Secretary General Dr Bashiru Ally appeared to take issue with Kinana and Makamba. Without mentioning them by name, he warned of a plot to destabilise the party and said that those behind it would “face the music.” According to newspaper reports, the supposed plot also involves Makamba’s son, January Makamba, himself a significant political figure – see next story – as well as former Ministers Nape Nnauye, William Ngeleja and Bernard Membe.

Rather than helping CCM, Bashiru said, the dispute serves the interests of the opposition. “This is a childish game and it’s not surprising that the opposition loves it. They love childish games,” noted Bashiru. He called on party members to defend their leaders when the political atmosphere “gets dirty”.

Previously, in December 2018, Dr Ally had publicly summoned Mr Membe, saying he wanted to speak to him about reports – published in Mr Musiba’s newspapers – that he wanted to challenge President Magufuli in the 2020 General Election.

Mr Membe has largely stepped back from politics after losing the CCM race for the presidential nomination to Dr Magufuli in 2015. He has largely spent his time outside the country on private business. Thus far, he has said nothing to suggest he would challenge President Magufuli for the CCM ticket in 2020.

Outside the party, ACT-Wazalendo party leader Zitto Kabwe commended Mr Kinana’s and Mr Makamba’s letter, saying it transcends party’s interests, touching issues of national interests, especially national security.

Dr Paul Luisulie, a political analyst from the University of Dodoma, said the letter and the reaction to it could be a sign of the failure of CCM’s internal mechanisms to deal with the grievances of those in the party who have concerns with the party’s current leadership. He said the situation could “have very serious consequences” for the unity of the party ahead of elections in 2020. If the letter is ignored, he argued, the authors’ suspicions will be confirmed. “It is very important that CCM give an explanation and work on the grievances that its former leaders have pointed out,” says Dr Luisulie.

A political scientist from the University of Dar es Salaam Dr Richard Mbunda noted that Mr Musiba’s attacks attracted neither protest nor condemnation from either the party or the government. “It is very possible that the person who is steering reforms to the party thinks that getting rid of these bad elements [those with doubts about the party’s leadership] is good for the larger party’s interests. But the consequences will be disastrous if the trend continues unbroken,” he warned.

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by Ben Taylor

A country-wide ban on plastic bags has perhaps had unexpected con­sequences for the Minister who brought the long-standing proposal to fruition. As of June 2019, Tanzania became the 34th African country to ban importation, production, sale and use of plastic bags, according to the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP). A few weeks later, the Minister responsible, January Makamba, was fired.

In his role as Minister of State for Union Matters and the Environment, Mr Makamba had worked for several years to win the support of cabi­net and put the necessary legal reforms in place. In recent months he had conducted a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of the ban. The country also issued a notice to travellers that they will have to “sur­render” plastic bags in their possession at airports and other points of entry.

Traders in Dar es Salaam and elsewhere initially reported concerns that alternatives were more expensive and not as easily available as plastic bags had been. They also complained that they had found themselves with little choice but to burn their remaining stock of plastic bags to avoid problems with the authorities.

Nevertheless, more recent reports suggest that alternative containers had become more readily available. A resident of Dar es Salaam, Ms Rehema Mbiku, said that “the government has done a good thing because the plastic bags were polluting the environment.”

Immediately following the introduction of the ban, President John Magufuli made a surprise visit to a fish market sporting a wicker basket in a move to support the ban. However, his support for Mr Makamba did not last long.

Explaining his decision to fire Mr Makamba, President Magufuli com­plained that it actually took four years for the ban to be implemented. “The Vice President spoke about it. The Prime Minister spoke about it. There has been a lot of dillydallying until I issued an ultimatum,” he said.

The President also complained of sluggishness in the way tasks were being handled at the Ministry. “Investors are exposed to a lot of delays in accessing Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) certificates.” Some observers pointed to other factors, however. Mr Makamba is regarded as a potential successor of President Magufuli, and some argued that his widely praised ban on plastic bags was seen at high levels of the party as an attempt to gain political mileage.

Others noted that it is alleged that Makamba had played a role in the letter written by his father, the former CCM Secretary General Yusuf Makamba, complaining of his treatment in the media (see previous story). It is also alleged that January Makamba is a leading figure in the supposed plot to prevent President Magufuli from serving a second term.

At the same time as Mr Makamba was fired, a new Minister of Agriculture was appointed, Hussein Bashe. It may or may not be relevant that Mr Bashe was among the most vocal critics of Kinana and Yusuf Makamba following their letter to party elders (see previous story).

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by Ben Taylor

Erick Kabendera, a leading Tanzanian investigative journalist whose articles have been published around the world, was arrested in July, prompting widespread criticism.

Kabendera, who has written for The Guardian, The Independent and Economist Intelligence Unit in the UK, as well as the East African and several Tanzanian newspapers. His work has been notable for his will­ingness to report facts that embarrass the government, and he has also been a prominent critic of President Magufuli’s government on social media.

The situation with Kabendera’s arrest remained unclear for several days. He was picked up from his home by unknown people in a vehi­cle with no number plate. His whereabouts was initially unknown, prompting alarm among his friends and family.

Two days later, the government admitted having detained Kabendera, and pointed to immigration concerns – that he might not be a Tanzanian citizen. Similar allegations have been made in the past, though the Immigration Department at the Ministry of Home Affairs issued a state­ment in 2013 clarifying that Mr Kabendera and his parents were indeed citizens of Tanzania.

Immigration concerns were soon dropped, however, to be replaced by allegations that Kabendera had contravened the Cybercrime Act through his work with the Economist Intelligence Unit. These new claims did not make it onto the eventual charge sheet either, which instead contains charges of money laundering, tax evasion and organ­ised crime. Money laundering is a non-bailable offence in Tanzania, and the journalist is therefore likely to spend several months behind bars even before his case is heard.

Kabendera’s lawyer, Jebra Kambole, said that the questioning since his arrest indicated that the real reason Kabendera had been detained was his work as a journalist.

The case drew strong criticism from pro-democracy campaigners and press freedom advocates. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) wrote a public letter to President Magufuli, arguing that “the public commitments that Tanzania has made to press freedom will remain empty words without urgent action,” and urging the government to drop the charges against Kabendera.

The UK government also expressed its concern, in a statement issued jointly by the British High Commission and the US Embassy in Tanzania. The statement referred to the “steady erosion of due process in the justice system in Tanzania,” citing frequent resort to lengthy pre­trial detentions and shifting charges.

“The irregular handling of the arrest, detention, and indictment of investigative journalist Erick Kabendera, including the fact that he was denied access to a lawyer in the early stages of his detention, (is) contrary to the Criminal Procedures Act,” the statement read. It con­cludes by urging the Tanzania government “to guarantee due process to each of its citizens, which it has recognized as a basic human right as signatory to multiple UN Human Rights Conventions, among them the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights.”

Emmanuel Buhohela, spokesman at Tanzania’s foreign affairs ministry, said that the matter regarding Kabendera is before the country’s courts of law. “They [the diplomats] should let justice follow its due course,” he told Reuters news agency.



Tanzanian journalist Maxence Melo

The work of Tanzanian journalist Maxence Melo has been recognised by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), who presented him with their 2019 International Press Freedom Award.
Melo is the owner and co-founder of Jamii Forums, a popular website and discussion forum that hosts frank debates, mostly in Kiswahili on topics including politics and corruption in Tanzania.

In 2016, Jamii Forums’ office was raided by Tanzanian security forces, and Melo was detained for interrogation. After being held for eight days, he was charged with managing a domain not registered in Tanzania and obstruction for refusing to disclose the identities of Jamii Forums’ users.

In 2017, Melo appeared in court 81 times. He continues to fight in Tanzanian court to clear his name.



by Roger Nellist

A milestone for the Stiegler’s Gorge Hydropower project
In April the huge and environmentally controversial Stiegler’s Gorge Hydropower Project on the Rufiji River in the Selous Game Reserve witnessed a major milestone when the Tanzanian government issued Performance Guarantees and made an advance payment of almost US$310 million to the foreign contractor that will be undertaking the project. The contractor is a joint-venture of two Egyptian companies: Arab Contractors and Elsewedy Electric S.A.E.

The Stiegler’s Gorge contract between the Tanzanian government and the Egyptian consortium was signed in December 2018. Two months later, in February 2019, the government handed over the site.

Upon completion the project is projected to generate up to 2,115 MW of electricity for the national grid, adding very substantially to Tanzania’s current generation of about 1,600 MW from all existing power projects. This will provide more than enough electricity to support the growth of the Tanzanian economy in the foreseeable future as the country targets attainment of Middle-Income status during the next decade. Excess power could be exported to neighbouring countries.

The provision of a reliably adequate supply of electricity to support the country’s expanding industrial base is obviously the most important feature of Stiegler’s Gorge, but the government also expects the project to generate some 6,000 new direct jobs. Construction work is scheduled to take 3 years.

The total cost of the Stiegler’s Gorge project is put at around US$3 bil­lion. At the payment ceremony in April in the Ministry of Finance it was explained that the $310 million was the (70%) foreign exchange component of the agreed total Advance Payment due under the project contract; the remaining 30% local currency portion will be paid once the contractor has finalised certain contractual processes. The Advance Payment constitutes 15% of the total project cost and allows the contrac­tor to mobilise and commence construction work.
It is understood that the project is to be fully funded by the Tanzanian government. In his June 2019 Budget in Dodoma the Finance Minister, Phillip Mpango, allocated 4% (TSh 1.44 trillion; approx. US$600m) of the national budget towards construction of the Stiegler’s Gorge project in the coming year.
Responsibility for the Stiegler’s Gorge power project rests with the Ministry of Energy. At the end of May in his own Parliamentary budget session, the Minister for Energy, Dr Medard Kalemani, also tabled project funding requirements for his Ministry in the coming financial year of TSh 363 billion for the third phase of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) and TSh 60 billion for the extension of the Kinyerezi 1 gas-to-power project.

Government piles on the pressure on Acacia Mining and Barrick Gold
With apparently little recent news of interest concerning Tanzania’s petroleum exploration and development activities, the country’s extrac­tives news is dominated by the continuing saga over Acacia Mining and the efforts by its Canadian parent company – Barrick Gold – to sort out the complicated situation involving Acacia and the Tanzanian government. It is a long-drawn-out saga, with big reputational and financial implications for the two international corporates as well as the government. Acacia Mining (listed on the London Stock Exchange) is Tanzania’s largest gold producer and Barrick is one of the world’s major gold mining companies.

Acacia has been accused of massively under-reporting gold exports, of smuggling out gold concentrates, of underpaying taxes, of operating and concealing foreign accounts, of not respecting other important pro­visions in its Mining Development Agreements and generally of poor management at its three operational gold mines in the country (includ­ing of adopting a high-handed manner in its community relations and failing to comply with environmental laws). As a consequence, in 2017 and 2018 the government banned further gold concentrate exports by the company and demanded back payment of taxes amounting to a staggering US$190 billion. Last year, a few senior Acacia employees were also arrested and jailed.

In an attempt to resolve matters, Barrick then engaged directly in high-level negotiations with the government, excluding Acacia from all the discussions. A cooperation framework agreement was reached at the end of 2018 in which it was anticipated that the future economic benefits derived from Acacia’s gold mining operations would be shared with the government on a 50/50 basis and that an early payment of $300 million would be made by Acacia to government “to resolve outstanding tax claims”. However, unhappy at being excluded, Acacia then challenged those proposed arrangements, asserting that its own Board must first approve them. Apparently, it has also launched an arbitration case against the government through an international tribunal.

However, in the middle of May 2019, with no payment yet made and final terms not quite settled, the government further ratcheted up the pressure on Acacia and Barrick by announcing in a letter to the com­pany’s three gold mines (at Bulhanyulu, North Mara and Buzwagi) that it would no longer recognise any agreements with their holding company, Acacia. In a news statement the government spokesman, Dr Hassan Abbas, announced that Acacia was “operating as a rogue company that was disdainful of the Tanzanian authorities and the laws of the land”, adding that “Acacia management is loathed” and “The government does not want the presence of Acacia in any form in the country”. Perhaps ominously, Abbas said that Acacia stood in the way of the government reaching an amicable deal with Barrick and chal­lenged Barrick to sort out the problem or risk not concluding a deal. Declaring Acacia “unwanted in Tanzania” the government told Barrick: “Solve Acacia or no deal”. The government made clear it expects a new mining operating company to be established in which it has a share and there is no presence or involvement whatsoever by Acacia.

With media headlines like “Why Tanzania wants Acacia to pack and go”, Barrick – which holds 64% of Acacia’s shares – then moved quickly to affect a full take-over of Acacia, seeking to buy the remaining 36% shareholding. It proposed to do so by offering Barrick shares to Acacia’s minority shareholders in a shares-swap, but at a discount on the current share trading price. The proposal valued Acacia at about $787 million. However, at the end of June Acacia rejected that bid, accusing Barrick of trying to take advantage of its troubles. More optimistically, though, it did signal that acquisition of its minority shares by Barrick at a fair price “would be an attractive solution” to its Tanzanian impasse.

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