by Ben Taylor

Tanzania formally attains Middle Income status

In July, the World Bank officially promoted Tanzania to the list of lower-middle income countries, recognising that the country has attained an annual per capita income of above USD $1,035. The World Bank calculation was based on economic data for 2019 and found that per capita GNI had increased from $1,020 in 2018 to $1,080 in 2019.

This is five years ahead of the official government target of achieving middle income status by 2025. According to William G. Battaile, the World Bank’s Lead Country Economist, “the upgrade is the product of the country’s strong economic performance of over 6% real gross domestic product (GDP) growth on average for the past decade”.

Tanzania joins 51 other countries on the lower-middle income list, including Kenya, Zambia, Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt and India, which includes countries with GNI per capita between $1,036 and $3,995.

Graduating to middle income status does not mean Tanzania will necessarily lose access to concessional financing from the World Bank. GNI per capita informs the decision on whether or not a country is eligible for loans from the World Bank’s concessional lending arm, but it is not the only indicator. Other factors, such as a country’s macroeconomic prospects, creditworthiness, risk of debt distress, vulnerability to shocks, institutional constraints, and levels of poverty and social indicators are also used to establish a country’s eligibility.

“I congratulate all my compatriots for this historic achievement. We had envisaged to achieve this status by 2025 but, with strong determination this has been possible in 2020,” wrote President Magufuli in a tweet.

Hassan Abbasi, the chief government spokesperson, explained that “discipline in financial expenditure and the prevailing peace and tranquillity also helped the country to earn the middle-income status.”

Economic data questioned
The Economist magazine published an article in July that questioned whether Tanzania’s economic data could be relied on. “The growth numbers do not stack up. From about 2017 several other indicators, from tax revenue to lending to the private sector, have slowed sharply. The IMF raised doubts last year when it said there were ‘serious weaknesses’ in the growth data. It pointed out that public-sector wages, lending to the private sector and imports were all falling while tax revenue was growing only weakly. The authors made it clear that the official 6.8% growth figure for 2017 was not credible. Publication of the report was blocked by the Tanzanian authorities. (The Economist has seen a copy.)

The IMF did later back down. It now reports Tanzania’s growth as 6.8% in 2017, 7% in 2018 and 6.3% in 2019.

However, The Economist notes that the IMF’s concerns have not disappeared. Performing their own analysis of official Government of Tanzania data, the magazine found several grounds to question official growth rates that have remained very steady at 6-7% in recent years. According to the magazine, tax revenue has shrunk in real terms, public-sector wages “crept up” by 2% in 2019, lending to the private sector by just 4%, the amount of money circulating edged up by only 2% in 2019, foreign direct investment has almost halved since 2013, exports and imports both fell between 2012 and 2018, and imports of machinery and construction equipment fell between 2015 and 2018.

“The growth numbers are out of line with almost everything else we are seeing out of Tanzania,” says Justin Sandefur of the Centre for Global Development, a think-tank.

The government says the economy will grow by 5.5% in 2020. That would, according to The Economist, “probably make Tanzania the best-performing economy in the world”. The IMF predicts 1.9%. [See below]

With the true impact of Coronavirus on Tanzania remains impossible to verify, the likely economic impact is also uncertain. The discrepancy between the IMF and government growth projections in part reflect this uncertainty.

The African Development Bank (AfDB), lowered its growth forecasts for Tanzania as a result of the pandemic, though only from 6.4% to 5.2%. In contrast, the bank reduced growth forecasts for other east African countries by a much greater extent: from 6% to 1.4% in Kenya, from 6.5% to 2.5% in Uganda, and from 3% to -5% in Burundi.

“Real GDP growth in Tanzania will benefit from increased prices of gold, a major national export,” said an AfDB the report. Gold prices have reached above $1,900 an ounce, up 50% from May 2019, with the precious metal benefitting from its ‘safe haven’ status as the coronavirus outbreak triggered global economy fears.

The price surge partly contributed to making gold Tanzania’s leading foreign exchange earner, overtaking tourism which has been hit hard by the Covid-19 global pandemic.

According to the Bank of Tanzania, gold export earnings increased by 47% to $2.5 billion in the year to 31 May 2020. This in part relates to the long-awaited resolution of the dispute between Acacia/Barrick and the government of Tanzania that had slowed production and exports from some of Tanzania’s biggest gold mines. (See Energy and Minerals section).

The Minister for Finance and Planning, Dr Philip Mpango has also argued that the government’s decision not to impose any form of lockdown in response to the Coronavirus pandemic will lessen the economic impact.

“The country’s decision to keep the economy open has offered a major relief to the private sector in terms of business resilience”, said Peter Mathuki, Executive Director of the East African Business Council.

A budget for complicated year, and for managing debt
With an election due in October and a global pandemic causing havoc to lives and livelihoods across the globe, government budget calculations have been even more complicated than ever this year.

Nevertheless, the main headline in the budget presented to parliament in June is that the government plans to spend 30% of the annual budget on debt payments – a total of TSh 10.5 trillion (approximately USD $4.5bn) over the next year. These figures represent a considerable increase over 2019, when budgeted debt payments totalled TSh 6.2 trillion, or 18.7% of the total budget.

The parliamentary budget committee acting chairman, Mr Mashimba Ndaki, said the committee’s opinion was that despite commendable efforts to service verified debts, payment should be expedited to avoid expensive penalties. “Servicing the debts will enable service providers to clear loans secured from financial institutions in order to provide services to the government. This is mostly important at these moments of Covid-19,” he said.

Beyond this headline, the budget continued to extend a package of measures aimed at promoting investment and spurring economic growth, building on a business environment improvement plan that began in FY-2019/20.

Under the theme “Stimulating the economy to safeguard livelihoods, jobs, businesses and industrial economy,” the government foresees a rise in spending and the budget will likely have a deficit of 2.6% of GDP in FY-2020/21. It is also projected that in FY-2020/21 tax revenues will account for 12.9% of GDP from 12.1% in FY-2019/20. These targets call for reforms to improve tax administration.

Reforms included in the budget include creating a business-friendly environment for taxpayers, enhancing the capacity of tax adjudication forums and improving the ability to enforce tax laws. These reforms are in part a response to a common complaint amongst businesspeople that some officials of the Tanzanian tax administration were treating businesses unfairly. They also include the abolishment or reduction of sixty (60) fees and levies that were charged by Ministries Departments, Agencies and Regulatory Authorities.

“The year 2019/20 is ending with unexpected circumstances resulting from the destruction of transport infrastructure caused by heavy rains/floods across the country as well as the Covid-19 pandemic. The government will allocate more resources to the health sector in order to fight against the Covid-19 and support other most affected sectors,” told Parliament.

Low income earners will have a reason to smile as Dr Mpango is raising the Pay-As-You-Earn threshold from TSh 170,000 to TSh 270,000 so as to give employees some disposable income. And savings groups will now only be required to pay income tax when their gross revenues exceed TSh 100 million per year, up from TSh 50 million.


Tanzania’s development challenge is how to grow the economy inclusively
Dr Kate McAlpine

These reflections emerged from a listening exercise in January 2020 instigated by the Institutions 4 Inclusive Development Programme. I4ID was designed by UKAid in 2015, as a response to the challenge why Tanzania’s decade of significant growth had left many people still in poverty. As the I4ID programme comes to an end, and after implementing several initiatives to demonstrate how actors within the system could be supported to work towards change to prioritise inclusive growth and services (with some degree of success), we decided to take a step back. The listening exercise was an opportunity to change the lens from detailed implementation challenges and consult with like-minded people about some of the bigger, structural and contextual challenges holding back inclusive development. We consulted with a range of development practitioners, political actors and businesses in Tanzania about the preconditions for Tanzania’s inclusive development and what they felt was important.

A consensus emerged that, fundamentally, Tanzania’s biggest development challenge is how to grow society and the economy inclusively. A legacy of bias towards elites, diverging visions of Tanzania’s future, and still evolving institutions, make this particularly challenging. However non-state actors also face the practical dilemma of how to navigate a complex environment in which the agenda and priorities are driven by a state in full developmental mode, with which they struggle to influence or contribute.

The following are some key take-aways from the diverse group of people who were consulted:

The country is rich, but how can it enrich its own people?
The Government faces a macroeconomic challenge of creating the conditions for economic growth that equally benefits the rural and urban poor. It must grapple with population growth in the face of limited jobs, livelihood opportunities and natural resources. The country is yet to hit ‘peak youth’, the proportion of the population under 30 years and carrying the burden of working age responsibility is already huge and growing. The national development strategy needs to do two things: invest in building skills and capacities that enable the people to be productive; and stimulate non-extractive, job creating investment that will enable the Government to increase tax revenue.

Institutional function is still sub-optimal; despite the narrative of good governance
As in most countries, vested interests still exert a great deal of influence over the system and take advantage. After Independence, the State, led by President Nyerere, aimed to re-engineer society and the economy around one language and one community. In the 1980s, President Mwinyi opened the door to capital and trust was put in the private sector. There was an explosion of micro-businesses and the State largely withdrew from the economic aspects of individuals’ lives. Many feel it did so prematurely because there were unclear boundaries. “In letting in capital, the little people were hurt.”

During the 1990’s and 2000’s, Presidents Mkapa and Kikwete opened up space for human rights discourse, civil society and economic growth. But this growth did not seem to benefit many rural Tanzanians and the market often seemed to be captured by vested interests.

Many feel the 5th phase Government, led by President Magufuli, is undertaking a necessary course correction to correct advantage taking in the past. Despite the anti-corruption narrative, the feeling is that corruption will remain embedded in the system, particularly when those with vested interests want to maintain the status quo. Anti­corruption efforts have not always improved institutional functioning, as evidenced by the divergent views of the Controller and Auditor General and Parliament in 2019.

Social progress relies on whether we can build innovative institutional capacity
We framed the challenge to participants thus: Social progress relies on building institutions that can pursue a common purpose, that embed values such as fairness, freedom and the rule of law and that combine equity of values with an efficiency of outcomes and a sense of emotional commitment (RSA Journal, Issue 3, 2019).

While the State is setting the agenda for a common purpose, it would benefit from offering more space for divergent views to meet and build consensus. However there seems to be an increasing attitude within Ministries that local government authorities are unable to deliver services better than the centre, which may undermine their sense of commitment. Furthermore, recent reforms to combat political and economic corruption and the influence of big business in political parties, have produced winners and losers which has undermined the sense of fairness.

Tanzania needs a national conversation about who Tanzanians want to be as a nation
“Nation building is a long-term endeavour with bumps, but the key thing is to define the ethic of the nation.” This sentiment was echoed strongly by many of our respondents. A nation is a joint notion that is actively created and nurtured over time. The concept of the nation is not just a functioning tax system, nor a reliable Parliament, nor just the legislation that is implemented. The nation of Tanzania also resides in more spiritual notions. For many it is a felt sense of the land; and of an individuals’ place and security in relation to their ethnic group, village, and family.

Tanzanians need an opportunity to collectively consider who they want to be as a nation. What are the civic values that motivate them? How do they want to live and develop? What is the generative vision for the future that would motivate them?

Mechanisms that could foster inclusive development
State and non-state actors can come together, with their divergent views, to effect inclusive development in this time of political, social and economic complexity by:

1. Aligning political, business and ideological interests in defining and reinforcing the ethic of the nation. Hosting and diffusing a national conversation about where Tanzania is heading; recognising that achieving the national vision requires multiple means and actors.

2. Creating space, structure and process for productive interdependence by:

a. Going where there is emerging visible energy for development

b. Getting system actors in the room and building trust

c. Co-creating a shared understanding of complex systems and aligning interests in support of connected action

d. Embracing equifinality

3. Establishing more balanced power relationships with communities and fostering a variety of citizen driven development pathways. This requires citizens and their representatives to be educated about the nexus between tax paying, democracy and accountability; and centring citizens in government planning processes by decentralising and devolving power sub-nationally.

4. Innovating in the design, delivery, scaling and impact measurement of development aid. Aid modalities should make long-term bets; and reframe the question of scale to focus less on reach and more on change in complex systems which supports inclusive growth. There should be a focus on aggregating the impact being achieved and demonstrating what the multiplicity of outputs and effects add up to as a contribution to inclusive development.

5. Finally, there should be greater constructive critique and resistance to development fads that are driven by the aid industry.


Network marketing in Tanzania turns billionaire dreams into night­mares · Global Voices

This story by GV Sub-Saharan Africa originally appeared on Global Voices on Jun 28, 2020 – see­tanzania-turns-billionaire-dreams-into-nightmares/

Everyone desires financial stability, but young people often want to quicken their path to a successful life — and this is exactly what network marketing companies promise.

Over the last five years in Tanzania, network marketing companies, also known as multi-level marketing, have mushroomed in the East African nation. These companies lure young people with “get-rich-quick” dreams that depend on person-to-person sales of products purchased upfront by the seller. Many schemes also rely on the seller’s aggressive recruitment of other independent sales associates.

While technically legal, their interactions with potential customers raise concerns about how these companies prey on vulnerable youth and their billionaire dreams.

“I can assure you, the products are very expensive, which do not reflect the lives of third-world communities,” Traves Msangule, a former network marketer in Dar es Salaam, told Global Voices by phone.

Msangule was a university student in 2013 when a close friend convinced him to join Forever Living Products, a health and wellness company, to help him make some extra money to pay for his studies. Msangule did not have a government loan to cover his school fees, so he agreed to join.

To get started, Msangule had to buy a package of products worth about $320 United States dollars that he then had to re-sell in the hopes of doubling his profit.

The gospel of network marketing schemes is that recruiting new customers will increase earnings — but this is no easy task.

“Take an example: If a toothpaste from the package is sold at $12 USD, while [in reality] there is a toothpaste sold at $1.20 USD, who is going to buy yours? Though the products are of high quality, it’s very difficult to compete,” Msangule said.

Network marketers promote smart, fake lifestyles to persuade people of their success, while in reality, very few people are “eating the cake” of network marketing.

Msangule explained his stressful ordeal in a Twitter thread: “So, when I climbed to that rank, I had to complete points (product sales) for myself and the team. There we were put on a mindset to “push up” in every way until it was understood not to give up. So, I had to start calling to borrow money that night. The deadline was midnight.”

Msangule told Global Voices: “These guys, first of all, are trained to discourage formal employment and small business [self-employment]. They will keep [asking] you: When will you get enough money? The only alternative is this part-time job, which deals with chatting with people, and you can earn millions in just a few weeks and you will be financially stable.”

Unfortunately, in 2017, Msangule had to postpone his studies for a year because this “chatting with people” business consumed his time. With over $750 invested in these products, he had to make sure to earn his profit. When he realized this was not going to happen, he quit.

Network marketing takes off in Tanzania
Network marketing companies that thrive in Tanzania, such as AIM Global, Forever Living Products, Oriflame, QNet, Avon and Edmark, are part of a $200 billion USD global industry as of 2015.

In 2017, QNet, one of the largest direct-selling companies in the world based in Hong Kong, expanded its operations in East Africa, with an agency office in Dar es Salaam, the cultural capital of Tanzania. Thousands of Tanzanian citizens “have registered to market and promote QNet online products…” according to BusinessForHome, an industry website.
AIM Global, based in the Philippines, took hold in Tanzania in 2019 and just celebrated its one-year anniversary with over 4,000 independent distributors.

Many of the companies say they offer extensive professional training, coaching and education to ensure success, including conferences and reward point systems for top sellers.

Top-selling products in Tanzania include health and wellness products, household goods and luxury products.

Naivety, greed, peer pressure
On June 21, the famous actor and comedian, Idriss Sultan, took to Twitter with a video explaining the ills of network marketing in Tanzania, detailing how these companies exploit young people toiling hard with “sweat and blood” to improve their lives.

He opens with the phrase, “Good morning future billionaire, good morning business partner!” a famous network marketing line:

“This video I’ve done in one [single] take and I haven’t cut any part out. It will educate everyone and to those who may get offended by it, fine then, I have no issue, but to say: ‘Let the citizens who earn their money by their sweat benefit from the fruits of their money and not you and your children.’”

Without naming a specific company, Sultan says the mushrooming of the network marketing model in Tanzania – with their various colourful, flashy names – is a threat to young peoples’ lives.

Youth often fail to resist these ploys because they have respect for those who pressure them to join. These companies also use famous people to promote their brands who wield a lot of influence and power.

Sultan said in his video: “…Young people are working very hard, their money is a result of very, very hard work, so it is unacceptable to allow someone from nowhere to come with this system that exploits people.”

Other netizens wrote about their own experience with network marketing: “Certain women’s groups in Dar, — they were my friends — and they bothered me a lot to join these businesses, but I did not agree to join quickly, meaning, I was not able to understand what were they doing exactly? I was afraid to invest my money and also, I calculated what they really earned…”

A lack of information and a thirst for shortcuts can be a dangerous mix for young people who hustle and work hard to improve their lives in Tanzania, where the average monthly income is about $150-$215 USD. A 2017 study by Theobald Francis Kipilimba on the effect of pyramid schemes on the economy in Tanzania revealed:

“…most Tanzanians are very naïve when it comes to pyramid schemes, with very scant knowledge about these schemes. Many do not know if they have participated in these schemes but in those instances that they had, they suffered huge financial losses. …”

“As to the reasons as to why they participated in these schemes in the first place range from pure naivety, personal greed and peer pressure.”
The Tanzanian government has allotted 10% of total revenue toward interest-free loans for youth, women and people with disabilities but these groups remain vulnerable to predatory promises posed by network marketing companies.


Edited by Donovan McGrath

Jane Goodall in isolation
(New York Times – USA) The researcher talks about animals and about being alone. Extract continues: Jane Goodall is in isolation these days, along with many other people, since a fund-raising tour was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. She is staying at her family home in England, not in Tanzania, her primary home when not on the road. Dr Goodall changed the way the world views chimpanzees with research that began when she first went to Africa 60 years ago … a young woman without a college degree, to observe chimpanzees in the wild at what is now the Gombe Stream Research Centre in Tanzania. She later became the tireless advocate for chimps in captivity… Today, the Jane Goodall Institute supports the continuation of the research she started at the Gombe Stream Research Centre as well as programs in community involvement in conservation, and education… I [the writer James Gorman] called Dr Goodall … and spoke to her for about a half-hour about humans, animals, the coronavirus pandemic and what gives her hope… Well, I [Jane Goodall] started off being unbelievably frustrated that I was grounded. And I then thought, well, OK, that’s, that’s not helpful. So I began thinking of all the different ways that I could stay out in the public without being there, so to speak… Being isolated has made me think of what it must be like for chimpanzees who were isolated in captivity, who depend on physical closeness and touch… We are not separated from the rest of the animal kingdom, we’re part of it… (1 April 2020) – Thanks to Elsbeth Court for this item – Editor

On the road with East African truck drivers
(Mail & Guardian online – South Africa) Extract: Khamis Makaranga did not intend to cause a diplomatic incident. He just wanted to deliver the tomatoes in the back of his truck. Makaranga plies the highway between Dar es Salaam and Nairobi. Those tomatoes from Tanzania’s central Iringa region, were destined for a market in Kenya’s capital city. They never arrived. When he got to the Namanga border post, Makaranga saw hundreds of trucks waiting to cross into Kenya… Every truck driver entering the country is being tested by Kenyan authorities, adding days to their journeys. Makaranga was tested … [H]is result came back: he was positive. “I didn’t agree with the medical result from the Kenyans,” Truck drivers wait to be tested for COVID-19 on the Uganda/Kenya border in Malaba (Brian Ongoro / AFP) he tells the Mail & Guardian, as he didn’t show any symptoms. In total, 19 Tanzanian truck drivers tested positive, and Kenya would not allow them in. Makaranga and other drivers complained to the Arusha regional commissioner, Mrisho Gambo, who gave an explosive press conference on May 20. Gambo said a Tanzanian laboratory had tested the drivers, and all came back negative. He accused Kenya of deliberately falsifying the results in order to sabotage Tanzania’s tourist industry. Within hours, a furious Kenya had shut its land border, with Tanzania threatening to follow suit. It took personal interventions from President Uhuru Kenyatta and President John Magufuli to defuse the tensions – but not before Makaranga’s tomatoes had turned rotten in the back of his truck… (1 June 2020)

The smouldering pandemic Why covid-19 seems to spread more slowly in Africa
(Economist online – UK) Extract: ... John Magufuli, Tanzania’s president, does not believe his country’s results. “We only see them releasing positive, positive, positive results,” he said. He claims that the national laboratory was sent papaya, goat and sheep samples that tested positive. (The lab denies this.) No new official data has been released since April 29th. Opposition activists and NGOs say that there have been dozens of burials of covid-19 victims in Dar es Salaam … On May 12th the American embassy said that hospitals there were “overwhelmed”. “It is a cover-up”, says Zitto Kabwe, an opposition leader… (16 May 2020) – Thanks to John Rollinson for this item – Editor

Tanzanian leader accused of suppressing death statistics
(Financial Times online – UK) President blames ‘imperialists’ for the large number of positive results in tests. Extract continues: Tanzania’s government is covering up the true extent of the coronavirus pandemic with secret burials at night while hospitals overflow and three parliamentarians are thought to have died from the disease, say doctors, opposition leaders and activists. President John Magufuli, who has spent much of the crisis in his home village 750 miles west of Dar es Salaam … denies the virus is serious and has urged people to stay at work and attend religious ceremonies… [I]n a national address, Mr Magufuli accused the national laboratory of fabricating results under the influence of what he called imperialists… Zitto Kabwe, an opposition leader, said the allegation could cause people to lose faith in the health system’s response to Covid-19… Although schools have been closed since mid-March, social distancing has not been enforced strictly, making the nation of 56m people unusual in Africa where many countries have imposed lockdowns, curfews and other controls… The government said it had implemented more than 40 measures to curb the pandemic and was learning from other countries. It defended its statistics and denied it was hiding the extent of the outbreak, adding: “it takes one to be insane to insinuate that Tanzania is not taking serious measures or hiding data.” A person close to the medical profession said it was almost impossible to secure a hospital bed in several cities… (5 May 2020) – Thanks to Jerry Jones for this item – Editor

Tanzania’s digital doctor learns to speak Swahili
(Financial Times online – UK) Extract: With one doctor per 25,000 people, the Swahili speaking east African country of Tanzania struggles to serve the needs of its 59m people. Life expectancy is 62 for men and 66 for women, while just two-thirds of the population live within 5km of a health facility. “Traditional models will not fix this problem,” says Hila Azadzoy, managing director of the Global Health Initiative unit at Ada Health, a Berlin-based artificial intelligence-powered medical company. “Technology can empower users to take decisions about their own health by putting the power of AI into their hands,” she adds. Available since 2016, Ada Health’s chatbot symptom checker app has attracted 9m users worldwide, including 3m in low- and middle-income countries. The free-to-download app invites users to input symptoms and pre-existing medical conditions before using AI-based questioning to pinpoint possible diagnoses – it then recommends next steps such as resting or seeking professional help. The digital doctor now speaks Swahili – the lingua franca of 100m people in east Africa
– thanks to Ada’s Global Health Initiative… Replacing doctors is not Ada’s intention – instead it says it wants to facilitate interaction between users and healthcare experts while deterring unnecessary clinic visits by providing health information via smartphones… (16 May 2020)

‘Many girls have been cut’: how global school closures left children at risk
(Guardian online – UK) Extract: Covid-19 closures have exposed children around the world to human rights abuses such as forced genital mutilation, early marriage and sexual violence, child protection experts say. Globally, the World Bank estimates that 1.6 billion children were locked out of education by Covid-19… NGOs warn that millions of the world’s most vulnerable children may never return to the classroom, and say that after decades fighting for girls’ education the pandemic could cause gender equality in education to be set back decades. In Tanzania, girls sent home from boarding schools where they were being protected from FGM have already been cut… The Dutch charity Terre des Hommes runs a safe house for girls in Tanzania, protecting them from FGM. “The community has taken advantage of this situation of Covid-19 and where children are now back at home they are cutting their girls. They know it is against the law but they are not afraid. We had one mother who was jailed for a year after carrying out FGM but for her she is happy. She is locked up but her girl is cut… (1 June 2020)

Simba regains his pride: Tortured lion cub subjected to horrific abuse while used to lure tourists in Russia will be flown for a new life in Africa
(Daily Mail online – UK) Extract: A lion cub called Simba subjected to horrific cruelty in Russia is to be flown to Africa to start a new life. The tortured animal’s legs were deliberately broken to stop it running away while being exploited on beaches as a photo prop for tourists. Holidaymakers paid to have their pictures taken with the cute little lion… The crippled cub could hardly move and was on the point of death when it was rescued. Vladimir Putin was so shocked that he personally ordered a criminal probe into the cruelty faced by Simba. Groundbreaking surgery means the cub can now walk and play … but Simba will remain deformed for life. Now though, Russians behind the beast’s rescue have arranged for the cub to fly 6,500 miles from the Ural Mountains to a big cats rehabilitation centre in Tanzania. The animal surgeon who saved Simba’s life, Karen Dallakyan, from Chelyabinsk, said: ‘The return to their spiritual homeland of wild animals of Africa rescued in Russia is taking place for the first time in our country’s his­tory.’ … He said: ‘Evil photographers break bones like this so that wild predators cannot escape and behave calmly for pictures (with tourists).’ Yulia Agaeva, who headed the operation to save Simba, said there had been 30 offers to take and care for the lion, but she was convinced Tanzania was the right place… The Tanzanian embassy is assisting with the operation to take the big cats to Africa … (8 August 2020)

Women were left to find dinner 19,000 years ago! Fossilised footprints in Tanzania show labour was divided between the sexes in ancient human communities

Engare Sero site just south of Lake Natron where the footprints were discovered

(Daily Mail online – UK) Extract: Ancient footprints in Tanzania suggest that women were responsible for foraging for food and did so together in groups as early as 19,000 years ago. The find is the largest collection of footprints from the human fossil record ever found in Africa, according to the team from Chatham University. Researchers discovered 408 human footprints at Engare Sero in Tanzania after the site was found by a member of the nearby Maasai community. One group of 17 footprints were made by 14 women, two adult men and a younger boy, according to the team, who say the women were foraging for food. ‘The findings may indicate a division of labour based on sex in ancient human communities,’ said Dr Kevin Hatala, study lead author. The researchers couldn’t say what the men and boy were doing but suspect they were either providing protection or just ‘walking along with the women for a bit’. The team dated the footprints between 19,100 and 5,760 years old – this would put them during the Pleistocene period… Dr Hatala said the behaviour demonstrated by the women and men is similar to the way modern hunter-gatherer tribes such as the Ache and Hadza operate today… (15 May 2020)

The world’s first Freddie Mercury museum is on an African island
(CNN online – USA) Extract: … Down a small, narrow alley in the historic Stone Town neighbourhood of Zanzibar, an old building beckons to visitors. Faded photographs are pinned outside the door while inside, a gallery of glossy pictures and old newspaper clippings lead the way to the room’s centrepiece: a black piano with an interesting history. A young Zanzibari boy once played that piano. His name was Farrokh Bulsara, but you probably know him better as Freddie Mercury. The flamboyant frontman of British rock band Queen, Mercury was born in Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous island off the coast of Tanzania. This museum is dedicated to his memory… Zanzibari businessman Javed Jafferji is co-owner of the Freddie Mercury Museum. Jafferji was a college student in London in the mid-1980s when he first became a fan. “At the time, not many people knew (Mercury) was from Zanzibar,” he says. Even today, many people don’t know about Mercury’s Zanzibari roots, says Jafferji. His goal is to put Stone Town on the rock history map… Mercury spent most of his childhood in Zanzibar and attended boarding school in India. In the early 1960s, his family moved to the UK. Less than a decade later, Mercury formed Queen – and went on to attain rock legend status. He never returned to his birthplace… “We really want to create awareness of Freddie Mercury in Zanzibar and in Tanzania overall,” says Anam Adnan, general manager of the museum. “We want people to celebrate him and love him.” But celebrating Freddie Mercury in Zanzibar is complicated. Had Mercury returned there later in life, he would have likely struggled to gain acceptance in a predominantly Muslim community where homosexuality is illegal. “We haven’t put much attention to this personal life because that’s a controversial topic for Zanzibaris,” says Adnan. Instead, she says, the museum focuses on Mercury’s music and his art. “It’s the biggest tribute that we, as Zanzibaris, can do for him.” (10 June 2020)

Burundi refugees in Tanzania face new pressure to go home
(Washington Post online – USA) Extract: Burundian refugees in Tanzania say they fear being forced to return to their country now that a new president has taken power and invited them home. Hundreds of thousands of Burundians fled during the bloody political turmoil that followed former President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third term in 2015. Nkurunziza decided not to run again in May’s elections and died days later in what the government called a heart attack. New President Evariste Ndayishimiye is now being watched closely for any breaks with his predecessor, whose rule slid into repression in its final years… He invited all those in exile to return and build a new nation… Tanzania’s director of the department of refugees visited camps for Burundians in western Tanzania where close to 200,000 remain, refugees told The Associated Press. “He carried one message: Go back to your country, there is peace now,” refugees said… A coalition of refugees’ human rights defenders denounced the Tanzanian official’s position… Leopold Sharangabo, the coalition’s vice president… noted the new appointment in Burundi of a prime minister, Alain Guillaume Bunyoni, who is under U.S. sanctions for his alleged role in rights abuses. He called the appointment an insult to refugees. “These people harassed us, killed us, tortured us and forced us into exile. How can we be asked to go back under their regime?” he asked… (7 July 2020)


Edited by Martin Walsh

INTO THE EYES OF LIONS. Graham Mercer. Matador, Kibworth Beauchamp, 2020. viii + 326 pp. (paperback). ISBN 978-1838592-295. £10.95.

Into the Eyes of Lions has a title and cover suggesting that safaris and animals are at its heart. The very first line of the introduction gives us an insight into the intrepid spirit of the author, as he tells us he “got out of the car and started walking towards the lions”. He goes on to admit it probably wasn’t the wisest thing to do, but at the time he was testing a theory of lions’ flight reactions, which the young lioness he met in Mikumi confounded. It sets the tone of many of the adventures to come.

The man walking towards the lions was Graham Mercer who grew up in an industrial town in Lancashire in the 1940s and whose interest in wildlife started early. At first, he explored the fields near his home and the skylarks, butterflies and ancient woodlands he saw set the foundation for a lifelong passion for nature and the outdoors. He came to understand the natural world as a “wonderland” and something that was entwined with his own nature. He was further inspired by his father’s stories of the tigers he had seen while serving in India during the Second World War, and increasingly it was the big cats that fascinated him. At this time, seeing them in the wild felt “unimaginable” and a “thing of dreams”, but the book goes on to recount how this became a reality for him.

His adventurous spirit led him to join the navy and here fate intervened as the Antarctic survey vessel he had been assigned to was transferred at the last moment to the tropics and so the author found himself in Mombasa. Soon afterwards he was on his first safari heading towards Kilimanjaro in a Peugeot 404 and later exploring the Tana Delta on foot. A further leave saw him being shown around by both Desmond Vesey Fitzgerald, a field scientist and honorary warden of Ngurdoto (later incorporated into Arusha) National Park and Ian Douglas Hamilton, a zoology student and authority on elephants.

After leaving the navy, a teaching job at the International School of Tanganyika, Dar es Salaam came the author’s way and his first priority was to find a “safari­worthy” car he could afford. Anyone who has been on safari in Tanzania might raise an eyebrow to hear that the author settled on a Renault 4. The car is immediately tested by an arduous journey to camp in Ruaha where one of the party met a lion on his way to the latrine, luckily surviving to tell the tale, as the lion was equally as surprised. We hear about various car troubles – no hand brake, no clutch and in the Serengeti, a loud grumbling from behind the car revealed out of the dust not as a following vehicle but one of the back wheels actually coming off and rolling past.

I particularly enjoyed some of the more anthropological sections of the book such as when the author spent a night with Maasai at an enkang after giving some warriors a lift. He also recounts a visit to a Datoga village where he learned about a ceremony to honour an important man who had died six months earlier and after which the settlement would be abandoned. He met Hadzabe hunter-gatherers still living as their ancestors had, yet with the awareness of modern life encroaching on them, observing wistfully “that I was witnessing the beginning of the end of their time on Earth”.

These are digressions though and the heart of the book is firmly set on the many safaris that the author went on with friends and his wife, Anjum. The excitement and thrill of being out in nature surrounded by wildlife are palpable, anecdotes are vividly recounted, and the author was clearly extremely knowledgeable about the flora and fauna of Tanzania. Graham Mercer realised how fortunate he was to have had so many adventures in Tanzania’s National Parks and game reserves while they were still well off the beaten track and before the advent of mass tourism. On a trip to Mikumi towards the end of the book the author sees how much things have changed with modern cameras and vehicles and he sees himself suddenly, like the Hadzabe, as a “figure from the past”. The book ends as it begins with a lion sighting and there is a sense of poignancy as the author wants “to commit that last, lingering look to my memory”.

I enjoyed revisiting many of Tanzania’s wildest places in the company of the author and recommend the book to anyone interested in safaris, wildlife and the experience of a life well-lived, following one’s dream. Graham Mercer’s obituary can be read in Tanzanian Affairs #126, pp. 45-46.

Bethan Rees Walton
Bethan Rees Walton lived in Zanzibar from 1990-1996 and is the author of Images of Zanzibar (1996) with Javed Jafferji. After returning to the UK to study an MA in Social Anthropology at SOAS, University of London, she now lives in Pembrokeshire and teaches yoga by the sea. She is currently writing a novel which is set in Zanzibar.

A GARDEN GUIDE TO NATIVE PLANTS OF COASTAL EAST AFRICA. Anne H. Outwater, Ilana M. Locker, and Roy E. Gereau. Mkuki na Nyota, Dar es Salaam, 2019. iv + 252 pp. (paperback). ISBN 978-9987-083­98-5. £40.00.

It was nearly 25 years ago, but how vividly I recall my disappointment when the young plants, an assortment of vegetables and ornamentals that I had tenderly grown from seeds, slumped and then gave up the ghost altogether. I had brought the seed packets back with me upon my return from a leave spent in Denmark and planted them in my little garden in Mbweni, on the southern outskirts of Zanzibar Town. Unfortunately – or, rather, fortunately! – none of the plants survived. In any event, I should have known better than to (attempt to) introduce alien and potentially invasive species, working as I was on a forest conservation project on Unguja and also having lived some years earlier in rural Pemba, where I had taken enormous delight in the few square kilometres of original indigenous forest remaining on the island. It was one of those blind spots with which many are afflicted.

Even a quick skim through A Garden Guide to Native Plants of Coastal East Africa, which grew out of a Roots & Shoots children’s club project, will obliterate any gaps in awareness regarding the critical importance of not putting alien plants into one’s coastal East African garden and instead promoting native species to the greatest extent possible. The figures are both impressive and dismal. The Swahilian region – the term the authors apply to what is also known as the Zanzibar-Inhambane Regional Mosaic, a strip of coastal forest extending from southern Somalia to southern Mozambique – has about 1,750 endemic plant species, yet 90% of the original vegetation of the region has been destroyed. The remaining 10% exists mostly as small, isolated patches.

The lead author is polymath Anne H. Outwater, a nurse at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences whose research and practical work spans homicide, tropical and infectious diseases, mental health, the potential role of beekeeping in reducing violence, and more. Co-author Ilana M. Locker has a background in biodiversity conservation and education. Roy E. Gereau, Tanzania Program Director at the Missouri Botanical Garden, is the only professional botanist among the three authors.

The core of the book is a section presenting 60 native species that are particularly suitable for garden planting. This part is sandwiched between chapters describing the coastal forest and its loss (which began with human settlement and greatly accelerated with colonial “asset stripping”), how and why foreign plants were introduced and the havoc they have wreaked, and related topics. Of practical value to the amateur gardener is a chapter explaining in detail how to go about propagating, planting and caring for native species in one’s garden.

The book opens with a suitably solemn statement by Tanzania’s Minister of State in the Vice President’s Office for Union Affairs and Environment, the Honorable January Makamba. This is followed by a warm foreword by Roots & Shoots founder and esteemed primatologist, environmentalist and UN Messenger of Peace Jane Goodall, whose association with Tanzania goes back 70 years.

In spite of my long-term interest in, and research related to, nature conservation in Tanzania, I had no idea how dire the situation was for indigenous plant species before reading A Garden Guide to Native Plants of Coastal East Africa. The negative impact on the wildlife that depends on these vegetation communities cannot be underestimated. I urge anyone with a garden in coastal Tanzania, or in other countries along the eastern African seaboard, to educate him- or herself by reading this book and to follow its sound advice.

Helle V. Goldman
Helle Goldman did her doctoral anthropological fieldwork in rural Pemba, Zanzibar, in 1992-93. In 1996-97 she was a consultant with a conservation and development project in Unguja, Zanzibar, and since then has been publishing the results of collaborative research on the role of the leopard and other wildlife in Zanzibari culture. She was most recently in Zanzibar in the summer of 2019, when she was in Mzambarauni, Pemba, following up on her earlier work there.

CHRISTIANITY IN CENTRAL TANZANIA: A STORY OF AFRICAN ENCOUNTERS AND INITIATIVES IN UGOGO AND UKAGURU, 1876-1933. Mwita Akiri. Langham Publishing, Carlisle, 2020. xxvi + 409 pp. (paperback). ISBN: 978-1-78368-778-7. £28.99.

British visitors to Tanzania will surely notice the ubiquity of religion, predominantly Islam at the coast, and Christianity in the hinterland. In central Tanzania, the subject of this book, the seeds of the Anglican Church were sown by missionaries who arrived in Mpwapwa and neighbouring districts in the early 1870s. Their exploits are well recorded in archives and written histories.

But that is only half – less than half – of the story. Bishop Mwita Akiri’s painstaking research has shown that they could have achieved little or nothing without initiatives taken by the indigenous people. Most of the chiefs gave the missionaries a kind welcome. Some built classrooms for them and urged youngsters to attend lessons as a means of gaining economic and political advancement, even though they themselves, as polygamists, rain-makers and guardians of the tradition, felt unable to accept baptism.

Missionaries needed local linguists to help them communicate. They trained school teachers who were ostensibly under missionary direction, but who in practice used imaginative illustrations and formulated strategy beyond the ability of the foreign missionaries. In the forced absence of missionaries during the Great War and on other occasions, the church, so far from declining, grew numerically and spiritually.

After analysing the culture and religion of the Gogo and Kaguru, Akiri shows that some missionaries mistakenly thought the people “had no religion and no idea of a god”, so tried to suppress local traditions among the converts – but this was always a losing battle. “Missionaries borrowed from the societies they came from, not from traditional African models.” Converts accepted Christianity on their own terms, but were attracted by the missionaries’ love, gentleness and desire to identify with the people. They were seen to be different from the German colonial authorities. Indigenous wives and “Bible women” played a key role in teaching both adults and children, even though the culture of the Church Missionary Society of the time saw women as marginal at best. Early converts from Islam showed special gifts of leadership.

Akiri traces the development of educational policies of both mission and government and shows how they moved from conflict to collaboration. Syllabuses for training teachers and clergy are outlined and show a failure to adapt to African thinking. But in spite of the requirement that passing exams was a condition for ordination, in practice academic success was often dispensed with in favour of spiritual maturity, and the ministry of lay people found to be more effective than that of “qualified” clergy. Akiri believes that the church urgently needs to learn lessons like these from the past in order to be more effective today.

Akiri’s many informants, some in their late nineties, expressed surprise at how much they could remember and gratitude that at last someone was interested in their stories. Using these unique sources, Akiri presents a balanced picture which neither glamourises missionary heroism nor sees only missionary paternalism or even contempt of indigenous culture. He has shown how the earliest church was built by teamwork.

The book suffers from the lack of an index, but readers who have lived in Tanzania will find it of absorbing interest. It revives many old memories.

Roger Bowen
Roger Bowen taught theology in Tanzania from 1965 to 1978. He was editor of the Swahili Theological Textbooks programme and has written Mwongozo wa Waraka kwa Warumi. In retirement he was chair of the Cambridge Centre for Christianity Worldwide.

EDUCATION IN TANZANIA IN THE ERA OF GLOBALISATION: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES. Joe L. P. Lugalla & Jacob Marriote Ngwaru (eds.). Mkuki na Nyota Publishers, Dar es Salaam, 2019. 308 pp. (paperback). ISBN 978-9987083435. £ 30.00.

This book was produced as a collection of conference papers for the National Education Conference of the Aga Khan University – Institute for Educational Development, East Africa in 2016. The papers, from an eminent collection of Tanzanian researchers, are well-written. There is a wide range of topics covered, including the need for coordinated education system reform, evidence of impact from early childhood education programmes, the (unintended negative) effects of the “Big Results Now” approach in prioritising exam performance, assessment of inclusive education provision in Tanzania, the role of ICT in higher education, the role of ICT in creating a more open democracy, and more.

Many of the papers aimed to assess the status quo regarding the different areas covered. Unsurprisingly, most of the chapters concluded that current provision is inadequate, education is under-resourced, and teachers need more and better training. They also highlight the lack of trust between different stakeholders in education.

One of the more innovative papers explores the value of “making”, and advocates bringing design thinking and physical design programmes into teaching and learning to make students better equipped to solve real life problems and develop skills for deep learning.

Another raises the question “how can the national strategy on inclusive education (2009-2017) be implemented … when there are so many inclusivity challenges?” And indeed, many of the papers failed to answer the question of how the very many challenges raised for their respective area might be overcome. In general, the book covers many more challenges than opportunities, and it is not really clear how the opportunities might be taken up, given the resource constraints.

You can’t help but wonder whether this slightly dry and academic publication makes a difference to anything on the ground in Tanzania. While several “killer stats” are included about the poor state of education and at least the writers are honest about the many challenges, there is still a lack of urgency in their writing. It can’t be “business as usual” and we should be calling for radical overhaul of an education system which is delivering such poor outcomes for its citizens.

Naomi Rouse
Naomi Rouse edits the education pages of Tanzanian Affairs.


by Ben Taylor

The third President of Tanzania, Benjamin William Mkapa, passed away late in the evening of Thursday 23rd July, 2020, after suffering a heart attack at the age of 81.

Mkapa was born in 1938 to a poor family in Mtwara region. He earned a degree in English at Makerere College in Uganda in 1959, after which he went on to study at Columbia University in New York. He later worked as a journalist, including as Editor of The Nationalist and Uhuru (both owned by TANU) and became the founding editor of the state-owned Daily News in 1972, before being appointed the press secretary for the country’s first President, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, in 1974.

Under President Nyerere and President Ali Hassan Mwinyi, Mkapa held several cabinet posts, including Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Information and Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education. He also served as Tanzania’s ambassador to the United States.

However, he was, to many, a surprise choice to be the ruling party’s presidential candidate in 1995. Jakaya Kikwete and Edward Lowassa were the favourites for this position, along with Salim Ahmed Salim, who was seen as Nyerere’s preferred choice. Salim declined to run for personal reasons, and Nyerere intervened against Lowassa, citing concerns about the sources of his wealth. This left Kikwete as the strong favourite, at least until a second intervention by Nyerere promoted the less well known Mkapa as a more experienced and responsible figure. In the final round Mkapa won the internal party vote over Kikwete by the narrow margin of 689 votes to 639.

Nyerere campaigned hard for Mkapa in the 1995 election – Tanzania’s first multi-party election since the early 1960s – to the extent that some newspapers treated Nyerere as if he were the nominee, side-lining Mkapa somewhat in their reporting. Mkapa won the election with 62%, well ahead of his closest rival Augustino Mrema on 28%.

As President, Mkapa was noted for continuing President Mwinyi efforts to open up the economy, and most particularly for the large-scale privatisation of state-owned industry and parastatals. He is credited/blamed (delete according to political leanings) for boosting tax collection, instituting austerity measures to curb wasteful expenditure and opening doors to foreign investors. A sleight of hand involving revised definitions allowed Mkapa to do this without either CCM or Tanzania officially abandoning Ujamaa, though it was clear that in practice economic policy under Mkapa owed little to Nyerere’s ideology.

These reforms were welcomed by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund and partly resulted in the cancellation of Tanzania’s foreign debts. Nevertheless, the privatisations in particular were much criticised within Tanzania, and Mkapa later stated that although he had good intentions the policy was not well executed.

Privatisation also led to one of two corruption scandals that tarnished Mkapa’s legacy. It has been widely reported – and denied – that he improperly appropriated to himself and his former finance Minister Daniel Yona the lucrative Kiwira coal mine in Mbeya.

The second scandal was his association with the controversial USD$40m radar system purchased by Tanzania from BAE, said to be incompatible with Tanzania’s needs at the time and which involved a $12m payment to a middleman for “marketing purposes”. This case attracted the ire of the UK International Development Secretary at the time, Clare Short.

President Mkapa also attracted international criticism for his handling of the 2000 elections in Zanzibar, where a CCM President was elected for Zanzibar despite evidence that the opposition party candidate, Seif Sharif Hamad had more votes. The polls were described by Commonwealth observers as a “shambles.” In the aftermath, the army and police shot into crowds of protestors, killing at least 35 and wounding more than 600, and those forces, accompanied by ruling party officials and militias, went on a house-to-house rampage, arresting, beating, and sexually abusing residents, according to Human Rights Watch. Approximately 2,000 temporarily fled to Kenya.

Nevertheless, Mkapa was generally a popular President, and, after stepping down following two terms in 2005, became a respected elder statesman in regional politics. Most prominently, he attempted to act as mediator between Burundi’s government and opposition groups after a disputed 2015 election plunged the country into crisis, though talks went nowhere as the government repeatedly refused to take part.

President Magufuli led tributes to the former President. “I will remember him for his great love for the nation, his piety, hard work and performance in building the economy,” he said, and declared a seven-day mourning period, with all flags flown at half-mast.

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta sent a message of condolences and mourned the departed Tanzanian leader as an “outstanding East African who worked tirelessly for the integration, peace and progress of the region.”

Justice Augustino Ramadhani, former Chief Justice of Tanzania, died at the Aga Khan hospital in Dar es Salaam in April after a long illness.
Justice Ramadhani’s CV is long and impressive. Most prominently, he has been one of Tanzania’s foremost judges for many years, having served as Chief Justice of both Zanzibar (1978-1979 and 1980-1989) and Tanzania (2007-2010), as well as a judge of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ; 2001-2007) and a judge of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR; 2010-2016) including three years as President of the Court.

But he was also ordained as an Anglican Priest in 2013, where he had previously served as Provincial Registrar of the Anglican Church of Tanzania (2000-2007), and was appointed to lead St Albans Cathedral Church in Dar es Salaam in 2017.

He served as vice chairman of the National Electoral Commission (1993­2003), vice chairman of the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (2002-2007) and deputy chairman of the Warioba Commission on Constitutional Reform (2012).

And if that wasn’t enough, after obtaining his first degree in 1970, Ramadhani joined the Tanzania People’s Defence Force (JWTZ), reaching the rank of Brigadier General. His roles included JWTZ lawyer, head of Mugulani Camp in Dar es Salaam and head of JWTZ’s Faru Brigade in Tabora. He was involved in the war against Uganda under Idi Amin and then became Judge of the military court in Uganda.

He played piano, and in his youth was a talented basketball player. Born on Zanzibar in 1945, the grandson of Rev Cecil Majaliwa, first African priest of the Universities’ Mission to Central Africa, both his parents were teachers. Ramadhani went to primary school in Mpwapwa before attending the prestigious Tabora Boys High School. At the age of 15, he lost his father to a train crash in Manchester, UK.

He married Lieutenant Colonel Saada Mbarouk, a Muslim, in November 1975. They had four children, Francis, Bridget, Marine and Matthew.

Briefly, in 2015, Ramadhani’s name was discussed as a potential President of Tanzania, with various newspapers reporting that he was President Kiketwe’s preferred choice as a successor. As a Zanzibari Christian with broad experience and a reputation for integrity, it is easy to see the appeal. He submitted his nomination, but the party committees did not put him on the five-person shortlist.

In his various roles as a jurist, Ramadhani was seen as a passionate protector of the rule of law, and in later years, of democratic rights and freedoms. He was disappointed and privately critical of the country’s direction under President Magufuli.

Nevertheless, President Magufuli led the tributes. “I have received with great sadness the news of the death of the late Chief Justice Augustino Ramadhani,” he said in a statement. “I wish to express my sincere condolences to you, the family of the deceased, all the honourable judges and the staff of the Judiciary of Tanzania.”

Experienced diplomat and serving Minister of Constitutional and Legal Affairs, Augustine Mahiga, died on May 1, 2020 in Dodoma after a short illness, at the age of 74.

Mahiga served as Tanzania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs for four years under President Magufuli (2015–2019) before moving to his final cabinet
Obituaries 47

position. He previously served his country as an army colonel, head of the Tanzania Intelligence and Security Service (TISS), and Permanent Representative of Tanzania to the United Nations from 2003 to 2010. From 2010 to 2013 he was the UN Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Political Office for Somalia.

Mahiga was born in Tosamaganga, Iringa in 1945. He studied in Tosamaganga from Primary level up to High School, then earned a BA in Education at the University of East Africa in Dar es Salaam. He later attained a master’s degree from the University of Toronto and in 1975 a PhD in International Relations from the same institution.
“Despite his advanced age, experience and the high positions he held in government and internationally, Dr Mahiga was a humble and obedient person in the way he fulfilled his responsibilities,’’ said President Magufuli in a statement.

Opposition MP, Zitto Kabwe paid tribute, describing Mahiga as “an outstanding diplomat”.

The outgoing British High Commissioner to Tanzania, Sarah Cooke, described Mahiga as “a wise and experienced diplomat who was a close partner and friend of the UK. My thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very sad time,’’ she posted on Twitter.

Judge Mark Bomani has passed away in early September at the age of
88. He had been receiving treatment for the past month at the Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam.

Bomani served as Tanzania’s Attorney General from 1965 to 1976, the first indigenous Tanzania to hold the position, succeeding Roland Brown. He played a big role in advising President Nyerere on the appointment of the first indigenous Chief Justice Francis Nyalali and other judges of the High Court of Tanganyika, currently the High Court of Tanzania.
After serving in the government, Judge Bomani became a senior legal advisory in the United Nations between 1976 and 1990, working towards Namibian independence from South Africa and working to devise an independent legal system for the country. He was also the chief aide to both Julius Nyerere and Nelson Mandela on peace negotiations during the first Burundian Civil War.

In 1993, he chaired the Legal Sector Task Force, which resulted in a comprehensive report on legal sector reform in Tanzania. And in 2007 he was entrusted by President Kikwete to chair a Commission on the operations of the Mining Industry in Tanzania, with a broad scope that encompassed economic benefits, governance of the sector and alleged human rights abuses.

He was also briefly a Commissioner on the National Electoral Commission
– a position he resigned in 1995 in order to seek the CCM nomination as Presidential Candidate. This controversy is still cited today as evidence that the electoral commission is not truly independent.
At various times he was Chair of the Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC), the Tanzania Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (TEITI) and the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT).

“I send my heartfelt condolences to the late Bomani’s family and all who in one way or another have been touched by the demised of the retired judge,” said President Magufuli on Twitter.

Former Industry and Trade Minister Iddi Simba passed away in February while receiving medical treatment at the Muhimbili National Hospital’s Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute (JKCI).

Simba, described as “Tanzania’s staunchest proponent of indigenisation policy” and one of Tanzania’s foremost “intellectuals of capital”. He served as Minister of Commerce and then of Industry and Trade under President Mkapa, and as Chair of the Confederation of Tanzanian Industry (CTI), as well as holding senior positions with the African Development Bank and the World Bank.

Born in 1935, Simba grew up in Dar es Salaam where he received his primary and secondary education. He then attended the elite Tabora Boys School and became one of the first university graduates in post­colonial Tanganyika after obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture in 1961 from Panjab University in Pakistan.

Mr Simba is credited to have conceived the concept of indigenisation, a policy that sought to integrate Tanzanians of Africans descent into the modern economy and economically empower poor Tanzanians. In 1999, he told a gathering of members of the CTI that foreign companies which want to invest in Tanzania will be compelled to identify local partners. “If they cannot do so, the government will help them identify partners because we are now aiming at localising and promoting local participation in investments,” he said.

In June 2003, he published a twenty-page booklet titled A Concept of Indigenisation (Dhana ya Uzawa). The publication prompted the leadership of the ruling CCM, a party which Mr Simba was serving as a member of its National Executive Committee (NEC), to ban its members from using the term indigenisation (uzawa) on the grounds that it had no relation to the party’s 2000 election manifesto.

President Mkapa led the tributes to Mr Simba: “He always held to his position and he lived to be a good fighter for the advancement of the private sector,” said Mr Mkapa.

The last surviving member of the first cabinet of independent Tanganyika, Job Lusinde, died in July at the age of 89.

Job Lusinde (standing extreme left) in first cabinet of independent Tanganyika

After early schooling in Dodoma, Lusinde studied at Tabora Boys High School and Makerere University. He returned to Dodoma as a teacher, then served as District Executive Director where he drew the attention of the future President Nyerere.

At a time of the mutiny by soldiers in January 1964, Lusinde was Minister for Home Affairs. Alongside Oscar Kambona, the powerful Defence Minister, he calmed the soldiers who were demanding fast pace of Africanisation. Lusinde was awoken by the rioting soldiers in the early hours and ordered to show where President Nyerere and his vice Rashid Kawawa were hiding. He managed to get into the State House where he found Mama Maria Nyerere and Sophia Kawawa safe. From there, it is said, he communicated directly with all the ministers, pleading with them to stay indoors for their safety. The confusion as to the whereabouts of Nyerere and Kawawa ended after Lusinde, Kambona and Bhoke Munanka traced them in Kigamboni.

For many years, he held the Communications, Transport and Works dockets. In this role, he oversaw several large infrastructure projects including negotiations and construction of the Tanzania-Zambia

Railway (TAZARA), the Tanzania-Zambia Pipeline (TANZAM) and the highway to Zambia. He stood side by side with Mwalimu Nyerere as the President inaugurated one project after another.

He lost his seat in parliament in 1975, after which he served as Tanzania’s Ambassador in China and High Commissioner in Kenya, and later as chair of the Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA).

“There was no blemish on his performance,” said Former Dodoma Mayor Peter Mavunde. “He strived to discharge his roles to utmost perfection. He was my role model, I did not expect that one day I would become a politician, but under his watch, I matured steadily, ultimately becoming a mayor for Dodoma. Many politicians benefited from his wisdom.”

Former personal assistant to Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, Annar Cassam, died in Geneva in July after a long illness.

Annar Cassam with President Nyerere

Cassam was never a well-known figure in Tanzania, despite the role she played – certainly far less well-known than Joan Wicken. And yet she played a major role in Nyerere’s presidency, particularly in foreign affairs.

She first saw and heard Nyerere as a student at the London School of Economics (LSE) in the 1960s. After specialising in international law, she went on to Geneva on a fellowship at the International Commission of Jurists until she was asked to return to Tanzania in the 1970s to work at the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

Dar es Salaam was then the headquarters of the African Liberation Committee (ALC) and Tanzania was instrumental in supporting Southern African Liberation Movements. Nyerere invested a lot of time, effort and attention on this, and with her expertise, Cassam ended up working closely with him at State House.

Her role included helping him with translations of all French correspondence, to be with the President when he was meeting French speaking leaders, and to represent the president in meetings with key local actors including revolutionary-minded scholars at the University of Dar es Salaam.

After President Nyerere’s retirement, Cassam left Tanzania to work in Geneva for the United Nations. She maintained a close interest in Tanzania and in Nyerere’s legacy, however, including co-editing a book on Nyerere’s role in Africa’s liberation struggles, published in 2010.

Her co-editor on that book, Chambi Chachage, paid tribute. “One of the lessons I learned from her is the importance of not mincing words and not refraining from challenging the ideas of others, especially when they depart from historical facts,” he wrote. “It was indeed an honour and a privilege to collaborate with someone who christened herself my ‘old shangazi’.”


by Ben Taylor

First cases of Covid-19 in Tanzania
[Editor’s note: As this is a fast-changing situation, the details provided here are likely to be somewhat out of date by the time this issue reaches readers. Nevertheless, every effort has been made to ensure the details were correct at the time of writing (April 24).]

The first recognised case of Covid-19 in Tanzania was recorded on March 16 in Arusha, a Tanzanian woman who had recently returned from Belgium. Two further cases were recorded two days later, one in Dar and the other in Zanzibar, both foreign nationals. Three more followed the day after that.

The government acted swiftly, closing all schools with immediate effect on March 17 and universities from the following day. Major sporting events were also suspended. A contact-tracing and testing system – designed with a potential Ebola outbreak in mind – was put in place.

Nevertheless, the number of cases crept upwards over the following days and weeks. The first death was recorded on March 31.

Initially, cases were limited to those having recently arrived in the country from countries where the outbreak was already more widespread. However, on April 9, the Minister of Health, Ummy Mwalimu announced that the first recorded case of local transmission had been detected around the start of the month.

At the time of writing, the number of recorded cases has begun to rise more quickly, reaching 284 cases and ten deaths as announced by the government on April 22, up from 32 cases ten days earlier.

As has been the case across much of the world, the government has struggled to find the right response to an unprecedented and overwhelmingly difficult situation.

Even before the first cases were recorded in Tanzania, the President and the Minister of Health had both begun urging Tanzanians to take precautions – handwashing with soap, social distancing where possible and refraining from handshakes.

Maalim Seif Sharif Hamad (left) and President Magufuli tap feet in greeting on March 3rd – photo State House

President Magufuli himself set a public example when meeting with opposition leader Maalim Seif Sharif Hamad (of ACT Wazalendo) on March 3: rather than shake hands, they tapped feet. The photo featured prominently in news coverage, and did much to raise public awareness of the virus.

On March 13, the President urged the media to dedicate time alongside their news coverage to educate the public about the virus.

More substantive policy measures, however, have been more piecemeal. After the closure of schools and universities, the next major policy response came on March 23, when it was announced that all international arrivals into Tanzania from Covid-19-affected countries would have to undergo 14 days quarantine in designated hotels (at their own cost). This prompted distress from many returning Tanzanian citizens, who complained that the designated hotels were tourist-class hotels at prices beyond anything they would usually pay.

Three weeks later, the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority suspended all international commercial passenger flights to and from Tanzania until further notice, though in reality almost all such flights had already ceased operating due to restriction in other countries and measures taken by airlines for commercial reasons.

A faith-based response
The government also urged people to remain at home as much as possible, travel less on public transport and refrain from socialising. The message was somewhat undermined, however, by repeated public statements by the President and other national figures encouraging people to continue to attend their churches and mosques as normal, as the country needed their prayers.

The President, speaking while attending a Sunday service on March 22, said the virus was “satanic” and “it cannot survive in the body of Jesus. It will burn.”

This approach drew criticism both within and outside the country. Opposition leader, Zitto Kabwe, accused the government of “a lack of seriousness” and the President of being in “a state of denial.”

Nevertheless, the President doubled down on the message. Shortly before Easter he stated that “this is the time to build our faith and continue praying to God and not depending on facemasks. Don’t stop going to churches and mosques for prayers. I’m sure this is just a change of wind and it will go like others have gone.” And on April 16, the President called for three days of national prayer, saying God would protect Tanzanians from the virus.

Social distancing not in evidence at Palm Sunday mass in Full Gospel Bible Fellowship Church in Dar es Salaam

This earned the President a spot in a list of the “Notorious Nine” world leaders who “responded to the coronavirus with denial, duplicity and ineptitude,” compiled by a Canadian newspaper, the Globe and Mail. “Tanzania today remains the only country where the government has recommended church attendance as a way of combatting the virus,” the paper reported.

The Prime Minister, Kassim Majaliwa, has differed only a little in his stance. “Prayers in houses of worship are desirable,” he said, “but we also need to take necessary precautions.” He added, however, that as even wealthy countries have not been spared the pandemic, “it is time we sought divine intervention”.

On April 22, the President extended his advice a little beyond prayer
– to incorporate tradition medicine using steam inhalation. This, he said, was “scientifically very clear, because vapour is above 100 degrees centigrade and the virus will disintegrate,” before suggesting that concoctions made of Neem trees, onions and other ingredients could be beneficial, though without specifying whether as prevention or as treatment.

Scientists have concluded that this would have no positive effect, could cause burns and might make people more vulnerable to infection or to infections causing more severe problems. A Reuters fact check (not responding to President Magufuli, but to earlier online posts claiming steam inhalation as a cure), concluded that the idea was false, and indeed dangerous. Similarly, a BBC factcheck concluded that “any attempt to inhale steam at this temperature, would be extremely dangerous … and your lungs would certainly be irreparably damaged before reaching a temperature high enough to deactivate the virus.” Scientifically, it is very clear.

After making this suggestion, the president concluded that “we will beat Corona by working together, by putting an end to fear, by putting God first, and will beat Corona as we have been able to win other wars.”

No lockdown, “never”
The President has also shunned all calls for a lockdown. “Let us continue working hard to build our nation,” he said in mid-April. “Coronavirus is not and should not be a reason for us not working. Farmers should utilise the ongoing rains effectively, industrial owners should continue producing and I don’t expect any development project to stop.”

Some minimal social distancing measures were put in place. In addition to the closure of schools, universities and sporting events, this includes attempts to prevent overcrowding on public transport – no more passengers permitted than the number of seats – and some restrictions (later relaxed) on travel between Dar es Salaam and up-country locations. Many rural communities have put in place their own measures to fine or quarantine anyone arriving from Dar es Salaam – as many have done, recognising the lower risk associated with lower population densities and the possibility of growing your own food. The April 26 Union Day public celebrations have been cancelled, as has the Uhuru Torch race.

Opposition leaders say the country needs to take more urgent action to avoid potential disaster. Freeman Mbowe, the chairman of the largest opposition party, Chadema, posted on Twitter: “No lockdown because he (President Magufuli) wants to save the economy and his flagship infrastructure projects. The lives of our people cannot be repaired but the economy can! Lockdown or get locked out!”

The President has repeatedly resisted all such calls. On April 22, speaking in his hometown of Chato to security force leaders, he addressed the issue again: “There are those who have suggested that we lockdown Dar es Salaam. This is not possible,” he said. “Dar es Salaam is where we collect almost 80 per cent of the country’s revenue, we can continue taking measures to curb the virus but not by locking down Dar es Salaam. Never!”

At the time of writing, the truth is that social distancing has not become part of life for many in Dar es Salaam or other urban areas of Tanzania. Markets, public transport and bars remain crowded, as well as places of worship.

And the government faces some impossible choices in this regard. While a small number of Dar es Salaam residents – primarily those in middle class jobs – are able to work from home, the reality for many is that this would spell rapid and severe economic distress. Tanzania lacks the economic capacity to provide either direct financial assistance or food aid to the millions who would need it.

There is considerable debate about whether a lockdown might not be the best response in many African countries, where populations are both extremely young and financially vulnerable. Melissa Leach, the Director of the Institute for Development Studies (IDS) and James Fairhead, an environmental and medical anthropologist, both at the University of Sussex, have written that “the best policies for countries with young populations may not be lockdowns.”

Around 3% of Tanzania’s population is aged 65 or above, compared to around 18% in the UK and 20% in Italy.

“There may be better ways to save lives such as physically shielding and supporting the most vulnerable while allowing the wider population to gain immunity, whether through a vaccine when it arrives or by virtue of enough people catching and recovering from the virus itself,” they wrote. “Poor countries are much less able to cushion the potentially devastating economic impacts produced by lockdowns. This is if they are feasible in the first place. Effective lockdowns are near impossible in crowded low-income settlements that lack taps and sewers.”

“Today, some version of the lockdown has become most countries’ response to the Covid-19 pandemic. In years to come, we may look back on this moment as one in which an ideological practice emanating from older and wealthier countries was misguidedly “copy and pasted” by elites in younger and poorer societies, leading to marginal benefits in tackling the coronavirus but with the effect of increasing poverty and mortality among the poor.”

Nevertheless, most of Tanzania’s neighbours have opted for forms of lockdown that go well beyond anything being done in Tanzania. In Uganda, the country has been in strict lockdown since March 30. Movement is restricted, public gatherings are suspended and all but a small number of essential businesses are closed. This is enforced in Kampala and other urban centres by a heavy police presence on the streets. In Kenya, the government has not gone quite so far, though did introduce a nationwide 7pm-5am curfew and the closure of all bars and restaurants in late March, followed by a ban on movement in and out of Nairobi and other major urban centres in early April.

Health services
Much of Tanzania’s epidemic preparations have been with Ebola in mind, with contact tracing and testing and isolation of patients of a relatively small number of patients. It is not designed to cope with the large numbers of patients the current pandemic has seen around the world, nor with asymptomatic carriers.

The number of ventilators available is low (the precise number is unknown), stocks of protective equipment for health workers are minimal, even supplies of running water and electricity are unreliable in many hospitals. Five hundred ventilators were donated by Chinese entrepreneur, Jack Ma, on April 8, and several local business figures have donated masks, gowns and other equipment. Doctors have complained about a shortage of protective equipment.

Initially, all positive Covid-19 cases in Tanzania were being isolated in selected hospitals, including those with few or no symptoms. Since April 19, this is primarily the Amana Hospital in Ilala, Dar es Salaam. All other patients at the hospital were transferred elsewhere. Muhimbili National Hospital has been directed to refer all Covid-19 patients to Amana, and to focus exclusively on other medical needs. There have been some efforts to increase capacity at Amana and supply it with new equipment.

There have also been reports of unrest among patients in isolation at Amana. On April 24, it was reported that some patients had staged a breakout. Different reports stated this was either due to dissatisfaction at the poor standard of care being provided to more serious cases or due to frustration among patients with no symptoms that they were being kept for an unnecessarily long time against their will. Similar events were seen the same day in Nairobi, Kenya.

International support, and concern
Various donor agencies have pledged additional financial assistance to Tanzania to cope with the pandemic, though details in most cases are scarce. The government of Ireland responded very quickly, providing €1.5 million to support the national response seven days after the first case was announced. Tanzania has been promised part of a €1.2 billion package set up by the French government to support Covid-19-responses across Africa. The British government has pledged some direct support to Tanzania (“an initial” £2.7 million), but has put large amounts toward international efforts towards vaccine development (£544 million) and the work of international agencies (£200 million) including the World Health Organisation (WHO), UNICEF and the World Food Programme in combatting the pandemic. The EU has raised over €15 billion to support the global response, though this is likely to focus most on supporting economic mitigation and recovery. The US government has committed around $1.5m towards the Tanzanian response.

On April 22, President Magufuli thanked the World Bank for making loans available for financing the response, but suggested that the Bank should instead cancel debts owed by Tanzania and other developing countries. “Now is the right time for the World Bank, which has been touched by the crisis and has good intentions to assist us, to forgive part of the debts we owe, so that the money we are paying each month, and the interest, can be put towards responding to the Coronavirus crisis. This is my request, and I request also that other African countries should join in this call.

WHO Regional Director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti who also urged countries not to let Covid-19 eclipse other health issues.

On April 24, the WHO Regional Director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti said there were concerns about the rise of cases reported in Tanzania in the previous few days. “Certainly in Tanzania we have observed that physical distancing, including the prohibition of mass gatherings, took some time to happen and we believe that these might have been probable factors that led to a rapid increase in cases there.”

Uncertainty and trepidation
The coming months hold a high level of risk and uncertainty for the whole world, with every country facing its own unique challenges according to the local context – and a degree of luck. For Tanzania, it now seems unlikely that the outbreak will be contained, and therefore probable that the virus will spread rapidly in low income neighbourhoods of Dar es Salaam, as well as other towns and cities. It seems unlikely that health services will be able to respond effectively. And it seems likely that the economic consequences – lockdown or no lockdown – will be severe for many, with urban areas again likely to be hardest hit.

Lower population densities in rural areas may offer some protection – both reducing the chance of infections reaching rural communities and slowing the spread within such areas. In rural areas, households are also more likely to be able to produce a greater proportion of the food they need. The young age of the population may offer some protection, if fewer of those who contract the virus suffer severe symptoms, though this may also contribute to faster spread among asymptomatic carriers.

The truth is, however, that this situation is unprecedented in modern times. Nobody truly knows how it will play out, nor what the cost in lives will be, nor the impact on food security and the wider economy.


by Ben Taylor

Election year
With the Covid-19 pandemic raging across the globe, any major event scheduled for 2020 is vulnerable to cancellation or postponement, but no such decision has yet been taken with regard to Tanzania’s general elections, set for October. Local councillors, MPs and the President will all be up for re-election.

The subject of possible postponement has come up in the media – including an insightful blogpost by Dr Victoria Lihiru of the Law Department at the Open University of Tanzania that looked at the legality of a delay. Dr Lihiru concluded that it would require a constitutional amendment. The only constitutional provisions allowing for postponement of elections apply only if the country is at war. This would need to be supported by two thirds of MPs.

Nevertheless, the starting assumption must be that the election will go ahead.

Free, fair, open and transparent?
Prior to the arrival of the Coronavirus in Tanzania, the coming elections were at the top of the public agenda. In his annual New Year Sherry Party for diplomats in Tanzania, President Magufuli stressed that the elections would be open, transparent, free and fair.

“A general election is mandatory for any democratic nation like Tanzania. Therefore, the government is determined to embrace justice, transparency and freedom during the election,” he said. He added that the government will allow international agencies and observers to come and monitor the polls.

The assurance came just a few weeks after opposition parties, civil society organisations (CSOs) and the international community concluded that local government elections held last November were not free and fair. The main opposition parties boycotted the election protesting what they termed as unfair disqualification of their nominees.

These same groups reacted to the President’s statement with some scepticism. James Mbatia, national chairman of opposition party NCCR Mageuzi said the President had to delivery on such commitments.

“Making promises is one thing but implementing them is totally different; the President should set the ball rolling,” said Mr Mbatia.

Executive Director of the Legal and Human Rights Centre, Anna Henga, said she welcomed this assurance positively, but added that “in my honest opinion, we still have to address the challenges in the electoral system. For example, Opposition politicians have for a long time complained that our electoral system wasn’t free and fair, while we (CSOs) were locked out of the November 2019 civic polls as well as in some of by-elections held recently, this must be sorted out.” Prof Bakari argued that there were signs that the October general election wouldn’t be free and fair basing on the experience on last November civic polls.

CCM’s Secretariat of Political Affairs and International Relations director, Ngemela Lubinga, said that since this statement came from the Head of State, all would be well. “The Head of State has never disappointed us. There is no need to worry. Those who are sceptic of his assurance should understand that he will address any challenges before the general election, if there is any,” said Mr Lubinga.

Nevertheless, opposition party’s concerns appeared reasonable in early March, when CCM Secretary General, Dr Bashiru Ally gave an interview in which he stated that ruling parties only had themselves to blame if they failed to use their control of state apparatus to ensure victory at the polls.

“It’s obvious that CCM intends to use state powers in the forthcoming elections,” said General Secretary of Chadema, John Mnyika, in response. Mr Mnyika also pointed to the government’s refusal to listen to calls for reform of the National Electoral Commission (NEC).

Such calls had grown louder since the new year. Another opposition party, ACT Wazalendo, launched a nationwide campaign in March to push for the establishment of a truly independent NEC. This added weight to similar calls already emanating from CSOs and other opposition parties. Chadema wrote to the President in January asking for, among other things, the formation of an autonomous electoral commission.

Former Foreign Secretary, Bernard Membe, who was expelled from CCM in February for perceived disloyalty, in March joined calls for reform of NEC. “I said it in the [CCM] Ethics Committee and let me say it again: The prevailing political climate calls for an electoral commission which is independent, representative and transparent at both the national and district level [sic]. I, therefore, strongly support all the voices to that effect.”

The Prime Minister, Kassim Majaliwa, told Parliament in February this year that the current electoral commission was already “very independent” as he rejected pleas for formation of independent electoral body.

The independence (or otherwise) of the Commission has become a key point of contention, prompted in part by how NEC acted during the 2019 civic polls and in part by the appointment of Dr Wilson Mahera, a perceived CCM-loyalist as Director of NEC in October 2019. Dr Mahera is a known CCM member who has previously vied for positions within CCM leadership at local level. His previous post was as Acting Executive Director of Arusha District Council, before which he served as Associate Professor of Mathematics at the University of Dar es Salaam. No reason was given from removing the previous NEC Director, Dr Athuman Kihamia, who served just over a year.

Chadema, ACT Wazalendo and LHRC all expressed concern at the appointment of Dr Mahera. Chadema have argued that it is unconstitutional, since the constitution prohibits any person who is a member of a political party from being involved in the administration of elections. For a similar reason, in 2019, the High Court ruled that District Executive Directors could no longer act as returning officers in elections, though the decision was later overturned on appeal.

Chadema leaders found guilty
Eight senior figures in Chadema, including the party’s national chair, Freeman Mbowe were found guilty of sedition in early March, and sentenced to a collective total fine of TSh 350 million or to each serve five months in prison. Alongside Mr Mbowe were John Mnyika, Ester Matiko, John Heche, Peter Msigwa, Halima Mdee and Ester Bulaya, all prominent Chadema MPs, the party’s Deputy Secretary for Zanzibar, Salum Mwalimu, and former General Secretary Dr Vincent Mashinji, who had since defected to CCM.
14 Politics

The nine had been charged with offences including unlawful assembly, rioting, and making seditious statements in February 2018 during a by-election campaign in Kinondoni constituency in Dar es Salaam. They had denied the charges.

Chadema started a campaign to raise funds immediately after the magistrate’s pronouncement at the Kisutu Resident Magistrate court. Within days, the funds to pay the fines were raised from supporters and all the leaders were released. CCM members similarly raised funds to secure the release of Dr Mashinji.

Under Tanzanian law, any statement made with the intention to “raise discontent or disaffection amongst people or sections of people of the United Republic” is considered to be seditious.

The other main opposition party, ACT Wazalendo, has also faced similar legal difficulties. In February, the High Court judged that the party’s leader, Zitto Kabwe, had a case to answer for allegedly seditious statements made in October 2018. He is expected to face trial later in the year.

Sim card switch-off
Tightened restrictions on mobile phone sim card registration, enforced from January, led to a massive switch off of improperly registered sim cards.

The Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) began enforcing guidelines that only people who registered their sim cards using National Identification Authority (Nida) identity cards could continue to use their sim cards. Everyone else had their sim cards disconnected from the network.

However, as not all mobile phone users had a national ID card, this has brought Nida in the spotlight. Long queues were seen at its offices across the country, with some accusing it of inefficiency and mediocrity.

Though the law does not state exactly what forms of identity document are required for sim card registration, a variety of documents such as driving licence, passport and even workers IDs were previously being accepted as proof of identity. But new TCRA guidelines insist that anyone registering a sim card “shall be required to present his Nida ID and fingerprint verification” for the registration.

Large queues of people outside Nida offices trying to obtain ID cards with which to register their sim cards. (Citizen website)

The initial deadline for re-registration in compliance with the new guidance was December 31, but this was later extended for twenty days. By January 19, a total of 28.4 million sim cards had registered using official ID cards, leaving over 20 million at risk of being disconnected.

After January 20, the switch off was rolled out gradually. Exact numbers are not yet known, but it is thought that over seven million were disconnected.

The largest mobile phone network in Tanzania, Vodacom Tanzania Plc, issued a profit warning in response to the situation. Around 5 million subscribers (around one third of the firm’s total) did not meet the new registration requirements in time, though many were later able to do so.

“The significant number of barred customers will affect revenue growth. The revenue impact, with the increased compliance cost, will also adversely affect our operating profits,” Vodacom said in their statement.


by Roger Nellist

Historic mining agreement signed in January 2020
On Friday 24 January the Tanzanian Government signed an historic mining agreement with Barrick Gold, finally putting an end to the three or more years of acrimonious relations with Barrick’s former subsidiary (Acacia Mining, now wound up) and establishing the arrangements under which the new joint venture, Twiga Minerals Corporation (TMC), will operate in the country. In a televised ceremony in State House, witnessed by President Magufuli and Barrick’s President and CEO Mark Bristow, nine detailed agreements were signed which establish the terms under which the parties can go forward together with confidence. Amongst other things, they provide for a 16% free-carried interest shareholding for government in TMC (with representation on the joint management committee) and for the economic benefits to be split 50/50 after recovery of costs.

TMC will now operate the three gold mines at Bulyanhulu, North Mara and Buzwagi which together generate Tanzania’s biggest export earnings. After the signature Bristow said: “Reflecting our confidence in the potential of this highly prospective gold region, we have budgeted $50 million for exploration here in 2020 alone and are looking at various opportunities to sustain and expand our operations”. Barrick will also invest $40 million to upgrade the road between Bulyanhulu and Mwanza as well as building a housing estate and related infrastructure. In partnership with the University of Dar es Salaam they will also be supporting a $10 million programme to upgrade mining skills in Tanzania.

In welcoming the new deal, President Magufuli clarified that the many metal concentrate containers stored for the last two years at Dar es Salaam’s port will be sold by TMC to willing buyers and the profits shared. He said they are worth millions of dollars.

The nine agreements which cement this deal comprise: Framework Agreement, Twiga Shareholders Agreement, Bulyanhulu Shareholders Agreement, North Mara Shareholders Agreement, Buzwagi Shareholders Agreement, Bulyanhulu Development Agreement, North Mara Development Agreement, Pangea Development Agreement, and the Management & Administrative Service Agreement.

The new deal hopefully puts an end to a protracted period of enormous disruption in Tanzania’s mineral sector. The new terms are expected to improve Tanzania’s revenues from the gold mining operations. However, the detailed terms of those agreements were not made public and, in a session of the National Assembly in Dodoma a few days after their signature, Opposition MPs called for them to be made so. Chadema’s Shadow Minister of Minerals demanded that the government explain what the 16% and 50/50 split provisions actually mean for Tanzania. He also pressed Government to explain what has happened to the earlier claim for Barrick to pay unpaid tax of $190 billion. It is reported that the Government made major concessions to Barrick during the “arduous and frustrating” negotiations – allowing international arbitration, permitting the export of mineral concentrates again and waiving the requirement for the mining company to establish ore beneficiation facilities in the country. The offering of significant concessions by both parties during a major negotiation is, of course, the essence of the process by which an agreement can be concluded that, overall, is satisfactory to both sides.

Cooking with LPG rather than wood and charcoal
With Tanzania having lost eight million hectares of forest between 1990 and 2010 to firewood and charcoal for burning, the Government has embarked on a plan to raise to 50% the number of Tanzanian households using instead Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) for cooking. The plan was unveiled in mid-February by the Tanzanian Environment Minister, Hon Mussa Zungu. Government wants to build further on the increasing use of LPG witnessed in recent years, and also to introduce more competition into LPG supply so as to reduce its price to households.

Data shows that marketing companies imported 8,000 tonnes of LPG in 2008. The volume had grown to 120,000 tonnes by 2017/18 and Government expects this to rise to 145,000 tonnes annually. Currently, 50% of the LPG imports are consumed in Dar es Salaam and the Coastal Zone; the Northern Zone consumes 23%, the Lakes Zone 12% and the Southern Highland Zone 8%.

Contract reviews and delays
Investor representatives, analysts, commentators and Government officials continue to look forward to the resumption of negotiations concerning the Host Government Agreement that will kickstart the mega Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project in Lindi. Those crucial negotiations are being held up whilst Government continues to review and renegotiate the country’s existing Petroleum Production Sharing Agreements, to bring their terms into line with the new natural wealth and resource legislation enacted in 2017.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment has stated that it is undertaking a similar review of the contracts governing the associated Mchuchuma coal mining and power generation project and the Liganga iron ore project. Those complex projects, said to be worth $3 billion, have so far taken nine years and are still not ready. The current contract reviews are introducing yet another delay. The implementing partner and investor – Tanzania China International Mineral Resource Ltd – has already invested considerable funds in the projects (which were originally expected to be implemented by 2016) and has completed necessary geological, technical and environmental impact work. However, it is understood there have been wrangles over certain tax exemptions on imported project equipment and supplies as well as the provision of other incentives. The investor says the projects are beset by burdensome red tape. However, construction is under way and reports indicate that the project could create 35,000 direct and indirect jobs. It has an expected lifespan of between 50 and 100 years.