UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
ZANZIBAR: TOURISM INDUSTRY LINKED TO DRUG TRAFFICKING
Tourism in Zanzibar has basically always been the mass type of sun, sex and sand, but added to this there is now drugs, Professor Seithy Chachage lamented recently. Professor Chachage, a lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam in his study: Land, Forest and People in Zanzibar, said the tourism industry in Isles is now widely accused of being involved in drug-trafficking and money laundering and that investments in tourism are simply used as pretexts.
He said his study revealed that drug abuse by locals is also on the increase, particularly in Zanzibar town, adding that claims are rife that Zanzibar has become one of the major centres for drug abuse or trafficking directly linked to tourism.
His sources say that there are European countries from where drug-traffickers arrive, part of the groups of tourists of up to 300 that arrive in the isles for holidays or business at intervals of two months. The tourists are mostly from Italy, Germany and Britain, staying in beach resorts and hotels owned by foreigners. Of the more than 60 of these resorts/hotels, over 60 per cent of these are owned by Italians, some in partnership with locals.
Chachage says in his study that just after Christmas 1996, two chartered planes landed in Zanzibar, straight from Italy, with more than 2,000 tourist who were going to spend their time on the beaches. He says that 'this mass influx shows the type and the nature of tourism which has been going on in Zanzibar'. Africa Events, a local newspaper, once quoted one resident in Zanzibar town as having said the following on the character of the tourist in Zanzibar: "They are up to no good these tourists. All over the Island whorehouses are propping up to cater for them. The so-called hotels coming by dozens on the beach front are no more than dens of inequities. Tourist lure our girls here with wild promises of foreign travel. They then get them into the cocaine habit. The next thing you know, they get hooked. We want investment but not the sort that turns our sisters and daughters into whores and junkies."
It is with the development of tourism that drug abuse and trafficking have become rampant. Some Zanzibari youths went recently protested on the streets, against tourism, in the name of the Islamic faith. There have also been condemnation of the industry from religious leaders in many parts of the country. One Sheikh Kurwa Shauri was imprisoned and finally deported to Tabora after demanding the government abolish tourism.
The study reveals also that there were 150 Zanzibaris serving long term jail sentences in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Turkey, Egypt and European countries for drug trafficking by the year 1995 and twelve of them had been sentenced to death.
In a bid to fight against drug trafficking, the Zanzibar government deported two Italian businessmen in early 1995 after receiving reports from the Interpol that they were notorious drug-traffickers. These Italians were among investors who had come from Mombasa where they had previously invested and had been accused by the Kenyan government of promoting drug-trafficking on the coastal belt of Kenya.
More recently, a British businessman, Thomas Wells, who entered into an investment deal worth US$ 4 billion, a tourism and development project, was arrested at Dar es Salaam Airport following an Interpol alert over fraud charges in the Sultanate of Aman. The businessman had been convicted and sentenced in absentia in 1995 in Oman on charges of fraudulently issuing two cheques of US$2,728 in 1994. He had left for Zanzibar in the same year. The Tanzanian police has been unable to apprehend him in Zanzibar where he had highly placed friends in the government.
This businessmen was working on a leisure development project in Nungwi peninsula jointly with the government and the East African Development Co. Ltd (EADC). The investment was to include 11 hotels, a resort village, a time share village, an 18-hole golf course, a race course, airport, a school, a trade and conference centre and off shore facilities.
It would therefore appear, according to the study by Professor Chachage, that despite the fact that Zanzibar has always aspired to establishing an organized sustainable high class tourism, tourism which is culturally and environmentally friendly, the reality proves now to be far from this.
1.POLICE READY FOR PROBE OVER MWEMBECHAI DEATHS
Policemen were forced to use guns during the Mwembechai riots in Dar es Salaam to protect lives of innocent citizens after all attempts to overpower rioters failed, police confirmed recently.
Seniors officials in Dar es Salaam said that policemen deployed at the Mwembechai Mosque had no other way to control rioters, who were allegedly Muslim fundamentalists, except to use guns.
Last month's riots, which took place at Mwembechai area along Morogoro road lead to the death of two persons said to have been shot by the police. "We had fired plenty of warning shots in the air to scare the rioters but they continued to throw stones at the policemen," a senior police officer who asked for his name to be kept anonymous said. "Therefore, police had no choice but to shot rioters who went on the rampage looting shops and burning vehicles," he stressed.
He added that the rioters had themselves to blame for stirring the social unrest which threatened peace and tranquility in Dar es Salaam. He maintained he had no fear if a Presidential Committee was appointed to investigate the deaths of those killed in the riots.
Recently, two different Islamic organizations have demanded the formation of an independent committee to investigate the circumstances that led to the Mwembechai killings. The Secretary of the Committee for Muslim Rights at the Mwmbechai Mosque, Sheikh Ponda Issa Ponda, cautioned that leaders of the mosque would "take action"if the government did not reprimand policemen alleged to have killed the protestors.
Also, a similar appeal to appoint an independent public inquiry was made to President Benjamin Mkapa by the secretary general of the Supreme Council of Islamic Organizations and Institutions of Tanzania, Sheikh Abbas Kilima and 23 MPs sent a letter to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Pius Msekwa, asking him to summon the Parliamentary Legal and Constitution Affairs Committee to probe the police killings of unarmed citizens.
2.HEALTH MINISTRY: 'EU CHOLERA BAN ON FISH NO LONGER JUSTIFIED'
The Tanzania Health Ministry Principal Secretary, Reynald Mrope, said recently his ministry had advised fish exporters to observe hygienic practices and he was satisfied that the measures had been implemented. He said that 'unless there is a hidden agenda' the European Union could no longer take cholera as the reason for restricting food transactions.
In the middle of last year, the European Union slapped a ban on fish exports from East and Central African states, including Tanzania, on the grounds of unhygienic conditions of handling of fish and because of widespread cholera in the region at the time. The ban is still in place.
The statement from the Health Ministry received support from the World Health Organization (WHO) which said cholera was a lame excuse, adding the ban would further incapacitate the already fragile economies of the region. The EU said it would lift the ban after it had inspected industries jointly with local experts and when it was satisfied that the cholera threat was no more. The EU ban was on fresh fish only.
A Consultant with Mana Asiatic Group Ltd, Othman Mfuta Kamba, said the ban was an unfair one, calling on the EU to review the decision. Dr Kamba said Tanzania stood to lose Tsh24.5bn/- (US$ 36m) worth of annual fish exports, Tsh900m/- a month and causing job insecurity for over 100,000 people if the ban stayed in place.
3.GOVERNMENT TO INVOLVE NGOs IN POLICY MAKING
The government has pledged to involve NGOs and community based organizations (CBOs) in the formulation of the country's policy on NGOs. The Co-ordinator of NGOs in the Vice-President's Office, Estomih Mushi, said recently that the NGOs and CBOs involvement in policy-making was aimed at increasing efficiency.
"By incorporating them, the organization would improve the planning of their services and at the same time create a basis for better relations with the government," he explained. Mr Mushi said that the preparations for the formulation of the NGO policy were expected to be completed in October this year. He said that the basis for the policy was a three-day workshop on NGO policy which took place in November 1996.
The workshop, which was organized by the Vice-president's office in collaboration with the National Income Generating Program (NIGP) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) resulted in the formation of the steering committee which coordinated the preparation of the NGO policy.
The steering committee, consisting of 26 members from NGOs, citizens' communities, religious organizations and government officials, prepared the second draft of the NGO policy. A three-day national workshop also organized by the Vice-president's office in collaboration with NIGP and other NGOs was held between the 24th and 26th February last year to discuss NGO policy.
The Vice-president, Dr Omar Ali Juma, opened the workshop which was attended by 250 participants from all over the country. Participants included government officials, local and international NGOs, community-based organizations, international organizations, the donor community and academics.
Mr Mushi said the government's invitation to both NGOs and CBOs in drafting the NGO policy had improved the co-operation between the government and the NGOs. The co-operation between the two sides is essential to the creation of a conducive working environment for NGOs, he observed.
4.WOMEN BEING EXPLOITED SAYS MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRIES
About half of the people employed by the informal sector in Tanzania between 1991 and this year are women, the Deputy Minister of Industries and Trade, Ms Shamim Khan said recently in Dar es Salaam. She said that the statistics clearly confirm the importance of the informal sector as a key generator to employment and also as a major contributor to the national income.
Ms Khan said this when opening an exhibition for products made by women at Mashujaa grounds in Dar es Salaam to mark International Women's Day. Ms Khanm expressed dissatisfaction over the unequal distribution of the national income, saying that women's labour was heavily exploited despite the handsome contribution their income was making to the national economy.
"Poverty is now normal among women since they do not enjoy the full slice of their income," the Deputy Minister stated. She pledged full government support for women income generating activities by providing small loans. She said between 1994 and 1998 a total of 501 loans worth TSH 1.56 billion (US$ 2,5 million) were issued by the government to small entrepreneurs through the Small Scale Industries Organizations (SIDO), to finance more than 1,000 projects. The celebrations for International Women's Day lasted eight days. Among other activities, the participants in the eight days of celebrations discussed the success of Tanzanian women in the sphere of social economic development.
5.GOVERNMENT WILL NOT INTERVENE IN RELIGIOUS CONFLICTS
The Vice-President Dr Omar Ali Juma said recently that the government will not intervene in any religious conflicts and each sect will be required to solve its own problems.
The vice-president said this when he opened a new mosque at Turiani in Morogoro Region. He said the government had enough to do without having to start handling religious problems as well. Dr Omar asked Muslims and Christians to value peace and tranquility and solve their misunderstandings by sitting together to discuss their differences and find solutions.
At the same time, a member ofthe ruling Chama Cha mapinduzi (CCM) central committee, Kingunge Ngombale-Mwiru, said there was no plan to use the People's Defence Forces, the Tanzanian national army, to quell religious riots in the country.
Ngombale-Mwiru was talking to journalists on reports by some Kiswahili papers that the party's central committee, which met in Dodoma recently, has proposed asking the government to use the army to combat religious riots. Ngombale Mwiru was also quoted blaming reports that Zanzibar leaders intended to break up the union between the isles and the mainland during the Dodoma meeting.
Ngombale Mwiru who is also a minister of State in the president's office, refuted the reports which had said that Zanzibar delegates to the CCM meeting entered the session carrying a Shiraz flag to express their discontent with the union. Ngombale Mwiru warned newspapers against carrying stories that were likely to cause misunderstandings between the government and its people.
6.POLICE HARASS PEOPLE AT OPPOSITION RALLIES - UDP CHAIRMAN
The United Democratic Party (UDP) national chairman, John Cheyo, recently urged the government against using the police force to silence opposition parties for organizing political rallies. MR Cheyo said that the government should 'stop the behaviour of the police where they intimidated people attending meetings arranged by opposition parties'.
"Why should policemen appear in rallies organized by the opposition parties in war-like manner," the UDP leader queried. "They come armed with dangerous weapons... This is terrorism," he charged.
Mr Cheyo, who is also a member of parliament, accused the police of terrorizing would-be voters, an act he described as infringement of people's rights to choose the leader they wanted. If government do not stop policeman intimidating people at rallies organized by opposition parties 'we will be forced to employ our own militia to safeguard our interests and if that situation occurs, peace in this country would be disrupted' Mr Cheyo said.
Cheyo claimed that policemen treated his party unfairly in campaign meetings at the recently concluded Kahama by-election in which the ruling CCM candidate RaphaÎl Mlowa, won. Kahama is in Shinyanga Province, in the north west of Tanzania. He claimed that the presence of policeman at campaigns organized by the UDP had scared voters, and this contributed to the party's defeat. Mr Cheyo alleged that police threatened voters to the extent that 25 percent of them did not cast their votes
7.FOREX DEALERS ACCUSE GOVERNMENT OF IGNORING SHILLING FALL
The government has ignored the 10 per cent drastic rise in the price of the dollar against the shilling, which touched Tsh 690 in the interbank market recently from Tsh 630 just 3-4 weeks ago, foreign exchange dealers have said.
The dealers also felt there was no logic behind the rise. In fact, when the dealers expressed their concern over the fall of the shilling, they were informed by a few officials of the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) that the matter had been passed on to 'higher authorities'.
The BoT officials further said that the Central Bank read this fall in the shilling as a move by speculators, and was waiting for the shilling to undergo market correction. For instance, a dealer said, if there was a demand for US$ 200,000, and assuming that market conditions were tight, most of the interbank dealers tended to place bigger orders than the demand. This process of excess orders helped the dollar to strengthen on the market.
Also, it has been learned that while on the one hand importers suffered the most due to the fall in the shilling, exporters, on the other, gained from it. However, some dealers have said that the export season was only set to begin in three months i.e. in June, so there was no way exporters could benefit.
The BoT was expected to intervene in the foreign exchange market after the drastic fall was noticed, to stabilize the falling shilling. However, it did not do so.
8.TANZANIAN TEA FETCHES SUPER PRICE
Tanzania's tea is fetching between US$ 1.8 to 2.6 per kilogram on the international market at the beginning of 1998 is just the prelude to a bright future for their counterparts in the other East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda.
A report from Tanzania Tea Blenders (TTB) said while the tea grown in Iringa (Central ) and Mbeya (South West) regions in Tanzania fetched a super price of 165 pence a kilo, tea from Burundi fetched the highest price of 178 pence a kilo at the London auction market.
A senior officer at TTB said the Tanzania tea production declined by 27.2 percent from 25,000 tonnes in 1995/96 to 18,200 tonnes because of a number of factors, including drought in some parts of neighbouring East African countries.
Tanzania tea exports to the world market are third biggest in value after coffee and fish which generate about Tsh 900 million monthly. Following the temporary ban on exports of fish fillets from Lake Victoria to the European Union Countries, tea is now rated second after coffee as foreign exchange earner.
From: AfricaNN@inform-bbs.dk (Africa_news Network) Date: Fri, 27 Mar 1998 16:55:29 +0100 Subject: TANZANIA NEWS ONLINE #16 Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar
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