UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
In this edition:
Feature: ZANZIBAR CRISIS THREATENS STABILITY
1. EL-NINO FLOOD VICTIMS STILL NEED FOOD AID
2. GOVERNMENT - ISLAMIC GROUP MUST DISCLOSE INCOME SOURCES
3. UK MINISTER BLAMES MKAPA GOVERNMENT FOR ZANZIBAR'S POLITICAL CRISIS
4. POLITICS: TANZANIA'S ONLY SUCCESS?
5. GOVERNMENT TO PREPARE NEW INCENTIVE PACKAGE
6. MREMA - 'DON'T MESS AROUND WITH OUR POLLS'
7. MALAYSIA TEAM HOLDS TALKS IN DAR ES SALAAM ON POWER PROJECT
8. PRESIDENT MKAPA ON CHINA VISIT
9. EXTEND VAT REGISTRATION, MERCHANTS DEMAND
ZANZIBAR CRISIS THREATENS STABILITY
Even though many have attempted to downplay what has been an ongoing crisis in Zanzibar since October 1995, nowadays it is generally feared the confrontation between the ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) and the Civic United Front (CUF), the main opposition party in the Isles, threatens the very stability of Zanzibar and should to be urgently addressed.
Many observers of the situation point out that the Zanzibar situation is rapidly deteriorating and may even reach the stage that blood is shed.
The political tug-of-war between the ruling CCM and the CUF opposition has its roots in the disputed October 1995 Zanzibar presidential election results, the result which CUF insists were manipulated in favour of Dr Salim Amour, actual Zanzibar president of CCM.
This has meant that CUF representatives since October 1995 have vowed not to co-operate with the CCM dominated legislature citing the reason as being that they do not recognize the victory of Isles President Dr Salim Amour, insisting that the presidential poll was won by the CUF candidate, Mr Seif Sheriff Hamad.
CUF representative boycott the House sessions, 17 arrested:
A real and worrying situation came about when tough measures against CUF members started to be taken in October 1997 when speaker of the House in Zanzibar, Mr Pandu Ameir Kificho, suspended CUF representatives for five days. They were barred from attending House sessions due to 'their continuous and increasing disregard of House orders'. A representative can be suspended for five days as a first offender and this the speaker applied in a collective manner to the CUF representatives warning that the penalty could be extended to 20 days should they fail to observe House procedures in the future.
Three months before the decision of the Speaker, Tumbatu (a constituency) Representative for CCM, Mr Haji Omar Kheir tabled a private memberís motion urging the Speaker and the House to act decisively against CUF members staying away from the House and refusing to make contributions to debates. At the same time the CCM parliament pointed out that this habit had continued for over two years from the time of the multi-party elections of October 1995.
Mr Abubakar Khamis Bakari, the opposition chief whip in the House and the CUF 1995 presidential candidate, said afterwards that they had been anticipating such a decision. The opposition believes that the Speaker was being directed by 'higher authorities' to take specific actions on House proceedings, he stated.
"It is absurd that Mr Kificho is taking such a step now, at a time when the CUF has presented objections to the private memberís motion. The opposition has already expressed its lack of confidence in Mr Kifichoís leadership," he stated.
A few weeks later, 17 CUF leaders were arrested provoking a reaction from human right groups and foreign diplomats who expressed the opinion that the arrests were politically motivated. Human rights groups also denounced the removal or demotion of numerous civil servants and others simply because of a suspicion of being sympathizers with the opposition party.
President Salmin Amour blames the opposition:
While private individuals and foreign diplomats have been urging the union government to act and the Salmin Amour government to take seriously the issue and negotiate with its opposition, the CCM authorities on the mainland and particularly in the Isles seem reluctant to negotiate.
In a speech on Zanzibar's Revolution Day (January 11) the Zanzibar president , Dr Salim Amour, warned all politicians on the Isles to immediately cease the disseminating of antagonistic politics amongst the Islanders saying that this would eventually lead to the breaking of the countryís laws. Addressing a mass rally at the Aman stadium, Dr Salim said there had been a tendency by some politicians to incite their followers to break the law. Yet when the government raised its hand against them, these same politicians allege Salimís government was against human rights.
The president issued a warning to the opposition saying that he would not tolerate thebehavior as it 'threatens unity, tranquillity and peace amongst the people'. Salim advised opposition leaders to wait for the election when they could ask the people to vote them into government. He said there were only some 600 days to the campaigns for the year 2000 general election.
He also said some outsiders were bent on disturbing Zanzibarís peace by using some groups on the Isles. However, he said such outside pressure would not succeed in destabilising his government adding that if there was any political misunderstanding in Zanzibar, it must be solved by Zanzibaris themselves and not by people from outside the country.
It has been said that the Civil United Front (CUF), the main opposition party in Zanzibar could be fueled by Arab petro-dollars and some observers expressed a fear of foreigners ó be they Arab or British ó taking control of Zanzibar, one of things the 1964 revolution fought against.
Two months earlier, in November 1997, President Salmin Amour announced that the Isles constitution would be amended 'to put more curbs on the opposition.'
"I am telling those who want to provoke us that the government is like fire,[...] enough is enough, I am personally tired of their actions," the Zanzibar president told a mass rally organized to congratulate him on winning the vice-chairmanship of CCM in mid-November last year. Since then, despite the pressures, the CCM Zanzibar government position has not changed. In the middle of February, the Zanzibar government reiterated that there was no crisis between it and the opposition CUF and stated that anyone claiming the government was violating human rights should file a case in a court of law. The Zanzibar Chief Minister Dr Mohammed Bilal was quoted as saying that his government would not hesitate to take action against anyone who went against the constitution on the pretext of human rights.
The Union government gets the blamed: International community concerned over Zanzibar crisis:
During his March visit to Tanzania, the British Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Mr Tony Lloyd, said the British government and the European Union at large were very much concerned with the Zanzibar situation and strongly support the Commonwealth Secretary General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku. Chief Emeka Anyaoku has been attempting to secure the release of the 17 CUF leaders detained and accused of treason. He has also been trying to bring the CCM and CUF leaders to a round table conference in Zanzibar without noticeable success.
"We are concerned with the continued detention of Civic United Front (CUF) members on charges of treason when after four months no credible evidence has been presented to support this charge," he said. "We stand ready to help the future development of Zanzibar, once political settlement has been reached," the minister stressed.
The British minister also blamed the Union government.The Union government, being signatory to international conventions, would continue to be held responsible for the Zanzibar political crisis, he said in Dar es Salaam. Remarks made in February by the outgoing British High Commissioner, Mr Alan Montgomery, that the treason trial facing 17 CUF leaders was political and that there was no evidence to support the charge were received with strong protests by the Isles authorities.
The Zanzibar chief Minister Dr Mohammed Bilal, while in the process of moving a motion to adjourn the House session in February, used about a third of his 20 minutes speech to openly attack foreign diplomats based in Dar es Salaam, and especially Mr.Montgomery. He claimed that there was evidence that some foreign diplomats were supporting the opposition CUF in its desire to take over power in Zanzibar after losing the 1995 presidential elections.
Many observers, however, are of the opinion that the obstinacy of the Zanzibar regime has been due to the political and material support extended to it by 'big brother': the Union Government. Recently, the Central Committee of the ruling party issued a statement supporting the Zanzibar regime to the hilt. Also, the Union Minister of Finance recently admitted that the February salaries ofZanzibar government employees were paid by the Union government.
Retired president Mwalimu Nyerere suggested as impartial mediator, as the Union government starts to take shy steps:
While the Zanzibar authorities have been giving less importance, if not even denying the contention, the retired Tanzanian president Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, as one of the most influential people in the country and the uncontested father of the nation, is one of those who recognized in early February that Zanzibar had a problem.
After the old statesman recognized publicly the stalemate between the ruling CCM and the CUF opposition in Zanzibar, president Benjamin Mkapa resolved to send emissaries to intervene in the Zanzibar political stand-off. CUF widely welcomed the initiative calling it a sign of maturity. However, the ruling CCM still maintains the opposition must first recognize Dr Salmin Amour as Zanzibar president.
Malimu Nyerere was the first person to warn president Salmin Amour of Zanzibar about a potential crisis after the October 1995 elections. Nyerere suggested, immediately afterthe Isles presidential results were announced, that Dr Salmin should form some kind of a unitary government by giving CUF some of the more important cabinet posts. However, this advice was scornfully ignored.
Mwalimu Nyerere, famous for the roles he played and and is still playing on the Tanzanian political scene and as an experienced mediator in the region, is seen by people across Tanzania as the person to bring CCM and CUF together to talk.
If he decides to do so, Mwalimu will first of all have to face the members of his own party. Indeed, the CCM leadership in Zanzibar is cantankerously dancing to the tune ofPresident Salmin who also happens to be the vice-chairman of CCM.
It is encouraging, however, to see that CUF has hailed Mwalimu Nyerere's comments on the situation and have declared their willingness to sit down with CCM to discuss the situation.
In contrast,the response from CCM-Zanzibar and its government have not been favourable. A spokesman for the party and government in this part of the Union has been quoted by the press as saying that Mwalimu Nyerere 'has given his opinion like any other ordinary Tanzania citizen'.
It would be fair to say therefore, that with the 17 CCM members still jailed under un-proved treason charges and with several efforts to mediate a solution to the crisis between the ruling CCM and the opposition having failed, the worst is still feared.
And what is feared is that the antagonists in the crisis would be fighting over a carcass, like two vultures, while Zanzibar bleeds.
1.EL-NINO FLOOD VICTIMS STILL NEED FOOD AID
It is feared that flood victims in Rufiji (Pwani Region in south eastern Tanzania) will starve if food aid does not arrive soon. In the towns of Utete, Kilingogo and Mpanganya, people said they were still reeling under the impact of the December floods which destroyed their crops and they expected the worst. CCM (Chama Cha Mapinduzi, the ruling party) Ten Cell leader in Kilingogo, Tindwa Mohamed Saidi said about 5,000 people had been affected in their villages. He said that floods had washed away plantations of bananas, sugarcane, pumpkin, maize, paddy, peanuts and cashew nuts.
Alhaj Issa Lembuya, District commissioner for Rufiji, said about 98,000 people had been affected by El Nino floods. He said the World Food Programme had agreed to supply 350 tonnes of maize to Tanzania's flood victims and 50 tonnes of food for work projects, and Norwegian People's Aid would also be distributing food to flood victims, but more was needed.
2.GOVERNMENT - ISLAMIC GROUP MUST DISCLOSE INCOME SOURCES
The government has ordered an Islamic group, Jamat Ansar Sunah of Tanzania (JASUTA), to give details of their annual incomes and expenditure. Several local newspapers recently quoted a reliable source in JASUTA as saying that the ministry of Home Affairs has written a letter to the group demanding to see the group's annual report.
That happened soon after the government warned that it intended to take serious measures to contain so called religious fundamentalism. The Minister of Home Affairs, Mr Ali Ameir Mohamed, had stated recently that his ministry was calling for both international and local religious agencies suspected of financing 'religious chaos in the country' to immediately stop doing so.
3.UK MINISTER BLAMES MKAPA GOVERNMENT FOR ZANZIBAR'S POLITICAL CRISIS
The Union Government, as a signatory to international conventions, will continue to be held responsible for the Zanzibar political crisis, a visiting British minister said recently in Dar es Salaam.
Addressing a press conference at the British Council, Mr Tony Lloyd, British Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said the Zanzibar government is not party to the conventions as it is represented by the Union Government.
Lloyd said the British government and the EU were very much concerned with the Zanzibar crisis as well as with the continued detention of Civic United Front (CUF) members on charges of treason 'when after four months no credible evidence has been presented to support this charge'. He said that the EU stood ready to help the future development of Zanzibar once political settlement has been reached.
Responding to a question as to why the donor community continues to support the Union Government while knowing the same assistance was also being extended to the Isles, Mr Lloyd said only humanitarian items were being channeled to the Indian Ocean islands. The minister said according to the terms of the union, items relating to such things as health and education were to be taken care of by the Union government and that if this was stopped, innocent people would suffer. During his visit, the British minister held talks with President Benjamin Mkapa, the Prime Minister, Mr Frederic Sumaye and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, Mr Jakaya Kikwete.
4.POLITICS: TANZANIA'S ONLY SUCCESS?
The ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) Dar es Salaam Regional Secretary Mr Peter Kafanabo, declared recently that Tanzania was a failure in everything except politics. "We are failing in everything. We are failing in soccer, we are failing in cleanliness (of our cities). All we know is politics!" Kefanabo told a press conference.
He made the remarks when commenting on the city's failure to build a culture of cleanliness. Relating an event in a foreign land to illustrate the absence of culture of cleanliness in Tanzania, Kafanabo said a friend of his was once forced to pick up litter by a taxi driver who had seen him dump it on the roadside. He said that cleanliness was very important to people in other countries.
The CCM Regional General Secretary had called the press conference to discuss among other things how the Dar es Salaam City Commission was implementing his party's 1995 Election Manifesto.
On the controversy of houses built in flood-prone valleys in Dar, Kafanabo sided with president Benjamin Mkapa and Vice-President Dr Omar Ali Juma who have called for evacuation and demolition of the houses. Dar es Salaam has some 5,723 houses built in the flood valleys of Ilala, Temeke and Kinondoni districts.
5.GOVERNMENT TO PREPARE NEW INCENTIVE PACKAGE
A senior official of Tanzania Investment Center (TIC) said recently that giving more attractive incentives to entrepreneurs who want to invest in the hinterland is the only way to minimize the concentration of projects in urban areas.
The official, Emanuel Ole Naiko, admitted the current investment trend was biased towards rural and agricultural areas. He said that TIC envisaged a package based on the geographical position of the envisaged investment. He said that government contended more study needed to be carried out before implementation of the incentive plan.
Currently, Tanzania offers special incentives only to mining investors, who pay zero per cent duty on machinery and supplies, 30 per cent corporation tax and receive a hundred per cent tax allowance. Miners can open bank account in both Tanzanian and foreign currencies. The move to harmonize the incentives for all is awaiting a cabinet decision.
South Africa has shown an interest in investing in the agricultural sector but clearance of of this depended on getting enough information on the availability of land in all regions. In the meantime, the TIC was coordinating a compilation of information on reserve land in all regions to enable proper allocation to investors depending on the type of agricultural activities to be carried out.
6.MREMA - 'DON'T MESS AROUND WITH OUR POLLS'
The peace that Tanzanians have been enjoying since independence (1961) will be shattered ifNCCR Mageuzi (the main opposition party on the mainland) is stopped from conducting general elections later this year, Augustine Mrema, its national chairman, said recently.
Mrema told a huge crowd at a gathering held at Furahisha park in Dar es Salaam that any attempt by the government to thwart the party's election timetable would 'get a strong reaction'. He added to this, in warning, that in their party, they have former police officers and army officers 'who will be ready to defend our party's interests at any time'.
Mrema, cheered on by crowd, accused Mkapa's third phase government of harbouring a clandestine conspiracy to politically assassinate him.
7.MALAYSIA TEAM HOLDS TALKS IN DAR ES SALAAM ON POWER PROJECT
A seven-man delegation of the Independent Power Tanzania Limited (IPTL) from Malaysia was in Dar es Salaam recently to finalize negotiations with the government on power tariffs. The delegation was led by the IPTL chairman, Datuk Bohrudin Majid, and others who took part in the talks included the IPTL local partners, led by its director James Rugemalira.
The meeting was to set tariffs for a multi-million shillings power project. Mr Rugemalira said 90 per cent of the project, due to commence operations in June, had been completed. Mr Rugemalira raised concerns over opposition to the project by the World Bank and the Songas Limited,which he said were aimed at undermining the project. Songas Limited was favoured towards a gas as apposed to an electricity project.
He said power tariffs from IPTL would be cheaper than those of the Tanzania National Electricity ... Company (TANESCO),if the latter abides with the contract between the two parties. "We expect TANESCO to buy 85 per cent of power from us at any given time as stipulated in the contract," he added.
IPTL,which was awarded the contract in 1994 in efforts to eliminate electricity shortages in country, will produce 30 megawatt of power by June with a low speed diesel plant. The capacity will increase to 100 megawatt in August this year.
8.PRESIDENT MKAPA ON CHINA VISIT
Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa recently visited China. Accompanied by his wife, Anna and by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jakaya Kikwete and Zanzibar Minister for Planning, Ali Juma Shamhuna, President Mkapa met the Chinese President Jiang Zemin during his six day state visit. The president also addressed a seminar of Chinese businessman briefing them on investment opportunities in Tanzania. He also held meetings with Premier Zhu Rhongii and the chairman of the National People's Congress (NPC), Mr Li Peng.
During their official talks , President Mkapa and his counterpart President Jiang Zemin agreed to further strengthen their economic ties encouraging and exploring new avenues of cooperation in the mutual interest of both countries.
Immediately after the talks three agreements were signed, two of which were economic the third relating to the establishment of a Tanzanian honorary consulate soon to be established in Hong Kong.
9.EXTEND VAT REGISTRATION, MERCHANTS DEMAND
The government has been called upon to extend the registration period for the Value Added Tax (VAT) to 31 May this year to allow more traders time to register before the new system becomes operational on July 1
Mr. Bhagwanji Sachdev, treasurer for the Dar es Salaam Merchants Chamber, told the press recently in Dar es Salaam that many merchants would like to have the deadline changed to May so that even go-slow traders can be convinced to register themselves. He explained that the poor turnout of traders reflects some weakness in the programme of sensitizing traders to the importance of the tax.
Sachdev claimed that many traders had not understood 'the meaning, essence and benefits of VAT'. He said that wide spread illiteracy, low education standards and lack of basic training in business were major impediments in the implementation of the programme by the Tanzania Revenue Authority. He said traders still believed that registering for VAT would trap them and that they would end up paying more than their actual tax liabilities.
Commenting on Merchants' request, Diana Masalla, the VAT Project Senior Training Officer, described chances of extending the deadline as bleak. She said to allow further extension would mean pushing ahead the date on which VAT becomes operational. "If this were to be done, it will disrupt the whole government budget for the 1998/99 year," she said.
Masalla explained that according to one section of the VAT Act, any eligible trader who fails to register within the stipulated period, will be committing an offence punishable by imprisonment of not less than two months or a fine of Shs 200,000 (USD 350) or both as the court may determine.
From: AfricaNN@inform-bbs.dk (Africa_news Network) Date: Wed, 06 May 1998 13:45:07 +0200 Subject: TANZANIA NEWS ONLINE #17 Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar
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