gold nuggets

Professa Issa Shivji ametoa mawazo yake juu ya kisa cha Zitto Kabwe na ulinzi wa maliasili yetu. Mjengwa ameshaitangaza kwake. Soma, fikiria, utafaidi….

The suspension of Honourable Zitto Kabwe from parliament is not simply an episode. It is a beginning of an epitath on the last twenty years of reckless privatisation and exploitation of national wealth and resources. The suspension was an occasion for the people to give vent to their accumulated grievances, problems, and frustrations.

Two decades of neo-liberal reforms has produced a deeply divided society and an utterly fractured politics. At one pole, there is a small group of filthy rich (walalaheri), who have used all means, fair and foul, to accumulate wealth. At the other pole, are the large majority of the wretched poor (walalahoi), who are desperately trying to keep body and soul together. Under Mwalimu, the ratio between the highest and the lowest wage/salary income earners was something like 1 to 8. The current one is 1 to 50, and that is an underestimate because it does not take into account unofficial, informal, and unaccounted incomes. (more…)


You can overcome your fears if you understand what is confronting you. Fear often accompanies great change, and great changes are afoot in Tanzania now. A previous post dealt with inequalities. In Tanzania’s cities you can see it all around you. The relentless slums, the rising mansions, the plazas and shopping centres. And people are beginning to question what is happening, particularly with regard to the use and abuse of the country’s natural resources. Traffic recently highlighted the rampant corruption in the forestry sector. Increasingly questions are being asked about mining contracts. Zitto Kabwe was suspended from parliament as a result

The next big investment sector will be biofuels – production of diesel type fuels from plants. The leader currently is Jatropha – read more here.

A renewable source of energy, easily grown…… it seems perfect for a country with, supposedly, so much land.

The East African recently reported on one such investment by Sun Biofuels, a UK based company with interests in Tanzania. The full report is reproduced here.

Sun Biofuels needs land to grow Jatropha. They requested 20,000 hectares in Kisarawe District and were awarded 9,000. The District Land Officer is reported as saying thatTsh800 million (c. USD630,000) has been earmarked by the investor as compensation to 2,840 households. This works out at less than USD200 per household. It works out at about USD70 per hectare.

What are your options as a villager in Kisarawe when faced with these levels of compensation? What are your options as Sun Biofuels when offered land at give away prices?

Is it any wonder people are afraid?

Earlier today, Issa Michuzi posted part of an email he apparently received that appeared to make accusations against some of those involved in Global Scouting Bureau. GSB is a US based sports company, that has tried to establish operations here. Its operations appear to never have been smooth, with a trip to the UK for youth players cancelled abruptly last year, if my memory serves me well.

Issa gave us a link that, from the url, appeared to be that of the Global Scouting Bureau, but brought readers to a poorly designed and badly written (indeed, badly spelled) web page. This gave some names of supposed conmen and a range of scanned documentation involving some gold nuggets that were to be shipped to New York. It looked like a set up. Why would GSB illustrate its ‘global operations’ with pictures of the New Orleans floods? Why would an international firm (of which I know little) create such trouble for itself by making unsubstantiated accusations?

Within hours, the post was deleted. What happened? Why post it in the first place? What on earth is going on?

Off topic (or maybe not), Issa Michuzi’s site appears to be the first Tanzanian blog to have attracted commercial advertising, from CRDB Bank. This reflects it’s ‘must read’ popularity. But will it lead to blandness?