Monthly Archives: June 2017

Africa: It’s Time Africa Acted Over Its Wealth

20 JUNE 2017
The Citizen (Dar es Salaam)

By Kasera Nick Oyoo

That Africa needs to redress the huge gulf between its wealth and its poverty is a foregone conclusion.

Statistics of outflows from Africa against inflows in everything from aid, foreign direct investment to remittances will boggle the mind.

But you already know that.

What Africa needs to do about it is another matter altogether. President John Magufuli seems to agree with the view that there is outright robbery which must come to an end.

Others, and especially so if they are beneficiaries, feel foreign investment shall be destabilised if radical adjustments are made.

There needs to be common ground because radical approaches will do more harm than good. However, we must begin by establishing some hard truths as to where the rain began to beat Africa.

Not so much as to the timing, although that too is of significance, but to the complicity of a combination of factors that have enabled Africa’s wealth to continue to make Western capitals glitter in diamonds, gold and silver while Africans remain basket cases worth of pity.

Back in the old continent, we are our worst enemy. Africans are hopelessly divided on the basis of nations and our friends in the richer world exploit these divisions to the maximum to the detriment of Africa.

Take the on and off case of common external tariff in the East African Community (EAC). We have everything in common that includes natural resources. Many of the people in this region share common ancestry, traditions and languages. Unfortunately, our politics, which drives decision making, are also shared in their naivety. None of which convinces us that tourists visit our regions not because of our common borders, but to enjoy flora and fauna that do not share such a myopic view of national borders.

Year after year in schools and colleges, our curriculum still takes the view that each of our nations is self-sufficient and that its worst enemy is the sister nation next door. We continue to exhort the war across the River Kagera to remove Iddi Amin as if it was a war between Tanzania and Uganda. It wasn’t.

Recently no debate has dominated headlines more than the ban on mineral concentrates and its ramifications.

Last week, at the Annual Mwalimu Nyerere convention at the University of Dar es Salaam, Professors Bathily of Senegal and Lumumba of Kenya spoke very passionately about African unity.

This war that Dr Magufuli has started has been waiting for someone to start it. It needs one to be bold, daring and willing to face the consequences for consequences shall be there.

But in the bigger context, the two professors are right that for this war to be won the approach must be Afrocentric. That means this is really not about Acacia versus the government of Tanzania. Our friends, if you notice showed up with the Canadian High Commissioner to Tanzania. It tells you this matter goes beyond Acacia. It’s an economic war.

There is a chance now for us to engage as a region and get the best of us to prepare in advance for negotiations. There will be conditions ahead of negotiations. This is a hurdle we must be prepared for.

International diplomatic stakes are in high gear. Lobbying is going on out there; we cannot afford to wait to get EAC, South African Development Community and African Union on our side.

Individual countries too, for after all, the same North Mara Gold Mine belt stretches into Macalder Mines in Kenya and Acacia have an interest there as well.

We should remain firm and focused, unleash the best for this country and the continent to have a win-win deal. That will depend on how well we are prepared to face this onerous task.


Tanzania: Bunge passes resolution to rally behind Magufuli

15 June 2017


MEMBERS of Parliament (MPs) yesterday passed a resolution to commend President John Magufuli for his efforts, daring and high level of patriotism in helping Tanzanians to benefit from their nationally endowed natural resources.

Reading the resolution in the House here, Newala Urban MP George Mkuchika assured the President that the National Assembly is available to give him devoted support to ensure that his efforts and patriotism serve as a catalyst for Tanzanians to benefit from their natural resources.

“This Parliament unanimously resolves to assure the President that it’s with him and is ready to offer dutiful cooperation as will be required to ensure that his efforts, courage and high level of patriotism become the catalyst towards increasing the mining sector contribution to development of majority of citizens,” said the legislator.

He said Dr Magufuli has sacrificed his life to help Tanzanians recover their wealth, arguing that for years now, MPs, citizens and some civil society organisations have been complaining and raising concerns over the dismal contribution of the mining sector to national development.

“Complaints are rife that our nation is not adequately benefiting from the mining sector due to shoddy contracts that do not provide room for the government to receive sufficient dividend, taxes and other revenues,” said Mr Mkuchika, imploring all lawmakers to support the resolution.

President Magufuli formed two committees in April to investigate the controversial export of mineral concentrates and tasked them to come up with proposals on the appropriate measures to pursue, to reverse the exploitative trend in the country.

Prof Abdulkarim Mruma chaired a committee that investigated the amount and types of minerals in the concentrates, while Prof Nehemiah Osoro led a team in conducting the profit-loss analysis in the mining sector since exports started in 1998.

All the teams have submitted their proposals. Magufuli has in response ordered swift measures against all the culprits linked to the atrocious deals, including an overhaul of the mining legislation and contracts.

Debating the move, MPs, especially from the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) supported the resolution, describing it as inevitable in revitalising the Head of State, but opposition legislators crushed it as uncalled for.

Livingstone Lusinde (Mtera, CCM) praised Dr Magufuli for his decision to make public all the reports for Tanzanians to understand what is happening. “This is war…it is an economic war, which is tougher than the struggles for independence,” he said.

Other legislators who defended the resolution were Mohammed Mchengelwa (Rufiji-CCM), Kangi Lugola (Mwibara-CCM) and Japhet Hasunga (Vwawa-CCM).

But, Tundu Lissu (Chadema Singida East) belittled the congratulatory resolution, arguing that the House was lowering itself from being an organ to advise and check the government to an organ of ululating and singing for the government.


Tanzania: JPM Fire Pulls Acacia Out of Hiding

Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

15th June 2017

Just two days after President John Magufuli received the second report on the export of mineral concentrates that revealed how Acacia Mining evaded tax, occasioning loss amounting to trillions of shillings to the government, Barrick Gold Corporation – Acacia’s largest shareholder – has declared that it is ready to negotiate and pay the dues.

Barrick Gold Corporation Executive Chairman, Prof John Thornton made the commitment at State House yesterday after holding talks with President Magufuli, a press statement issued by the Directorate of Presidential Communication stated.-

Prof Thornton, who flew by his private jet all the way from Canada to Dar es Salaam, held talks with President Magufuli in the presence of Canada’s High Commissioner to Tanzania Ian Myles and Minister for Constitution and Legal Affairs, Prof Palamagamba Kabudi.

Barrick Gold Corporation is the largest shareholder of Acacia Mining Limited’s issued shares, holding approximately 64 per cent. Currently, Acacia operates three gold mines in the country namely: Buzwagi, Bulyanhulu and North Mara.

According to Prof Thornton, the management of Barrick Gold Corporation is willing and ready to hold talks with Tanzania based on win-win situation to ensure the evaded tax is settled.

“We had very extensive and productive discussions about the situation affecting Acacia and I have come here in order to help resolve the problem,” Prof Thornton said.

He added: “I have assured the President that we are very interested in sitting down to reach resolution based on win-win situation. A win for Tanzania, a win for Barrick and our subsidiary company – Acacia.”

Prof Thornton said after having extensive conversation with the President, he felt optimistic that they will reach a resolution that will benefit all parties involved.

“We will be sitting down soon with the team designated by the President and our team to go through the details. I feel good about the progress today,” the Executive Chairman said.

Dr Magufuli, on his part, said the government was ready for negotiation with Barrick Gold Corporation. He said the government will form a panel of experts to represent the country in the negotiations with the mining company, including looking on how Barrick Gold Corporation will carry out its activities in the country for the benefit of all parties.

President Magufuli said apart from agreeing to pay the government dues, Prof Thornton also agreed to cooperate with Tanzania in installing a smelting plant in the country. The unprecedented visit by Barrick Gold Corporation Executive Chairman opens a new page in efforts to resolve the matter.

On Monday, this week, President Magufuli received the second report from a team of economic and legal experts. The document revealed that between 1998 and March 2017 Tanzania lost between 68.6 trillion/- and 108.5 trillion/- in revenue from mineral concentrates.

The Chairman of the second probe team that handed over the report to the President on Monday, Prof Nehemiah Osoro recommended for summoning and questioning of officials involved in the shoddy mining agreements, through which the nation incurred huge losses in government revenue.

Dr Magufuli formed the second probe team under Prof Osoro to establish the amount and value of copper concentrates exported since 1998 to 2017 for smelting.


Tanzania: JPM Stance Dominates Budget Debate

By Samuel Kamndaya

14 June 2017


Dodoma — President John Magufuli’s stand on the mineral sands probe took center stage in deliberations in Parliament yesterday as some legislators took turns to talk about the matter at the expense of the Sh31.7 trillion budget.

At some point the discussions diverged to an extent that some MPs appeared to have forgotten that they were supposed to debate the best way to share a total of Sh31.7 trillion among various needs of Tanzanians for the entire 2017/18 financial year.

Some MPs went as far as chanting ruling party slogans and songs while those from the opposition bench also appeared hell-bent on opposing everything that they sought would give the majority bench a mileage, proposing instead, a Constitutional Review that would allow the prosecution of former presidents.

It was Mr Japhet Hasunga (CCM-Vwawa) who triggered the debate shift when he moved a motion as soon as the parliament had completed the “Question and Answer Session”, asking for the Speaker’s guidance on how the legislature can support the President in the endeavor to ensure that Tanzania’s minerals benefit Tanzanians.

“The President has exercised a lot of sobriety, courage and patriotism in the way he has handled the mineral sand issue. Considering that in yesterday’s report, it was established that Tanzania has lost a minimum of Sh108 trillion, why don’t we adopt a declaration to support him in this war of economic freedom?” said Mr Hasunga.

With endorsement from the government bench, the Speaker immediately sanctioned a meeting for the Parliamentary Steering Committee with the intent that it should advise him on the matter.

Until 13 hours yesterday, the committee which was chaired by Mr Mussa Azan Zungu (CCM-Ilala), had submitted its recommendations, buying into Mr Hasunga’s views that a motion should be prepared and adopted today.

“The declaration to that goal is being prepared and will be submitted in the House tomorrow (today) for adoption,” said the Speaker of Parliament, Mr Job Ndugai, as he closed the morning session at 13:00 hours yesterday.

Almost 12 of the 15 MPs who debated the 2017/18 budget in the morning session spent a good part of their time congratulating the President for his position on mineral sands, with Ms Munde Tambwe (CCM-Special Seats) and Ms Josephine Genzabuke (CCM-Special Seats) stealing the show.

“CCM remains the same (CCM ni ile ile)…Tanzanians are prepared to support the President so that nothing goes astray in the 2020 general election,” said Ms Genzabuke, borrowing some words from a famous ruling party song that rocked the country during the 2015 election.

As for Ms Munde Tambwe, she barely debated the budget but spent a good part of her time congratulating the President and castigating the opposition. Even after being offered 10 more minutes by the Speaker, she found no reason of shifting the debate to Dr Phillip Mpango’s (Finance and Planning Minister) 2017/18 budget.

“Tanzanians must understand the importance of the job that is being done by President Magufuli. I heard him saying yesterday that he also has blood but he is being forced to do what he is has been doing for the general good of Tanzanians,” said Ms Tambwe.

For Mr John Heche (Chadema-Tarime Rural), Mr Peter Msigwa (Chadema-Iringa Urban) and Mr Peter Lijualikali (Chadema-Kilombero) the ruling party does not deserve credit for President Magufuli’s war on mineral revenue rip-off, calling instead, on a Constitutional amendment that would see former presidents being prosecuted for getting the country into the ‘current mess’.

“If you are serious about this war, the best option is to bring a constitutional amendment into this August House so that former presidents, who have brought us here, can also be prosecuted,” said Mr Heche.

Mr Lijualikali shared similar sentiments, saying that the ruling party has always been part of the current challenges. “Opposition MPs like Zitto Kabwe, John Mnyika and Tundu Lisu have at several times, found themselves in the soup as they sought to defend the country against these rip-off contracts with multinationals. The best we can do is to change the Constitution with a view to removing the immunity that former presidents enjoy so that we can prosecute them,” he said.

Mr Msigwa said: “All these problems are CCM’s own making. When we opposed the mining laws in this House, on the ground that they shouldn’t be approved as a matter of urgency, you castigated us and threw some of us out of Parliament. You do not deserve credit,” he said.