A court in Iringa today sentenced police officer Pacifius Simon to 15 years imprisonment for the manslaughter of journalist Daud Mwangosi in September 2012. In one sense, this brings the case to a close. But it is a very unsatisfactory ending. Continue reading →
Witchcraft is a huge issue in Tanzania at the moment. Levels of belief are extremely high, with horrific consequences for two groups in particular: older women (and others) who are accused of being witches and in many cases murdered as a result, and people with albinism who are attacked or murdered for their body parts, which are said to possess supernatural powers. With a general election coming up next year, there are fears that the situation for people with albinism could get even worse. And though it is less obvious, the manipulative actions of people calling themselves witchdoctors – tricking people out of their money through big promises and/or blackmail and fear (as alleged in this case) – are also highly damaging.
I will explore this issue in more depth at a later date, but for the moment, I just want to bring one thing to wider attention: did you know that Tanzania has a Witchcraft Act on the statute books?
It dates from colonial times, 1928 in fact, but was amended as recently as 2009.
In Tanzania’s Majira newspaper, earlier this week, was a remarkable story involving Serengeti District Council, the courts system and, yes, a chicken. The full story in the original Swahili is pasted below, but here are some translated excerpts.
“Serengeti District Council, in Mara Region, has won a case that was opened by a resident of Nyamakobiti village, Mr Charari Chacha. Mr Chacha had challenged the council’s confiscation and sale for 1,000/- of chicken that belonged to him, after he refused to pay a contribution towards the construction of Nyamakobiti Primary School. … According to the District Executive Director, the amount spent on the case are not known.” Continue reading →
BAE’s £29.5m for education is an unsatisfactory conclusion to a case with much wider significance for the people of Tanzania
So BAE has finally paid out £29.5m for education projects in Tanzania. The payment was agreed two years ago, as part of a settlement with theSerious Fraud Office (SFO) that brought to an end the SFO’s investigation into a sale in 2002 of a $40m (£25m) military radar to the Tanzanian government. BAE admitted a failure to keep proper accounting records, relating in particular to a $12.4m payment to a Tanzanian middleman for “marketing” purposes, but avoided any admission of corruption.
The case has been closed, with some accountability for BAE and some reparations for Tanzania. But for many Tanzanians it leaves a bitter taste. Continue reading →