Bus Rapid Transit in Dar es Salaam: A “better city for a better time”? – January 2016

Date : 25 January  2016
Speaker:  Matteo Rizzo, School of Oriental and African Studies
Transport in megacities like Dar es Salaam is always going to be a challenge – made worse when the cities are ports with only a few main roads out.  Since the late 1980s the majority of commuters in the city have travelled in overloaded daladalas, small buses owned by individuals or small companies and operated by informal workers. With over $290m funding from the World Bank, the Government of Tanzania has invested in the Dar es Salaam Bus Rapid Transit, a state-of-the-art project to bring in bendy buses on exclusive lanes, and to relegate daladalas to the outskirts of the city. The first route, from the harbour mouth ferry, through the Dar es Salaam commercial area to Kariakoo, and on down the Morogoro Road to Ubungo and beyond,was largely completed over a year ago, and a spur from Magomeni to the Bagamoyo Road at Morocco has also been completed. But at the time of the seminar the new system had not started. It had become clear that contracts to purchase and run the buses that would use the new infrastructure had not been agreed before the road construction started, and that the new system would require a substantial increase in fares over those presently charged by the daladalas.

Drawing on fieldwork, this seminar explored the political and economic interests behind the project. There is no doubt that some action was needed to reduce journey to work times in Dar es Salaam – it can often take 2 hours or more to get in from the suburbs. But is this the way to do it? And were the details sufficiently thought through before the construction work started?


Tanzania after the Elections – December 2015

Date : 17 December 2015

Dr Ibrahim Lipumba was Chairman of the Civic United Front party from 1995 until August 2015; he resigned when Edward Lowassa was chosen as the candidate for Chadema in the October 25th presidential election, meaning that he would also be the candidate for the Union of Opposition Parties (Umoja wa Katiba ya Wananchi – Ukawa) which had agreed to put up a single candidate. Dr Lipumba has a PhD in economics from Stanford University, and a parallel career as an economist and consultant.

Prof Lipumba was in London to speak at a conference organised by the Africa Research Institute on elections and democracy in Africa. We were pleased that he was able to join us for a wide-ranging discussion the following day.

Not surprisingly, given that CUF  has its strongest representation there, Zanzibar was the focus of much of the presentation. Professor Lipumba was also very warm about President Magufuli, and especially his appointment of Augustine Mahiga as Minister of Foreign Affairs. There was a clap in the room when he announced that the head of the Anti-Corruption Bureau had resigned. The position is Zanzibar is untenable – he presented detailed evidence that CUF had won the elections in Zanzibar. He was not clear how the situation would be resolved, but he hoped that it would be along the lines of the Warioba Commission proposals, with the October 2015 results accepted as valid in the meantime.


40th Anniversaries of BTS and TDT: A Celebration – November 2015

Date : 8th November 2015

Venue : The Warehouse, Reading

Sunday 8th November 2015. Thanks to the wonderful support of a small group of local Tanzanians living in Reading, ‘The Warehouse’ venue was transformed from its usual ‘sports hall’ activity into a colourful and celebratory venue with hanging Tanzanian flags and traditional colours, multi coloured balloons on tables and a ‘ top decorated table,’ all reminiscent of a typical Tanzanian celebration where guests are made to feel very special and welcomed, so familiar to those of us who visit Tanzania. The celebrations gathered pace as the afternoon moved on with a small workshop for children and not so young people who enjoyed drums and shakers with well known Tanzanian musician Freddy Macha and his two fellow musicians, Saidi Kanda and Fab Moses, who also entertained everyone during the evening with songs, acrobatic dancing and great musical humour. Just to ensure that everyone’s drumming skills were up to African standards local drum workshop facilitator Andy Fowler involved everyone during the evening programme in a very different but an equally entertaining drum workshop where we were all taken through word rhythms and drum playing techniques to produce some multi rhythmic and entertaining drum performances with increasing complexity, and fun shared entertainment for all. Tanzanian food prepared locally was greatly enjoyed. In short speeches the two Chairs of BTS and TDT, William Fulton and Julian Marcus, paid tribute to the highly successful 40 years of shared activities, promotion of friendship and support between Tanzania and the UK, which both organisations have successfully run in conjunction with many friends in Tanzania. There was also a magnificent photographic display and running power point presentation by Julian highlighting the work of TDT over 4 decades. Throughout the afternoon and evening the children seemed to have boundless energy in enjoying not only the drumming and dancing but also the bouncy castle in a small adjoining hall and one or two older members were spotted eyeing up this younger entertainment with not just a little envy although photographs failed to capture any actually being invited by the children to join them! Enormous thanks go to the local diaspora who put so much effort on behalf of BTS and TDT into arranging the evening, to the visiting guest performers and those selling Tanzanian artefacts and to Ann Marcus for her familiar and very successful sale of cards, bags and table mats made by girls at the Safe House in Mugumu, Mara Region, to raise funds for TDT projects. Although numbers attending from BTS membership and other local Tanzanians were not as many as were hoped for, all those present thoroughly enjoyed this very different celebration of our two organisations which for 40 years have done so much to support friendship and support for Tanzania.

Tanzania: A New Constitution – February 2015

Date : 28 February 2015

Speakers: Abdul Paliwala, Yussuf Hamad, Frederic Longino, Aikande Kwayo

This seminar took place after the Government had made proposals for a new constitution, which differed from the proposals of the Warrioba Commission in that it remained the current two-parliament structure for the Mainland and Zanzibar. In the event the referendum on this was postponed. It created a very interesting discussion about the processes of creating a new constitution, and winning support for it in all parts of the country.

Professor Paliwala wrote up his presentation, which may be found on the Tanzanian Affairs Website

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