Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania over the weekend.
ATCL’s seized plane in the Netherlands released. But how?
The Government’s Chief Spokesperson, Gerson Msigwa, said Saturday that an Air Tanzania A220-300 plane seized in the Netherlands by foreign investors had been released and has already returned home.
The aircraft was seized in the Netherlands in December 2022 under a Swedish firm’s tribunal plea.
In the dispute, the arresting party, a private Swedish legal entity, claimed that Tanzania must pay $165 million in damages over the government’s move to revoke a land title in 2016 in the multibillion-dollar sugar project in Bagamoyo.
The land title revocation affected the company severely, as it had worked to develop the project for over ten years and invested $52 million in a ready-to-go project for the local production of sugar, renewable electricity and fuel.
“Our aircraft is back from the Netherlands, where some investors were holding it,” Mr Msigwa told reporters in the capital Dodoma.
EcoDevelopment, owned by 18 Swedish nationals, brought the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) claim in 2017 under the Sweden-Tanzania bilateral investment treaty.
That came after the government revoked the land title for a multi-billion sugar project in Bagamoyo. The case commenced at the ICSID, a World Bank organ based in Washington.
But Zitto Kabwe, leader of the opposition ACT-Wazalendo, demanded the government to explain under what conditions the aircraft was released, including a demand to explain the amount of money authorities paid to secure the plane.
“How many other cases in arbitration courts around the world [are] based on Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs)?,” Kabwe asked on Twitter. “How did the much-cherished ‘No International arbitration’ chores help us in these cases? For how long and at value will we continue paying for the bad decisions of the past governments?
Tanzania is used to having its aircraft impounded. In 2019, South African authorities seized Air Tanzania’s Airbus 220-300 as an attempt by a South African farmer to get Tanzania to compensate him US$33 million after allegedly seizing his lands. In the same year, an ATCL’s plane was seized in Canada.
Tanzania also risks having another aircraft impounded if it does not compensate an Australian mining company that has taken the East African country to court over suspending a major nickel project in the country.
Indiana Resources has threatened to attach one of Air Tanzania’s aircraft to force the government to pay nearly $100 million as compensation for the failed nickel project.
The exploration company lost millions in a nickel project in Tanzania and is seeking significant compensation from the government. The value of an Air Tanzania aircraft is not enough to cover the claim, but Indiana Resources hopes that the attachment of high-profile national assets may force the government to act accordingly.
CCM top leadership endorsed Tanzania-Dubai port deal
Yesterday, the CCM Central Committee and the National Executive Committee sat for a meeting which resulted in three resolutions around the controversial Tanzania-Dubai port deal.
The CCM’s National Executive Committee resolved that: investment in the port operation is for the benefit of the country; second, the expected investment in the port is per the CCM’s election manifesto; and third government should increase the intensity of raising awareness about the reality of the deal regarding investment and operation of the port.
The latest move shows that the government is hell-bent on pushing forward with the controversial deal with DP World on Tanzania ports operation. This comes after the news that the government has also submitted several amendments in parliament to support the deal.
The meeting was important for President Samia to reaffirm support from her party amidst heavy national debate on the deal.
The port’s resolution from CCM-NEC was predictable since a significant number of people in the National Executive Committee are also in the government. This structure remains one of the reflection points on the position of the party in governance, on whether it has an affirmative and supportive role only or it also has the ability to hold its government to account.
Criticism of the deal has increasingly become stronger as time goes on, with some questioning how DP World secured the exclusive deal without competition as well as discussion of several controversial clauses in the Intergovernmental Agreement with Dubai.
Several activists who criticize the deal have complained that they have received threats and mistreatment because of their position. The opposition has sworn that this will remain the top agenda going to the 2025 election and beyond.
Fire destroys five tourist hotels in Zanzibar
Police confirmed Sunday that a fire in Zanzibar destroyed parts of five tourist hotels in the semi-autonomous archipelago’s Paje coastal area, Kusini Unguja.
Various media outlets quoted the region’s police commander Gaudianus Felician Kamugisha as saying that the fire started from a kitchen of ‘Nest Hotel’ destroying the kitchen, restaurant, and Bar before it jumped to four other neighbouring hotels: Meraki Hotel, destroying reception and Bar; and Drifters Zanzibar Hotel- destroying the restaurant.
The other hotels are Maisha Matamu Hotel, where the fire burned the bar and restaurant and Cristal Resort, whose five rooms were destroyed.
“Firefighters, police and residents teamed up to fight the fire until around 3 am,” the government-owned Daily News newspaper quoted Kamugisha as saying. “We managed to extinguish the fierce fire spreading across the area.”
Kamugisha said the cause of the fire and the value of the destroyed properties are still under investigation, along with whether the hotels with coconut leaves thatched roofs are insured.
This is not the first time that tourist hotels in Kusini Unguja have been destroyed by fire. In 2021, a fire in the kitchen at the Villa de Coco Resort in Jambiani destroyed three hotels and burned down six more rooms of the neighbouring fourth hotel.
Zanzibar’s firefighting capability has come under intense scrutiny lately following several fire incidents that have been rocking the archipelago, with firefighters showing up late, preventing them from stopping the destruction of people’s lives and properties.
Our May investigation into Zanzibar’s preparedness to fight fire outbreaks found that several challenges hamper authorities’ ability to respond to catastrophes timely, which include under-funding, poor infrastructure, the lack of proper urban planning, and the violation of set firefighting rules in the archipelago.
Africa’s mineral exploitation is yet to benefit Africans. But who’s to blame?
Africa is rich! For adventurous and nature-appreciating minds, this would cross one’s mind when an opportunity presents itself to travel by road or fly over the African landscapes.
According to available data on mining, the continent harbours 5.2 per cent of the world’s iron and ferroalloy, non-ferrous, precious metals, industrial minerals, and mineral fuels.
Africa is also home to different and unquantifiable deposits of gemstones, including diamond, tanzanite, paraiba tourmaline, ruby, apatite, andalusite, Iolite, citrine, chrysoberyl, aquamarine, topaz, garnet and kyanite.
The advent of African mineral exploration and exploitation dates back to the pre-colonial era. We cannot tell the exploration and exploitation story of Africa’s vast mineral resource deposits without mentioning merchants from Arab countries and the ‘explorers’ from Europe.
Full analysis here.
A Gift called life: My journey from heroin addiction to recovery
had always said that I would never use drugs. Looking back, I did everything I said I wouldn’t do. The first time I used drugs, I started with marijuana. I didn’t like it, but I got used to it. I didn’t feel cool if I didn’t use it. I had a good job then; it was “the place” to work when I left high school.
In 2014, I postponed my 3rd year of studying Bachelor’s Degree in Law (LL.B). For me, just landing that job in a tourism company was fortunate. One day, I was hanging out at the pool hall before work. I started to feel tired, and someone said, “Try some of this. It will help you stay awake at work tonight.”
I didn’t even ask what it was; I just opened my mouth. Within twenty minutes, I felt like a new person. I could talk to people I was normally afraid of. I felt better than them.
I started to take about ten valium pills a day. My logic was, “If just two made me feel so good, why not try ten?” It worked! But after six months, I started to miss work. I lost weight. My hair started to fall out, and my teeth started to hurt.
Full testimony here.
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