Monday, October 19, 2009


Two years ago singer–songwriter and activist Bob Geldof was so excited about biofuels he even became the special advisor to biomass company Helius. At the time, Geldof visited jatropha curcas plantations in Swaziland run by UK biodiesel producer D1 Oils. Geldof was quoted as saying that these plantations had 'life changing potential'. Since then, D1 Oils dropped out and Mr Geldof silenced. HIV/AIDS victims in Swaziland were 'targeted to plant jatropha and promised easy money', said Adrian Bebb at Friends of the Earth International (FoE) in a telephone interview with Pambazuka News. But jatropha was a cause supported by rhetoric and a science that neglected the socio-cultural impact. The perennial plant would produce inedible oil and any financial gain would depend entirely on the biodiesel plant operator, which pulled out. The crops planted in marginal lands were also unable to produce any sufficient yields. Those who worked the land were left empty-handed and considerably worse off. 

Biofuels were then and continue to be in many respects hyped as an environmentally friendly alternative to oil-based transport fuels. The United States, the EU and other OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries initiated legislation to encourage its production. They also set mandatory targets. The EU set a binding target to replace 20 per cent of fossil fuels with biomass, hydro, wind and solar by 2020. Each member state is also required to replace 10 per cent of its transport fuel as well. It is this 10 per cent target that is a cause for concern and is partly conditioned on the commercial viability of second-generation biofuels. Second-generation biofuels are mainly made from lignocellulosic materials like wood and straw. First-generation biofuels are mainly ethanol from grains, sugar crops and biodiesel from oil seeds or from recycled cooking oil.[1]

Sweden, for instance, has set a 40 per cent target for 2020 and a new government bill requires its transport sector to be fossil-free by 2030. While such initiatives may be applauded, Sweden is as a result investing heavily in research and influencing EU-wide policy that provides financial incentives for companies to buy up land in Africa for biofuel production. Two Swedish biofuel companies, SweTree Technologies and SEKAB, currently sit on the industry-dominated board of the European Biofuels Technology Platform (EBTP). The EBTP have privileged access to European Commission decision-making and help shape research direction and spending of public money.[2] SweTree Technologies, for instance, is researching second-generation biofuels by genetically modifying trees for fuel conversion. SweTree’s director, Björn Hägglun, also happens to be the chief director of WWF (World Wildlife Fund) Sweden, only one of only two NGOs that has openly admitted its involvement with the EBTP. Second-generation biofuels are now mandated to produce twice as much energy compared to first-generation biofuels in meeting the 10 per cent EU-wide transport target. 

Exporting biofuels or feedstocks from developing countries to the EU will push up food prices and hurt poor consumers. Studies and countless media reports link biofuel plantations with a number of destructive conditions that directly undermine their potential, not to mention ethics. For instance, the EU has a contractual obligation to import sugar from ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) states entering into an EPA (economic partnership agreement). But there are no clear legal mandates to determine the difference between 'environmentally sound' and 'environmentally damaging' imports.[3] 

As such, European companies are scrambling for a slice of African soil. The financial incentives along with home policies drive the business fury and yet, according to a report by the European Parliament, only a tiny percentage of biofuel is imported from Africa because of high tariffs. The United Nations FAO (Food and Agricultural Organisation) along with the IIED (International Institute for Environment and Development) and the IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development) conducted a study that looks at the impact of land acquisition in Mali, Ghana, Sudan, Ethiopia and Madagascar. Since 2004, close to 2.5 million (ha) hectares of land – excluding land allocations below 1,000 ha – have been appropriated by foreign acquisition in these countries. Two-thirds of 3 billion people survive on around 500 million parcels of land less than two hectares in size. Most of the land claimed by foreign acquisition was already in use by local people. Women, who are the main food producers, were more easily driven out due to discrimination. In Tanzania, a sugarcane plantation for biofuel in the Wami basin displaced 1,000 farmers. The results are disheartening as people end up in over-populated urban centres and their outlying slums. 

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Management and conservation of wildlife under local governments
(district level) is questionable due to lack of gears to manage them in
the authority they follow.

According to Tanzanian Wildlife Conservation Act, there are four
agencies that are entrusted to manage wildlife in the country. These
are Wildlife division that manage wildlife in Game Reserves, Tanzania
National Park managing wildlife in National parks, Ngorongoro
Conservation Area Authority that manage wildlife in Ngorongoro
Conservation Area as well as Local Government Authorities that
manages wildlife in Open Areas as well as in Game Controlled Areas.

The above three agencies are well equipped in term of human
resources, vehicles as well as weapons to protect and manage the
wildlife. This is not the case once it comes to local government
authority whereby it is a tradition to find district with wildlife to
manage but without enough human resources and other protective
gears to be used to management purposes.

A good example is in Mkinga District in Tanga region whereby like
other district in the country Mkinga manages Umba Game Controlled
Area, the game area bordering Kenya. The district has two game
officers who have been recently employed to exercise their duties.
They are actually working in easier said than done environment as
they do not have any game scouts nor any weapon or vehicles to
manage wildlife they are entitled to.

This has resulted in number of human wildlife conflicts between the
communities living adjacent to the Umba Game Controlled area and
animals especially elephants. Elephants once invade the farms they
usually raid crops to large extent as no one is chasing them away. This
has also unstopped the extermination of other animal species due to
uncontrolled hunting that do not follow the principle of sustainable
hunting and other hunting procedures that any hunter is supposed to
abide to.

As we are now in the hunting term, many hunters are now operating in
Umba Game Controlled Area, but with no one to escort them. It has
been a long-established in this Game Controlled Area where hunters
hunt beyond their hunting quotas, hunting without following the
principle of sustainable hunting as well as using weapon not
recommended so as to easy hunt and catch the animals. I think it
won’t be wrong if at all we refer it as a legally poaching activity.
Hunters are given licenses to hunt and they go in the Game Controlled
area to hunt without game scouts to supervise them. It is also said that
some of the hunters do extend their hunting activities to Mkomazi
National Park. Not only that but also hunters who are given licenses do
extend their permit and it is rarely to find them being fined of their
offense. It is not easy to understand this situation happening in the
country as now the world is shouting on conservation of natural
resources for people’s development. This is the Game Controlled Area
that I think its presence does not meet people’s development rather
benefiting a group of people who lobby the poor for their benefits. As I
see in the near future we will be not having any animal in Umba Game
Controlled Area if the current situation proceeds.

As the new Wildlife Act number 5 of 2009 is in its implementation
process, I argue to the government to find a way of incorporating this
problem facing wildlife under local government authority so that they
can be protected as those in other wildlife management agencies. I
frankly call upon the ministry to look this problem with its responsible
eye to rescue the animals in this Game Controlled Area for the National
interest. On the other hand the governments should equip the local
government authority in term of human resources as well as other
resources including vehicles and weapons to better manage the
wildlife they are supposed to manage for the national interest and not

William Nambiza,

Sunday, October 11, 2009


As it is usually perceived by different people who practice laws that the Laws are
there or created to protect or save the interest of the ruling class in any community.
This concept has been mainstreamed in different places where you find two groups
of people one with power and the other without power but claiming to have equal
rights before their laws and regulations that guide them. In executing these laws,
normally the group with higher power in favored while the other being oppressed.

In Tanzania for example this kind of circumstance is also prominent where recently
we have witnessed how the ruling class has been favored once it come that it has to
be hold responsible. We all know how those who were involved in EPA scandal are
being treated in the name of executing the cases against them. At one time our
president said that we are still doing investigations so that we become satisfied in
order to avoid ill-treating anyone involved in the scandal. The concept of evading illtreating
people charged with cases comes in place at a time we have people with
power in the country and it has not been observed when trying normal people in our
country. Not only that but also the Richmond scandal that involved different
governmental officials is a mysterious since these people has not being dealt and
they have been left in our government offices darkening them with their
misconducts. But this is not the case once it come to barefooted normal people in
the country where they are brutally treated if involved in any contravene. This
brings the sense of discrimination in our community, the act that separates us from
one another of which our father of nation Mwalimu did not allow it to mainstream
within our communities.

In his life, the friend of our late father of nation Mzee Nelson Mandela also faced the
same situation once he was in a condition in which a prefect and a normal African
student with the same offence but receiving different treatment as far as
punishment was concerned. A normal African student was brutally punished while
the prefect left free.

During his second year at Healdown School, Mandela was appointed as a prefect. A
prefect had different responsibilities and the newest prefect had the least desirable
duties. In the beginning, he supervised a group of student who worked as window
cleaners during their manual work time in the afternoon, and led them to different
windows each day. He soon graduated to next level of responsibility, which was
night duty. He says he had never had a problem in staying up all night, but during
one such night he was put in moral quandary that remained in his memory. They
had no toilets in their dormitories, but they had an outhouse that was about
hundred feet behind the residence.

On rainy evening, when student woke up in the mid night, they wouldn’t want to
trudge through the grass and mud to the outhouse. Instead, students would stand
on the veranda and urinate into the bushes. This practices, however was strictly
prohibited and against regulations and one job of the prefect was to take down the
names of the students who indulged it. One night, he was on duty when it was
pouring with rains and he caught quite few students perhaps fifteen or so – relieving
themselves from the veranda. Towards dawn he saw a chap come out, look both
ways and stand at one end of the veranda to urinate. He made his way over to him
and announced that he had been caught, whereupon he turned round and he
realized that he was a prefect. He was in predicament. In laws and philosophy, one
ask quis custodiet ipsos custode(who will guard the guardian themselves). If the
prefect does not obey the rules, how can the student be expected to obey? In
effect, the prefect was above the law because he was the laws, and one prefect was
not supposed to report another. He thought it was not fair to avoid reporting the
prefect and mark down the fifteen others, so he simply tore up his list and charged
no one. Can we do as Mzee Mandela did in those days? Probably yes as easy said
than done. Well I think if at all we fall what the Laws states, we will be at another
level in implementing them. If is that the case I argue our government to treat its
people equally without discrimination that separate one another.
William Nambiza

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


The ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism (MNRT) has been locked out of Sh110 billion in development aid funding due to corruption concerns in its echelons.
The Norwegian Government blacklisted the ministry from the first ever large-scale field pilot project for climate change and reduced deforestation in the country following audit revelations that officials entrusted with funds it had donated to various projects, embezzled up to $30 million (Sh39 billion) in the last four years.
Its embassy in Dar es Salaam has confirmed that although the ministry was lined up for the funding, it would now not be granted any aid from Norway until the embezzled money was refunded.
Chancellor Ivar J�rgensen, in charge of Environment and Climate Change, told The Citizen that the ministry will miss out of the prestigious Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) scheme in which Norway plans to spend NOK 500 million (Sh110bn) in Tanzania.
"The MNRT will not be able to sign contracts for REDD funds until the audit queries have been settled," said Mr J�rgensen in an email communication.
Despite the MNRT hitch, the Tanzanian government acted fast and secured the same funding, which will however now be channeled through the Environment Division in the Vice President's Office. Signing of the REDD contract took place in Dar es Salaam on August 20.
Authorities have given assurances that officials implicated in the said embezzlement would be prosecuted. Norway also wants the Ministry to demonstrate better capacity to manage money, both when it comes to staff qualifications and financial management systems.
Yesterday, the Natural Resources and Tourism Minister Samsha Mwangunga would not immediately comment on the development and asked for more time to reply. She said her Permanent Secretary Mr Ladislaus Komba was handling negotiations with the Embassy over the matter and would be better placed to answer any queries. The PS was not available yesterday.
The development interestingly follows reports that Norway has dumped an auditor who revealed the massive embezzlement the MNRT funds.
Anti-Corruption and development Aid watchdogs in the Norway are using the case to query whether the Nordic country was committed to helping fight corruption in countries receiving its aid
The reported sidelining of Mr Arthur Andreasen who exposed the $30 million loss in corrupt practices has also put the Embassy in Dar es Salaam on the negative spotlight.
But Mr Jorgense denied the accusation and defended both the Embassy and his government of any wrongdoing. He insisted Mr Andreasen had not been sidelined. J�rgensen, said a Tanzanian firm, Baker Tilly DGP &CO, that partnered with the Danish professional to carry out the now controversial MNRT audit has been retained to carry out an the evaluation exercise after the ministry queried the huge sum in embezzled donor money.
"The embassy has not sidelined Mr Andreassen or his firm ND Revision. ND revisions former associate Baker Tilly DGP &CO is still being used by the Embassy for a number of tasks. This means we have continued the work with the Auditors who helped us in the first place with the audit of MNRP," said J�rgensen. He said: "Baker Tilly DGP & CO has not undertaken a new audit of MNRT.
They were asked to take part in a joint working group of the Ministry and the Embassy to verify figures for the process of negotiating a refund from the MNRT to the Embassy based on the findings of the previous audit." Mr J�rgensen declined to reveal how much in refunds his government was claiming because the two governments were still in negotiations over the exact amount of missing funds.
"The Embassy is still claiming a refund of all funds where it is documented that they are not used in accordance with the contract. This is being negotiated between the two governments. We cannot disclose figures since the negotiations are still going on," said J�rgensen.
He said Norway remained a leading country to promote good governance and anti-corruption in development cooperation. "Media focus reinforces the fight against corruption," he said. Mr Andreasen's findings that were made public early this year followed an official audit of the Management of Natural Resources Programme (MNRP) under the ministry in 2007. The programme has been running since 1994 and received millions of dollars in assistance over the years.
The extensive exercise was sanctioned by the Embassy and the Danish auditor's firm, ND Revision, picked to head the task. However, the subsequent corruption revelations in the media have apparently rubbed some of the Norwegian authorities the wrong way. Reports in Oslo last week revealed that Mr Andreasen has since been left out in the evaluation exercise of the same audit currently underway.
Norway, one of Tanzania's largest bilateral aid donors is claiming a refund of all the monies embezzled under the MNRP programme to pacify tax payers back home who are questioning its commitment to fight corruption in aid. But a Norwegian publication, Development Today, quoted Mr Andreasen last week as expressing surprise that the Dar es Salaam office had not seen it fit to involve him in the evaluation exercise.
The popular subscription based journal that specializes in development assistance, business and the environment, also reported that Norway has reduced its refund claims to a fraction of the original estimate of USD 30 million in misused aid. No figure was given. When the corruption reports broke out, the minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Ms. Shamsa Mwangunga refuted the audit figures and was recently quoted in the media saying only some Sh2.4 billion could not be accounted for. The minister said it had also been established that another Sh1.2 billion had suspiciously been paid as VAT payments on vehicles against established regulations.
From other sources, however, Development Today reported that at a meeting in Norway recently, Ambassador to Tanzania Jon Lom�y indicated that the claimed amount now was down to $3.3 million (Sh4.4 billion). It was said that missing vouchers in bad condition were recovered in a container from the backyard of the Ministry.
In response, Mr Andreasen said: "As long as I don't have the possibility to see any new documentation, I stand by my findings. Our findings were real. I don't know what they have done after our investigation. I am totally confused that the amount could be reduced by so much,"he says. Ms. Mwangunga has vowed that the government would investigate the matter fully and punish any officials implicated in the embezzlement. No official communication has however been issued since April.
But the reports in Oslo suggested Norwegian and Tanzanian authorities were keen to keep under wraps any negative publicity of the audit that has dented the former's claim of MNRP project as "the jewel in the crown" of Norwegian aid in this field.
According to Development Today, the ditched auditor has revealed that he was scorned at by an official from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs who called and criticised him for speaking to the press about the report. Mr Andreasen who denies the claim said that he also faced similar criticism in meetings with the Embassy in Dar es Salaam.
He said he has since terminated his relation with the Tanzanian auditing firm because of the move to lock him out of the assignment. Mr Andreasen suggested Norway broke the European Union requirement that demands at least ten years of experience for an auditor carrying out such a job. He claimed his former partner has barely two years of experience for the contract awarded by the Embassy.
In Dar es Salaam however, officials defended their decision to retain Andreasen's former associate, with Mr J�rgensen telling The Citizen that Baker Tilley DGP & CO has also separately won a 3 year assignment on financial advise to the Embassy. The MNRP projects were in the forestry, fisheries, and wildlife sectors whose officials have often been implicated in pervasive corruption to enrich a close knit cycle of civil servants and political operatives at the expense of sustaining the important national resources. The huge loss was detected in only five out of the 11 projects under the programme. The highlight of the audit showed that aid had been used to pay for overpriced cars, consultant payments made with no reference to contracts or reports and large expenses for travel costs without documentation.
It also discovered that huge amounts of VAT had not been refunded while the Norwegian funds had also paid for 66 vehicles at a price that was deemed to be $1.5 million too expensive. Large amounts had also been transferred to the Ministry's general account without any documentation.
The problems in the MNRP project have also been documented by a former Embassy official Eirik Jansen who worked as a Task Manager from 2003 to 2007. It was Jansen who published the article: "Does aid work?" with the U4 Anti Corruption Resource Centre in Norway, outlining his experiences with the MNRP case in Tanzanian. Research Director Odd-Helge Fjeldstad at Chr Michelsens Institute (CMI) that hosts the Anti Corruption Resource Centre says it would be worrying if the Embassy in Dar es Salaam does not give out information about how it has reached a new figure for what amount should be refunded.
"It is in the Embassy's own interest to provide that information to avoid speculations that something irregular has happened,"he says.



Bhusegena is the famous place in Ukerewe District in Mwanza region especially to people living at Nkilizya village. The area got its famous due to its fishing activities that is been conducted by most of people from Nkilizya, Bukongo, Nansio, Hamkoko, Kihungura, Malegea and Bhutiliti villages in search of earning their life. Not only is that but also the area where most of cattle keepers form Kihungura, Nkilizya, and Bhutiliti villages and their outskirt use its water's edge for the cattle to drink water from lake Victoria. I also personally in those days used to fish at the area as well as sending cattle to drink water when I was looking after cattle in my childhood. It was from the late 1980’s up to the late 1990’s.

Moving to Bhusegena we used to cross a thick forest that was famous with its name Ekibhila Cha Magafu, a kerewe language meaning a thick forest that belonged to Mr. Magafu another kerewe name that simply mean cotton. Mr. Magafu was leaving nearby that forest and he was the one who used to manage the forest. He passed away in 1999 as I can remember when I was just in form one. The forest was just one kilometre away from Bhusegena lakeshore where most fishing activities are carried out. It was believed that a big snake used to stay in that forest. Saying big snake in Ukerewe you simply mean a Python. In Kerewe tribe a python was believed to be their god and no one dared to kill it. If it could kill and swallow your goat, cattle or whatever at your home, you simply take it in the bag and send it to the forest or in the bush without harming it. And those who dared to kill it, where supposed to call their kids the python name. That is why today we have names like Nyasato, Nansato and Lusato which are all names of python. Python in Kerewe language is known as ensato. If you happened to contravene the rule, they believed that you could die or your kids could be dying if born. So they all obeyed not to kill it, respected its habitats and if it happen you have killed it you followed the rule by naming your kids the name of the python.

Since the forest was the homeland of Kerewe’s god it was highly respected and no one attempted to harm it, may it be cutting trees or putting it on fire. The forest was genuinely conserved and was a source of water to Nansyana River the river that used to pour its water in Lake Victoria at Bhusegena shore. Following conservation of Kibhila forest that thickened it, most of people were fearful to cross the forest until being in groups. I personally used to run when I was alone to cross it.

As time went and following the introduction of Christianity, belief that was held to python started to decline. This was followed with the mass killing of pythons and destruction of their habitat. Ekibhila cha magafu was also one of the python habitats that were destroyed by people by starting putting it on fire in search of killing the python that made the forest fearful. And following also population increase in Ukerewe by people migrating to the Island from other areas, the forest has now been cleared by people opening farms. More vegetable gardens have been opened in the forest as well as sugarcane farms by people who are most of them migrant from other areas. This has resulted to the dryness of Nansyana River and other small tributaries those were pouring water into the River. Even those who opened vegetable gardens are now suffering were to get water for irrigation.

As we are now in the modernised word we can think of enhancing traditional believes that conserve environments by putting in place ways that will promote them.

William Nambiza