Unlearning and Remembering: Putting History back into the struggle against mining exploitation in Tanzania


Gwen Schulman talks to journalist Zahra Moloo about her article “All That Glitters: Neoliberal Violence, Small-Scale Mining, and Gold Extraction in Northern Tanzania,” in the recently published collection Against Colonization and Rural Disposession, edited by Dip Kapoor .


More recent mining violations shake Tanzania

Gwen Shulman speaks to Catherine Coumans from Mining Watch Canada about recent violations involving Barrick Gold’s Tanzanian subsidiary Acacia mining. Since 2011 there have been reports of abuses around the mine. Catherine Coumans returns from a recent visit there.

Long term archive is also found here

Corruption and landgrads in Tanzania, Zambian president dies

Doug Miller comments various news items :

– Masai lands once again up for grabs by Gulf State game hunters
– Zambian president Michael Sata Dies and is replaced by Guy Scott

Looking at the case of the North Mara gold mine in Tanzania

The relationship between the mining company African Barrick Gold and the communities of North Mara, Tanzania is a story of intimidation, sexual abuse, death and  poverty. Amandla’s Gwen Schulman talks to filmmaker Tamara Herman on the history of the conflict and recent developments that point to new strategies to seek justice and change.

A look at Dar in the 60’s and 70’s

Amandla’s Doug Miller talks to Andrew Ivaska about transnational activism in Tanzania in the 60’s and 70’s, when Dar es Salaam was a hub of activism attracting key figures of anti-colonialism from around the world.

Andrew Ivaska is associate professor in the history faculty of Concordia University in Montreal and also the author of "Cultured States: Youth, Gender, and Modern Style in 1960s Dar es Salaam".

A look at the legacy of Julius Nyerere (part 1)

Julius Kambarage Nyerere was the first President of Tanzania from the country’s founding in 1961 until his retirement in 1985.

Our regular contributor Doug Miller has been traveling for the past two months in Africa and was recently in Tanzania as part of a research project for an upcoming book on social movements in the 60 and 70s in that part of the world. While in Tanzania Doug met an old friend named Kapote Mwakasungura who was part of the united students African revolutionary front that brought together students from all over southern Africa. In those days, Dar es Salaam was at the crossroads of revolutionary movements from all over Africa.

Here is part of a discussion with our good friend and collaborator Doug Miller and his old acquaintance Kapote Mwakasungura.

One of the largest Gold mining companies in the world fights Tanzanian villagers

Mining Watch Canada’s Jamie Kneen talks to Gwen Schulman about the recent disclosure of a secretive mechanism African Barrick Gold has put in place to manage grievances at its North Mara gold mine in Tanzania.

African poetry, mining in Southern Africa and the resignation of Bev Oda

The entire show:

In the first part, Amandla collaborator David Lieber presents Langston Hughes, an African American poet, in the context of July 4th, then (circa minute 20) Amandla Host Gwen Schulman speaks to independent journalists and filmmakers Tamara Herman and Susanne Porter-Bopp about their recent investigation in Southern Africa visiting communities impacted by Canadian mining companies, and finally Amandla regular Doug Miller comments on Canadian International Development minister Bev Oda resignation.

Foreign mining in Tanzania

Foreign mining in Tanzania continues to proceed against a backdrop of human rights and evironmental violations. Gwendolyn Schulman talked to Barbara Fullerton about her recent trip to Tanzania, on behalf of the United Church of Canada, to see conditions on the ground.


Une loi contraignant le droit de grève en Tanzanie/ A law restraining the right to go on strike in Tanzania

(Lien en anglais/ link in english)

Le “Employment and Labour Relations Act, No.6” est une loi votée en 2004 et qui sera bientôt mise en application. Elle limitera le droit de grève en Tanzanie. Les magistrats, procureurs et les personnes travaillant pour des services essentiels n’auront pas le droit de grève. Voir The Express (en anglais).

The Employment and Labour Relations Act, No.6 of 2004 who will soon be applied limits the right to strike in Tanzania. Here is the news by the Express:


By Kizito Makoye
The new labour laws to be implemented soon will make it increasingly difficult for workers to exercise the right to strike because conditions imposed are too stringent.
The Employment and Labour Relations Act, No.6 of 2004 pending to be gazetted, gives workers the right to strike on disputes of interests on the one hand, and indirectly denies it on the other.
Section 75 of the Act gives employees the right to strike but the right should be in line with limitations stated below, which observers say are too severe. The proposed striker or strikers should not be: • Engaged in an essential service;
•Engaged in a minimum service;
• Bound by an agreement calling for arbitration;
• Bound by wages determination;
• A magistrate or a prosecutor;
• Where the issue in dispute is a complaint;
• Where the procedure of engaging in a lawful strike has not been complied with.
Speaking to The Express yesterday, a Labour Officer at the Regional Labour Office who sought to remain anonymous on the grounds that he is not the spokesperson, admitted that the new laws are one sided, basically favouring employers and suppressing employees rights. He said workers strike for a variety of reasons, but the mostly for economic reasons such as poor remuneration, poor working tools, an unfavourable working environment, lack of motivation and dissatisfaction.
He further said that the new law provided no grounds for employees to embark on a conflict of rights.
The new law defines a strike as “a total or partial stoppage of work by employees if the stoppage is to compel their employer to accept, modify or abandon any demands that may form the subject matter of dispute of interest.”
Section 80 stipulates that before engaging in a strike, workers should ensure that the dispute is of interest and that the dispute has gone through mediation and remains unresolved after mediation. The law also calls for a trade union to approve the strike through a ballot conducted under union constitutions.
The prevailing legal discrepancy is costly to the employees especially when engaging in disputes, because failure to meet the conditions necessary to the strike might be taken to mean violation of laws, therefore civil or criminal proceeding might be taken against them. Analysts who spoke to The Express on Tuesday, said that the conditions for calling a strike have been made strict deliberately to prevent more strikes, in the wake of massive strikes similar to the one which involved interns at Muhimbili National Hospital in June.
The MNH strike almost brought to standstill crucial services at the hospital. The interns were demanding a salary increment, following the management’s decision to reduce their salaries by 20 per cent.
Initially the government sacked them, subsequently the specialist doctors followed suit with a movement of sympathy, consequently forcing the government to reverse its previous decision by complying with all their requirements.
In an interview with The Express yesterday, Senior Lecturer with the University of Dar es Salaam, Prof. Issa Shivji, said the Employment and Labour Relations Act allows the right to strike on the one hand, and indirectly takes away the right by imposing strict conditions, which workers must follow before they strike.
He said that the regulations incorporated in the new law are outdated, because they were implemented during the colonial era.
“It is true that the new law provides strict conditions which workers have to meet before they strike, the laws are normally very difficult to interpret, as they tend to give a right and then take it away, … sometimes the laws do not say workers should strike, nor do they say that they should not.”
According to Shivji, the definition of ‘essential services’ is also mischievous, because it limits people from certain institutions from engaging in industrial action, on the grounds that they play crucial roles, no matter how dissatisfied those people are.
Shivji, who teaches law, also said the new labour laws give the Minister Responsible for Labour, Youth Development and Sports the mandate to further declare services essential.
Shivji said the essential services were adopted from Britain, without knowing that by then such services were declared ‘essential’ during the period of war, where there was an emergency situation, adding that it is absolutely wrong to declare a service essential without any emergency.
He added that essential service could be private or public. According to the Act, essential services include: water and sanitation, electricity, health services, fire fighting services, air traffic control and civil aviation. Any disputes of interests in essential services, must, according to the law, be referred to mediation or arbitration.
A lawyer with the Association of Tanzania Employers, Anthony Mseke, said that most strikes which are held in most institutions in the country are illegal, because the strikers fail to comply with the procedures for making the strikes legitimate as instructed by the laws.
He said the workers should not just strike unilaterally without involving a trade union, which in this case has the mandate to approve the strike by casting ballots.
The trend of strikes in Tanzania is alarming. In June the police were forced to intervene in a riot at Karibu Textile mills factory, in which workers were engaging in industrial action because of alleged poor remuneration.
Disgruntled workers assembled outside the factory’s main gate and started throwing stones at the interior, while shouting slogans against the management, which responded by calling the police.
Again in August, about 600 casual workers with Dar es Salaam-based Shelys Pharmaceuticals Limited went on strike, to press for better pay and working conditions
These instances show that the country has been confronting a new situation, but is the government’s reply to it appropriate?.