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Topic : Petroleum Policy and Constitutional Paradox in the United Republic of Tanzania  
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Comments From TAKNET Members
Deogratias Peter Mutalemwa  : Friday, June 5, 2009    

I start with a digression: why are there internecine squabbles between farmers and livestock keepers in Kilosa? Why do we have rows between inhabitants of Ulwankulu and the Ulwankulu Gold mine? Why are inhabitants bordering national game reserves often at odds with game wardens? So, the question cannot be resolved if we limit it only to sharing oil revenues between Mainland and Zanzibar?  It  essentially boils down to the rule of who claims first ownership of God-given resources.


In a hunting exercise in the wilderness,  if you are the first to cast your eyes on a cluster of mushrooms, you shout  loudest for all to hear and claim your discovery. You  pick up your mushrooms. But if it requires cutting the way or bush to reach the treasure, then a help from others is required in first cutting the way to reach the mushroom.

In the latter case, you cannot take away all the mushroom alone. You share it with those who have facilitated your way. This parable is not irrelevant from the phenomenon of oil discovery in your backyard. In the case of mining oil, you even agree to share the oil with strangers who have the ability to dig it out, let alone those who protect it from predators and make it safe and valuable to carry out the mining.


In all the cases cited above, of the gold miners, the   farmers and livestock keepers, the mushroom, and the oil, the issue is on compensation of the first ownership, call it mrahaba, mrabaha, benefit sharing and the like.  If the original owners feel they have been disfranchised, they can resort  to  violence in  applying the crude  principle of  “wacha wote tukose”, then the resource will be of no use to all.


In other words, Tanzania should urgently work out a rational national formula for direct benefit sharing between genuine stakeholders in exploitation of all natural resources. The bottom line is in determining who is “genuine”  and who is not.



Festo E. Maro  : Wednesday, June 3, 2009    

Up to this moment members have contributed very important subjects for consideration in this topic. However, I would like to say that the gravity and sensitivity of topic is not equivalent to the contribution made so far.

More ideas are needed from you on how to best shape the policy in petroleum management in our union government. Here I will summarize some of the points to help others who wished to keep this ball rolling. Initial contributions from Deo basically he utters to be in a warning mode and even reminded us Mwalimu's Dictum.

That is in most African countries natural resource wealthiest has been a curse rather than a boom. He attributes this natural resource with wars and ethnic sentiments which were main reasons for blessings to be a curse. He continues by emphasizing the role of peace and security to attract investors for the country to benefit from the resources. And the union force should be used for protecting our wealthy against terrorist and pirates.

Subsequent contributors advise the use of diplomacy in solving our misunderstanding in managing resources and benefit redistribution. Having showing the previous discussion, I will like to suggest that the next contributors should focus on the following questions which are also indicated in the introductory note


  • There are many resources that have been shared between the Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar for long time e.g. water, fish, diamond, gold etc. Why this particular debate on petroleum and not in other resources?

  • What is the current set up on natural resource governance in terms of constitution, policy, legal and institutional frameworks?

  • In your opinion which natural resources should be under the union government and which shouldn’t be?

  • How should the benefit of natural resources be shared between the two parties?

Festo E. Maro  : Wednesday, May 27, 2009    
  Shabiri, thanks for chipping in, actually the opening statement is very interesting.
You look at it through the lenses of distribution and redistribution of the benefits of resources. Then you close by what economist said "normative economics" that is "what is ought to be" (union government will also benefit through existing policies).

But Shabiri if you have read the introductory note of this topic, you will see that there is an issue particulalry on the benefit sharing from petroleum reserve. How do you think the benefit should be distributed? I will be happy to hear from you.

shabbir bhalloo  : Monday, May 25, 2009    
  yes Festo, you have targetted straight and not in dark.
now even the union government will benefit, not only Zanzibar.
well done.

Festo E. Maro  : Monday, May 18, 2009    
  Dear Viewers this platform gives you the opportunity to express developmental ideas. Your welcome to contribute in this debate in your own perspectives, nothing is small or minor.

We value your opinions, in this way they will be repackaged into a policy brief to spearhead the natural resource management debate and consequently policy reforms to enhance the development of our country.

Give your service, show your patriotism by participating in the discussion.

Festo E. Maro  : Sunday, May 3, 2009    
  One of the reasons for excluding petroleum as union resource is regarded as a potential for revenue contribution. It will enable the Zanzibarian president to meet the basic social need of his electorate with little hassles.

The president will then be capable of running the government more independent and contribute to development relatively fast.
Do you think this is justifiable opinion?

Please kindly contribute to the debate considering the introductory note questions and others member's contributions.

Festo E. Maro  : Sunday, April 26, 2009    
  The debate is picking up, these initial contributions from Peter and Deo are very important as we celebrate the union day. It’s our 45th year since our founders from both the Island and mainland mixed the two soils as a symbol of union. Deo in his contribution reminded us on the dictum left by Mwl. Nyerere. Simply he meant without peace no investors in the petroleum resources no matter the reserves that one has. In other way I would say without peace our resources will not benefit us rather the investor. Take a look at what happened in DRC. People are living in very poor conditions yet they are rich in diamond and other resources.

As Peter said let solve the political impasse then move into petroleum policy without damaging our unity. We shouldn’t break the constitution just for the sake of crude oil reserves. If we are to solve the problem of benefit sharing what are the important things to consider for a fair deal?


Peter Nyanje  : Thursday, April 23, 2009    
  The best we can go about this issue without much damaging our unity is by solving the so called 'kero za muungano.' For, I sense that some powers in Zanzibar want to use the oil issue t force their agendas on the union. Once union problems are addressed, it will be easy to look into oil issue and identify underlying problems and solve them.  

Admin  : Wednesday, April 22, 2009    
  Paradox or no paradox: in several African countries, the discovery of petrolleum has become a curse rather than a boon. In Nigeria (Niger Delta), Sudan (Abyei),Angola (Cabinda) and between Uganda and Zaire the discovery has stirred ethnic sentiments, regional independence declarations and even civil wars. The Zanzibar claim to excussive ownership of the oil is along such sentiments . They forget that exploitation of oil reserves will not happen if the country as a whole is not perceived by investors as peaceful, the security of which is guranteed by national defence forces. Even after opening up the reserves, the oil installations will have to be protected by the same forces against pirates and terrorists. The second point can be called Nyerere dictum: namely that once you taste taboo meat, you are likely to be haunted by it. In other words, if oil is discovered in Pemba, and Mainland is ruled out from benefiting from the discovery, there is every reason for the Pemba residents to extend the logic of exlusion so that they demand that Pemba petroeum should become exclussive patrimony of the residents of Pemba. The irony of this event would be the RGZ to call upon the national defence forces to quell such sessionists' tendencies as quickly and ruthlessly as possible.

On Behalf of DEO


Festo E. Maro  : Tuesday, April 21, 2009    
  Dear TAKNET members, it's a pleasure to welcome you all once again to the forum. Many thanks for your effective participation in the previous topic on "Foreign Direct Investment Incentive Package". The contributions you have posted made the implementation of the pilot phase a success. This time we have introduced a new topic on Natural Resource Management and specifically on the on going petroleum debate in Tanzania. Your contribution in this time around is not restricted to English language; you are encouraged to put forward your thoughts using Swahili as well. This was purposively done to enhance the participation of all because we believe that a clear point is processed with a language one is familiar with. I would like to remind you that the contributions are not meant to tarnish individual reputation but aim toward addressing the subject matter to have impact on policy recommendation.  

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