Tanzania is one of the most politically stable countries in Africa. Tanzania plays a role in Southern African Development Community (SADC). Its relations with its former colonizer Britain are strong. But we see American and Chinese movements in it. What is the extent of the American and Chinese influence in this country? Is there an international conflict in it? And why was the SADC group established?
In order to have a clear answer to the above questions, we review the following matters:
First: Tanzania is an Islamic country, the percentage of Muslims in it exceeds 60%. Islam entered it at the end of the first Hijri century, but it was subjected to the attacks of the colonizers, enemies of Islam, starting from Portuguese colonialism to German and British colonialism, and America is now on the path of intervention… Its strategic location makes it important to the colonial countries, it is located on the Indian Ocean from its eastern borders, and it is located within the African Great Lakes region. For this reason, it was one of the gates for the colonists to penetrate into the depths of Africa and colonize it. Tanzania gained its formal independence at the end of 1961, but the British influence remained dominant over it.
Second: Britain appointed Julius Nyerere as president of Tanganyika, who appeared to be leading a liberation movement against colonialism! He was previously appointed as a minister in the British government that ran the region before independence. Zanzibar was annexed to Tanganyika in 1964, in order to form the Union of Tanzania, according to its plan, which it had drawn up to stand against America, which began working to replace the old colonialism in Africa. Nyerere ruled Tanzania with iron and fire until 1985, consolidating the British influence and fighting Islam. He was hiding behind the slogan of revolution and socialism at a time when he was implementing the capitalist system as is the habit of many agents of the West.
Third: Because Muslims are the majority (more than 60%), and so that the president would not be from them, if there was an election for the president, they set up a constitution that stipulates in the third paragraph of Article 47 that “It is mandatory that the candidate for the presidency be from a certain part of the union (Tanganyika or Zanzibar). At the same time, the deputy should be from the other side”. There is an understanding and not a constitutional order that the Christians and Muslims presidents should rotate. After the death of the Christian President Julius Nyerere, who ruled for the longest period, from the end of 1961 until 1985, Hassan Mwinyi of Muslim origin took power (1985-1995), and then the Christian Benjamin William (1995-2005), and then President Marisho Kikwete of Muslim origin took power (2005-2015), then a Christian came to power, John Magufuli, and he died last year. After that, his deputy, Samia Hassan, of Muslim origin, assumed the presidency on 19/3/2021.
Samia Hassan was a minister in the Zanzibar government within the Federation. In 2014, she was appointed Minister of State for Union Affairs. In 2015, President John Magufuli chose her as Vice President, as she surpassed many from the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), Nyerere’s ruling party, which was exclusively in power, always winning with a high percentage. In the last presidential elections that took place in 2020, Nyerere’s party won by 84.39%, and then its candidate Magufuli and his deputy, Samia Hassan, won a second term, and this indicates that the rulers of Tanzania still follow Britain, because the party loyal to it, Nyerere’s party, is still dominant in the state. ... To continue the agreed political tradition of rotating power, Samia Hassan was appointed the former assistant president for economic affairs, Philip Mbango, as her deputy, who is a Christian. Note that president Samia Hassan was born in January of 1960 in Zanzibar, which enjoys semi-autonomous rule, and the number of Muslims in it is about 99%. Later I went on to study Public Administration first in Tanzania and then graduated from the University of Manchester, UK. She took the constitutional oath wearing a headscarf and the Qur’an in her right hand, so she won a good reputation among the people of her Muslim country, especially as she followed a non-clashing path with the opposition.
Fourth: Britain views Tanzania with a degree of importance from a political and economic aspect.
As for the political aspect, its location as one of the gates of entry to the depths of Africa and its colonization makes it important to them. Britain has worked to stand in the face of the spread of Islam and to fight it and its people, who reject the colonizer and confront it. Britain’s loss of Tanzania caused it to lose some of its neighboring countries, which Britain still has influence in like Kenya, Malawi, Zambia and other countries in the region.
In economic terms, it is the largest foreign direct investor in Tanzania in sectors such as mining, manufacturing and agricultural production, and the largest investor for Tanzanian tea, and its exports dominate the Tanzanian market, especially automobiles and electronic devices.
Fifth: Likewise, America views Tanzania with a degree of importance and is trying to gain access to it by all means, and to replace the old colonialism. Tanzania was one of the few African countries that American presidents visited in order to show interest in it and try to attract it towards America… So Bush Jr visited Tanzania on 17/2/2008. As well as Obama on 1/7/2013, when he laid the foundation stone for a memorial in front of his country’s embassy in honour of eleven Americans who were killed in the 1998 bombing of the American embassy in Dar es Salaam.
Sixth: Thus, it can be said that the political conflict is going on between Britain, the old continuous colonialist, and America, which is trying to penetrate into Tanzania to succeed the British influence, and both countries are using their pernicious colonial means to achieve their goals.
1- As for America, it has announced its objection to the results of the 2020 elections. Morgan Ortagus, a spokeswoman for the US State Department, wrote on 30/10/2020 after the announcement of President Magufuli’s victory. She wrote on her Twitter account, saying that she was “concerned about reliable reports of irregularities in elections and the use of force against defenseless civilians.” She said, “We will hold the individuals responsible accountable for this.” Also, America adopts the demands of the opposition, especially the Chadima Party. This is to create political chaos in order to be able to break the dominance of the ruling party, the British Party… Note that the opposition is still weak. The candidate of the largest opposition party, the Democratic and Progress Party (Chadima) did not obtain a large percentage in the presidential elections that took place in 2020. His candidate, Tundu Lissu, received 13.03%. The Chadima Party candidate rejected the results and said it “witnessed unprecedented fraud in our history…” Likewise, America is exploiting calls for secession, especially the call for the secession of Zanzibar from Tanganyika… It uses the International Monetary Fund as a means to influence the government in Tanzania!
2- As for Britain, it is working according to its method of political malice to close the doors that America is trying to exploit in Tanzania, on the one hand it appears to be in agreement with America, and on the other it follows a different policy:
a- With regard to the elections, Britain made a statement about it. The British Minister for African Affairs, James Doddridge, said on his Twitter account on 30/10/2020, (“The United Kingdom is concerned about information about irregularities” and called for a “transparent investigation” and urged the political parties on “finding a peaceful solution”), America was satisfied, but it did not object to the election results, nor did it say what America said: (that there are credible reports of electoral violations) or calls for (the accountability of those responsible)!
b- As for the opposition, the leaders of an Islamist group that called for the independence of the semi-autonomous region of Zanzibar in Tanzania were acquitted of charges of terrorism: [The prominent leaders of the civil society group, the Association of Mobilization and Islamic Call, or UAMSHO, were released after eight years of detention, Farid Hadi and Moslem Ali Moslem were released Tuesday night, and the Director of Public Prosecutions, Sylvester Mwakitalu, confirmed to the journalists that all charges against them had been dropped…” (https://apnews.com/ 16/06/2021)] and also in recent weeks it was allowed for some banned Siwahili newspapers to resume publication, and President Samia Suluhu Hassan has pardoned many prisoners of conscience, including members of Chadima.
c- As for the issue of the International Monetary Fund, despite the fact that the IMF was expelled from Tanzania during the era of President Hassan Mwinyi, because it wanted to impose conditions on him such as devaluing the currency, raising prices and freezing wages, which increases the suffering of people, as the IMF does in every country that requests a loan. However, the IMF took advantage of the repercussions of the Coronavirus epidemic to provide a loan to Tanzania worth 567 million dollars, saying that “the outbreak of Coronavirus led to the collapse of the tourism sector and exacerbated the need for large financing.” (Bloomberg 8/9/2021), so the government of Tanzania agreed to take the loan, knowing that Tanzania did not recognize the outbreak of Coronavirus and did not impose measures to prevent it, but it agreed to improve the relationship with the IMF and not to clash with America, in line with the British approach that it is following!
d- Most importantly was the establishment of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which was established on 17/8/1992 instead of the Coordination Conference for the Development of Southern Africa, which was established in Botswana on 1/4/1980 from nine member states (Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique and Eswatini, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe) and now there are 15 after it was joined by South Africa, Namibia, Mauritius, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, and Seychelles and was established by Britain to maintain its influence in the region, and prevent the interference of American influence in the group countries. Therefore, when the American oil company, Anadarko, discovered a large reserve of natural gas located in the Rovuma Basin, located off the coast of the province of Cabo Delgado north of Mozambique in 2010, where Muslims live in that country.
Then this reserve was confirmed in 2017, according to an article published by the Financial Times in 2017. “Gas was discovered in two adjacent blocks, and each of them has proven reserves of about 75 trillion cubic feet, which is enough - according to experts - to supply Britain, France, Germany and Italy for more than 20 years.” Thus, when gas was discovered and confirmed in 2017, Britain noticed America’s tendency to intervene in Mozambique, especially that this was accompanied by rebellion movements in this country increasingly led by a local group called Ansar al-Sunna wal Jama’a, and then Rwanda, which is affiliated with America, offered to help Mozambique against this (rebellion) and tempted it by this, Mozambique agreed… On 9/7/2021, Rwanda deployed a force of 1,000 soldiers at the request of Mozambique to help quell the long-running Islamist insurgency in the northern province of Cabo Delgado… Although Rwanda is affiliated to America, Mozambique preferred to ask for help from Rwanda!
Seventh: When Britain noticed this, it moved the SADC group to remedy the situation of Mozambique, of which it is a member:
1- The SADC leaders during the summit commended the member states for their commitment to deploy the SADC Standby Force and to provide financial support in Cabo Delgado Province, northern Mozambique, for its deployment in that country. (https://africa.sis.gov.eg 21/8/2021)
2- When pro-American Rwanda deployed 1,000 soldiers in northern Mozambique, which is not a member of SADC, a number of SADC members objected: [“The deployment of Rwandan forces angered some SADC members, since Rwanda’s participation is not under the control of SADC…” They argued that Rwanda’s justification which is not a member of SADC, with the help of Mozambique, is a justification for a “recipe for disaster” (https://www.defense-network.com 22/7/2021)].
Thus Britain, realizing America’s attempts to intervene through Rwanda’s aid to Mozambique, when it realized this immediately it sent military aid to Mozambique through its SADC organization so that Rwanda would not be left alone there.
3- According to a Bloomberg website report, [the Minister of Foreign Affairs of South Africa said at the meeting of the Group of Seven industrialized countries: “I had the opportunity to meet with France, the European Union and the Secretary of State of the United States and explained to them that our view is that the Southern African Development Community should lead in this regard” (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/newsletters/13/8/2021)].
4- Recently, the group held a conference on 18/1/2022 in Malawi to support the economic and social reconstruction of Cabo Delgado, which is rich in natural gas in Mozambique, with a population of about 30 million people, and a Muslim population of about 20%. The amount of gas in the interior of this region is estimated at 75 trillion cubic meters. The conference endorsed Mozambique’s support and measures to consolidate peace, security and social and economic recovery in this province where armed movements are active. The group vowed to continue fighting terrorism and extremists in Mozambique. Malawi’s President Lazarus, who chairs the SADC group, said: [“The group’s commitment to ensuring that the Cabo Delgado region in Mozambique remains intact, stable and secure, and that the summit provided an opportunity to review the SADC mission in Mozambique in the fight against terrorism.” (SPA 18/1/2022)].
Eighth: As for China’s efforts, so far it has been dominated by economic influence more than achieving political influence, and economic rapprochement with it is to annoy America. By considering this matter it becomes clear that Tanzania is working to strengthen its economic relations with China in order to alleviate the economic conditions and even get rid of the dominance of the International Monetary Fund over it, i.e., the American domination over it, all at the direction of Britain. For this reason, Tanzania signed economic and technical cooperation agreements with China to finance Chinese projects in Tanzania. There are talks to finance projects worth tens of billions of dollars, whether to build a new port at a value of 10 billion dollars, or to build a liquefied natural gas station worth 30 billion dollars, and an iron and coal mine project worth 3 billion dollars.
In a phone call between Xi Ping and Samia Hassan on 22/6/2021, Xi said, “China is ready to implement the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in line with Tanzania’s development strategies and to expand cooperation in areas such as agriculture, transportation, communications, tourism and energy,” while Samia Hassan said, “Tanzania is ready to work with China to actively advance the joint construction of the Belt and Road, and will earnestly implement the outcomes of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, and promote the new development of China-Africa relations.” (China CGTN 22/6/2021)
Ninth: From this it is understood that Britain still controls the SADC group, as decisions are made in favour of consolidating British influence by supporting its affiliated regimes. Accordingly, it can be said that Britain is dominant in Tanzania as well as over SADC, and that America’s attempts to penetrate into Mozambique are hesitant between success and failure, and are unstable so far.
For these factors, Tanzania and Mozambique are candidates for an international conflict, i.e. between Britain, which has influence in SADC and its members, and America, which is ambitious to extend its influence in place of Britain, especially in Mozambique. These African countries will only be saved from their crises and the claws of colonialism by the rule of Islam, which is a mercy to the worlds.
[وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِلْعَالَمِينَ]
“And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds” [Al-Anbiya: 107]