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Msimbati, rich on natural gas but they use oil lamps

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It’s evening at Msimbati village of Mtwara rural district and oil lamps can been seen all over the place. A few well off families use electric charged lamps. The majority of villagers here live below the poverty line, even by Tanzanian standards.

Their grass thatched mud huts, substandard clothing and bushy coconut and cashew-nut farms are testimony that poverty is prevalent here, income poverty but not wealth provided by nature.  Like many other Tanzanian villagers in Mara, Mwanza, Arusha, Shinyanga, Kigoma and elsewhere in the country, they sit on a mine of natural gas worth trillions of shillings.

Canadian Artumas Group which has been extracting natural gas at Mnazi Bay at Msimbati, estimates that there are over 10 million cubic metres of gas underneath the territory of this village, a commodity which is already generating 7.5 megawatts of electricity supplying most parts of Mtwara region and part of Lindi region.

Msimbati village is not lucky enough to get a fair share of this electricity and plans to ensure that this small village enjoys part of its prized resource, seem to be far off by government agents. Meanwhile efforts are being made by French group, Morel & Prom to build thousands of kilometers of pipeline to ship gas as far as Mombasa in Kenya while residents of Msimbati remain ignored.

Private investors won’t supply free power to impoverished consumers like those at Msimbati but government has an obligation to do so by using our tax money. This understanding amongst our thieving politicians and corrupt bureaucrats, seem to be farfetched.

I was told a 22mn EUR project funded by Dutch government to help Artumas connect over 45,000 homes to its power supply lines between 2008 and this year, was withdrawn by Amsterdam earlier this year, because of bureaucracy in undertaking reforms by the government.

In fact, several officials both in public and private establishments told me that, a clique of politicians and bureaucrats who wanted to cash in on the project through kick backs from private companies involved in the project, derailed it after failing to get a penny.

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17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Baba Caren

    21/09/2010 at 1:58 am

    Hi Finnigan!
    I first of all congratulate you for the most touching story.Its an excellent work my brother that if I were in a position to name the BEST 2010 JOURNALIST,I could have mentioned your name.Keep it up my brother and I believe through these stories, a day will come for them to answer. Lets wake up my fellow Tanzanians,Lets the 31 Oct/2010 event be our way toward getting rid of corrupt leaders and thieving politicians.

  2. Timo

    21/09/2010 at 6:07 am

    I agree with the previous writer.

  3. twa121

    21/09/2010 at 6:14 am

    ….bas utakuta wenyewe wakaz wa msimbati hawajuw kama wanateseka! Then wanamchagua huyu Ghasia, ambaye hana uchungu na jmbo lake! Takrban asilimia 97 ya wananch jmbo hli ni maskn wa ku2pwa.

  4. Finnigan wa Simbeye

    21/09/2010 at 9:03 pm

    Thanks and please voters cast your votes with integrity and character, it’s time we dropped thieving politicians.

  5. Yasser Mziba

    22/09/2010 at 3:21 am

    Simbaye you are good writer, right to the point you. But business stand point the blame lays on business communities and academia. Their researches should have already point out the gamechanger. Government are required to be innovative in the area of poverty alleviation. Govenment has been talking urasilimali na miundombinu. How about you I teach people about social entrepreneurship or green investment if you will. for example you are allowed to teach small community about property right. Our Organization Wabunifu USA and Wabunifu.com are just have plan for that. I am sure once the know value of their property rights then if government says pay tax they will pay. a self help program can go a long way.

  6. Yasser Mziba

    22/09/2010 at 3:46 am

    Simbeye Thanks the information. Just clarify my point, locals can forms cooperatives, city will make money run their community. Donor wants to a plan to improve people lives with a quantifiable numbers. I think it is possible to collect such data and let business, government and public at large. Politician can use for policy making traders, subsistence farmer, etc.

  7. Finnigan wa Simbeye

    24/09/2010 at 11:31 am

    I get your point Yasser but the point is we need good policies to attract business and communities to take initiatives. In Mtwara, the Dutch were willing to assist villages like Msimbati get power supply from their gas, guys in charge in Dar, didn’t!

  8. Yasser Mziba

    01/10/2010 at 3:51 am

    right simbaye. Policy is changing is inevitably a fact life, it is a matter of time, everyone agree with that. I think the current policies are not sustainable. I think if one review a policy, there could be some of the policies were made before even we had mobil phones or National television. As a result the policy are contributor to the Ufisadi if you may. they are looking at unsustainable policies and figures here is my chance to get fat. It is counter productive of a free enterprises system. the system only produces good result if the standard of doing business reflect the fist word “freedom”, It appears to me that we adopted the enterprise part it successfully, “rukhsa” now, its time to the “free” part of the phrase. There is a bill for freedom of information floating around dodoma or dar somewhere. I’ve heard that this bill will be a ground breaking. Almost, evry one agree on the policy changes.

  9. wadengo

    25/11/2010 at 9:10 am

    I think the writer has his facts wrong. If you have been to Msimbati lately you will note tha there is infact a project that has already started to put electricity to the village. Pleaes do your homework before you give the public incorrect information.

  10. ndeme

    25/11/2010 at 7:00 pm

    ni kweli mambo mengi tuna fanyia na seli kali kwanza mpaka viongozi wapewe kitu kidogo wasipo pewa dili lina kufa

  11. ndeme

    25/11/2010 at 7:13 pm

    jamani naomba tuku baliane kwamba viongozi wetu vitu vyote wanavyo fanya ni mpka wao wa hongwe kwanza ili watanzania tupewe huduma vile vile ushauli hawana kama mradi song gas dar umeme badala unge fuliwa songea watu wame fanya gharama za kujenga pipe kutoka kusini mpaka dar

  12. Finnigan wa Simbeye

    27/11/2010 at 1:13 pm

    Wandego, which project are you talking about? Be specific and give details and not simply say there is a project, which one and how much has been allocated? The Dutch funded project has collapsed and Artumas are on their way out due to frustrations from the ministry and other government agencies. I have done my home work and will soon give you details on what is happening through a newspaper article, what I have done here is simply touching off a tip of iceberg!

  13. Mnyamisi

    23/04/2011 at 3:14 pm

    Now that Mr. Finnigan has assured us that his arguments are fact-based and due to the homework that he did prior to the material posting…i think those who argue in opposition shouldn’t say anything before they prove him wrong, that way we’ll play withing the acceptable standards.

  14. kuku

    15/05/2011 at 4:41 pm

    NIce Topic

  15. lady furahia

    19/07/2011 at 1:32 pm

    Nitajitahidi niweze kupata angalau kashamba uko msimbati maana nimesoma hiyo makala yako imenivutia sana,
    nitafanyie mpango wa kupata kashamba uko via ma email yangu halafu nifanyeje

  16. lady furahia

    19/07/2011 at 1:34 pm

    nice topic imenitachi na kuleta mguso very well

  17. lucas j k moshi

    14/04/2012 at 7:34 pm

    I am not so much familiar with policies and procedures in regards to local government

    But what i would like to comment here is to congratulate people who are living to the neighborhood as you have mentioned Msimbati area

    This society deserve to have free electricity likewise those of Kilwa

    Also they deserve to charge for royalty tax as well as property tax for those investors

    As i said i am not so much sure how much they deserve to charge but this is accordingly to amount of gas retrieved from the ground and sold to TANNESCO or other foreign country

    This is the time for Msimbati to benefit from their natural resources otherwise they need to consult legal experts to solve the problems

    I congratulate you again and i wish you a good usage of such great natural resources by looking for more investors to invest in Mtwara region and neighboring region such as Lindi Mbeya Songea , Iringa and the entire Tanzania at large

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