IPP MEDIA EDITOR
“ (we should not scare) potential and genuine investors who are ready to invest billions of shillings in this country.”
THE SILVERDALE FARM CASE
“A most destructive dynamic in this campaign was Mr. Benjamin Mengi’s use of the courts and judiciary to engage us in years of costly and vexatious litigation within a corrupt legal system which crippled us financially. Five years later no cases have been heard. Despite four years of effort by the British Government through its High Commission in Dar es Salaam to resolve our case and, despite the personal promises of President Kikwete that the rule of law would be upheld, Mr. Mengi’s criminal conduct remains unchecked. We fled the country in 2008 and lost our entire investment. Mr. Mengi then invaded the farms broke into our house and stole what remained of our property. The lease to the farms is now being offered up to another investor and we are being treated as if we never existed in Tanzania.
The harassment against us includes a defamation campaign by the local organisation IPP Media the Chief Executive Officer of which is Mr. Reginald Mengi, Benjamin Mengi's brother. .
Defamatory publications were made in high profile English and Swahili newspapers owned by the company, IPP Media's radio and televisions stations together with publications on the internet. All the publications are couched in a language of suspicion and unqualified accusations of guilt against our staff and us. They attack our investor status in Tanzania, accuse us of criminality in the face of clear evidence to the contrary and have damaged our commercial interests and personal reputations. No right of reply has ever been given. The publications continue with the latest being an IPP Radio 1. broadcast in March 2010 stating we stole the lease to Silverdale Farm, the lawful owner being the 'patriotic investor', Benjamin Mengi.
It was impossible to defend ourselves against the endless vexatious litigation brought against us supported by a corrupt judiciary and the constant defamation by IPP Media despite requests to Reginald Mengi and his managing editors for it to cease. "
Crooks not welcome, but sweeping anti-investment sentiments wrong
28th August 2011
Adjourning the Parliament on Friday, the Prime Minister Mizengo Kayanza Pinda, urged legislators to refrain from voicing anti-investors sentiments, which for some years has dominated the National Assembly’s various debates.
According to the Premier, the anti-investments stance taken by some of the legislators from both the ruling party and Opposition camp alike, scares local and foreign based investors, as well as those planning to invest in the country in future.
The Premier further told legislators that the economic growth in a country especially in today’s modern liberalised economy, is stimulated by two major factors, which are the participation of the private sector and the innovation of technology and science.
We at The Guardian on Sunday strongly support the PM’s call because for so many years, our legislators have failed to distinguish between investors and crooks. While there isn’t any room in Tanzania for crooks masquerading as investors, the truth remains very clear that our country needs strong flow of Foreign Direct Investments in order to spur the growth of the economy.
We fully understand the role played by our legislators in fighting crooks in this country, but that spirit should not be used to scare the potential and genuine investors who are ready to invest billions of shillings in this country.
We support constructive debate, but are appalled by the growing anti-business agenda, which in one way or another; the media has also echoed blindly, making Tanzania to be regarded globally as an unfriendly country to investors.
Tanzanians have finally been tuned to believe that every investor who comes here to invest is a thief, plunderer and a land grabber. But, what we don’t understand is that more investors translate into the creation of more jobs, broader tax regime and a boost to the economy in general.
Today, Tanzanian universities enroll about 40,000 students for both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, and the number is set to double when the University of Dodoma will become fully operational.
To accommodate these young graduates, you need to create more jobs, because we are all aware that the government, though being the biggest employer in the country, can’t employ them all and that’s why we need a prosperous private sector.
Instead of advocating for the creation of stronger competent private sector, which can compete locally, regionally and internationally, some of our legislators still maintain outdated radicalism against foreign investors.
In some cases, the lawmakers and activists will rally their people to destroy properties, instead of engaging in meaningful debates on how both sides can benefit from the investments invested in a particular area.
In some cases, our legislators are calling for nationalisation of private business, instead of advocating for the buying of shares via the stock market. But, while they are calling for nationalisation, they forget that it came in 1967, conquered and then died a natural death in the 1980s and 1990s.
In a modern world economy, investments, both foreign and domestic, play a crucial role in building the country economically. We shall only be able to compete with our most feared neighbours like Kenya, if the country will have a strong and competent private sector, and not a vibrant and radicalism spirit under which every investor is branded a thief and plunderer.
We share the concern about how some investors, taking the advantage of corruption and weak policies within the government, managed to rob the poor in Tanzania, but that doesn’t warrant anti-investments sentiments in our Parliament.
SOURCE: GUARDIAN ON SUNDAY