Archive for Politics


by Ben Taylor

President Magufuli has continued to press forward with his agenda of anti-corruption, resource nationalism, industrialisation and infrastructure development. Meanwhile, the chorus of voices who are critical of his presidency continues to grow.

President Magufuli and PM Kassim Majaliwa in Ihumwa to launch the second phase of works to update the rail network

Pressing ahead
In the first four months of 2018, the government of Tanzania has inaugurated a major new power plant on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam [see energy and minerals section]; pressed ahead with extending, electrifying and upgrading the central line railway to standard gauge [see transport]; celebrated the arrival of a new aircraft for Air Tanzania [see transport]; and continues to talk up other “mega projects” including a new port at Bagamoyo, the Stieglers’ Gorge hydroelectric dam [see energy and minerals], and a possible Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) processing plant in Lindi [see energy and minerals in previous issues].

Further, it has completed construction of a 25 km “fort” – a wall – around the Tanzanite mine at Mererani, Arusha, in an effort to prevent the gemstones from being stolen or smuggled out without following proper procedures and paying proper revenues. It has long been stated that more Tanzanite is exported from Kenya and India than from Tanzania, though the gemstone’s only source is in Tanzania. The wall was constructed by the national service arm (JKT) of the Tanzania People’s Defence Force (TPDF), taking less than 4 months, at a cost of TSh 5.65 billion (USD 2.5m). The President promised government employment to all the JKT volunteers – over 2,000 in number – who participated in the work. Further security measures have been put in place including security cameras and ID cards for personnel permitted within the wall.

The government has also reinstated over 7,000 previously fired or suspended employees who did not possess form four (O-level) certificates, and who were employed before May 20, 2004. This followed calls to do so from MPs, and recognises that form four qualifications were not a requirement for government employment before this date. The reinstatement does not include civil servants who had used fake certificates to secure their employment or who were employed after 2004 without proper qualifications. The government announced that the reinstated employees will be given their full accrued salaries since the time of their dismissal, and will be entitled to full retirement benefits.

Kassim Majaliwa addresses parliament (

Some of these developments were among the six issues highlighted by the Prime Minister, Kassim Majaliwa, when he outlined government plans contained in the 2018/19 budget. Specifically, the upgrade and expansion of transport networks – including roads as well as rail – and investment in electricity generation were both mentioned. Beyond this, the Prime Minister also pointed to new spending on water supply services, e-governance for revenue collection, relocation of government business to Dodoma, and maintaining economic growth through implementation of strategic development plans.

Chadema leadership arrested

Chadema leadership attend court in Dar es Salaam

Shortly before Easter eight senior figures within the largest opposition party, Chadema, were arrested and charged with several counts including sedition and incitement. The charge sheet initially named six individuals, including the national party chairman, Freeman Mbowe, and secretary general, Vincent Mashinji, as well as John Mnyika, Salum Mwalimu, Rev Peter Msigwa, and John Heche. Two further names were later added, including the chair of the party’s women’s wing, Halima Mdee, and Ester Bulaya.

The charges stem from mid-February, during the parliamentary by-election campaign in Kinondoni constituency in Dar es Salaam. The Chadema leaders are accused of staging unlawful demonstrations – the same occasion that tragically resulted in the death of Akwilina Akwilini (see below).

Among the charges are several accusations that Mbowe and others made seditious statements, defined in Tanzanian law as “statements that are likely to raise discontent and promote feelings of ill-will among inhabitants of the United Republic of Tanzania” or “statements made with intent to bring hatred and contempt to the citizens of the United Republic of Tanzania against the lawful authority of the government.”
All eight of the accused deny the charges.

Professor Abdallah Safari, the party’s deputy chairman, spoke on behalf of the party while Mbowe and the others remained in police custody. “This situation is terrifying and it is the right time to seek for international support in advocating for democracy in the country. Our voices alone cannot be heard; this is the time for everyone to join forces in calling for democratic space and the rule of law.”

Administrative delays meant that although bail had been agreed by the court, it proved impossible to release the suspects before the long Easter weekend. They were therefore released on the Tuesday after Easter, having been held for seven days, subject to a condition that they must report weekly to the court in Dar es Salaam.

Meanwhile, another Chadema MP, Joseph Mbilinyi, was sentenced in February to five months imprisonment. The Mbeya Resident Magistrate Court found him guilty of delivering “hate speech” against President Magufuli in December 2017. A party official, Emmanuel Masonga, was also found guilty on the same charge. Both Mr Mbilinyi and Mr Masonga deny the charges.

Policing concerns
Concerns about police strategies and attitudes have grown, after a number of incidents where policing tactics appeared either to be highly politicised or overly aggressive, including three separate incidents in which the actions of the police appeared to cause the death of civilians.

The first such case was Akwilina Akwiline, a 21-year-old student at the National Institute of Transport. She was killed by a stray bullet while passing the site of a confrontation between police and Chadema supporters in Dar es Salaam. Shots were fired by the police in order to break up the march. This took place in February. No arrests have been made.

The second case followed a month later, in Mbeya. Allen Mapunda, a 20-year-old fruit seller at a local market, was arrested while playing pool with friends one evening, as part of “normal patrols” around the city. He was released on police bail the following day to his family, who say he had cuts and bruises on his arms and head and complained of pain in his abdomen. They took him to hospital where he died later that evening, from what doctors described as “internal injuries”. The police denied any responsibility, saying he was fine when released on bail.

Third, at the end of April, Suguta Chacha, the younger brother of Chadema MP for Tarime, John Heche, was arrested along with others at a bar that was open past its permitted hours, close to the Kenya-Tanzania border. He was stabbed while in custody at the police station, and died on the scene. A police officer has been charged in association with the incident.

These incidents followed concerns raised about policing during local government by-election campaigns in late 2017. The Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) reported evidence that police had arrested opposition leaders and agents. LHRC called for the roll of security organs in supervising elections to be reviewed.

Further, the case of Abdul Nondo also attracted wide public attention. Nondo, a student at the University of Dar es Salaam and outspoken chair of the Tanzania Students Networking Programme (TSNP), was reported missing in early March. He re-emerged a day later in Mafinga in Iringa region, where the police arrested him for allegedly faking his own abduction. He was held in police custody for close to three weeks before being charged with any offence. When finally charges were brought, police (unsuccessfully) argued that Nondo should be denied bail for his own safety.

Finally, a journalist with Mwananchi newspaper, Azory Gwanda, has disappeared and the police have reported no progress with investigating his disappearance. Azory had been covering a series of violent incidents against the police, local government and CCM leaders in and around Kibiti, south of Dar es Salaam, and police responses to these attacks.

Growing criticisms
The list of those who have expressed concern at rising political tensions and President Magufuli’s approach to democracy continues to grow.

The US Embassy issued a statement in mid-February that referred to the recent murder – by unknown assailants – of Daniel John and attempted murder of his friend Reginald Mallya, both Chadema members, and called for “a transparent investigation to hold all perpetrators of violence accountable in accordance with Tanzanian law.”

A week later, the European Union delegation in Tanzania issued a more widely ranging statement jointly with the Heads of Mission of the Member States of the European Union in Tanzania and supported by the High Commissioner of Canada and the Ambassadors of Norway and Switzerland:

“We note with concern the recent developments which threaten democratic values and the rights of Tanzanians in a country which is widely respected in the world for its stability, peacefulness and freedoms. We are worried by the rising number of reports of violence in the last months including: the attempt on the life of MP Tundu Lissu; the disappearance of people such as journalist Azory Gwanda; and the lethal assaults upon government representatives, the authorities and citizens which occurred in the Coast Region in the past two years. We join Tanzania’s people in calling upon those responsible, to safeguard the peace and security of democratic process, the country, its citizens and respect for the due process of law without impunity.”

Lent and Easter presented an opportunity for Christian leaders in Tanzania to express their concerns. The Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC) of the Roman Catholic church issued a pastoral letter in Dar es Salaam lamenting the deteriorating governance situation in Tanzania, including the restrictions imposed on opposition parties, the repression of mass media and suppression of the freedom of expression. It was signed by all the 36 bishops making up the TEC.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT) issued a proclamation, signed by 27 bishops, calling for security organs to ensure that Tanzanians’ lives are properly protected. Leaders of the Anglican and Moravian churches also called for peace, security and justice in their Easter sermons.

In February, more than 100 civil society organisations issued a statement condemning what they called “unprecedented” cases of human rights violations in Tanzania’s history, including “attacks, torture and forced disappearances of rights activists, journalists and even ordinary citizens.”

The government responded to some of these statements, arguing that religion and politics should not be allowed to mix. Further, a statement issued by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Augustine Mahiga, responded directly to the US and EU. This highlighted “the previous conspicuous silence by the envoys on the unprecedented security threats and challenges which Tanzania has been facing in the Kibiti-Mkuranga-Rufiji triangle,” and “the uncompromising bold actions taken by President Magufuli to stump out (sic) corruption, drug trafficking, tax evasion, poaching and enforce accountability in the public and private sectors”.

“The measures by the 5th phase government have evidently enraged powerful elements from within and outside the country with vested interests in laxity that prevailed before. These forces are resisting and fighting the change through insidious means and malicious intent to discredit the government and tarnish its image by aggravated violent criminal actions in a politically manipulated manner.”

“Our guest partners should make an effort to understand these complex scenarios in the country before issuing unverified sensational and what can be inciting statements to the public.”

Perhaps the most stinging criticism, however, came in mid-March from The Economist newspaper, in a rare leader article on Tanzanian politics. The article, headlined “Tanzania’s sickening lurch”, was accompanied by a longer news article in the same issue headlined “Falling into dictatorship: Tanzania’s rogue President.”

“Until recently Tanzania’s political stability drew investors and donors, spurring one of the fastest sustained streaks of economic growth in Africa,” wrote the paper. But “… progress is imperilled by Mr Magufuli, who is transforming a stable, if flawed, democracy into a brutal dictatorship” it continued. “For Western donors to look away as Tanzania descends into oppression would be to discard much of its progress in recent decades. Most of all, Tanzania’s neighbours need to act.”

Fake news, media and social media restraints
The Economist articles kicked up a minor political storm in Tanzania, with online debate raging particularly fiercely. Within days, a rebuttal appeared on a newly established website from a previously unknown “Belgian doctor,” Dr Herman Louise Verhofstadt. The article, which defended President Magufuli’s record, was widely circulated by supporters of the President, including an approving tweet from the Director of Information Services and chief government spokesman, Dr Hassan Abbas, and extended excerpts were published in the two government-owned newspapers, Daily News and Habari Leo.

The rebuttal was then itself rebutted by someone on social media, also claiming to be Dr Herman Louise Verhofstadt, stating that he had never visited Tanzania and adding that “you need a really poorly performing government to come up with a lie like this.”

Commentators quickly concluded that both the article and the twitter rebuttal were a fabrication – neither were backed up by any other evidence or presence, online or otherwise, to give credence. Instead, they appear to be evidence of the politicised nature of the media, including social media, and indeed a prime example of fake news.
Into this context, the government introduced new regulations under the Electronic and Postal Communications Act, to regulate online activities in Tanzania. Among other things, the Online Content regulations, require bloggers and operators of online forums and online TV and radio to register and pay fees to the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority. Anyone writing a blog within Tanzania or any Tanzanian citizens doing so from abroad, for example, will be required to pay an annual fee of TSh 1,000,000 (USD 450) to operate their blog. The regulations also prohibit a long list of different types of online content, including anyone posting “disparaging or abusive words, calculated to offend”, “false content” unless accompanied by a statement that the content is satire and not factual, and “content that causes annoyance”.

Critics have pointed out that although fake news is a genuine problem, these regulations go a lot further. One international newspaper described the regulations as “vaguely worded” and pointed out that “no one imagines that political speech will be spared.”

The regulations come on top of existing laws introduced under Presidents Kikwete and Magufuli that have attracted widespread criticism for undermining freedom of expression, including the Statistics Act, Media Services Act and Cybercrimes Act. All three have been used against critics of the government.

Demonstrations that didn’t happen

Mange Kimambi in a youtube video

A US-based Tanzanian socialite and social media activist, Mange Kimambi, attempted to mobilise nationwide peaceful protests on Union Day, April 26. The protests were to be against what she called “suppression of political freedom and human rights abuses” by the Tanzanian government. Opposition parties denied any connection to Kimambi, while the police and national government leaders restated an existing ban on political rallies of any kind, emphasising instead the need to protect the nation’s peace and security “at any cost”.

President Magufuli warned of a crackdown on any protests. “Let them demonstrate and they will see who I am,” he said. Gilles Muroto, police chief in Dodoma, told journalists the police would make protesters suffer: “they will be beaten like stray dogs.”

In the event, the show of force by police on the streets of major Tanzanian towns and cities was far more visible than any protesters. Police marched and showed off their vehicles and other equipment in highly public displays on April 25 in particular, and maintained a heavy presence on the streets on April 26.

“All we can say is that the California girl managed to bring the toughest of our boys down to the streets, in much ado about nothing,” wrote Jenerali Ulimwengu in the East African.

Small protests took place in Washington DC and Sweden, with a few dozen protesters holding placards outside the respective Tanzanian Embassies. Seven protesters in Dar es Salaam were arrested outside the Central Post Office, and a few other suspected “organisers” were arrested in the days before April 26.

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by Enos Bukuku

The list of organisations calling for a new constitution grows longer
At the end of last year, the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition, Tanzania Constitution Forum and representatives of over 80 civil society organisations raised concerns about respect for democracy and human rights in Tanzania, arguing that a key part of the solution would be for the constitutional review process to resume. Added to this list are various religious groups who feel obligated to speak up for the people. One such group is the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT). Shortly before Easter, 27 ELCT bishops put their signatures to a document which, amongst other matters, requested that the constitution making process be revived. The ELCT made the following statement:

“Most Tanzanians believe that there is a need for a new constitution, which will address the many challenges that the country is facing…… When someone dies or disappears under mysterious circumstances, security organs should make sure that independent investigations into the matter are conducted so that the culprits can be brought to justice.”

The opposition party Chadema has been consistent in demanding a new constitution over the last couple of years. It has been joined by another opposition party, the Alliance for Change and Transparency (ACT-Wazalendo), led by Zitto Kabwe, which proclaimed it would promote this issue as its main political agenda. One of its secretaries, Mr Ado Shaibu, said, “Our main focus is to make sure that democratic principles are protected – and this will be through enacting a new constitution”. ACT-Wazalendo and Chadema are also aiming to work together on this big push for a long-awaited new Katiba. This potential alliance has similarities with UKAWA. Whilst the alliance may not result in a formal coalition, once again the government’s stance on the constitution is giving opposition parties a strong platform for change.

On 6th February, Prof Palamagamba Kabudi, the Minister of Legal and Constitutional Affairs, responded to questions regarding a conflict between the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania and the Constitution of Zanzibar by saying that he sees no reason to amend the constitution. Since his appointment approximately one year ago Prof Kabudi has not offered any signs of support for the growing list of Tanzanians who want to see some progress. As far as the government is concerned, it is not a priority.



by Ben Taylor

President Magufuli marked his first two years in office by celebrating ten key achievements. The Director General of Tanzania Information Services and Chief government spokesman, Hassan Abbasi, listed these as:

•Restoration of discipline among public servants resulting in an increase of productivity in service delivery.

•Control of government expenditure and enhancemant of value for money in all state funded projects. This included the removal of 32,000 names from the government payroll who were either ghost workers or public servants holding fake academic certificates, saving a total of TShs 378 billion.

•The anti-corruption war, including the establishment of an anti-graft
court, the dismissal of dishonest public officials and the arrest of the alleged masterminds behind the Escrow case.

•Increased control on the protection of natural resources such as minerals, including the signing of three mineral laws and changes which laid reforms in the extractive industry.

•Cost cutting measures that saw fewer foreign trips by government officials and cuts in the budgets for unnecessary workshops.

•Moving the government capital to Dodoma; Mr Abbasi described this as “a dream for a long time, at the beginning no one expected it would
be possible, but the dream has become true.”

•Reduced dependency on donors when it comes to implementing
development projects. He said this was made possible by an increase of government revenue collection of around 50%.

•Bringing social services closer to the people including provision of free education, implementation of water projects across the country, and increased budget for higher education loans.

•Initiation of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), starting with domestic funding, and the revival of Air Tanzania.

•The industrialisation drive which, according to Dr Abbasi, has revived 17 factories and “created a conducive environment that has attracted over 3,000 investors who are building factories all over the country.”

More detail on several of these points can be found elsewhere in this issue, including on mining (energy and minerals section), Air Tanzania (transport), and donor dependency (economics).

Assassination attempt

Tundu Lissu is greeted in hospital by fellow Chadema member Edward Lowassa.

This list of achievements was released two months after prominent Chadema MP, Tundu Lissu, suffered an assassination attempt in Dodoma. His vehicle was followed as he returned home from parliament in the early afternoon of 7th September 2017. Having reached his home, he remained in the car while his driver stepped out to investigate, whereupon unknown assailants fired a hail of bullets into the Landcruiser.

Sixteen bullets hit the politician, mostly in his lower abdomen and legs, but miraculously he escaped with his life. He was rushed to Dodoma General Hospital, where he spent several hours on the operating table before being flown to Nairobi. At the time of writing, around four months later, he is still recovering in Nairobi, making good progress, and reportedly about to fly to Belgium for further treatment.

Nobody has been arrested for the shooting. Lissu’s Chadema colleagues have called on the government to request assistance from the US, to bolster the investigation, but the Minister of Home Affairs, Mwigulu Nchemba rejected the suggestion.

Lissu gave an interview to the (UK) Financial Times from his hospital bed in Nairob, in which he said he believes he was the target of an assassination attempt. He added that in his opinion this is evidence of a campaign to “turn the country into a dictatorship”.

Government spokesman Hassan Abbasi said Lissu’s allegations were misplaced. “If anyone, including Mr Lissu, has any further evidence let him share it with investigators,” he said. “Tanzania is known for its unmatched peaceful and democratic political processes which are conducted according to the laws.”

In addition to his role as an MP and legal affairs spokesman for Chadema, Tundu Lissu is also president of the Tanganyika Law Society. He has been outspoken on a number of issues for several years, including criticising foreign mining interests for not paying a fair amount of tax, and taking issue with the government’s actions on gold mining, Air Tanzania and other matters. On the morning of his shooting Lissu was involved in an argument with the President over a report on mining issues.

Wider criticisms
Since President Magufuli came to office in 2015, there have been a growing number of people expressing concern with his approach to democracy and human rights.

Lissu himself was arrested six times during 2017, and charged with sedition after criticising the President. Zitto Kabwe, who represents ACT Wazalendo, has also been arrested several times (see also economics section, this issue), as have other Chadema MPs and leaders including Halima Mdee and party leader Freeman Mbowe. On one occasion, Godbless Lema of Chadema was arrested for speaking seven minutes longer than his allotted time at a rally. Ester Bulaya, another Chadema MP, was arrested for planning a meeting outside her constituency.

Political rallies and meetings have been banned since 2016, except within an elected politician’s constituency or during official election campaign periods. A forthcoming new law – the Political Parties Bill – has been reported by the Citizen newspaper as set to give this ban, which is currently a directive from the President, permanent legal force.

Four newspapers have been suspended and many others threatened with suspension. Several people have been arrested for expressing opinions online. In December, a student of the University of Dar es Salaam who used social media to post photos of cracks in newly constructed accommodation blocks was arrested by the police.

By-election violence
Local council by-elections in 43 wards in November 2017 were marked by what the Citizen newspaper described as “an unprecedented wave of senseless political violence”, leaving dozens of people injured, some seriously. The ruling party, CCM, and the main opposition party, Chadema, traded accusations.

Following the conclusion of the elections, the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) published a report on the violence. The report outlined the flaws in the by-elections, including improper use of security organs, abductions by unidentified people, arrests and torture of opposition leaders and forceful removal of opposition agents from polling stations.

Acting executive director of LHRC, Anna Henga, said the flaws set a bad precedent for future elections and if left unchallenged they would lead to a breach of the peace. “We will witness growing revenge and political hate among people in the community, which could disrupt peace and security in the country,” she noted.

National Electoral Commission (NEC) director Ramadhan Kailima denied that agents had been chased from polling stations, noting that restrictions were done in accordance with the law and regulations.

Five TV stations were later determined by the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) to have broadcast clips from the LHRC report launch in coverage that was “seditious, unbalanced and unethical.” The TV stations have been fined.

Of the 43 contested wards, CCM were victorious in all but one, with the other seat won by Chadema.

Kibiti killings
While the police have claimed victory in Kibiti, to the south of Dar es Salaam, where there has been a wave of killings of local government leaders (see TA 118), concerns remain that the problem may be more entrenched and complex than first thought.

A journalist with the Mwananchi newspaper, Azory Gwanda, who had been reporting on the issue, disappeared in November from his home in Kibiti.

Unidentified dead bodies
In what is probably an unrelated development, a number of dead bodies have washed ashore on Coco Beach in Dar es Salaam, including 17 in a two-week spell in September 2017, according to traders and fishermen working at the beach. The bodies are reported to have been found wrapped in polythene bags, some with rocks tied to the body or with their wrists bound together with rope.

The Minister of Home Affairs, Mwigulu Nchemba, said the government was still investigating, but he suspected the bodies were those of illegal immigrants who had died during their journeys. “The illegal migrants, who include Ethiopians, Somalis and other nationals, are transported like goods… they are squeezed in lorry trailers, as a consequence of which some suffocate and die. Since they transport them illegally, they tend to dump them after dying and proceed with their journeys,” he explained.

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DfID Country Director, Ms Elizabeth Arthy (left), who accompanied the visiting British Minister of State for Africa, Mr Stewart Rory and High Commissioner to Tanzania, Ms Sarah Cooke, at the State House in August with President Magufuli (photo State House)

UK minister of State for Africa, Rory Stewart, visited Tanzania in August 2017, to see how the UK is helping to improve education and health services, and boost jobs and prosperity in Tanzania. As part of his trip, the Minister announced $450 million in funding for development in Tanzania.

Speaking after a meeting with President Magufuli at State House in Dar es Salaam, the minister said “I am very excited to be in Tanzania and to witness the great strides that the country is making in education, providing access to clean water, fighting crime and stamping out corruption. As a key investor and development partner, the UK is committed to supporting the Government of Tanzania to boost economic growth and investment; improve the quality of basic services; and fight organized crime and corruption.”

The minister also visited various projects supported by the UK government, including a primary school and a nearby health facility in Dar es Salaam, the Port of Dar es Salaam and Songas Power Plant. He also met with business and civil society leaders and enjoyed a nyama choma lunch with young Tanzanians.

Dr Magufuli thanked the minister for visiting Tanzania, requesting him to send his regards to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Theresa May, for the support the UK had been extending to the country for development projects.

The president said while “a few people” in the country may be complaining about the ongoing reforms which include a ramped-up anti-corruption drive and tax evasion crackdown, coupled with heavy cuts to government spending, ordinary Tanzanians are now reaping the benefits of these measures. “We must nurture a culture of paying taxes for our development rather that depending on our development partners,” he added.



President Magufuli expressed grief and shock when 14 Tanzania People’s Defence Forces (TPDF) peacekeepers died in December while on duty in North Kivu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 44 others were injured during the attack.

“I have been saddened and shocked by the reports of the death of the Tanzanian soldiers who were killed while in their peacekeeping mission in DRC,” said the President.

The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, condemned the attack. “I want to express my outrage and utter heartbreak at Thursday night’s attack on United Nations peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” he said. “I offer my deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims, and to the Government and people of Tanzania. I wish a speedy recovery to all those injured,” he added.

The UN said in a statement that the attack is the worst on UN peacekeepers in the Organisation’s recent history, another indication of the enormous sacrifices made by troop contributing countries in the service of global peace.



Tanzania’s Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH) has blocked Human Rights Watch (HRW) from launching a report on abuses against migrant Tanzanian domestic workers in Oman and United Arab Emirates. Dr Willium Kindekete of COSTECH said the commission decided to ban the report because the researchers did not follow procedures.

He said HRW officials who were to launch the report have some immigration issues. “Their visas do not identify them as researchers, but just visitors; so they aren’t allowed to work in the country,” said Dr Kindekete.

HRW researcher on Women’s Rights in the Middle East and North Africa, Rothna Begum, said she had followed the correct procedures – including getting agreement for the launch from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Labour – but received information of the ban one hour before the scheduled launch. She noted that something must have happened behind the scenes leading to the ban. She added that the real focus of the research was to give a chance to the government to find a way forward in helping domestic workers from Tanzania abused in Oman and UAE.

She said HRW interviewed 87 people including Tanzanian officials, trade unionists, recruitment agents and 50 Tanzanian female domestic workers who worked in Oman and the UAE. “All the respondents said their employers and agents confiscated their passports. Many worked long hours (up to 21 hours a day) without rest. They said they were paid less than promised or not at all, forced to eat spoiled or left-over food, shouted at and insulted daily and physically and sexually abused.”

The report, “Working Like a Robot’: Abuse of Tanzanian Domestic Workers in Oman and the United Arab Emirates” was released by Human Rights Watch on their website. It found that Tanzanian domestic workers in Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) face excessive working hours, unpaid salaries, and physical and sexual abuse. Abusive visa-sponsorship rules in those countries and gaps in Tanzania’s policies leave the women exposed to exploitation, according to the report.

There are thousands of Tanzanian domestic workers in the Middle East. While some have decent working conditions, many others face abuse, said Human Rights Watch.



by Roger Nellist

Tanzanian mining – some progress
2017 was a particularly dramatic year for Tanzania’s mining sector. The mineral sands export scandal resulted in the sackings of senior government personnel and far-reaching changes in the governing legislation and administrative machinery for management of the country’s mineral resources. In our feature article, TA118 presented the background to the saga and highlighted the radical responses initiated personally by President Magufuli.

Whilst things now seem to be settling down on the gold mining front, in recent months the President’s crusade against proven and presumed malpractise in the mining sector has turned to the country’s tanzanite and diamond operations.

Important agreement reached with Barrick Gold (Acacia)
On 19 October at a ceremony presided over by President Magufulu in State House, and after three months of intensive high-level negotiations between the government and Barrick Gold Corporation, the two parties signed a framework agreement which in the words of Barrick’s chairman (John Thornton) signals “… a modern, 21st century partnership that should ensure Acacia’s operations generate sustainable benefits and mutual prosperity for the people of Tanzania, as well as for the owners of Barrick and Acacia”. (Barrick – a Canadian multinational based in Toronto – is the world’s largest gold producer and is the parent company of Acacia Mining plc whose Tanzanian gold mining operations triggered the crisis last year. Tanzania is the African continent’s fourth-largest gold producer and Acacia is its largest miner).

Although there are still important details to be negotiated between the two sides, it is expected that the agreement will put an end to the acrimonious state of affairs that has existed between Tanzania and Acacia over the last year. It is understood that the main principles agreed are: (a) the net profits (‘economic benefits’) generated by Acacia’s operations will be shared with Tanzania on a 50/50 basis from now on; (b) additionally, the government will take a 16% stake in the venture (with a new company being established in Mwanza to reflect the new shareholding arrangement, under which Tanzanians will also be appointed to the Board); (c) all income of the company will be banked in Tanzania, no longer abroad, and any disputes will be settled in Tanzania, not internationally; and (d) significantly it has also been agreed that a smelting plant will be built in Tanzania so that the gold, copper and silver produced by Acacia can be processed in the country, obviating the need to export the raw materials. These terms are a big departure for Tanzania and are expected to create more jobs and revenues and generally boost the domestic value-addition from the country’s substantial gold mining operations.

Two other important matters have also been agreed in principle, with the details yet to be worked out. First, arrangements will be established to ensure that the local communities surrounding the gold mines benefit more from the mining operations, and that the mine workers will be much better treated (in terms of contracts, housing, health and social services and the like). Second, Acacia will make a “good faith” payment of US$300 million to the government whilst experts from the two sides continue to haggle over the enormous amount (US$190 billion) that Tanzania has demanded by way of unpaid taxes, fines and interest.

This deal (which was to be approved by the Acacia Board and shareholders) has been acclaimed as especially good news for Tanzania. At the televised signing event the Minister for Constitutional and Legal Affairs, Professor Palamagamba Kabudi (who led the government negotiating team with Barrick), clarified that – with the 50/50 profit split, 16% government shareholding and the other payments to be made by the company – Tanzania’s overall share should amount to about 70%. President Magufuli said “Now that we are all shareholders, we can sit down over a cup of coffee and amicably resolve any outstanding issues”. The deal means that, as a shareholder, the Tanzanian government will be involved in key decisions governing the gold operations (such as investment, employment and training of Tanzanians, procurement of goods and services, and marketing). There appeared to be investor relief too, as Acacia’s London-listed share values rose 16 percent on news of the agreement.

Nevertheless, there continues to be fall-out from the 2017 saga. In the autumn, because of the original ban imposed on the export of gold and copper concentrates, Acacia scaled back production at one of its three gold mines (Bulyanhulu) and retrenched about 2,000 workers. This led to fears of serious impacts on their families and the local economy and worries from banks that many of the mineworkers would default on the personal loans that had been extended to them.

Then, a day after signature of the framework agreement, a senior representative of Acacia said his company did not have $300 million with which to pay the upfront “good faith” sum. That prompted Barrick to announce that it would meet part of the bill. Finally, in the first week of November Acacia’s top two executives – Chief Executive Officer (Brad Gordon) and Chief Finance Officer (Andrew Wray) – resigned and the Board announced their replacements. It was unclear whether their departures were directly related to the October framework agreement with government, but commentators hinted that the two had been excluded from the negotiations that Barrick had conducted effectively on Acacia’s behalf.

More widely, a few experts were predicting in September that no Tanzanian mining venture would be economic after the recent changes in the mining tax laws, and in early October, two weeks before the Barrick agreement, a government spokesman denied that Tanzania was moving to nationalise mining operations. He said: “The laws are not intended to lay the ground for nationalisation but seek to ensure sovereign ownership of natural resources … in conformity with international principles. … The government will continue attracting and protecting investors in the mining and other sectors so long as they adhere to the law and regulations”.

Diamonds and Tanzanite
In July 2017 the Bunge Speaker appointed two parliamentary teams to probe alleged malpractice in Tanzania’s diamond and tanzanite mining operations. Reporting to the Prime Minister and President in early September both teams were very critical of the country’s mineral sector regulatory bodies (especially the Ministry of Energy & Minerals, where the last three Ministers were singled out for having supervised the gemstone industry poorly); they pointed to the likelihood of substantial tax losses whilst also questioning missing revenues in that Ministry’s accounts.

The diamond probe identified huge differences in diamond production statistics kept by different organs of government and, startlingly, asserted that “…. one high-level government leader was given a gift of diamonds with a current value of $200 million”. Amid public and parliamentary controversy, that leader was not named.

Decrying the secrecy surrounding tanzanite mining, the other probe team suggested that only 20% of Tanzania’s tanzanite production passes through official channels (the remainder disappears through smuggling) and that government gets only about 5% from the likely global sales and other disposals of that gemstone, which is uniquely produced in Tanzania.

As with gold earlier, government responded robustly. In early September London-listed Petra Diamonds (which owns 75% of Williamson Diamond Ltd) temporarily suspended diamond mining at its Shinyanga Williamson mine after a parcel of diamonds destined for export to Antwerp had been seized by government on 31 August at Dar’s international airport and some of the company’s key staff had been detained for questioning by the authorities. It was alleged that the diamonds had been deliberately under-valued by half (with a declared preliminary value of some $15 million instead of nearly $30 million established through a government re-valuation of the stones) as a result of possible collusion between mine workers and dishonest officials. Petra’s share price fell by 28% on news of the seizure but the company maintained that it had sought and been granted all relevant export documentation, and even published copies of the government’s certificates on its web-site.

On tanzanite, in mid-September whilst on a visit to the north, President Magufuli ordered the military to build a wall around the tanzanite mining areas at Mirerani (close to Mt Kilimanjaro), allowing only one way in and out of the mine, and to install enhanced electronic security equipment, so that smuggling of the precious stones can be stopped and the government can secure its proper share of their worth. Mirerani is the only known tanzanite mine in the world. Magufuli also instructed the Bank of Tanzania to start buying stocks of tanzanite to boost its reserves.

It is understood that following the conclusion of the gold framework agreement with Barrick, the President ordered government officials to commence talks with diamond and tanzanite miners with a view to reaching similar agreements.



by David Brewin

Relations between Tanzania and Israel have become much warmer during the last two years following a surge of tourists from Israel and the visit of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu to Uganda. Planes full of Israeli tourists now arrive regularly at Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar airports. However, as this edition of TA goes to press the surprising decision of President Trump that the USA will move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem could have serious consequences for relations between the two countries.

Trade and diplomatic relations between Tanzania and Israel were first established in 1963 but were severed in 1973 following the Arab-Israeli war, while diplomatic relations were re-established in 1995. Israel has been operating until recently from its embassy in Kenya in its dealings with Tanzania. The number of tourists visiting Tanzania has risen from 3,007 five years ago to 14,754 in 2015. The Israeli Ambassador said Tanzania was now among African countries that Israel has been looking to for business and diplomatic cooperation.

Relations were strengthened further when President Magufuli expressed his intention to open an embassy in Tel Aviv in a letter addressed to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and hoped that the establishment of an embassy in Dar would make it easier to process visas and help to boost trade between the two countries.

Turkey and Portugal: rail contract
A joint venture between one Turkish and four Portuguese firms has won a tender for construction of 205 km of Tanzania’s new standard gauge railway, part of the 1,216 km stretch that will eventually link Dar es Salaam with the rest of the country as well as with Rwanda and Burundi. The two firms beat 39 other bidders to win the tender after meeting both technical and financial criteria for implementation of the project, which will take 2½ years. The line will run parallel to the existing central railway line built by the Germans 120 years ago. This consortium will be responsible for the stretch linking Dar es Salaam with Morogoro.

Oil exploration
Tanzania has entered into an agreement with Uganda to help in the search for oil in Uganda’s Eyasi Wembere Basin and Lake Tanganyika. This puts in doubt Tanzania’s previous agreement with Democratic Republic of Congo signed a year ago to work on joint oil exploration in Lake Tanganyika.

Charm offensive
President Abdel Al Sisi of Egypt recently visited Tanzania as part of a four-state tour of Africa. His objective was to drum up support for Egypt’s position on the use of water in the Nile Basin prior to a meeting of the countries through which the Nile flows. Tanzania recently ratified a Nile basin common framework agreement that Egypt opposes as it lobbies for its own renegotiated and updated Common Framework agreement.

President Al Sisi pledged support for the Nile Basin countries in return for favourable sharing terms of the Nile waters which he said were a matter of life and death for his people. The Nile Basin countries dispute Egypt’s historic share of the Nile’s waters.

Fears over Kenya dam proposals
A 10-year plan to build several dams on the river Mara and its tributaries could pose a threat to the rich animal and plant life of the Serengeti ecosystem. The river Mara flows from Kenya into Tanzania and is the only permanent source of water for Masaai Mara and Serengeti reserves and the herds of wildebeest and other wildlife that migrate between the two countries. Conservationists are concerned that the dams will reduce or even eliminate flows in the river at some times of year and lead to environmental problems, and could spark a diplomatic row between the two countries unless the East African community agreement is invoked in support of sections of the proposed project. Experts say that international efforts are needed soon to save the Serengeti as Kenya stands to reap all the economic benefits from the dams while Tanzania could remain saddled with environmental problems.



by Enos Bukuku

Government resists mounting pressure to kickstart Katiba process The appointment in April 2017 of Prof Palamagamba Kabudi as Constitution and Legal Affairs Minister was seen by many to be a catalyst to restart the process of making a new constitution. This expectation was enhanced further when he indicated soon after his appointment that a resumption would take place soon.

At the time of writing, however, there has been no progress at all. There remains a growing concern of human rights abuses in Tanzania which has led to criticism that a new constitution should be high on the priority list. CCM MP Lazaro Nyalandu resigned both as an MP and a member of the party on 30th October, citing these alleged human rights abuses and a lack of separation of powers amongst the three pillars of the state: the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary. It is understood that he plans to join Chadema.

The Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC) has demanded that preparations for a new constitution should start now. Similar appeals to the government have been made by the Tanzania Constitution Forum (TCF) and representatives of over 80 civil society organisations.

Opinion survey on constitution by Twaweza

Meanwhile, a recent survey by Twaweza suggests that two thirds of Tanzanians want a new constitution.

Despite these appeals, on 9th November Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa reaffirmed the government’s previous stance on this issue, in that it is not high on their list of priorities. In response to questions put to him in Parliament he replied that “after satisfying ourselves that the provision of social services has reached the ideal standards, especially in the rural areas, that is when we will resume the exercise of completing the new constitution-making process”.

One factor is cost. It would cost several billion shillings to continue with the constitution review process, whereas the government would rather allocate those funds for what they consider to be more important projects.

How long it will take to bring social services to “ideal standards” is anyone’s guess and open to very wide interpretation. Some of the more cynical political commentators would say that it is merely a way to avoid the issue. Once again, it looks as though we will have to wait a very long time for any change to the status quo.



by Ben Taylor

There are some signs that the police may have turned a corner in addressing the spate of violence that has afflicted Kibiti and neighbouring districts of Coast Region in recent months.

In February three people, including a police officer, were killed by a group of bandits at a farm and forestry levies collection centre at Jaribu Mpakani. In April, eight police officers who were deployed there from Morogoro Region to bolster security were ambushed and killed as they were returning to their base from patrol.

In mid-June, a local leader and two villagers in Nyamisati village, Kibiti District, were abducted and shot at by unknown gunmen. Two weeks later, the chairman and executive officer of Mangwi Village were killed in cold blood by armed men, according to sources in the area. The killers also shot and blinded the chairman of a sub-village. And a former CCM ward chairperson was shot dead outside his home in Nyambunda village.

The total number of those killed in the area since 2014 has risen to over 40 people, according to The Citizen newspaper. The list includes local government leaders, local CCM leaders, police officers and civilians. Home Affairs Minister Mwigulu Nchemba recently informed Parliament in Dodoma of plans to establish a special police zone in Kibiti in a bid to deal with the crisis head on.

The recently-appointed Inspector General of Police, Simon Sirro, cited the restoration of peace and tranquillity in Coast Region as his number one priority, and sought to reassure residents of the affected districts that the violence will soon be brought to an end.

Policing activities in the area have stepped up, and the police claimed significant victories after each of two recent shootouts. In late June, a police patrol car was reportedly ambushed, and in the exchange of fire that followed, four of the six attackers were killed by the police. Then, in early August, the police raided a forest camp, killing 13 suspects in the confrontation.

In a statement, Mr Sirro said the police had arrested one of the suspects, who led them to the camp that the suspects had been using as a hideout. “We made efforts to try and rush them to Muhimbili National Hospital for treatment but they died on the way from the gunshot wounds,” he said.

He also said the police recovered some weapons and other items from the camp – including five sub-machine guns, 2 anti-riot guns, a pair of police uniform, one magazine and 153 rounds of ammunition as well as hand grenades and two motorcycles – adding that investigations showed that the weapons had been used in various criminal incidents, including some of those mentioned above.

Following this, Kibiti District Authorities called upon whose ward and village executives who had fled because of the violence to quickly return to their stations of duty so as to keep serving residents. He said that for now the district’s defence and security had been stepped up, so it was District councillors applauded the efforts of the government and the defence and security services for restoring peace and security in the district. (The Citizen, The Guardian, Daily News)