The United Republic of Tanzania is a multiparty republic consisting of the mainland region and the semiautonomous Zanzibar archipelago, whose main islands are Unguja (Zanzibar Island) and Pemba. The union is headed by a president, who is also the head of government. Its unicameral legislative body is the National Assembly (parliament). Zanzibar, although part of the union, has its own government with a president, court system, and legislature and exercises considerable autonomy. In 2015 the country held its fifth multiparty general election. Voting in the union and Zanzibari elections was judged largely free and fair, resulting in the election of a union president (John Magufuli). The chair of the Zanzibar Electoral Commission, however, declared the parallel election for Zanzibar’s president and legislature nullified after only part of the votes had been tabulated, precipitating a political crisis on the islands. New elections in Zanzibar in 2016 were neither inclusive nor representative, particularly since the main opposition party opted not to participate; the incumbent (Ali Mohamed Shein) was declared the winner with 91 percent of the vote. By-elections for ward councilor and parliamentary seats that became vacant due to the death, defection, resignation, or expulsion of the incumbents had egregious irregularities and obstructions that prevented opposition party members from registering and resulting in many races being declared uncontested for the ruling party. On September 19, the opposition Party of Democracy and Development (CHADEMA) announced it was boycotting the by-elections until further notice, saying there had been an “excessive militarization” of the electoral process.
Union security forces reported to civilian authorities, who directed security forces and their activities.
Human rights issues included reports of unlawful or arbitrary killings by state security forces; torture; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary detention; political prisoners; arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy; censorship, site blocking, and criminal libel; substantial interference with the rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of association; unlawful arrests and intimidation of civil society organizations, including organizations working to uphold the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons; restrictions on political participation; corruption; lack of accountability in cases involving gender-based violence and child abuse; and criminalization of adult consensual same-sex conduct.
In some cases the government took steps to investigate and prosecute officials who committed human rights abuses, but impunity in the police and other security forces and civilian branches of government was widespread.
Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:
a. Arbitrary Deprivation of Life and other Unlawful or Politically Motivated Killings
There were some reports that the government or its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings. For example, on February 17, police attempting to disperse an opposition gathering on the eve of by-elections unintentionally shot and killed Akwilina Akwiline, who was aboard a passing commuter bus. Six police officers were arrested and later released with no charges filed. In the same month Daniel John, a member of the opposition CHADEMA party, who had been campaigning, was abducted and beaten to death by unknown assailants. Fellow party supporter Reginald Mallya was also abducted and found unconscious with a head wound and a broken arm. Godfrey Luena, a CHADEMA party official, was also killed in February. According to a press release by the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition, Luena had been working on the protection of land rights in the Morogoro Region when he was hacked to death with machetes by unknown assailants. The deaths of John and Luena came a few months after the September 2017 attempted killing of Tundu Lissu, a well-known CHADEMA politician and then president of the Tanganyika Law Society. Lissu was shot multiple times but survived. No charges were made in connection with these crimes. The leaders of CHADEMA and the Alliance for Change and Transparency (ACT-Wazalendo) opposition parties alleged these killings were politically motivated.
In November 2017 Mwananchi Communication journalist Azory Gwanda disappeared in Kibiti district in Pwani Region while reporting on a spate of unexplained killings in the area and remained missing at year’s end. Some media and civil society observers claimed Gwanda may have been silenced for reporting on a sensitive security topic. In July 2017 Kibondo District Council Chairman Simon Kanguye was abducted by unknown persons while leaving his office. His family alleged that his disappearance was politically motivated and related to his stance on certain council issues. Ben Saanane, a CHADEMA policy analyst, also disappeared in late 2016. Investigations were ongoing, as the men remained missing at year’s end.
c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
The constitution prohibits such practices; however, the law does not reflect this constitutional restriction nor define torture. There were reports that police officers, prison guards, and soldiers abused, threatened, and otherwise mistreated civilians, suspected criminals, and prisoners. These abuses often involved beatings. On August 8, police officers severely beat Wapo Radio sports journalist Sillas Mbise while he was covering a soccer match at the national stadium in Dar es Salaam; a video of the incident went viral on social media. According to the Legal and Human Rights Center’s (LHRC’s) 2018 Mid-Year Human Rights Report, the brother of a parliamentarian was stabbed to death in April while in police custody; a police officer was arrested for the crime.
The law allows caning. Local government officials and courts occasionally used caning as a punishment for both juvenile and adult offenders. Caning and other corporal punishment were also used routinely in schools. On August 27, a 13-year-old student from Kagera Region died after being severely beaten by a teacher after mistakenly being accused of theft. On October 22, court proceedings began in a case involving two teachers accused of murdering the student.
Prison and Detention Center Conditions
Prison conditions remained harsh and life threatening. Inadequate food, overcrowding, poor sanitation, and insufficient medical care were pervasive.
Physical Conditions: As of 2015 the prisons, whose total designed capacity was for 29,552 inmates, held 31,382, 6 percent above designed capacity. Pretrial detainees and convicted prisoners were held together.
Authorities held minors together with adults in several prisons due to lack of detention facilities. In 2013 the independent government department, the Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRAGG), visited selected prisons and detention facilities and found 452 minors detained in the adult prisons visited. Among these, 101 were convicts and 351 were pretrial detainees. In several adult prisons, minors were placed in a separate cell but mixed with adults during the day and while being transported to court. In other prisons children and adults mixed at all times.
Information on the prevalence of deaths in prisons, whether deliberate or unintended, was not available.
Physical abuse of prisoners was common. Witnesses noted prisoners were routinely beaten.
Prison staff reported food and water shortages, a lack of electricity, inadequate lighting, and insufficient medical supplies. Prisons were unheated, but prisoners in cold regions of the country reportedly received blankets and sweaters. Sanitation was insufficient. In July President Magufuli publicly told the commissioner general of prisons that the government would no longer feed prisoners, who should cultivate their own food. While some prisons still provided prisoners with food, the Ministry of Home Affairs reported that prisoners were cultivating land to grow food for themselves. Other prisoners reported receiving no food from the prison authorities, relying solely on what family members provided.
Medical care was inadequate. The most common health complaints by prisoners concerned malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and diseases related to poor sanitation. Prison dispensaries offered only limited treatment, and friends and family members of prisoners generally had to provide medications or the funds to purchase them. Limited transportation also affected the ability of prison staff to take prisoners to health centers and hospitals.
In August female prisoners told visiting members of the Zanzibar Female Lawyers Association that they were subject to sexual harassment and beatings by prison authorities.
Administration: Judges and magistrates conducted regular visits to inspect prisons and hear concerns from convicts and detainees. In addition, relatives of inmates made complaints to the CHRAGG, which investigated reports of abuse, but the results of those investigations were not public.
On the mainland, prisoners could submit complaints to judicial authorities. The CHRAGG also served as the official ombudsman. The union Ministry of Home Affairs’ Public Complaints Department and a prison services public relations unit responded to public complaints and inquiries sent to them directly or through the media about prison conditions.
Prisoners and detainees usually had reasonable access to visitors and could worship freely, with some exceptions. Seventh-day Adventists reported they had to work on Saturday. The mainland authorities often moved prisoners to different prisons without notifying their families.
Independent Monitoring: The law prohibits members of the press from visiting prisons. Generally, access to prisoners was difficult for outside organizations, and the process for obtaining access was cumbersome.
d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention
The constitution prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention, although regional and district commissioners have discretionary authority to order someone detained for up to 48 hours without charge. This authority was used frequently to detain opposition members or persons expressing criticism of the government. The law allows persons arrested or detained, regardless of whether on criminal or other grounds, the right to challenge in court the legal basis or arbitrary nature of their detention and obtain prompt release and compensation if found to have been unlawfully detained. The law requires that a civil case must be brought in order to make such a challenge. In practice this was rarely done.
ROLE OF THE POLICE AND SECURITY APPARATUS
Under the union’s Ministry of Home Affairs, the Tanzanian Police Force (TPF) has primary responsibility for maintaining law and order in the country. The Field Force Unit (FFU), a special division of the TPF, has primary responsibility for controlling unlawful demonstrations and riots. During the year there were reports of use of excessive force, police corruption, and impunity. As an example, an FFU officer beat a motorcyclist in front of a diplomatic mission in Dar es Salaam for failing to stop when requested. Mainland police sometimes acted as prosecutors in lower courts. Although the TPF stated this practice was being phased out, the Ministry of Justice reported police continued to act as prosecutors in all districts except for Monduli and regional headquarters. Police reported to civilian authorities (regional commissioners, district commissioners, and police leadership) appointed by the president. These authorities sometimes directed police to act in the interest of the ruling party, contravening the constitution.
Sungusungu, or citizens’ patrols, and traditional neighborhood anticrime groups existed throughout the mainland. The law grants them the power to make arrests. In general these groups provided neighborhood security at night. Sungusungu members are not permitted to carry firearms or machetes but may carry sticks or clubs. They coordinated with municipal governing authorities as well as police but operated independently from police. They formed or disbanded based on the perceived local need. In areas surrounding refugee camps, sungusungu members have authority to arrest refugees found outside the camps without permission. Within the camp, groups composed of refugees provided security, supplementing the police.
The Ministry of Defense and National Service oversees the Tanzania People’s Defense Force (TPDF) and the People’s Militia. The TPDF is responsible for external security and includes an army, air force, and navy; it also has some limited domestic security responsibilities. The National Service, a branch of military service similar to a national guard, is a paramilitary and parastatal organization that provides military and vocational training to volunteers. Its service is primarily domestic. After the completion of training, the National Service absorbs some of the volunteers into its economic wing, which is engaged in a wide variety of commercial activities. Others join the TPDF or return home and join the People’s Militia force in their respective areas. Both the National Service and the People’s Militia act as a reserve force for the TPDF.
Police and other security forces acted with impunity in many cases. While legal mechanisms exist for investigation and prosecution of security forces, authorities did not always use them. In February authorities decided not to file charges against police officers deemed responsible for the unintended killing of Akwilina Akwiline, a passenger on a commuter bus, while trying to disperse an opposition demonstration on the eve of by-elections. The bus conductor was injured by a stray bullet. Police continued to hold educational seminars for officers to combat corruption and sometimes took disciplinary action against officers implicated in wrongdoing.
The mainland community policing initiative to improve community relations with police and enhance police effectiveness continued. Community police received standardized training, and police conducted awareness campaigns for citizens on how to assist community-policing units. Between January and August in Zanzibar, the government conducted two community-policing training sessions, focusing on providing local leaders with capacities to identify criminals, terrorists, and thieves. Officials noted increases in assistance provided to police by civilians in areas where the program had been implemented, leading to arrests and improved law enforcement.
A group of security units, referred to collectively as the “Zanzibar Special Forces,” was deployed at the district level for activities that would fall under police jurisdiction on the mainland. These forces report to the government of Zanzibar and are not affiliated with the TPF or the Tanzanian People’s Defense Forces. Recruitment, training, and actual command and control of the “special units” were opaque, although all units officially report to a top ruling-party minister in Zanzibar. These units, including the fire brigade and prison guards, were often activated during political activities, such as voter registration or voting.
ARREST PROCEDURES AND TREATMENT OF DETAINEES
On the mainland the law requires that an arrest for most crimes other than crimes committed in the presence of an officer be made with an arrest warrant based on sufficient evidence, although authorities did not always comply with the law. Police often detained persons without judicial authorization. The law also requires that a person arrested for a crime, other than a national security detainee, be charged before a magistrate within 24 hours of arrest, excluding weekends and holidays, but authorities failed to comply consistently with this requirement. Authorities usually informed detainees of the charges against them promptly, but there were several instances when this did not happen. There were reports of police using a rolling process of releasing and immediately rearresting individuals so that they would remain in custody while police completed their investigation and developed the required information for the accused to be charged. There were also reports of police detaining individuals without charge for short periods on the orders of local authorities.
The law does not allow bail for suspects in cases involving charges of murder, treason, terrorism, drugs, armed robbery, human trafficking, money laundering, or other offenses where the accused might pose a public safety risk. In some cases courts imposed strict conditions on freedom of movement and association when they granted bail. In the primary and district courts, persons sometimes bribed officials to grant bail. The law gives accused persons the right to contact a lawyer or talk with family members, but police often failed to inform detainees of this right. Indigent defendants and suspects charged with murder or treason could apply to the registrar of the court to request legal representation. Prompt access to counsel was often limited by the lack of lawyers in rural areas, lack of communication systems and infrastructure, and accused persons’ ignorance of their rights. The government often did not provide consular notification when foreign nationals were arrested and did not provide prompt consular access when requested.
The government conducted some screening at prisons and identified and assisted at least four trafficking victims imprisoned as smuggling offenders; however, screenings were not comprehensive, potentially leaving some trafficking victims unidentified in detention centers. The government also reported there were approximately 1,200 Ethiopians in detention centers, some of whom could be trafficking victims.
Arbitrary Arrest: By law the president may order the arrest and indefinite detention without bail of any person considered dangerous to the public order or national security. The government must release such detainees within 15 days or inform them of the reason for their continued detention. The law also allows a detainee to challenge the grounds for detention at 90-day intervals. The mainland government has additional broad detention powers under the law, allowing regional and district commissioners to arrest and detain for 48 hours anyone who “disturb[s] public tranquility.”
Pretrial Detention: According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, approximately 50 percent of the prison population consisted of pretrial detainees in 2015 (the latest available data). Detainees charged with crimes generally waited three to four years for trial due to a lack of judges to hear cases, an inadequate judicial budget, and the lengthy time required to complete police investigations.
e. Denial of Fair Public Trial
The constitution provides for an independent judiciary, but many components of the judiciary remained underfunded, corrupt, inefficient (especially in the lower courts), and subject to executive influence. Judges and senior court officers are all political appointees of the president. The need to travel long distances to courts imposes logistical and financial constraints that limit access to justice for persons in rural areas. There were fewer than two judges per million persons. Court clerks reportedly continued to take bribes to open cases or hide or misdirect the files of those accused of crimes. Magistrates of lower courts occasionally accepted bribes to determine the outcome of cases.
The law provides for the right to a fair public trial, but a weak judiciary often failed to protect this right.
The law provides for the presumption of innocence. In most cases authorities informed detainees in detail of the charges against them once they had been brought to the police station. Charges were generally presented in Kiswahili or English with needed interpretation provided when possible. With some exceptions criminal trials were open to the public and the press. Defendants have the right to be present at their trial. Courts that hold closed proceedings (for example, in drug trafficking cases and sexual offenses involving juveniles) generally are required to provide reasons for closing the proceedings. In cases involving terrorism, the law provides that everyone, except the interested parties, may be excluded from court proceedings and witnesses may be heard under special arrangements for their protection.
The law requires legal aid in serious criminal cases, although in practice only those accused of murder and treason were provided with free representation. Most other defendants could not afford legal representation and represented themselves in court. Defendants in criminal matters are entitled to legal representation of their choice. In practice legal representation was unavailable to defendants without the means to pay. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) represented some indigent defendants in large cities, such as Dar es Salaam and Arusha. In Zanzibar the government sometimes provided public defenders in manslaughter cases. The law prohibits lawyers from appearing or defending clients in primary-level courts whose presiding officers are not degree-holding magistrates. Human rights groups criticized reported cases where lawyers attempting to represent clients in sensitive cases were themselves threatened with arrest.
Authorities did not always allow detainees sufficient time to prepare their defense, and access to adequate facilities was limited. Defendants have the right to free interpretation as necessary from the moment charged through all appeals. Defendants or their lawyers have the right to confront prosecution witnesses and the right to present evidence and witnesses on the defendant’s behalf. Defendants were not compelled to testify or confess guilt.
All defendants charged with civil or criminal matters, except parties appearing before Zanzibari qadi courts (traditional Muslim courts that settle issues of divorce and inheritance), could appeal decisions to the respective mainland and Zanzibari high courts. All defendants can appeal decisions to the union Court of Appeal.
Judicial experts criticized the practice of police acting as prosecutors because of the risk police might manipulate evidence in criminal cases. The mainland Ministry of Constitutional and Legal Affairs continued hiring and training state prosecutors to handle the entire mainland caseload, although staffing shortages continued.
POLITICAL PRISONERS AND DETAINEES
Several opposition politicians and individuals critical of the government were arrested or detained during the year. Such individuals were usually charged with sedition, incitement, or unlawful assembly. For example, in February two opposition leaders, one a lawmaker, were sentenced to five months in prison for insulting President Magufuli in a move Freedom House said was “aimed at intimidating critics of the government.”
On October 31, opposition ACT-Wazalendo member of parliament (MP) Zitto Kabwe was arrested after publicly alleging that clashes between police and herdsmen in Kigoma had killed more than 100 persons. Kabwe was charged two days later with sedition and inciting hatred and released on a 10 million Tanzanian Shillings (TZS) ($4,400) bond. A preliminary hearing was set for December 13.
CIVIL JUDICIAL PROCEDURES AND REMEDIES
Persons may bring civil lawsuits seeking damages for or the cessation of human rights violations and can appeal those rulings to the Court of Appeal on the mainland and other regional courts. Civil judicial procedures, however, were often slow, inefficient, and corrupt. Individuals and organizations with observer status have the right to bring complaints to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
Between July and December 2017, the government demolished 2,000 houses along the Kimara-Kiluvya Road in Dar es Salaam without providing sufficient compensation, contending that the distance between the structures and the road did not meet setback standards required by law. During a June budget session in parliament, MP Saed Kubenea requested that the government compensate the affected persons, who had filed an unsuccessful injunction in court against the demolition before it occurred.
f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence
The law generally prohibits such actions without a search warrant, but the government did not consistently respect these prohibitions. While only courts may issue search warrants, the law also authorizes searches of persons and premises without a warrant if necessary to prevent the loss or destruction of evidence or if circumstances are serious and urgent. The law relating to terrorism permits police officers at or above the rank of assistant superintendent or in charge of a police station to conduct searches without a warrant in certain urgent cases, but there were no reports this occurred.
It was widely believed government agents monitored the telephones and correspondence of some citizens and foreign residents. The nature and extent of this practice were unknown.
Authorities in Dar es Salaam demolished numerous homes built within reserved areas alongside rivers, roadways, and railways. Many demolitions along the Morogoro road occurred without prior notice; authorities stated they were enforcing a court order issued in 2005. Some residents had subsequently received title deeds for their property, and others had court injunctions or had cases in court challenging the demolitions when they occurred.
Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:
The constitution provides for freedom of speech but does not explicitly provide for freedom of the press.
Freedom of Expression: Public criticism of the government was unwelcome and resulted in punitive action in some cases. Authorities used the Cybercrimes Act to bring criminal charges against individuals who criticized the government on a variety of electronic media. In March the Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations became law, requiring the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) to certify all bloggers and operators of online forums through a licensing process. On May 29, the government won a court case against bloggers and activists who sought to block the enforcement of the new regulations because they require disclosure of information about members, shareholders, and staff. Several bloggers shut down their websites to avoid punishment under the new regulation. Analysts conducting research for a civil society organization (CSO) reported that respondents in Dar es Salaam and Dodoma said they did not feel free to express their political beliefs for fear of being kidnapped or tortured for expressing views at odds with the ruling party’s agenda.
Press and Media Freedom: Independent media on the mainland were active and generally expressed varying views, although media outlets often practiced self-censorship to avoid conflict with the government.
Two mainland newspapers (Daily News and Habari Leo) were owned by the government, one (Uhuru) by the ruling Party of the Revolution (CCM), another (Tanzania Daima) by the chair of the CHADEMA opposition party, and another (Mwanahalisi) by a CHADEMA parliamentarian. The remaining newspapers were independent, although close associates of political party members owned some of them. Registering or licensing new media outlets, both print and broadcast, continued to be difficult. Newspaper registration was at the discretion of the registrar of newspapers at the information ministry on both the mainland and Zanzibar. Acquiring a broadcasting license from the TCRA took an estimated six months to one year, and the TCRA restricted the area of broadcast coverage. The TCRA imposes mandatory registration and annual fees for commercial and community radio stations. The fee structure disproportionately disadvantages the existence and creation of small community radio stations.
In June 2017 the TCRA also clarified a requirement that all broadcast stations receive approval from the Tanzania Film Board for locally produced content, including music videos, films, cartoons, and other video content.
The Zanzibari government-owned daily newspaper had an estimated circulation of 25,000. There was one privately owned weekly newspaper with a much smaller circulation. The government of Zanzibar controlled content on the radio and television stations it owned. There were government restrictions on broadcasting in tribal languages; broadcasts in Kiswahili or English were officially preferred. The nine private radio stations on Zanzibar operated independently, often reading the content of national dailies, including articles critical of the Zanzibari government.
The government also threatened to close down TV service providers for failing to comply with free-to-air licensing regulations. In August the TCRA demanded a cessation of broadcasting Free-to-Air (FTA) public channels for close to one month. FTA content included several local news channels.
On the mainland the government generally did not restrict the publication of books. The publication of books on Zanzibar was uncommon.
Violence and Harassment: Law enforcement authorities attacked, harassed, and intimidated journalists during the year. For example, on August 9, Tanzania Daima journalist Sitta Tuma was arrested and accused of unlawful assembly while covering the opposition by-election campaign in Tarime district in Mara Region.
Censorship or Content Restrictions: The law authorizes police to raid and seize materials from newspaper offices without a warrant and authorizes the minister of information to “prohibit or otherwise sanction the publication of any content that jeopardizes national security or public safety.”
A permit was required for reporting on police or prison activities, both on the mainland and in Zanzibar, and journalists needed special permission to cover meetings of the Tanzanian National Assembly or attend meetings in the Zanzibar House of Representatives. Anyone publishing information accusing a Zanzibari representative of involvement in illegal activities was liable to a fine of not less than TZS 250,000 ($110), three years’ imprisonment, or both. The government may fine and suspend newspapers without warning.
There were examples of the government repressing information, extending to online newspapers and journals. In November newspapers did not publish an international statement critical of the government for fear of reprisal. In January management of the weekly Swahili newspaper Nipashe voluntarily suspended the Sunday edition of its own newspaper for three months after being chastised by the Ministry of Information for publishing an article critical of the government. In June the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) ruled that the government’s June 2017 ban of weekly tabloid Mawio for two years for publishing an article implicating two former presidents in corruption was illegal; the EACJ ruling had not been implemented. In September parliament passed amendments to the 2015 Statistics Act that require individuals and organizations to obtain permission from the National Bureau of Statistics before conducting surveys, collecting research data, or publicizing results.
Libel/Slander Laws: The law provides for arrest, prosecution, and punishment for the use of seditious, abusive, or derogatory language to describe the country’s leadership. The Media Services Act of 2016 makes defamation a criminal act. Defamation is defined as any matter likely to injure the reputation of any person by exposing him to hatred, contempt, or ridicule, or likely to damage any person in his profession or trade by an injury to his reputation.
In July CHADEMA MP Halima Mdee was arrested and accused of insulting the president during a press conference after she criticized him for barring teenage mothers from school. In February a court in the southern highlands sentenced CHADEMA MP Joseph Mbilinyi and local CHADEMA leader Emmanuel Masonga to two months in prison for insulting the president at a public rally held in December 2017.
In November 2017 the government ordered Channel Ten to apologize publicly for broadcasting the name and residence of a student allegedly sodomized by a motorcycle driver.
National Security: In March the Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations were passed, requiring online content providers to monitor and filter content that threatens national security or public health and safety.
The government restricted access to the internet and monitored websites and internet traffic. The Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations tighten control of internet content through registration requirements and licensing fees. Bloggers and persons operating online forums, including online television and radio streaming services, must obtain certification from the TCRA by submitting a license application requiring information such as the nature of services offered, estimated cost of investment, staff qualifications, and future plans. In addition, all online content providers must pay application and licensing fees totaling more than two million TZS ($924) in initial costs. Licenses are valid for three years and must be renewed annually for one million TZS ($440). Prohibitive costs led some citizens to stop blogging or posting content on online forums, including international social media platforms.
Under the regulations internet cafes must install surveillance cameras to monitor persons online; online material deemed “offensive, morally improper” or that “causes annoyance,” is prohibited; and those charged with violating the regulations face a minimum fine of TZS five million ($2,200) or a minimum sentence of 12 months in prison. According to the TCRA’s Telecommunication Statistics, in June 22.9 million persons (45 percent of the population) used the internet in 2017. According to the International Telecommunication Union, 16 percent of the population used the internet that year.
The Cybercrimes Act of 2015 criminalizes the publication of false information, defined as “information, data or facts presented in a picture, texts, symbol, or any other form in a computer system where such information, data, or fact is false, deceptive, misleading, or inaccurate.” Individuals who made critical comments about the government on electronic media were charged under the act, even when remarks reflected opinions or were factually true. University of Dar es Salaam student and human rights activist Abdul Nondo was charged with publishing false information and providing false information to police in March after he sent a private WhatsApp message to friends saying he had been abducted by unknown assailants.
ACADEMIC FREEDOM AND CULTURAL EVENTS
In September parliament passed amendments to the 2015 Statistics Act that require individuals and organizations to obtain permission from the National Bureau of Statistics before conducting surveys or collecting research data, and before publicizing results. Academics were concerned that the new amendments would stifle independent research in universities.
b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association
The government restricted freedom of peaceful assembly and association, including through bans decreed by authorities but not supported by law. The government requires organizers of rallies to obtain police permission. Police may deny permission on public safety or security grounds or if the permit seeker belongs to an unregistered organization or political party. The government and police continued to limit the issuance of permits for public demonstrations and assemblies to political parties, NGOs, and religious organizations. The only political meetings allowed in principle are by MPs in their constituencies; outside participants, including party leaders, are not permitted to participate. Restrictions are also applied to nonpolitical gatherings deemed critical of the government.
In August police arrested members of an opposition coalition for holding a public rally in Turwa Buyungi ward in advance of by-elections. During a June speech at the State House, the president declared the opposition should confine its political opinions to appropriate platforms, such as parliament, until the next elections in 2020.
FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION
The constitution provides for freedom of association, and the government generally respected this right. Thousands of NGOs and societies operated in the country. Political parties were required to register and meet membership and other requirements. Freedom of association for workers was limited (see section 7.a.).
The registration process for associations outside Zanzibar was slow. The law makes a distinction between NGOs and societies and applies different registration procedures to the two. It defines a society as any club, company, partnership, or association of 10 or more persons, regardless of its purpose, and notes specific categories of organizations not considered societies, such as political parties. The law defines NGOs to include organizations whose purpose is to promote economic, environmental, social, or cultural development; protect the environment; or lobby or advocate on issues of public interest. Societies and organizations may not operate until authorities approve their applications. In August the government began a verification exercise that required all NGOs to reregister. Registration of new NGOs was suspended until December 1.
Religious organizations are registered as societies and wait the longest–an average of four years–for registration. From July 2017 to March, the Registrar of Societies received 252 registration applications, 74 of which came from religious institutions. The registrar registered 136 organizations and rejected five applications; 111 applications remained unprocessed. The government rarely registered societies within the legally required 14-day period.
NGOs in Zanzibar apply for registration with the Zanzibar Business and Property Registration Agency. While registration generally took several weeks, some NGOs waited months if the registrar determined additional research was needed.
c. Freedom of Religion
See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report at www.state.gov/religiousfreedomreport/.
The constitution provides for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation, and the government generally respected these rights; however, there were cases of political opposition leaders being barred from leaving the country. For example, in September a member of an opposition political party was prevented from boarding a plane while attempting to travel to an international conference on political party development. After the July release of survey results by independent East African NGO Twaweza showing that the president’s approval rating had dropped 41 percent over the past two years, immigration officials confiscated the passport of Twaweza’s executive director.
In February the travel of migrant workers overseas for employment was temporarily suspended to allow time for the government to strengthen migrant worker protection mechanisms.
Abuse of Migrants, Refugees, and Stateless Persons: In January the government withdrew from the UN’s Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework, announced that it would no longer provide citizenship to Burundian refugees, and would encourage refugees to return home. The government assured the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) that it would respect the choice of refugees on whether or not to return to their country of origin. While many Burundian refugees had been successfully repatriated, there were several accounts of refugees facing intimidation or pressure to return home by Tanzanian authorities. Some refugees who were pressured into returning to Burundi became refugees in other countries or returned to Tanzania.
Refugees apprehended more than 2.5 miles outside their camps without permits are subject by law to sentences ranging from a fine up to a three-year prison sentence. In July immigration officials reported that 1,470 undocumented immigrants employed as agricultural laborers were arrested in Kagera Region, including 994 Burundian, 223 Ugandans, 193 Rwandans, 19 Ethiopians, 39 Congolese, and two Kenyans. Immigration also reported the arrest of 156 Burundians in Kasulu Kigoma. UNHCR reported that when police apprehended refugees outside the camp without permits, they were normally held in the prison nearest to where they were arrested. Usually these persons were prosecuted and sentenced in local courts. Some were only given warnings and advised to return to the camp. UNHCR advocated for the return of refugees to the camp, but the response was dependent on the officer handling the case.
Sexual- and gender-based violence against refugees continued, including allegations against officials who worked in or around refugee camps. UNHCR worked with local authorities and residents in the three refugee camps to strengthen coordination and address violence, including sexual violence, against vulnerable persons. UNHCR reported the most frequent gender-based violence crimes were rape and physical assault, followed by psychological and emotional abuse. The public prosecutor investigated, prosecuted, and punished perpetrators of abuses in the camp, although international NGOs provided assistance to the legal team when requested by a survivor. Local authorities and the public prosecutor handled most cases of refugee victims of crime and abuse outside the camp. Residents of the refugee camps suffered delays and limited access to courts, common problems also faced by citizens.
PROTECTION OF REFUGEES
Access to Asylum: The law provides for the granting of asylum or refugee status, and the government has an established system for providing protection to refugees. The National Eligibility Committee is mandated to meet regularly and make determinations on asylum applications.
The international NGO Asylum Access reported many persons with refugee claims were living in Dar es Salaam. The government often treated these individuals as undocumented immigrants, deporting or imprisoning them if they faced criminal charges. Arrest was often the only situation in which urban asylum seekers were exposed to the government. Observers believed many urban asylum seekers, if given the opportunity, would be able to demonstrate a need for international protection that would qualify them for refugee status. Since urban asylum seekers were not formally registered with UNHCR and the government, however, they had very little access to health care and education, and employment opportunities were limited to the informal sector. There was no policy or infrastructure to serve this group.
UNHCR processed irregular migrants arrested by authorities when the persons in custody were asylum seekers or were in the process of accessing the asylum process at the time they were apprehended.
During the year the government and the International Organization for Migration continued to support training for law enforcement officers on the use of biometric registration equipment intended to provide irregular migrants a basis for either regularizing their status or voluntary return to their places of origin.
Safe Country of Origin/Transit: No policy for blanket or presumptive denials of asylum exists for applicants arriving from “safe country of origin” or through a “safe country of transit.” All asylum applications are evaluated individually. The law provides that, unless the transit country is experiencing a serious breach of peace, an asylum claim can be refused upon failure to show reasonable cause as to why asylum was not claimed in the transit country prior to entry into the country.
Freedom of Movement: Encampment policy does not allow refugees to travel more than 2.5 miles outside the boundaries of official refugee camps without permission of the Ministry of Home Affairs. The ministry generally granted permission for purposes such as medical referrals and court appearances.
Authorities sometimes imprisoned irregular migrants before releasing them to UNHCR if there was a pending asylum claim. Other irregular migrants were occasionally arrested if they bypassed refugee transit sites and attempted to work in border towns without permission.
Employment: The government generally did not permit refugees to pursue employment and restricted refugees’ attempts to farm land within the camps.
Durable Solutions: In 2017 the Ministry of Home Affairs granted citizenship to 135 persons, an increase of 10 percent from 2016 to 2017. More than 48,000 returns were facilitated under a tripartite agreement between Tanzania, Burundi, and UNHCR. The government, however, increased pressure on Burundians to sign up for returns, often under duress, thus bringing into question the claimed voluntary nature of the returns. There were reports of the government closing markets used jointly by camp and host communities; a reduction in camp exit permits; reduced health and education benefits; and forcible loading of persons into return convoys without proper safeguards.
Section 3. Freedom to Participate in the Political Process
The constitution provides citizens the ability to choose their government in free and fair periodic elections held by secret ballot and based on universal and equal suffrage, but it allows parliament to restrict this right if a citizen is mentally infirm, convicted of certain criminal offenses, or omits or fails to prove or produce evidence of age, citizenship, or registration as a voter. Citizens residing outside the country are not allowed to vote. The National Electoral Commission is responsible for mainland and union electoral affairs, while the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) manages elections in Zanzibar.
Elections and Political Participation
Recent Elections: The country held its most recent multiparty general election in 2015, whereby a new president and legislative representatives were elected. The union elections were judged largely free and fair, although some opposition and civil society figures alleged vote rigging. CCM benefited from vastly superior financial and institutional resources. There were also reports that the use of public resources in support of CCM increased, as well as many reports of regional and district commissioners campaigning for the ruling party.
In the presidential election, John Magufuli, the CCM candidate, was elected with 58 percent of the vote to replace Jakaya Kikwete, who was not eligible to run for a third term. Four opposition parties combined in the Coalition for the People’s Constitution to support a single candidate, who ran under the CHADEMA banner, as the law does not recognize coalitions. In parliamentary elections CCM retained its majority in parliament with nearly 73 percent of the seats.
Separate elections are held for the union and for Zanzibar, ordinarily on the same day, in which citizens of the two parts of the union elect local officials, members of the national parliament, and a union (national) president. Additionally, Zanzibar separately elects a president of Zanzibar and members of the Zanzibar House of Representatives. The voting in Zanzibar in 2015 was judged largely free and fair. Following the vote, however, when tabulation of the results was more than half completed, the chairperson of the ZEC announced he had nullified the Zanzibar elections, although according to the constitution and law, the commission does not have the authority to do so. This decision precipitated a political crisis in the semiautonomous archipelago, with the opposition candidate declaring he had won. New elections in 2016 were neither inclusive nor representative. They were boycotted by the opposition, which claimed they would not be fair. Following the new elections, the ZEC announced President Ali Mohammed Shein had won with 91 percent of the vote, with the ruling CCM party sweeping nearly all seats in the Zanzibar House of Representatives. Official voter turnout was announced at 68 percent, although numerous sources estimated actual turnout at closer to 25 percent.
Between November 2017 and December, seven by-elections were conducted on short notice for ward councilor and parliamentary seats that became vacant due to the death, defection, resignation, or expulsion of the incumbents. In several cases an opposition member who defected to the ruling party subsequently was named as the ruling party’s candidate for the same seat the individual had just vacated. By-elections were marked by egregious irregularities, including denying designated agents access to polling stations, intimidation by police of opposition party members, unwarranted arrests, and obstruction that prevented opposition candidates from registering and resulted in many races being declared uncontested for the ruling party.
In September CHADEMA announced it was boycotting the by-elections until further notice, saying there had been an “excessive militarization” of the electoral process. The ACT-Wazalendo party occasionally boycotted by-elections. The Civic United Front (the main opposition party in Zanzibar) continued to abide by the boycott it announced after the Zanzibar Electoral Commission’s October 2015 election annulment.
Political Parties and Political Participation: The constitution requires that persons running for office must represent a registered political party. The law prohibits unregistered parties. There were 19 political parties with full registration and one with provisional registration.
The registrar of political parties has sole authority to approve registration of any political party and is responsible for enforcing regulations on registered parties. Parties granted provisional registration may hold public meetings and recruit members. To secure full registration, parties must submit lists of at least 200 members in 10 of the country’s 31 regions, including two of the five regions of Zanzibar.
The law requires political parties to support the union between Tanganyika (mainland Tanzania) and Zanzibar; parties based on ethnic, regional, or religious affiliation are prohibited.
MPs were sanctioned for expressing criticism of the government, including for speeches on the floor of parliament. In late March and early April, police arrested nine top CHADEMA leaders and charged them with unlawful assembly and disobeying an order to disperse after demonstrating with supporters to demand the issuance of credentials for party polling agents on the eve of a February 16 by-election. Of those arrested, CHADEMA party chairman Freeman Mbowe faced additional charges, including sedition. On April 3, 24 CHADEMA supporters were arrested for causing chaos while urging their leaders’ release, but they were let go without formal charges. The CHADEMA leaders were involved a protracted legal battle. A court hearing was pending for December 21.
The election law provides for a “gratuity” payment of TZS 235 million to TZS 280 million ($102,000 to $122,000) to MPs completing a five-year term. Incumbents can use these funds in re-election campaigns. Several NGOs and opposition parties criticized this provision for impeding aspiring opposition parliamentary candidates from mounting effective challenges.
The mainland government allowed political opponents unrestricted access to public media, but the ruling party had far more funding to purchase broadcast time.
Participation of Women and Minorities: No laws limit participation of women or members of minorities in the political process, and they did participate. Some observers believed cultural constraints limited women’s participation in politics. In the 2015 election, voters elected a woman as vice president for the first time. There were special women’s seats in both parliament and the Zanzibar House of Representatives, which, according to World Bank data, brought total female representation to 36 percent.
Section 4. Corruption and Lack of Transparency in Government
The law provides criminal penalties for corruption by officials, but the government did not implement the law effectively. Officials sometimes engaged in corrupt practices with impunity. After taking office, President Magufuli took several high-profile steps to signal a commitment to fighting corruption. These included surprise inspections of ministries, hospitals, and the port of Dar es Salaam, often followed by the immediate dismissal of officials. In implementing Phase III (2017-22) of the National Anticorruption Strategy and Action Plan, President Magufuli introduced a new High Court Division of Economic, Corruption and Organized Crime in 2016 that had yet to issue any judgments. In September the president appointed a new director general of the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) to empower the PCCB to take action against corrupt leaders.
Corruption: While efforts were being made to reign in corruption, it remained pervasive. According to the PCCB, most corruption investigations concerned government involvement in mining, land matters, energy, and investments. From July 2016 through June 2017, the PCCB reported it had opened 1,150 new investigations, completed 1,082 investigations, and forwarded 657 case files to the director of public prosecutions for action. There were 454 new cases filed and 495 cases underway in court. The PCCB concluded 409 cases, with 168 convictions and 241 acquittals.
Afrobarometer findings for December 2017 indicated a 14 percent drop in corruption across government entities. Government entities were still considered the most corrupt entities, led by the police, judges and magistrates, the Tanzania Revenue Authority, and local government. NGOs continued to report allegations of corruption involving the Tanzania Revenue Authority, local government officials, police, licensing authorities, hospital workers, and the media.
Corruption featured in newspaper articles, civil complaints, and reports of police corruption from the PCCB and from the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The PCCB’s mandate excludes Zanzibar. In Zanzibar the Anticorruption and Economic Crimes Authority received 53 complaints. It investigated 50 cases; of these, one case was closed, seven cases were passed to the director of public prosecutions, and two cases were brought to court between January and September. The remaining cases were under investigation.
Financial Disclosure: Government ministers and MPs, as well as certain other public servants, are required to disclose their assets upon assuming office, annually at year’s end, and upon leaving office. The Ethics Secretariat distributes forms each October for collection in December. As of December 2017, 98 percent of government leaders had submitted their forms to the secretariat (16,064 out of 16,339). The president submitted his forms and urged other leaders to do the same. Although penalties exist for noncompliance, there was no enforcement mechanism or sufficient means to determine the accuracy of such disclosures. Information on compliance was considered sensitive and available only on request to the commissioner of the secretariat. Secretariat officials previously stated the individuals who failed to meet the deadline were asked to show cause for the delay. Any declaration forms submitted or filed after the deadline must explain the failure to observe the law. Asset disclosures are not public.
Section 5. Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights
A variety of domestic and international human rights groups generally operated without government restriction, investigating and publishing their findings on human rights cases. Some human rights NGOs complained of a negative government reaction when they challenged government practice or policy. The government registered 192 new NGOs from June 2017 to March. Twenty-one were registered as international organizations, 162 as national, and nine at the district level.
In January, five television stations were fined for covering a report by a human rights NGO that cited abductions and violence during a November 2017 by-election. The TCRA claimed that coverage of the report incited and threatened the security and peace of the nation in violation of the 2005 Broadcasting Services Regulation. Human rights NGOs noted that these fines further discouraged media from covering human rights issues.
Following the release in March of an Easter message addressing domestic concerns by 27 bishops from the Lutheran Church, the second largest Christian denomination in the country, the registrar of societies requested that the church publicly retract its message and refrain from discussing political issues. In December 2017 the government threatened to revoke the registration of any religious organization that mixed religion and politics after Zachary Kakobe, head of the Full Gospel Fellowship Church, criticized the president’s leadership in a Christmas sermon.
Government Human Rights Bodies: The union parliamentary Committee for Constitutional, Legal, and Public Administration is responsible for reporting and making recommendations regarding human rights.
The CHRAGG operated on both the mainland and Zanzibar, but low funding levels and lack of leadership limited its effectiveness. Replacements for the seven CHRAGG commissioners whose three-year terms ended in January had not been named. The commission has no legal authority to prosecute cases but can make recommendations to other offices concerning remedies or call media attention to human rights abuses and violations and other public complaints. It also has authority to issue interim orders preventing actions in order to preserve the status quo pending an investigation. The CHRAGG also issued statements and conducted public awareness campaigns during the period on several issues. These included the need for regional and district commissioners to follow proper procedures when exercising their powers of arrest, the need for railway and road authorities to follow laws and regulations when evicting citizens from their residences, and calling on security organs to investigate allegations of disappearances or abductions, including of journalists, political leaders, and artists.
Section 6. Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons
Rape and Domestic Violence: The law provides for life imprisonment for persons convicted of rape, including spousal rape during periods of legal separation. The law stipulates a woman wishing to report a rape must do so at a police station, where she must receive a release form before seeking medical help. This process contributed to medical complications, incomplete forensic evidence, and failure to report rapes. Victims often feared that cases reported to police would be made public.
The law prohibits assault but does not specifically prohibit domestic violence. Domestic violence against women remained widespread, and police rarely investigated such cases.
The LHRC’s 2018 Mid-Year Human Rights Report cited 1,218 incidents of women being raped in the country, and 13,895 incidents of violence against women from January to June. The same report cited and 6,376 cases of violence against children.
Authorities rarely prosecuted persons who abused women. Persons close to the victims, such as relatives and friends, were most likely to be the perpetrators. Many who appeared in court were set free because of corruption in the judicial system, lack of evidence, poor investigations, and poor evidence preservation.
There were some government efforts to combat violence against women. Police maintained 417 gender and children desks in regions throughout the country to support victims and address relevant crimes. In Zanzibar, at One Stop Centers in both Unguja and Pemba, victims could receive health services, counseling, legal assistance, and a referral to police.
Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): The law prohibits FGM/C from being performed on girls under the age 18, but it does not provide for protection to women ages 18 or older. For information on the incidence of FGM/C, see Appendix C.
Prosecutions were rare. Many police officers and communities were unaware of the law, victims were often reluctant to testify, and some witnesses feared reprisals from FGM/C supporters. Some villagers reportedly bribed local leaders not to enforce the law in order to carry out FGM/C on their daughters. The Ministry of Health reported that approximately 10 percent of women had undergone FGM/C.
Sexual Harassment: The law prohibits sexual harassment of women in the workplace. There were reports women were asked for sexual favors in return for promotions or in order to secure employment. According to the Women’s Legal Aid Center, police rarely investigated reported cases. Those cases that were investigated were often dropped before they got to court–in some instances by the plaintiffs due to societal pressure and in others by prosecutors due to lack of evidence.
Coercion in Population Control: There were no reports of coerced abortion or involuntary sterilization.
Discrimination: The law provides the same legal status and rights for women and men; the law, however, also recognizes customary practices that often favor men. In particular women faced discriminatory treatment in the areas of marriage, divorce, inheritance, and nationality.
Overt discrimination in areas such as education, credit, business ownership, and housing was uncommon. Nevertheless, women, especially in rural areas, faced significant disadvantages due to cultural, historical, and educational factors.
According to a 2017 report by the World Economic Forum, Tanzanian men earn 39 percent more than women.
Birth Registration: Citizenship is derived by birth within the country if at least one parent is a citizen, or, if abroad, also if at least one parent is a citizen. Registration within three months of birth is free; parents who wait until later must pay a fee. Public services were not withheld from unregistered children. For additional information, see Appendix C.
Education: Tuition-free primary education is compulsory and universal on both the mainland and Zanzibar until age 15. Secondary school is tuition-free, but not compulsory.
Girls represented approximately half of all children enrolled in primary school but were absent more often than boys due to household duties and lack of sanitary facilities. According to the Ministry of Regional Government and Local Governance, primary school enrollment increased in 2018 to 1,751,221 students (880,391 males and 870,830 females), up from 1,345,636 in 2017. At the secondary level, child marriage and pregnancy often caused girls to be expelled or otherwise prevented girls from finishing school.
In January authorities arrested five school girls ages 16 to 19 in the southeastern town of Tandahimba for being pregnant. The Center for Reproductive Rights reported in 2013 that more than 55,000 girls over the previous decade had been expelled from school for being pregnant. Regional authorities reported that it was common practice for school administrators to subject girls to hands-on external abdominal examinations for pregnancy. Under the Education and Training Policy launched by the government in 2015, pregnant girls may be reinstated in schools. In June 2017 President Magufuli declared that girls would not be allowed to return to school after giving birth. Human rights NGOs criticized the policy as contrary to the country’s constitution and laws.
Child Abuse: Violence against and other abuse of children were major problems. Corporal punishment was employed in schools, and a 1979 law allows head teachers to cane students. The National Violence against Children Survey, conducted in 2009 (the most recent data available), found that almost 75 percent of children experienced physical violence prior to age 18. According to the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly, and Children, between July 2017 and June, 18,464 cases were reported through the program’s hotline. In August a 13-year-old student in Kagera Region was beaten to death by a teacher, who erroneously claimed the student stole another teacher’s bag.
Early and Forced Marriage: The law sets the legal age for marriage at 18 for boys but does not set an age for girls. In 2016 the government amended the Law of the Child to make it illegal to marry a primary or secondary school student. To circumvent these laws, individuals reportedly bribed police or paid a bride price to the family of the girl to avoid prosecution. According to Human Rights Watch, girls as young as seven were married. Zanzibar has its own law on marriage, but it does not specifically address early marriage. For additional information, see Appendix C.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: The law criminalizes child sex trafficking and child pornography. Those convicted of facilitating child pornography are subject to a fine ranging from TZS one million ($440) to TZS 500 million ($218,000), a prison term of one to 20 years, or both. Those convicted of child sex trafficking are subject to a fine ranging from TZS five million ($2,180) and TZS 150 million ($65,400), a prison term of 10 to 20 years, or both. There were no prosecutions based on this law during the year.
The law provides that sexual intercourse with a child younger than 18 is rape unless within a legal marriage. The law was not always enforced.
Infanticide or Infanticide of Children with Disabilities: Infanticide continued, especially among poor rural mothers who believed themselves unable to afford to raise a child. Nationwide statistics were not available.
Displaced Children: According to the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly, and Children, large numbers of children were living and working on the street, especially in cities and near the borders. The ministry reported there were 6,132 children living in hazardous conditions during the year. These children had limited access to health and education services, because they lacked a fixed address or money to purchase medicines, school uniforms, and books. They were also vulnerable to sexual abuse.
International Child Abductions: The country is not a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. See the Department of State’s Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/International-Parental-Child-Abduction/for-providers/legal-reports-and-data.html.
The Jewish population is very small, and there were no reports of anti-Semitic acts.
Trafficking in Persons
See the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/.
Persons with Disabilities
The law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, and mental disabilities, but the government did not effectively enforce these provisions.
Few public buildings were accessible to persons with disabilities. New public buildings, however, were built in compliance with the law. The law provides for access to information and communication, but not all persons with disabilities had such access.
There were six members of the union parliament with disabilities. Persons with disabilities held three appointed seats in the Zanzibar House of Representatives. The Prime Minister’s Office includes a ministerial position that covers disabilities.
Limits to the political participation of persons with disabilities included inaccessible polling stations, lack of accessible information, limited inclusion in political parties, the failure of the National Electoral Commission to implement directives concerning disability, and prejudice toward persons with disabilities.
According to the 2008 Tanzanian Disability Survey, an estimated 53 percent of children with disabilities attended school. There were no significant reported patterns of abuse in educational or mental health facilities.
Acts of Violence, Discrimination, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Consensual same-sex sexual conduct is illegal in the country. The law on both the mainland and Zanzibar punishes “gross indecency” by up to five years in prison or a fine. The law punishes any person convicted of having “carnal knowledge of another against the order of nature or permits a man to have carnal knowledge of him against the order of nature” with a prison sentence of 30 years to life on the mainland and imprisonment up to 14 years in Zanzibar. In Zanzibar the law also provides for imprisonment up to five years or a fine for “acts of lesbianism.” In the past, courts charged individuals suspected of same-sex sexual conduct with loitering or prostitution. The law does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Police often harassed persons believed to be LGBTI based on their dress or manners.
In November Amnesty International reported that police arrested 10 men in Zanzibar on suspicion of being gay after receiving a tip-off. They were detained for several days before being released.
Authorities filed a case against two women in Mwanza who were recorded on a video posted on social media exchanging rings in an engagement ceremony in December 2017; the case had not been heard. In October 2017 police arrested 12 individuals, including two South African lawyers and a Ugandan, allegedly for preparing a case challenging the government’s decision to ban drop-in centers serving key populations. The manager of the hotel hosting the event was also arrested. In September 2017 police arrested 20 persons in Zanzibar who participated in an HIV/AIDS education training course provided by an officially registered international NGO. There were several reports of tourists being denied entry into Zanzibar if authorities suspected they were LGBTI.
During the year government officials publicly stated opposition to improved safeguards for the rights of LGBTI persons, which it characterized as contrary to the law of the land and the cultural norms of society. Senior government officials made several anti-LGBTI statements. In October the regional commissioner of Dar es Salaam created a government taskforce to round up persons who engage in acts that go against the country’s laws and morals, including same-sex sexual conduct. After widespread international condemnation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed the commissioner’s comments and taskforce were not reflective of government policy. This crackdown caused widespread fear among the LGBTI community and forced some to move out of the country. In March the deputy minister of health, community development, gender, seniors, and children tweeted, “The war against promotion and normalization of homosexuality in Tanzania is real.” LGBTI persons were often afraid to report violence and other crimes, including those committed by state agents, due to fear of arrest. LGBTI persons faced societal discrimination that restricted their access to health care, including access to information about HIV, housing, and employment. There were no known government efforts to combat such discrimination.
HIV and AIDS Social Stigma
The 2013 People Living with HIV Stigma Index Report indicated persons with HIV/AIDS experienced significant levels of stigma countrywide (39.4 percent), with stigma particularly high in Dar es Salaam (49.7 percent). The most common forms of stigma and discrimination experienced were gossip, verbal insults, and exclusion from social, family, and religious activities. More than one in five persons with HIV/AIDS experienced a forced change of residence or inability to rent accommodations. In Dar es Salaam, nearly one in three of these persons experienced the loss of a job or other source of income.
The law prohibits discrimination against any person “known or perceived” to be HIV-positive and establishes medical standards for confidentiality to protect persons with HIV/AIDS. Police abuses of HIV-positive persons, particularly in three key populations (sex workers, drug users, and LGBTI persons), included arbitrary arrest, extortion, and refusal to accept complaints from victims of crime. In the health sector, key populations experienced denial of services, verbal harassment and abuse, and violations of confidentiality. In 2017 the government allowed community-based services for key populations to be reinstated following the release of revised guidelines, although the distribution of lubricants is still banned. NGOs and CSOs serving these key populations continued to face occasional backlash and harassment from law enforcement. There was continuing fear among these NGOs to operate freely and openly, as well as among LGBTI persons to freely seek health services, including HIV prevention and treatment.
Gender Desks at police stations throughout the country were established to help address mistrust between members of key populations and police.
Other Societal Violence or Discrimination
Despite efforts by the government and NGOs to reduce mob violence through educational outreach and community policing, mob violence continued. According to the LHRC, there were 395 cases of mob violence from January to June, a decline from the same period in 2017, when 482 mob-related killings were reported. In June, for example, a man in the Geita Region accused of armed robbery was killed by an angry mob. Human rights groups reported that the prevalence of mob violence in the country resulted from a lack of faith in police and the justice system.
Witchcraft-related killings continued to be a problem. The LHRC reported 106 witchcraft-related killings from January to June, a slight decline from the same period in 2017.
Attacks on persons with albinism were declining, and from January through June there were no reported cases of persons with albinism being killed or attacked. Persons with albinism remained at risk of violence, however, especially during election times, as some ritual practitioners sought albino body parts in the belief they could be used to bring power, wealth, and good fortune. Schools used as temporary shelters in some cases evolved into long-term accommodations, with many students with albinism afraid to return to their homes. In 2015 the government outlawed witchdoctors in an attempt to curtail killings of persons with albinism.
Farmers and pastoralists sometimes argued over traditional animal grazing areas, and violence continued to break out during some disputes.
Section 7. Worker Rights
a. Freedom of Association and the Right to Collective Bargaining
The mainland and Zanzibari governments have separate labor laws. Workers on the mainland, except for workers in the categories of “national service” and prison guards, have the right to form and join independent trade unions, bargain collectively, and conduct legal strikes. The law prohibits antiunion discrimination. The government nevertheless restricted these rights. Reinstatement of workers fired for trade union activity is not mandatory.
Trade unions in the private sector must consist of more than 20 members and register with the government, while public-sector unions need 30 members. Five organizations are required to form a federation. Trade union affiliation with nonunion organizations can be annulled by the Labor Court if it was obtained without government approval, or if the union is considered an organization whose remit is broader than just employer-worker relations. A trade union or employers association must file for registration with the Registrar of Trade Unions in the Ministry of Labor within six months of establishment. The law, however, does not provide for specific time limits within which the government must register an organization, and the registrar has the power to refuse registration on arbitrary or ambiguous grounds. The government prescribes the terms of office of trade union leaders. Failure to comply with government requirements is subject to fines, imprisonment, or both.
The law requires unions to submit financial records and a membership list to the registrar annually and to obtain government approval for association with international trade unions. The registrar can apply to the Labor Court to deregister or suspend unions if there is overlap within an enterprise or if it is determined the union violated the law or endangered public security.
Collective bargaining agreements must be registered with the Labor Commission. Public service employees, except for limited exceptions, such as workers involved in “national service” and prison guards, may also engage in collective bargaining.
Employers have the right to initiate a lockout provided they comply with certain legal requirements and procedures. For a strike to be declared legal, the law requires three separate notifications of intent, a waiting period of at least 92 days, and a union vote in the presence of a Ministry of Labor official that garners approval by at least 75 percent of the members voting. All parties to a dispute may be bound by an agreement to arbitrate, and neither party may then engage in a strike or a lockout until that process has been completed. Disputes regarding adjustments to or the terms of signed contracts must be addressed through arbitration and are not subject to strikes.
The law restricts the right to strike when a strike would endanger the life and health of the population. Picketing in support of a strike or in opposition to a lawful lockout is prohibited. Workers in sectors defined as “essential” (water and sanitation, electricity, health services and associated laboratory services, firefighting, air traffic control, civil aviation, telecommunications, and any transport services required for the provision of these services) may not strike without a pre-existing agreement to maintain “minimum services.” Workers in other sectors may also be subject to this limitation as determined by the Essential Services Committee, a tripartite committee composed of employers, workers, and government representatives with the authority periodically to deem which services are essential.
According to the 2004 Labor Relations Act, an employer may not legally terminate an employee for participating in a lawful strike or terminate an employee who accedes to the demands of an employer during a lockout.
Penalties for violations include fines up to TZS five million ($2,180), imprisonment up to one year, or both, but these penalties were not sufficient to deter violations. Disputes on the grounds of antiunion discrimination must be referred to the Commission for Mediation and Arbitration, a governmental department affiliated with the Ministry of Labor. There was no public information available regarding cases of antiunion discrimination.
There were no reports of sector-wide strikes or any other major strikes in the country.
In Zanzibar the law requires any union with 50 or more members to be registered, a threshold few companies could meet. The law sets literacy standards for trade union officers. The law provides the registrar considerable powers to restrict registration by setting forth criteria for determining whether an organization’s constitution contains suitable provisions to protect its members’ interests. The law applies to both public- and private-sector workers and bans Zanzibari workers from joining labor unions on the mainland. The law prohibits a union’s use of its funds, directly or indirectly, to pay any fines or penalties incurred by trade union officials in the discharge of their official duties. In Zanzibar both government and private sector workers have the right to strike as long as they follow procedures outlined in the labor law. For example, workers in essential sectors may not strike; others must give mediation authorities at least 30 days to resolve the issue in dispute and provide a 14-day advance notice of any proposed strike action.
The law provides for collective bargaining in the private sector. Public-sector employees also have the right to bargain collectively through the Trade Union of Government and Health Employees; however, members of the police force and prison service, and high-level public officials (for example, the head of an executive agency) are barred from joining a trade union. Zanzibar’s Dispute Handling Unit addresses labor disputes. In Zanzibar judges and all judicial officers, members of special departments, and employees of the House of Representatives are excluded from labor law protection.
In Zanzibar the courts are the only venue in which labor disputes can be heard. According to the Commission of Labor in Zanzibar, 16 workers used the courts for labor disputes.
The government did not consistently enforce the law protecting the right to collective bargaining. On both the mainland and in Zanzibar, private-sector employers adopted antiunion policies or tactics, although discriminatory activities by an employer against union members are illegal. The Trade Union Congress of Tanzania (TUCTA)’s 2018 annual report claimed that international mining interests bribed government officials to ignore workers’ complaints and write false favorable reports on work conditions in mines. TUCTA also reported that employers discouraged workers from collective bargaining and retaliated against workers’ rights activists via termination of employment and other measures.
b. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor
The law prohibits most forms of forced or compulsory labor. The law allows prisoners to work without pay on construction and agriculture projects within prisons. The law deems such work acceptable as long as a public authority ensures the work is not for the benefit of any private party. The law also allows work carried out as part of compulsory national service in certain limited circumstances. The constitution provides that no work shall be considered forced labor if such work forms part of compulsory national service in accordance with the law, or “the national endeavor at the mobilization of human resources for the enhancement of society and the national economy and to ensure development and national productivity.”
The law establishes criminal penalties for employers using forced labor. Offenders may be fined up to TZS five million ($2,180), sentenced to one year in prison, or both. The government did not consistently enforce the law. The International Labor Organization (ILO) reported unspecified instances of forced labor, including those involving children from the southern highlands forced into domestic service or labor on farms, in mines, and in the informal business sector. Forced child labor occurred (see section 7.c.).
Prisoners provided labor on projects outside of the prison, such as road repair and government construction projects. According to the 2018 budget speech delivered by the Ministry of Home Affairs, prisoners provide labor at the government-owned Mbigiri Sugar Industry in Morogoro Region and planted 1976 acres of sugar cane.
Also see the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/.
c. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment
The law prohibits the exploitation of children in the workplace. By law the minimum age for contractual employment is 14 on the mainland; in Zanzibar the minimum age is 15. Children older than age 14 but younger than 18 may be employed to do only light work unlikely to harm their health, development, or attendance at school. In addition, the government published regulations to define hazardous work for children in several sectors, including in agriculture, fishery, mining, and quarrying, construction, service, informal operations, and the transport sectors. The law specifically limits working hours for children to three hours a day. Fines ranging from TZS 100,000 to TZS 500 million ($44 to $218,000) and imprisonment ranging from three months to 20 years, or both, may be imposed for violations of the law. Penalties were not sufficient to deter violations, and there were no reported cases of prosecutions under this law.
The government did not effectively enforce the law. The lack of enforcement left children vulnerable to exploitation and with few protections. According to the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly, and Children, approximately 29 percent of all children were engaged in child labor. Child labor was prevalent in agriculture, mining, industry, fishing, and domestic work. The ILO previously worked with the government to train labor inspectors on the problem of child labor, but during the year no reported child labor cases were brought to court. During the year’s budget speech, the minister of health reported 6,393 child labor cases (1,528 female and 4,865 male). Officials reported that their authority was limited to the formal economy, and most child labor took place in the family and informal economy.
Government measures to ameliorate child labor included verifying that children of school age attended school, imposing penalties on parents who did not enroll their children in school, and pressing employers in the formal sector not to employ children younger than 18. Ministry of Labor officials reported, however, enforcement of child labor laws was difficult because many children worked in private homes or rural areas. A combination of factors, including distance from urban-based labor inspectors and a lack of understanding by children on how to report the conditions of their employment and when to do so, complicated inspections. Officials reported the problem of child labor was particularly acute among orphans. In cooperation with the government, Plan International operated programs in the mining sector to combat child labor.
In mainland Tanzania, children worked as domestic workers, street vendors, and shopkeepers as well as in small-scale agriculture, family-based businesses, fishing, construction, and artisanal mining of gold and tanzanite. According to Human Rights Watch, children as young as eight worked in mining. In Zanzibar children worked primarily in transportation, fishing, clove picking, domestic labor, small businesses, and gravel making.
d. Discrimination with Respect to Employment and Occupation
The employment and labor relations law prohibits workplace discrimination, directly or indirectly, against an employee based on color, nationality, tribe, or place of origin, race, national extraction, social origin, political opinion or religion, sex, gender, pregnancy, marital status or family responsibility, disability, HIV/AIDS, age, or station in life. The law does not specifically prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, language, citizenship, or other communicable disease status. The law distinguishes between discrimination and an employer hiring or promoting based on affirmative action measures consistent with the promotion of equality, or hiring based on an inherent requirement of the job. The government in general did not effectively enforce the law, and penalties were insufficient to deter violations.
Women have the same status as men under labor law on the mainland. According to TUCTA, gender-based discrimination in terms of wages, promotions, and legal protections in employment continued to occur in the private sector. It was difficult to prove and often went unpunished. While employers in the formal sector were more attentive to laws against discrimination, problems were particularly acute in the informal sector, in which women were disproportionately employed. Women often were employed for low pay and in hazardous jobs, and they reported high levels of bullying, threats, and sexual harassment. A 2015 study by the LHRC found that women faced particular discrimination in the mining, steel, and transport industries.
Discrimination against migrant workers also occurred. They often faced difficulties in seeking documented employment outside of the informal sector. The Noncitizens Employment Regulation Act of 2015 gives the labor commissioner authority to deny work permits if a Tanzanian worker with the same skills is available. During the year foreign professionals, including senior management of international corporations, frequently faced difficulties obtaining or renewing work permits. Because refugees lived in camps and could not travel freely (see section 2.d.), few worked in the formal sector. While efforts by nongovernment and government actors had been made to curb discrimination and violence against persons with albinism, the LHRC reported that this population still lived in fear of their personal security and therefore could not fully participate in social, economic, and political activities. The LHRC also stated that persons with disabilities also faced discrimination in seeking employment and access to the workplace.
e. Acceptable Conditions of Work
The government established minimum wage standards in 2015 for employees in both the public and private sectors on the mainland, and it divided those standards into nine employment sectors. The lowest minimum wage was TZS 40,000 ($17.50) per month for the lowest-paid category of domestic workers residing in the household of the employer, who were not addressed in previous legislation. The highest was TZS 400,000 ($175) per month for workers in the telecommunications and multinational mining, energy, and financial sectors. The law allows employers to apply to the Ministry of Labor for an exemption from paying the minimum wage. These monthly wages were above the basic-needs poverty line of TZS 36,482 ($16) per month per person and the food poverty line of TZS 26,085 ($11.30) per month, which had not changed since being established by the 2011/12 Household Budget Survey. The labor laws cover all workers, including foreign and migrant workers and those in the informal sector. The minimum wage on Zanzibar was TZS 300,000 ($130) per month.
The labor standards laws derive from the international convention on labor standards. According to the law, the ordinary workweek is 45 hours, with a maximum of nine hours per day or six days per week. Any work in excess of these limits should be compensated with overtime pay at one-and-a-half times the employee’s regular wage. Under most circumstances, it is illegal to schedule pregnant or breast-feeding women for work between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., although employers frequently ignored this restriction.
The law states employees with 12 months of employment are entitled to 28 days of paid annual leave, and it requires employee compensation for national holidays. The law prohibits excessive or compulsory overtime, and it restricts required overtime to 50 hours in a four-week period or in accordance with previously negotiated work contracts. The law requires equal pay for equal work.
Several laws regulate occupational safety and health (OSH) standards in the workplace. According to TUCTA, OSH standards are appropriate for the main industries and enforcement of these standards had been improving, but challenges remained in the private sector. In March the National Audit Office released a follow-up report on a 2013 performance audit on the management of occupational health and safety in the country. The report found that of 27 audit recommendations, 20 had been fully implemented, six had been partially implemented, and only one had not been implemented. OSH standards, however, were not effectively enforced in the informal economy. The Occupational Safety and Health Authority had offices in 25 of the 31 regions and 201 staff members. In Zanzibar the government employed five labor inspectors for the islands and conducted 120 inspections between January and June. The inspection system’s effectiveness was limited due to lack of resources and the insufficient number of labor officers available to conduct inspections. By law workers can remove themselves from situations that endanger health or safety without jeopardy to their employment, but authorities did not effectively enforce this protection.
Workers may sue an employer if their working conditions do not comply with the Ministry of Labor’s health and environmental standards. Disputes were generally resolved through the Commission for Mediation and Arbitration. There were no exceptions for foreign or migrant workers.
Many workers did not have employment contracts and lacked legal protections. The LHRC reported that approximately 38 percent of workers did not have contracts, and of those who did, an estimated 38 percent only had oral contracts. The LHRC also reported that employees who signed written contracts were often not provided copies of the contract, contracts held by employees differed from those maintained by employers, many contracts did not include job descriptions, and companies frequently used short-term contracts of six months or less to avoid hiring organized workers with labor protections.
The government did not effectively enforce labor standards, particularly in the informal sector. According to the 2014 Integrated Labor Force Survey (the latest available), of an active labor force of 22 million, 66 percent worked in the informal sector (including agriculture).
In dangerous industries such as construction, employees often worked without protective equipment such as helmets, gloves, or harnesses. According to a 2008 Accident Notification Survey (latest available), the sectors with the highest rates of fatal accidents were construction and building, transport, and mining and quarrying. Domestic workers were reportedly frequent victims of abuse.