• Sheet of paper Report

Annual Report: Tanzania 2013

May 29, 2013


Head of state Jakaya Kikwete

Head of government Mizengo Peter Pinda

Head of Zanzibar government Ali Mohamed Shein

The authorities restricted the rights of freedom of expression and assembly. Violence against women continued and perpetrators were rarely held to account. Mtabila camp hosting some 37,000 Burundian refugees was closed.


Tanzania embarked on a constitutional review process, after the 2011 Constitutional Review Act was amended in February. President Kikwete established the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) in April, and in May commissioners were sworn in. The review process was due to be completed by October 2013.

Freedom of expression – media

Tanzania continued to regulate the media with laws incompatible with its Constitution and international law. The Newspaper Act and Penal Code were used to suppress media freedom, despite calls from journalists to review these laws.

  • In July, Mwanahalisi, a weekly tabloid, was banned amid allegations that it published seditious articles likely to incite violence and jeopardize peace after publishing a story on the abduction and beating of Dr Steven Ulimboka, Chairperson of the Special Committee of Doctors and leader of the doctors' strike. The newspaper remained banned at the end of the year.
  • In September David Mwangosi, a Channel Ten television journalist, was killed by police. He had been covering an event held by the opposition political party Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA) in Nyololo village in the Iringa region, when police disrupted the event and dispersed CHADEMA supporters. One junior officer was charged with murder in relation to his death and was on remand at end of the year.

Freedom of assembly and excessive use of force

Tanzanian police and other security forces used excessive force to disperse protesters.

  • In August, riot police allegedly shot newspaper vendor Ally Nzona in the head as they dispersed a CHADEMA demonstration at a primary school in Morogoro. Ally Nzona, who was not participating in the demonstration, died from injuries he sustained.

In February, police arrested 16 human rights defenders, including 14 women, for holding an unlawful assembly. They were released the same day. The defenders were part of a group of around 200 activists taking part in a public demonstration in the capital, Dar-es-Salaam, calling for the government to resolve the doctors' dispute.

Violence against women and girls

Sexual and other forms of gender-based violence, particularly domestic violence, remained widespread. Older women were vulnerable to attack on the basis of allegations of witchcraft. Few perpetrators were brought to justice. The practice of female genital mutilation remained prevalent in some areas of the country.

Refugees and asylum-seekers

Following a meeting between the governments of Tanzania and Burundi and UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, the decision was made to close Mtabila camp – home to some 37,000 Burundian refugees – on 31 December. In July, the Ministry of Home Affairs declared that refugees in Mtabila camp would lose their refugee status when the camp closed.

In November, UNHCR reported that around 1,000 people per day were being assisted to voluntarily return to Burundi.

Death penalty

The courts continued to impose death sentences. No executions were carried out. A petition challenging the constitutionality of the death penalty filed by civil society in 2008 remained pending.