Tanzania is a country located in Eastern Africa according
to Digopaul. In the New Year, President John Magufuli
dismissed the head of the state energy company, which just
raised electricity prices to cover major losses. Only about
40% of the population has access to electricity. Despite
huge resources of gas, Tanzania suffers from a chronic
electricity shortage as production takes place with
hydropower and the dams are often threatened by drought.
Magufuli attacked in harsh words in government-critical
media in January. He specifically pointed out a couple of
newspapers and said that their days were counted. Under a
new law, the authorities can stop publishing by confiscating
printing presses. Civil rights organizations came together
in a call for increased respect for freedom of expression
and assembly. The president also attacked the tax evasion of
large companies, especially the mining companies. He urged
the authorities to impose large outstanding tax claims on
these companies, which is the most important tax base in a
country with a large gray economy. Furthermore, the
president focused on the growing drug trade in East Africa
and urged the police and the judiciary to strike hard even
if it involved politicians, ministers or their families.
In March, think tank Twaweza presented a survey which
showed that 78% of the population suffered from food
shortages. The government had denied the problems and
accused opposition politicians of false information.
According to the UN, more than 1 million Tanzanians suffered
from acute food insecurity. The drought in East Africa had
led to an increase in the price of maize.
The President dismissed the Minister of Information when
he ordered the investigation of an armed robbery against a
private television station conducted by an ally of the
President. The country's journalists were then warned by the
president that freedom of the press had limits. Magufuli
urged the new minister to turn to media that are considered
to stir up concern and threaten to destabilize the country.
Several people, including students, were indicted for
insulting the president on social media. The sentence can be
up to three years in prison or a high fine.
In March, Tanzania's most notorious poacher was sentenced
to twelve years in prison for having organized ivory trade
from five East African countries to Chinese buyers. He is
believed to be behind the killing of thousands of elephants.
The number of elephants is estimated to have decreased by
60% in five years. Later in the year, two police officers
were sentenced to 35 years in prison each for illegal
handling of ivory. Seven other people were sentenced to 25
years in prison and one person to 20 years. Hundreds of
ivory poachers and traders have been arrested in recent
years in Tanzania.
In April, more than 9,000 public employees who had their
CVs rejected as forgeries were dismissed following a
nationwide review of academic grades.
In May, the president dismissed the government's mining
minister after it was discovered that foreign mining
companies, without the authorities' control, managed to
evade tax by writing down the value of their exports.
According to an investigation, the mining industry's
cheating had cost the state the equivalent of more than SEK
700 billion since 1998. In July, Parliament voted for new
laws that would give the state better control over the
Parliamentarian Halima Mdee of the opposition party
Chadema was arrested in July accused of insulting President
Magufuli. It happened after the president called on the
authorities to intervene in what he called thoughtless
statements by opposition leaders.
Opposition politician Tundu Lissu from Chadema was
arrested several times during the year, including for
calling the president dictator. Other opposition politicians
were arrested with various charges, including for speaking
for a long time.
In September, Tundu Lissu suffered an attack outside his
home in the capital, Dodoma, where he was shot and nursed in
a hospital in critical condition but survived.
In September, the authorities closed for the second time
the regime-critical newspaper MwanaHalisi with allegations
of incitement to violence following critical material about
President Magufuli. The ban was valid for two years. Another
newspaper, Mawio, had also been banned for two years
following allegations against former presidents of
corruption. In September, the weekly newspaper Raia Mwema,
who criticized Magufuli, was banned.
During the year, a lawsuit was launched against the
owners of a website where readers can publish information
about suspected corruption. They were charged with failing
to disclose the identity of users who published what the
authorities considered to be false information.
Six men were sentenced in September to 20 years in prison
each for kidnapping a 12-year-old boy who was an albino and
chopping off his hand to sell it as a magic power source.
The government's Minister of Health declared during the
year the fight against homosexuals. This led to a group of
women and men being arrested in Zanzibar after a seminar on
HIV and AIDS. In Dar es-Salaam, the chief of police called
on residents to report links to homosexuality, and in the
capital, several men were arrested accused of homosexual
activities. Several AIDS clinics in the country have been
closed. The government also threatened to revoke permits for
aid organizations that support gay rights and expel their
staff. Tanzania has a ban on sexual relations between men
(not women), who can be punished with up to life
An environmental battle was fought during the year around
the extensive Selous Game Reserve in southern Tanzania. Oil
companies, mining and poaching of elephants threatened the
World Heritage-listed reserve. The World Nature Fund
demanded that the government stop its plans for mining
uranium and gold in Selous and increase its efforts against