Tanzania. In January, Parliament passed a legislative
amendment that gave a government-appointed registrar the
power to deregister political parties and sentence prisoners
to unapproved civic campaigns. According to the opposition,
it was the criminalization of political activity that led to
one-party rule, since the government previously restricted
freedom of assembly, imprisoned opposition and banned
A court in Dar es-Salaam sentenced a Chinese woman and
two employees in February to 15 years in prison for
smuggling 860 elephant baits from Tanzania. The so-called
ivory queen had organized smuggling to Asia for years. The
convicted will pay damages equivalent to approximately SEK
CountryAAH, one of President John Magafuli's harshest critics was
arrested in February on charges of rioting. It was Halima
Mdee, chairman of the opposition party Chademas Women's
Association. She was released on bail. Her party leader
Freeman Mbowe was also released after being arrested on
charges of illegal protests.
In March, 65 people were arrested for taking part in
ritual murders of at least ten children whose bodies had
been mutilated. According to the Minister of Health, it was
a matter of superstition, where body parts from albinos are
considered to produce magical powers. The arrested were
described as witch doctors. According to the UN, murders of
albinos have become more common in recent years.
According to a report by the IMF, the government of
Magufuli undermined economic growth with its policy. The
government tried to stop the publication of the report, but
it leaked. The IMF lowered its forecast for growth in 2019
from the government's 7.3% to about 4.5%.
In May, a young activist from Chadema was found beaten
and unconscious after being carried away by armed men. The
man was a critic of President Magufuli on social media.
Chadema accused the security services of the attack. Several
activists had been attacked in recent years since they
criticized the government.
The Swedish Minister for Development Cooperation visited
Tanzania in May and said that Swedish aid could be affected
if the political repression continues.
President Magufuli said in July that Tanzanian women
should give birth to more children and increase the
population to strengthen the country's economy. Critics said
it would instead increase inequality and poverty. Tanzania
has one of the highest birth rates in the world, more than
five children per woman, increasing the population by about
2.7% per year. The country's schools are overcrowded and
youth unemployment is high.
A well-known investigative journalist, Erick Kabendera,
was arrested in July on charges of money laundering, tax
fraud and organized crime. Kabendera saw it as revenge for
his work and part of the regime's repression of the media.
Another reviewing journalist disappeared in 2017 and has not
been found. The cabender's trial was postponed time and time
again, despite the lawyers' request for prompt treatment and
warning that his health was deteriorating in his detention.
The prisons are overcrowded and the conditions there bad.
Anyone charged with money laundering cannot be released on
bail, which is why it is used against regime critics.
In August, at least 100 people died after a tanker truck
exploded west of Dar es-Salaam. Most of the victims had
tried to drop fuel from the leaking tanker, which had
crashed. Many others suffered severe burns.
Tanzania and Burundi agreed that more than 180,000
Burundian refugees in Tanzania should be sent back to their
home country. The repatriation began in October and would
continue with 2,000 refugees a week.
In September, the opposition boycotted Parliament when a
member of the ruling Revolutionary Party (CCM) was sworn in
after winning a filling election. The election was held
after Chadma's member was excluded from parliament after his
absence due to hospital care. The politician had a long
recovery after being subjected to murder attempts.
In October, the country's highest court of appeal made a
historic decision banning child marriage. The government had
appealed an earlier decision to raise the marriage age for
girls from 15 to 18, but now the appeal was rejected. The
law would come into force within a year. For boys, the
marriage age was already 18 years. Thus, child marriage is
banned in Tanzania, where about 40% of girls have so far
married/given away before the age of 18.