Government actions undermined freedom of expression. The police and other law enforcement officials accused of committing human rights violations were not brought to justice and impunity for perpetrators of sexual and other forms of gender-based violence continued.
President Kikwete was re-elected for a five-year term in general elections held at the end of October. The main opposition challenger, Willibrod Slaa, and his party, Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA), alleged election irregularities and disputed the validity of the presidential result and some of the parliamentary election results.
In July, a public referendum approved the formation of a national government of unity in Zanzibar. The referendum sought to address past political disagreements between the ruling party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi, and the opposition Civic United Front, which had led to violence between their supporters in Zanzibar.
The general elections and the referendum in Zanzibar were generally peaceful. However, delays in announcing some of the election results led to heightened public tension and protests in a number of areas.Top of page
In the run-up to the general elections the government threatened to either ban or deregister two newspapers – Mwananchi and MwanaHALISI. Government officials sent letters to the newspapers alleging that they were publishing materials with the intention of “inciting chaos and breaking peace” in the country. The government letters did not specify any particular articles deemed by the government to be offensive. By the end of the year the government had not banned or deregistered either of the two newspapers.
A number of journalists complained of intimidation and harassment by some government and public officials because they had criticized the conduct of these officials or the policies and practices of the government.Top of page
The government did not institute investigations into alleged human rights abuses committed by police and private company guards in July 2009 in Loliondo, Ngorongoro district, northern Tanzania. According to reports, an unknown number of women were raped by police officers and guards; families were separated and up to 3,000 people from the Maasai pastoralist community were forcibly evicted. These alleged abuses were committed in the context of an operation to evict these people from their homes and grazing land ostensibly in order to conserve a wildlife protection area.
Throughout the year there were reports of unlawful killings, torture and other ill-treatment by the police and other law enforcement officials in the course of security operations in different parts of the country. No investigations into these allegations were carried out, and those responsible were not brought to justice.Top of page
Sexual and other forms of gender-based violence remained widespread, particularly domestic violence. Few perpetrators were brought to justice.
Despite a law prohibiting female genital mutilation (FGM), the practice remained prevalent in certain areas such as the Dodoma region in central Tanzania. According to the Legal and Human Rights Centre – a local NGO – implementation of the law prohibiting FGM was hampered by widespread ignorance of the law, enduring traditional beliefs and the lack of public confidence in the criminal justice process.Top of page
There were no reports of albino people being killed for their body parts during the year, although there were up to eight attempted killings, including two mutilations. Some human rights defenders working to promote the human rights of people with albinism reported threats and intimidation from suspected perpetrators of human rights abuses against albino people.
The police were slow to investigate cases of human rights abuses suffered by albino people, and little action was taken in response to the threats to human rights defenders. Overall, the government’s efforts to prevent human rights abuses against albino people were inadequate.Top of page
As of November, up to 38,000 Burundian refugees remained in Mtabila refugee camp in western Tanzania despite the government’s official position that it considered the camp closed. Official efforts to promote voluntary repatriation among the Burundian refugees led to about 6,500 being repatriated from the camp since January 2009. Affected refugees cited possible land disputes in Burundi and fears related to the 2010 election process in the country as reasons for their reluctance to return there. Some stated that they had genuine and well-founded fears of persecution if they were to be returned. There were no procedures in place to assess whether repatriation was a valid option for some of the refugees.Top of page
There were reports of overcrowding and insanitary conditions in a number of prisons. Some prisons were holding twice their capacity. There were also concerns that children were being held with adult inmates.Top of page
Courts continued to hand down the death penalty for capital offences. The government did not take formal steps to abolish the death penalty. A court petition filed by three local civil society organizations in 2008 challenging the constitutionality of the death penalty remained pending in the High Court.Top of page