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U.S. Department of State

Tanzania Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1996

Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, January 30, 1997.



The United Republic of Tanzania amended its Constitution in 1992 to become a multiparty state, and, in late 1995, conducted its first multiparty general elections for president and parliament in more than 30 years. The ruling party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), continued to control the Union Government, winning 186 of the 232 elective seats in Parliament. The CCM presidential candidate, Benjamin Mkapa, won a four-way race with 61.8 percent of the vote. The islands of Zanzibar are integrated into the United Republic's governmental and party structure; however the Zanzibar Government, which has its own president and parliament, exercises considerable autonomy. Elections for the president and parliament of Zanzibar were also held in 1995. International observers noted serious discrepancies during the vote-counting process, calling into question the reelection of CCM incumbent Dr. Salmin Amour Juma as Zanzibar's President. In the period since that election, opposition parties called for new elections, prompting reprisals by the authorities, and, in response, most donors halted aid to Zanzibar.

The police have primary responsibility for maintaining law and order. They had formerly been supported by citizens' anticrime groups and patrols known as "Sungusungu," but these generally became inactive after the elections. The police regularly committed human rights abuses.

Agriculture provides 85 percent of employment. Cotton, coffee, sisal, tea, gemstones, and tourism account for most export earnings. The industrial sector is small. Economic reforms undertaken since 1986, including liberalization of agricultural policy, the privatization of state-owned enterprises, rescheduling of foreign debt payments, and the freeing of the currency exchange rate, have helped stimulate economic growth, as has the decline in the rate of inflation. However, poor government fiscal management and corruption limit economic progress.

The Government's human rights record did not improve and problems persisted. Although the 1995 multiparty elections represented an important development, citizens' right to change their government in Zanzibar is severely circumscribed. Although new opposition parties were competitive in many 1995 races and won in some constituencies, police often harassed and intimidated members and supporters of the political opposition. Other human rights problems included police beatings and mistreatment of suspects which sometimes resulted in death. Soldiers attacked civilians, and police in Zanzibar used torture, including beatings and floggings. Prison conditions remained harsh and life threatening. Arbitrary arrest and prolonged detention continued, and the inefficient and corrupt judicial system did not provide expeditious and fair trials for many citizens and foreigners. There were limitations on freedom of the press, association, assembly, and worker rights, and infringements on citizens' privacy. The Government obstructed formation of local human rights groups. Mob justice remained severe and widespread. Discrimination and violence against women remained serious problems. Some abuse of children and child labor continued. Following a change in 1995 in its longstanding policy of offering asylum, the Government formally closed its borders to new asylum seekers from Rwanda and Burundi and refused entry to or forcibly repatriated several hundred. In December several hundred thousand asylum seekers left Tanzania to return to Rwanda.


Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:

a. Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

There were no reports of political killings. Credible observers estimate that as many as 10 prisoners die each year in part as a result of inadequate nutrition, health care, and sanitation, but the majority of these die as a result of police beatings of persons in detention (see Section 1.c.). In one instance, Dar es Salaam police have not explained the March death of a young man who died in their custody.

There were no developments in the 1993 police killing of a member of the opposition party Civic United Front (CUF) on the island of Pemba. After a lengthy investigation, the policeman who fired the shots was charged with murder without intent and remains free on bail. CUF leaders complained that the President and Attorney General of Zanzibar blocked the prosecution of the police officer. Nearly 4 years after the event, the trial was still pending.

Instances of mob justice against suspected criminals continued to claim dozens of lives. The media reported numerous incidents in which mobs kill suspected thieves who have been stoned, lynched, beaten to death, or doused with gasoline and set on fire. Such events are so commonplace that they are often bunched together with reporting on car accidents and other mishaps. Many instances are never reported. In September a mob attacked a suspected thief in front of the home of a diplomat; security guards at the residence rescued the seriously injured suspect who was taken by security patrol to police custody. The widespread belief in witchcraft has led, in some instances, to killing of alleged witches by their "victims," aggrieved relatives, or mobs. A deputy minister estimated that one hundred mostly older women in the Mwanza and Shinyanga regions are killed every year by those who believe them to be witches. Government officials have condemned these practices, but in only one known instance, in Kwimba, were authorities able to identify and arrest individuals for

engaging in mob violence. No preventive measures have been taken.

b. Disappearance

There were no reports of politically motivated disappearances.

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

The Constitution prohibits the use of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment, but the police regularly threaten, mistreat, and occasionally beat suspected criminals during and after their apprehension and interrogation. Although government officials usually condemn these practices, the Government seldom prosecutes officials for such abuses. The People's Militia Laws, as amended by Parliament in 1989, bestow quasi-legal status on the traditional Sungusungu neighborhood and village anticrime groups. In the past, these groups were criticized for using excessive force with criminal suspects, but they became largely moribund following the installation of the new government.

There have been repeated reports from credible sources of torture, including beatings and floggings by police, in Zanzibar, notably on Pemba island. The Zanzibar and Union Governments have both denied these charges.

On May 30, eight soldiers attacked residents of Songea, allegedly to retaliate for the theft of a soldier's bicycle. In June another group of soldiers attacked Mererani village near Arusha, looting and setting homes ablaze, reportedly in revenge for the stabbing of a soldier several days earlier. Some of the troops interfered with villagers' efforts to protect their property and defend themselves. A government commission of inquiry was established, but it has not reached any conclusions. Similar incidents involving soldiers, such as an attack on residents of Boko-Kunduchi in late 1995, have also been reported.

Prison conditions remained harsh and life threatening. Government officials acknowledged that prisons are overcrowded and living conditions poor. Prisons are authorized to hold 21,000 prisoners, but their population was estimated at 47,000. The Government is expanding prisons to accommodate the increased population, and some prisoners are paroled or receive suspended sentences as a means of relieving congestion. One person released from Ukonga prison told of guards beating and abusing prisoners, particularly during monthly searches during which time all prisoners were assembled and required to strip. Serious diseases, such as dysentery, malaria, and cholera, are common and result in deaths. Medical treatment is limited, and friends and family of prisoners generally need to provide medication or the funds with which to purchase them. In February a prisoner held in pretrial detention in Mbeya died of diarrhea as he was entering court. Convicted prisoners are not allowed to receive food from the outside and are often moved to different prisons without notification to their families. Pretrial detainees are held together with those serving sentences but are allowed to receive food from the outside.

There is no outside monitoring of prison conditions.

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention or Exile

The Criminal Procedure Code, amended in 1985, requires that a person arrested for a crime, other than a national security charge under the Preventive Detention Act, be charged before a magistrate within 24 hours. However, in practice, the police often fail to do so. An opposition member of the Pemba House of Representatives was detained by the police for more than 3 weeks from late February to mid-March without charge. The 1985 amendments also restricted the right to bail and imposed strict conditions on freedom of movement and association when bail is granted. Because of backlogs, an average case still takes 2 to 3 years or longer to come to trial. Thirty-five people charged with causing disturbances during the 1995 election campaign remained in police custody for more than 9 months. The code provides for a right to defense counsel. The Chief Justice assigns lawyers to indigent defendants charged with serious crimes such as murder, manslaughter, and armed robbery. There are only a few hundred practicing lawyers in Tanzania, and most indigent defendants charged with lesser crimes do not have legal counsel.

Under the Preventive Detention Act, the President may order the arrest and indefinite detention without bail of any person considered dangerous to the public order or national security. This act was also amended in 1985 to require the Government to release detainees within 15 days of detention or inform them of the reason for their detention. The detainee was also allowed to challenge the grounds for detention at 90-day intervals. Despite a landmark ruling by the Court of Appeal in 1991 that the Preventive Detention Act could not be used to deny bail to persons not considered dangerous to society, the Government has still not introduced corrective legislation. The Preventive Detention Act was not used in 1996. While the Law Reform Commission recommended that the act be repealed, the President said that repeal is unnecessary if the law is not being used. The Government has additional broad detention powers under the Regions and Regional Commissioners Act and the Area Commissioners Act of 1962. These acts permit regional and district commissioners to arrest and detain for 48 hours persons who may "disturb public tranquility."

Police continued to make arbitrary arrests, although less frequently than in the past. For example, the police occasionally arrest relatives of criminal suspects and hold them in custody without charge for as long as several years in efforts to force the suspects to surrender. Such relatives who manage to get their cases before a judge are usually set free, only to be immediately rearrested when they leave the courtroom. The Government has not taken any legal action to correct these abuses.

Since the 1995 election, police in Zanzibar, particularly on Pemba, have regularly detained, arrested, and harassed CUF members, and suspected supporters. Despite orders from the Union Government's Inspector General of Police, officers in Zanzibar continued these activities.

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial

The Constitution provides for an independent judiciary, and in practice, the judiciary has been increasingly willing to demonstrate its independence of the Government. In the past, senior police or government officials pressured and sometimes reassigned judges who made unpopular rulings. No such incidents occurred in 1996. Independent observers, however, continue to view the judiciary as corrupt and inefficient, and question a defendant's ability to obtain an expeditious and fair trial.

The legal system is based on the British model, with modifications to accommodate customary and Islamic law in civil cases. Military courts do not try civilians, and there are no security courts. Defendants in civil and military courts may appeal decisions to the High Court and Court of Appeal.

Zanzibar's court system generally parallels the mainland's legal system but retains Islamic courts to handle Muslim family cases such as divorce, child custody, and inheritance. Cases concerning Zanzibar constitutional issues are heard only in Zanzibar's courts. All other cases may be appealed to the Court of Appeal of the United Republic of Tanzania.

The majority of individuals held in the two major prisons in Dar es Salaam are awaiting trial. In many instances, bribes determine whether bail is granted or even whether a case is judged as a civil or criminal matter. The Government initiated efforts as early as 1991 to highlight judicial corruption and increased its oversight in 1996, but scant progress has been made.

Criminal trials are open to the public and to the press; courts must give reasons on the record for holding secret proceedings. Criminal defendants have the right of appeal.

There were no reports of political prisoners.

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home or Correspondence

The State continued to interfere with these rights, which are generally provided for in the Constitution. The CCM has historically penetrated all levels of society through local cells, varying in size from single family homes to large apartment buildings and containing from 10 to 200 persons. Unpaid party officials serve as 10-cell leaders with authority to resolve problems at the grassroots level and to report to authorities any suspicious behavior, event, or noncompliance with compulsory night patrol service in the neighborhood. In 1993 elections were held for new grassroots leaders to replace the CCM 10-cell leaders in nonparty business. Few voters participated in these elections, which were boycotted by the opposition and the 10-cell leaders retain nearly all of their power and influence.

CCM membership is voluntary and is estimated at 2 to 3 million card holders. While in the past, CCM membership had been necessary for advancement in political and other areas, the importance of such membership is waning.

The Criminal Procedures Act of 1985 authorizes police officials and official civilian anticrime units to issue search warrants; however, the act also authorizes searches of persons and premises without a warrant if necessary to prevent the loss or destruction of evidence connected with an offense or if circumstances are serious and urgent. In practice warrants are rarely requested, and police and other security services search private homes and business establishments at will. The security services reportedly monitor telephones and correspondence of some citizens and selected foreign residents.

The police occasionally arrest relatives of criminal suspects and detain them without charge in an effort to force suspects to surrender (see Section 1.d.).

National employment directives stipulating the nature of employment and location of residence give authorities the right to transfer citizens to another area to ensure productive employment (see Section 2.d.).

Compulsory participation in Sungusungu anticrime groups ended after the November elections. The Sungusungu now exist essentially in name only.

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

a. Freedom of Speech and Press

The Constitution provides for freedom of speech and the press, however, the Government pressures journalists to practice self-censorship. Opposition political party members and others openly criticize the Government and ruling party in public forums.

Private radio and television stations broadcast in Dar es Salaam and in a few other urban areas. On Zanzibar radio and television are controlled by the Government which also practices a restrictive policy with regard to print media. Private mainland newspapers are widely available, and many residents of Zanzibar can receive mainland television.

The press in Tanzania is, on the whole, lively and outspoken, and even the government-owned newspaper occasionally reports events that portray the Government in an unflattering light. There are 9 daily newspapers and 15 other newspapers in English and Kiswahili, along with another dozen periodicals, some of which are owned or influenced by political parties, both CCM and opposition. During 1996 the rising cost of newsprint resulted in the closure of 15 newspapers. There is no official censorship, but throughout the year the Government continued to pressure newspapers to kill or ameliorate unfavorable stories. In fear of government reprisals the media continued to practice self-censorship.

On January 25, the Government of Zanzibar banned from the islands the circulation of the privately owned Kiswahili daily Majira on the grounds that it was carrying antigovernment articles. Also in January, the local government barred a Zanzibari journalist from further reporting, charging that he had written articles "aimed at disrupting the peace and national unity in Zanzibar." The Kiswahili tabloid Heko was banned nationally in July; the ban was lifted in early October after the managing editor issued a letter of apology to the Government.

In an October incident, police roughed up and arrested two photographers attempting to take pictures of the roundup of illegal street vendors in Dar es Salaam; the photographers were not charged and were subsequently released. Also in October, subsequent to a high-profile by-election won by the opposition, police stifled media coverage of the new Member of Parliament. Television cameramen attempting to record his swearing in were detained and not released until after the end of the ceremony. Perhaps in response to these incidents, the following month the Dar Es Salaam police commissioner warned his officers not to harass working journalists (see Section 2.b.).

The Union Government sought to maintain some control over the private media with the establishment of a code of conduct for journalists and a Media Council. Led by the Tanzanian chapter of the Media Council for Southern Africa and the Association of Journalists and Media Workers, journalists forced the Government to agree to a voluntary code of ethics and the establishment of a media council intended to preserve and expand media freedom. The council came into existence with government approval on February 14, but has proven ineffectual.

Academic freedom exists in theory and largely in practice, particularly at the university level. Academics have been increasingly outspoken in their criticism of the Government and calls for reform.

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The Constitution provides for the freedom of peaceful assembly and association, and, except in Zanzibar, citizens generally enjoyed the right to discuss freely political alternatives. However, the Constitution and other laws and regulations limit these rights and stipulate that citizens cannot run for public office unless they are members of a registered political party.

Political parties must give police 48 hours' advance notice of rallies. Police have the authority to deny permission for political rallies on public safety or security grounds, or if the permit seeker belongs to an unregistered organization or political party. Persons are arrested for assembling without the appropriate permit. Opposition parties, other than in Zanzibar, are able to hold rallies. Local government officials there prohibited the assembly of CUF supporters and use of CUF slogans from the October 1995 election until August. During that 10-month period, Zanzibar officials refused CUF applications for permits, citing a threat to public order. Police dispersed meetings attended by persons thought to be opposed to the Zanzibar Government.

On the mainland, a by-election in the Dar es Salaam district of Temeke was marked by scattered violent incidents against individuals and property, though there was tight security at polling places. The opposition candidate won the election. When the opposition sought to hold a victory procession, however, the Inspector General of Police sent a letter to the opposition party's secretary general directing that no march be held under threat of arrest (see Section 2.a.), and the march was canceled.

In May students demonstrating outside the Ministry of Higher Education were attacked by riot police. The police used tear gas and nightsticks and 30 people were injured, 4 seriously. The police arrested 74 people.

The Registrar of Political Parties has sole authority to approve or deny the registration of any political party and is responsible for enforcing strict regulations on registered or provisionally registered parties. The electoral law prohibits independent candidates; requires any Member of Parliament to resign if they join another party; requires all political parties to support the union with Zanzibar; and forbids parties based on ethnic, regional, or religious affiliation. Parties granted provisional registration may hold public meetings and recruit members. They have 6 months to submit lists of at least 200 members in 10 of the country's 25 regions, including two regions in Zanzibar, in order to secure full registration and to be eligible to field candidates for election. Nonregistered parties are prohibited from holding meetings, recruiting members, or fielding candidates.

The most prominent unregistered party was Reverend Christopher Mtikila's Democratic Party, which advocates the dissolution of the union and the expulsion of minorities from the mainland. Despite his political party's lack of government recognition, Mtikila, was able to publicize his views through his legally registered church and through ongoing lawsuits against the Government.

In November the Registrar of Political Parties told a workshop on the Constitution that conditions for registration under the Political Parties Act of 1992 were too "harsh" and suggested that changes be made to permit other parties to compete in elections.

Under the Societies Ordinance, the Ministry of Home Affairs must approve any new association. Several nongovernmental organizations (NGO's) were formed in the last few years to address the concerns of families, the disabled, women, and children. In September the Ministry of Home Affairs suspended the registration of the National Women's Council, allegedly because it engaged in political activity. The Government has called on the organization to rewrite its constitution to prevent it from involvement in such activity. The Deputy Minister said that if the council's constitution were not revised and such activity halted, it would be stricken from the official registry.

A number of professional, business, legal, and medical associations exist. Representatives of the business community and President Mkapa held three meetings, the most recent of which included the Cabinet and lasted 5 hours, seeking radical changes in the tax and investment codes. The Government, for more than 2 years, has withheld registration from an NGO called Defenders of Human Rights in Tanzania (see Section 4). Opposition leaders complain that the Zanzibar Government is even more restrictive in registering societies than the Union Government.

c. Freedom of Religion

The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the Government generally respects this right in practice. Missionaries are allowed to enter the country freely to proselytize, and citizens are allowed to go abroad for pilgrimages and other religious practices.

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign Travel, Immigration, and Repatriation

The Government imposes some limits on these rights. Short-term domestic travel is not restricted, but citizens must follow national employment directives stipulating the nature of employment and location of the residence. The Human Resources Deployment Act of 1983 requires local governments to ensure that every resident within their area of jurisdiction engages in productive and lawful employment. Those not employed are subject to transfer to another area where employment is available. These laws are also used by police as a means of soliciting bribes and intimidating urban residents. The Dar es Salaam City Council rounds up beggars for return to their home areas, but many return to the capital.

Passports for foreign travel can be difficult to obtain, mostly due to bureaucratic inefficiency, and authorities subject those planning to travel or emigrate to close scrutiny. Citizens who leave the country without permission are subject to prosecution upon their return.

Mainlanders are required to show identification to travel to Zanzibar, and are not allowed to work or own land on the islands.

Tanzania traditionally maintained a generous open border policy with regard to asylum seekers from neighboring countries. However, in early 1995, following the influx of over a half million Rwandan asylum seekers, the Government closed its borders with Rwanda and Burundi. In practice asylum seekers continue to enter the country. During the year, the authorities used laws, such as those on poaching, trespassing and illegal migration, to force several hundred persons previously admitted to return to both Rwanda and Burundi. In December, following the repatriation of Rwandans from eastern Zaire, the Government, in cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, made a controversial decision that conditions in their homeland were such that Rwandans should leave Tanzania and return to Rwanda. Faced with the government decision, and the presence of Tanzanian troops, by year's end virtually all of the asylum seekers had departed the country. A relatively small number who feared for their safety were permitted to remain in Tanzania temporarily. Some humanitarian refugee organizations had limited access to the process.

Tanzania continued to offer first asylum to about 300,000 other refugees, principally from Burundi and Zaire.

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to Change Their Government

A multiparty political system was officially introduced in 1992. Three years later, for the first time in more than 30 years, citizens exercised their right to change their government through national elections for president and parliament. The CCM, with huge advantages over opposition parties in membership and access to resources including its own daily Kiswahili-language newspaper, retained the presidency and 186 of 232 elective seats in Parliament. The Government employed tactics to restrict or delay activities of opposition parties, which nonetheless made credible challenges in many districts and for president.

Because of widespread problems with the distribution of ballots on election day, the Government nullified the results and conducted new elections in seven Dar es Salaam constituencies. Some opposition parties demanded that the election be rerun nationwide and boycotted the new elections in Dar es Salaam.

The Constitution of Zanzibar allows citizens the right to change their government peacefully; however, this right has been severely circumscribed. The 1995 presidential election in Zanzibar was seriously flawed. Government-owned broadcast media in Zanzibar were biased in favor of CCM incumbent President Salim Amour Juma. The government party intimidated and harassed the opposition and did not permit opposition rallies until 2 months prior to the election. Further, registration was limited to persons who had maintained the same residence for 5 years, which disenfranchised many voters. CUF party members also were detained by police when they attempted to campaign in rural areas.

Election observers in Zanzibar were denied access to the tabulation of votes from polling stations. After 4 days, the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) appointed by the Amour government, announced that Amour had won by 0.5 percent of the vote. Figures tabulated by the CUF showed a similarly close victory for its candidate. After efforts by the international community to reconcile discrepancies in the vote counting, observers concluded that the official results may have been inaccurate. Critics questioned the probity of the ZEC chairman who defended the election and its outcome when soon thereafter he purchased an expensive home. The Zanzibar and Union Governments both rejected calls to overturn the result and conduct a new election. In April Zanzibar police raided the home of the CUF's presidential candidate, citing "the duty of police to maintain law and security."

In the year since the election, government security forces and CCM gangs harassed and intimidated CUF members on both of the two main Zanzibar islands, Pemba and Ugunja. Because CUF won all 20 seats on Pemba, Pembans living on Ugunja were regarded as CUF supporters and as a result were harassed. CUF members accused police of detaining dozens of its members, including several local leaders. Many CUF supporters have deserted Ugunja for Pemba or the mainland. Safety is not ensured in Pemba, where security forces dispersed gatherings, intimidated and roughed up individuals, and expelled two tourists in September for their contact with CUF members. Most international donors have suspended direct assistance to Zanzibar in response to activities of the authorities.

There are no restrictions in law on the participation of women in politics and government. In practice, however, few women are politically active. Eight of 232 elected members of the Union Parliament are women. In addition, 37 women from both the CCM and opposition parties were appointed to Parliament to seats reserved for women. Three of the cabinet's 23 ministers are women.

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights

The Government has obstructed the formation of local human rights groups. Persons seeking to register human rights NGO's such as the Defenders of Human Rights in Tanzania and the Tanzania Human Rights Education Society, complained that the Ministry of Home Affairs continued to delay action on their applications (see Section 2.b.). This hampered their access and efforts to monitor violations of human rights. The Government refused to register the African Human Rights and Justice Protection Network on the grounds that it was politically oriented.

Government officials have said that international human rights groups are welcome to visit Tanzania.

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, Disability, Language, or Social Status

The Constitution prohibits discrimination based on nationality, tribe, origin, political affiliation, color, religion, or lifestyle. Discrimination based on sex, age, or disability is not specifically prohibited by law but is publicly discouraged in official statements.


Violence against women remained widespread. Legal remedies exist but in practice are difficult to obtain. Traditional customs subordinating women remain strong in both urban and rural areas, and often local magistrates upheld such practices. Women may be punished for not bearing children. It is accepted for a husband to treat his wife as he wishes, and wife beating can occur at all levels of society. Cultural, family, and social pressure prevent many women from reporting abuses to authorities. Government officials frequently make public statements decrying such abuses, but rarely take action against perpetrators.

Although the Government advocates equal rights for women in the workplace, it does not ensure these rights in practice. In the public sector, which employs 80 percent of the salaried labor force, certain statutes restrict women's access to some jobs or hours of employment. While progress on women's rights has been more noticeable in urban areas, strong traditional norms still divide labor along gender lines and place women in a subordinate position. Discrimination against women is most acute in the countryside, where women are relegated to farming and raising children with almost no opportunity for wage employment. Custom and tradition often hinder women from owning property such as land, and these may override other laws that provide for equal treatment. Women seeking higher education may be harassed by male colleagues; the authorities have largely ignored the practice.

The overall situation for women is even less favorable in heavily Muslim Zanzibar. Women there, and in many parts of the mainland, face discriminatory restrictions on inheritance and ownership of property because of concessions by the Government and courts to customary and Islamic law. While provisions of the Marriage Act provide certain inheritance and property rights for women, the decision to apply customary, Islamic, or statutory law depends on the lifestyle and stated intentions of the male head of household. The courts have thus upheld discriminatory inheritance claims, primarily in rural areas. Under Zanzibari law, unmarried women under the age of 21 who become pregnant are subject to 2 years' imprisonment.

Several NGO's provide counseling and education programs on women's rights issues, particularly sexual harassment and molestation.


Government funding of programs for children's welfare remained minuscule. The Government made some constructive efforts to address children's welfare, including working closely with NGO's to assess the well-being of orphans and neglected children.

The law provides for 7 years of compulsory schooling. In the past, girls who became pregnant were expelled from school. During 1996 procedures were put into effect to permit such girls to continue their education following their maternity absence.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is widely condemned by international health experts as damaging to both physical and psychological health. Although the Government officially discourages FGM, it is still performed at an early age by approximately 20 of the country's 130 main ethnic groups, affecting perhaps 10 percent of the population. In some groups, FGM is compulsory, and, in others, a woman who has not undergone the ritual might not be able to marry. Government officials have called for changes in customs that adversely affect women, but no legislation has been introduced that would specifically restrict the practice of FGM. Some local government officials have begun to combat the practice, and in 1996 five persons were convicted and imprisoned for assault for mutilating young girls between the ages of 1 and 3 years. Seminars sponsored by various governmental and nongovernmental organizations are regularly held in an attempt to educate the public on the dangers of these and other traditional practices. Health authorities believe the practice is declining, but other sources maintain that it is on the rise, especially in central Tanzania.

People with Disabilities

The Government does not mandate access to public buildings, transportation, or government services for people with disabilities. Although there is no official discrimination against the disabled, in practice the physically disabled are effectively restricted in their access to education, employment, and provision of other state services due to physical barriers. The Government provides only limited funding to special facilities and programs.

Religious Minorities

The Muslim community claims to be disadvantaged in terms of its representation in the civil service and government and in state-owned business, in part because both colonial and past, post-independence administrations refused to recognize the credentials of traditional Muslim schools. As a result, there is widespread Muslim resentment of the perceived advantages enjoyed by Christians. Christians, in turn, have been critical of what they perceive as undue favoritism accorded to Muslims in appointments, jobs, and scholarships by former President Mwinyi, a Muslim. Some leaders in both camps appear to be playing up religious tensions. In fact there does not at present appear to be any serious problem of discrimination due to religion in access to employment or educational opportunities.

National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

In the past, the Government discriminated against the Barabaig and other nomadic people in northern Tanzania. These ethnic groups continued to complain of government discrimination based on government efforts to make them adopt a more modern lifestyle and to restrict their access to land that was turned into large government wheat farms.

The Asian community has declined by 50 percent, over the years, to about 50,000, a result of considerable antipathy by many African Tanzanians. There are, however, no laws or official policies which discriminate against them. As the Government places greater emphasis on market-oriented policies and privatization, public concern regarding the Asian community's economic role has increased. This has led to demands for policies of "indigenization" to ensure that privatization does not increase the Asian community's economic predominance at the expense of the country's African population.

Section 6 Worker Rights

a. The Right of Association

Both the Constitution and the 1955 Trade Union Ordinance refer to the right of association of workers. Nevertheless, workers do not have the right to form or join organizations of their own choice. The Organization of Tanzania Trade Unions Act of 1991 addresses all labor union issues. The act created the Organization of Tanzania Trade Unions (OTTU) which is the only trade union organization in Tanzania. Renamed the Tanzania Federation of Trade Unions (TFTU), subject to parliamentary approval of its new constitution, OTTU/TFTU is comprised of 11 independent trade unions. The individual unions are given the right to leave the TFTU and to collect their own dues, 5 percent of which must be contributed to the federation. More than a year after the labor reorganization, only 1 of the 11 new independent unions, the Tanzanian Teachers Union, is fully registered.

OTTU/TFTU represents 60 percent of workers in industry and government, but it has little influence on labor policy. Overall, roughly 25 percent of Tanzania's 2 million wage earners are organized. All workers, including those classified as "essential" service workers, are permitted to join unions, but essential workers are not permitted to strike.

There are no laws prohibiting retribution against legal strikers. Workers have the legal right to strike only after complicated and protracted mediation and conciliation procedures leading ultimately to the Industrial Court, which receives direction from the Minister of Labor and Youth Development. If the OTTU/TFTU is not satisfied with the decision of the Industrial Court, it can then conduct a legal strike. These procedures can prolong a dispute by months without resolving it. Pending a resolution, frustrated workers have staged impromptu, illegal, wildcat strikes and walkouts.

The TFTU expanded beyond its forerunner's membership in regional and pan-African trade union organizations by joining the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions.

b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

Collective bargaining is protected by law but limited to the private sector. Wages for employees of the Government and state-owned organizations, which account for the bulk of the salaried labor force, are administratively set by the Government.

Although the OTTU/TFTU negotiates on behalf of most private sector employees with the Association of Tanzanian Employers, collective agreements must be submitted to the Industrial Court for approval. The International Labor Organization (ILO) has observed that these provisions are not in conformity with ILO Convention 98 on Collective Bargaining and the Right to Organize. Tanzania's Security of Employment Act of 1964 prohibits discriminatory activities by an employer against union members. Employers found guilty of antiunion activities are legally required to reinstate workers.

There are no export processing zones (EPZ's) on the mainland, but there are three in Zanzibar. Work conditions are comparable to those in other work places. Labor law protections apply to EPZ workers.

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

The Constitution prohibits forced labor, though the ILO observed that provisions of various laws are incompatible with ILO Conventions 29 and 105 on forced labor. Specifically, the Human Resources Deployment Act of 1983 requires every local government authority to ensure that able-bodied persons over 15 years of age not in school engage in productive or other lawful employment. In some rural areas, villagers are obligated to work in the village communal gardens or on small construction projects such as repairing roads.

d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children

Children under 12 years of age are prohibited by law from working in the formal wage sector in both urban and rural areas. However, this provision does not apply to children working on family farms or herding domestic livestock. Children between the ages of 12 and 15 may be employed on a daily wage and on a day-to-day basis, but they must have parental permission and return to the residence of their guardian at night.

The minimum age for entry into work of a contractual nature in approved occupations is set at 15 years. The law prohibits a young person from employment in any occupation that is injurious to health and that is dangerous or otherwise unsuitable. Young persons between the ages of 12 and 15 may be employed in industrial work but only between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., with some exceptions allowed. The Ministry of Labor and Youth Development is responsible for enforcement, but the number of inspectors is inadequate to police conditions. The effectiveness of government enforcement has reportedly declined with increased privatization. Approximately 3,000 to 5,000 children engage in seasonal employment on sisal, tea, tobacco, and coffee plantations. Children working on plantations generally receive lower wages than their older counterparts, although they may be in comparable jobs. Work on sisal plantations is particularly hazardous and detrimental to children. On one sisal plantation, children made up 30 percent of the work force; only half of the children had completed primary school. They had a high incidence of skin and respiratory problems, were not provided protective clothing, and lacked adequate nourishment and lodging. Another 1,500 to 3,000 children work in unregulated gemstone mines. In the informal sector, children assist their parents in unregulated piecework manufacturing.

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work

There is a legal minimum wage for employment in the formal sector. The TFTU often negotiates higher minimum wages with individual employers, depending on the financial status of the business. The legal minimum wage is $30 (17,500 Tanzanian shillings) per month. Even when supplemented with various benefits such as housing, transport allowances, and food subsidies, the minimum rate may not always be sufficient to provide an adequate living for a worker and family, and workers often must depend on the extended family, or a second or third job. Despite the minimum wage, many workers, especially in the informal sector, are paid less.

There is no standard legal workweek. However, a 5-day, 40-hour workweek is in effect for government workers. Most private employers retain a 6-day, 44- to 48-hour workweek. In general women may not be employed between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Several laws regulate safety in the workplace. An occupational health and safety factory inspection system, set up with the assistance of the ILO, is managed by the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare and Youth Development. Its effectiveness, however, is limited.

OTTU/TFTU officials have claimed that enforcement of labor standards is effective in the formal sector, but no verification studies have been performed. Workers may take an employer to court through their TFTU branch if their working conditions do not comply with the Ministry of Labor's health and environmental standards. Workers making such complaints have not lost their jobs as a result. However, workers do not have the have the right to remove themselves from dangerous situations without jeopardizing their employment. Enforcement of labor standards is nonexistent in the informal sector.

[end of document]


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