The United Republic of Tanzania is a multiparty republic consisting of the mainland region and the semiautonomous Zanzibar archipelago, whose main islands are Unguja (Zanzibar Island) and Pemba. The union is headed by a president, who is also the head of government. Its unicameral legislative body is the National Assembly (parliament). Zanzibar, although part of the union, has its own government with a president, court system, and legislature and exercises considerable autonomy. In 2015 the country held its fifth multiparty general election. Voting in the union and Zanzibari elections was judged largely free and fair, resulting in the election of a union president (John Magufuli). The chair of the Zanzibar Electoral Commission, however, declared the parallel election for Zanzibar’s president and legislature nullified after only part of the votes had been tabulated, precipitating a political crisis on the islands. New elections in Zanzibar in 2016 were neither inclusive nor representative, particularly since the main opposition party opted not to participate; the incumbent (Ali Mohamed Shein) was declared the winner with 91 percent of the vote. By-elections for ward councilor and parliamentary seats that became vacant due to the death, defection, resignation, or expulsion of the incumbents had egregious irregularities and obstructions that prevented opposition party members from registering and resulting in many races being declared uncontested for the ruling party. On September 19, the opposition Party of Democracy and Development (CHADEMA) announced it was boycotting the by-elections until further notice, saying there had been an “excessive militarization” of the electoral process.
Union security forces reported to civilian authorities, who directed security forces and their activities.
Human rights issues included reports of unlawful or arbitrary killings by state security forces; torture; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary detention; political prisoners; arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy; censorship, site blocking, and criminal libel; substantial interference with the rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of association; unlawful arrests and intimidation of civil society organizations, including organizations working to uphold the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons; restrictions on political participation; corruption; lack of accountability in cases involving gender-based violence and child abuse; and criminalization of adult consensual same-sex conduct.
In some cases the government took steps to investigate and prosecute officials who committed human rights abuses, but impunity in the police and other security forces and civilian branches of government was widespread.
Section 4. Corruption and Lack of Transparency in Government
The law provides criminal penalties for corruption by officials, but the government did not implement the law effectively. Officials sometimes engaged in corrupt practices with impunity. After taking office, President Magufuli took several high-profile steps to signal a commitment to fighting corruption. These included surprise inspections of ministries, hospitals, and the port of Dar es Salaam, often followed by the immediate dismissal of officials. In implementing Phase III (2017-22) of the National Anticorruption Strategy and Action Plan, President Magufuli introduced a new High Court Division of Economic, Corruption and Organized Crime in 2016 that had yet to issue any judgments. In September the president appointed a new director general of the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) to empower the PCCB to take action against corrupt leaders.
Corruption: While efforts were being made to reign in corruption, it remained pervasive. According to the PCCB, most corruption investigations concerned government involvement in mining, land matters, energy, and investments. From July 2016 through June 2017, the PCCB reported it had opened 1,150 new investigations, completed 1,082 investigations, and forwarded 657 case files to the director of public prosecutions for action. There were 454 new cases filed and 495 cases underway in court. The PCCB concluded 409 cases, with 168 convictions and 241 acquittals.
Afrobarometer findings for December 2017 indicated a 14 percent drop in corruption across government entities. Government entities were still considered the most corrupt entities, led by the police, judges and magistrates, the Tanzania Revenue Authority, and local government. NGOs continued to report allegations of corruption involving the Tanzania Revenue Authority, local government officials, police, licensing authorities, hospital workers, and the media.
Corruption featured in newspaper articles, civil complaints, and reports of police corruption from the PCCB and from the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The PCCB’s mandate excludes Zanzibar. In Zanzibar the Anticorruption and Economic Crimes Authority received 53 complaints. It investigated 50 cases; of these, one case was closed, seven cases were passed to the director of public prosecutions, and two cases were brought to court between January and September. The remaining cases were under investigation.
Financial Disclosure: Government ministers and MPs, as well as certain other public servants, are required to disclose their assets upon assuming office, annually at year’s end, and upon leaving office. The Ethics Secretariat distributes forms each October for collection in December. As of December 2017, 98 percent of government leaders had submitted their forms to the secretariat (16,064 out of 16,339). The president submitted his forms and urged other leaders to do the same. Although penalties exist for noncompliance, there was no enforcement mechanism or sufficient means to determine the accuracy of such disclosures. Information on compliance was considered sensitive and available only on request to the commissioner of the secretariat. Secretariat officials previously stated the individuals who failed to meet the deadline were asked to show cause for the delay. Any declaration forms submitted or filed after the deadline must explain the failure to observe the law. Asset disclosures are not public.