Thursday, April 28, 2016


Tanzania’s new president, John Magufuli, has since inauguration in November was hailed for its fight against corruption and public waste. Less well known is restriction of freedom of speech and democratic rights.
Grete Benjaminsen
Media and connoisseurs of Tanzania in Norway has given little attention to the new president, John Magufulis small charming side – namely increasing pressure on utterance – and freedom of the press and the curtailment of democratic rights in the country. On Zanzibar many people believe that the celebration of Magufuli as a crafty corruption hunter has given him and his party the opportunity to carry out coups in the archipelago.
Inspired by Rwanda
It is said that Magufuli draw inspiration from neighboring Rwanda. After six months of self-imposed travel ban, it was precisely to Rwanda he let his first foreign trip as president. Rwanda has in recent years become a favorite among investors because of an effective state apparatus and zero tolerance for corruption. The country has shown great progress in the achievement of the MDGs, but is also known for strict media control, comprehensive monitoring and persecution of political opponents.
Also Tanzanian authorities accused of limiting utterance – and press freedom. A new law for regulating Internet use allows for at least six months’ imprisonment for publishing false and misleading information. Law ˗ which admittedly was introduced under the previous president ˗ has created uncertainty about the legality of information sharing on social media. During his campaign, the law was adopted on several occasions. Among other things, when the main opposition party Chadema premises were stormed and eight of its employees accused of publishing “inaccurate and unconfirmed information” including on Facebook and Twitter.
It has also been introduced restrictions on contact foreign embassies and international organizations may have with the authorities, as well as the opposition, representatives. Instead of sending National Assembly debates live on TV, transmitted now only summary afterwards – censored summaries according to critics. In January, the Dar es Salaam-based newspaper Mawio closed after published critical articles about the political situation in Zanzibar.
Disputed re-election in Zanzibar
And it is precisely in relation to the situation in Zanzibar that Magufuli show their least democratic pages. Zanzibar is part of Tanzania but independence within a range of policies. In addition to voting in the election on the Tanzanian president and parliament, votes zanzibarere on own president and parliament.
Since the reintroduction of multi-party system has Magufulis party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), met strong resistance from the Civic United Front (CUF), the main opposition party in Zanzibar. After every election, however CCM been designated as wins. CUF has protested electoral fraud – often with the support of international election observers. A reconciliation process ahead of elections in 2010 led to the referendum on constitutional amendments that would ensure the two main parties place in the future governments in Zanzibar. Elections in 2010 went off peacefully. Also this time meant CUF cheated of victory, but in the streets participated CUF supporters in celebration of Zanzibar’s first coalition government.
After the election on 25 October 2015 so CUF long to win, until the electoral commission chairman, Jech Jech Salim suddenly, and without support from other commission members, annulling the entire election because of unspecified “irregularities”. An overall observation corps argued however that the elections were the best implemented in Zanzibar history and legal experts believe Jech lacked a mandate to cancel.
After unsuccessful negotiations between CCM and CUF, declared Jech new elections in Zanzibar. The disputed election took place on March 20. CUF and most other opposition parties boycotted. So did most election observers. The day after the CCM Not surprisingly declared the winner.
Threats and violence
International observers wonder that the turbulent situation in Zanzibar has not led to more unrest. Prior to the election claimed CUF authorities constantly tried to provoke reactions, including by sending groups of armed young men to intimidate the population. It may seem that people listened to CUFs requests to deal in peace. In the weeks before the election circulating images on social media by rows of military vehicle that ran ashore on Zanzibar. The streets patrolled armed Tanzanian riot police. This has probably also contributed to curbing insurgency will.
In the time before a new election came the daily reports of arrests and violence against people linked to the opposition. Government officials claimed to have been threatened with dismissal if they did not go to vote, and several CUF leaders were taken into custody. There were also journalists, including one of Zanzibar’s most famous freelancers, Salma Said. She was abducted from the airport in Dar es Salaam by unknown men two days before the election and abused before she was released on Election Day. According to Said himself said the kidnappers that they did not like the job she did.
March 24 was Zanzibar’s new government inked at a ceremony where no Western embassies were to place. Not surprisingly, do not recognize the opposition the new government. Parliament now consists only of CCM members and vice stool, in which after the new constitution should be a coalition government, remains open.
necessary cleanup
Magufuli has largely remained silent about Zanzibar. He has concentrated on convincing voters and the world in general that he is serious about its anti-corruption campaign and measures to reduce the unnecessary use of public resources. When the National Assembly was due to open again after he had been president, he canceled the traditional banquet. The money was used to purchase equipment for the country’s largest public hospital. When government formation he reduced the number of ministers from 30 to 19, and introduced a temporary halt in foreign travel for government officials. When Independence Day to be celebrated in December, dropped his party and launched instead a dugnadsdag for clearing rubbish around the country. In other words, not only in the state apparatus it should be cleaned up.
But Magufulis measures are not only of populist character. Cleanup in tax administration has so far led to more than a doubling of the monthly tax revenues. In the future they hope most ambitious observers that anticorruption measures also focus on the more structural causes of corruption in the country.
Shelf Stens shadow side
Zanzibar has Magufuli been less willing to clean up. When he has been asked to mediate in the political conflict, he replied that it would be meddling in internal zanzibariske conditions. Meanwhile, he sends as chief of police and military troops to the islands ˗ with the consequence that he is perceived more as an occupier rather than as president of many zanzibarere.
Magufulis undemocratic sides creates challenges for partner countries like Norway. Several donors are now considering what they can do. USA has already halted an infrastructure program to Tanzania worth four billion crowns. Although it is uncertain whether the stoppage of funds will lead to real change in how CCM govern the country, wanted such sanctions are welcomed by many in Zanzibar. CUF wants plus travel restrictions and closures of key CCM leaders overseas accounts.
Meanwhile CUFs leader in Zanzibar, Seif Sharif Hamad, asking people to relate in peace. During a press conference on 10 April he admonished once his supporters that “justice can only be achieved through democratic means.”
In addition to impede CUFs effort to convince people that democracy is the best way forward, helping the unilateral tribute Magufuli has received in recent months to conceal human rights violations and CCM regime attempted marginalization of political opponents. And ˗ it undermines a legitimate struggle against this.

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