U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 1997 - Tanzania
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Publication Date||30 January 1998|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 1997 - Tanzania, 30 January 1998, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6aa631c.html [accessed 25 December 2014]|
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, January 30, 1998.
TANZANIAThe United Republic of Tanzania amended its Constitution in 1992 to become a multiparty state. In 1995 the nation 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, calls for new elections by opposition parties were met with reprisals by the authorities. In response, most donors halted economic aid to Zanzibar. The judiciary is formally independent but suffers from corruption, inefficiency, and executive influence. The police have primary responsibility for maintaining law and order. They were formerly supported by citizens' anticrime groups and patrols known as Sungusungu, which have been largely inactive since late 1995 but are still in existence. The police regularly committed human rights abuses. Agriculture provides 85 percent of employment. Cotton, coffee, sisal, tea, and gemstones 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, the rescheduling of foreign debt payments, and the freeing of the currency exchange rate, helped to stimulate economic growth, as has the decline in the rate of inflation. While the Government has attempted to improve its fiscal management, pervasive corruption constrains economic progress. The Government's human rights record did not improve appreciably, and problems persisted. Although the 1995 multiparty elections represented an important development, citizens' right to change their government in Zanzibar is severely circumscribed. While new opposition parties on the mainland and Zanzibar were competitive in many races in 1995 and in by-elections since that time, winning in various constituencies, police often harassed and intimidated members and supporters of the political opposition. Other human rights problems included police beatings and mistreatment of suspects that sometimes resulted in death. Soldiers attacked civilians, and police in Zanzibar used torture, including beatings and floggings. Throughout the country, prison conditions remained harsh and life threatening. Arbitrary arrest and prolonged detention continued, and the inefficient and corrupt judicial system often did not provide expeditious and fair trials. Pervasive corruption, which was documented in the Warioba Commission's report, continued to have a broad impact on human rights. The Government infringed on citizens' privacy and limited freedom of speech and of the press, and freedom of assembly, association, and movement. The Government obstructed the formation of domestic human rights groups. Discrimination and violence against women remained serious problems. Abuse of children and child labor continued. The Government infringed on workers' rights. Mob justice remained severe and widespread.