U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 1999 - Tanzania
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor|
|Publication Date||25 February 2000|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 1999 - Tanzania, 25 February 2000, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6aa7624.html [accessed 28 May 2016]|
The 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 also were 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, the Zanzibari authorities met calls for new elections by opposition parties with reprisals. In response, most donors halted economic aid to Zanzibar. The national judiciary is formally independent but suffers from corruption, inefficiency, and executive interference.
The police have primary responsibility for maintaining law and order. They formerly were supported by citizens' anticrime groups and patrols known as "Sungusungu." The Sungusungu remain active in rural areas, but have virtually disappeared from urban areas. There are also Sungusungu groups composed of refugees in most refugee camps that act as quasi-official security forces. The military is composed of the Tanzanian People's Defense Force (TPDF). The People's Militia Field Force is a division of the TPDF. Security forces 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. In 1999 the gross domestic product (GDP) was $8019 million. The GDP growth rate was 4 percent and per capita GDP equaled $252. While the Government has attempted to improve its fiscal management, pervasive corruption constrains economic progress.
The Government's human rights record was poor, and there continued to be serious problems. Although the 1995 multiparty elections represented an important development, citizens' right to change their government in Zanzibar is circumscribed severely by abuses of and limitations on civil liberties. Although 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. Police committed extrajudicial killings and beat and otherwise mistreated suspects. Soldiers attacked civilians, police in Zanzibar beat citizens, and there were reports that police in Zanzibar used torture, including floggings. Police also beat demonstrators. Throughout the country, prison conditions remained harsh and life threatening. Arbitrary arrest and detention, and prolonged detention remained problems. The inefficient and corrupt judicial system often did not provide expeditious and fair trials. Pervasive corruption, which was documented in the Warioba Commission's 1997 report, continued to have a broad impact on human rights. The Government infringed on citizens' privacy rights and limited freedom of speech and of the press, and freedom of assembly, association, and movement. Significant resentment and hostility led to attacks on some refugees. The Government obstructed the formation of domestic human rights groups. Violence and discrimination against women remained serious problems. Abuse of children, female genital mutilation, and child prostitution were problems. The Government continued to infringe on workers' rights and child labor persisted. There were some instances of forced labor, and there were reports of trafficking in children. Mob justice remained severe and widespread.
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; however, authorities were responsible for a number of extrajudicial killings. In February two police and two paramilitary soldiers were accused of beating a prisoner in detention to death. The police were not able to explain his death. No information was available on whether an investigation was conducted or any action taken against those responsible.
In October in retaliation for a theft, TPDF soldiers in Dodoma attacked a village, killing one civilian. No information was available on whether an investigation was conducted or any action taken against those responsible.
In February members of the quasiofficial citizens' anticrime group known as Sungusungu killed five persons accused of murdering witches in Shinyanga. At year's end, the case still was under investigation by local authorities.
Several prisoners died during the year as a result of harsh prison conditions including inadequate nutrition, medical care, and sanitation (see Section l.c.).
In 1998 riots broke out in Mwembechai when police attempted to disperse a crowd of Muslims protesting the arrest of a popular Muslim leader. The police opened fire on the protesters, killing three persons and wounding several others. Subsequently, 23 Members of Parliament (M.P.'s) demanded parliamentary discussion of police brutality in connection with the incident, but the National Assembly Speaker denied the request, saying that it was an internal police matter. No further action was taken in connection with the matter during the year.
Police have not yet explained the deaths of six detainees in the town of Morogoro who were electrocuted at the end of 1997. Police buried the bodies in two graves instead of returning them to their families.
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, authorities charged the policeman who fired the shots with involuntary manslaughter; the officer remains free on bail. CUF leaders complained that in 1996 the President and Attorney General of Zanzibar blocked the prosecution of the police officer. Nearly 7 years after the event, a trial still is pending.
Instances of mob justice against suspected criminals continued to claim dozens of lives. Throughout the year, the media reported numerous incidents in which mobs killed suspected thieves, who were stoned, lynched, beaten to death, or doused with gasoline and set on fire. Such events are so common that they often are grouped together in newspapers with reporting on car accidents and other mishaps. Many instances never are reported. The widespread belief in witchcraft has led, in some instances, to the killing of alleged witches by their "victims," aggrieved relatives, or mobs. The Government estimated in 1998 that in the Mwanza region alone at least 50 persons are killed every year by those who believe them to be witches. Government officials criticized these practices and some arrests were made; however, most perpetrators of witch killing or mob justice elude arrest, and the Government has not taken preventive measures.
There is a growing concern over violence allegedly perpetrated by some Burundian and Rwandan refugees (see Section 1.c.). Local officials complained that refugees committed killings and robberies. In a well-publicized case, Burundian refugees were accused of killing a local schoolteacher in May.
On August 7, 1998, terrorists bombed the U.S. Embassy in Dar Es Salaam, killing 11 persons and injuring more than 85 others. The Government cooperated with international efforts to apprehend the suspects; one suspect had been arrested by year's end.
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; however, the police regularly threaten, mistreat, or occasionally beat suspected criminals during and after their apprehension and interrogation. Police also use the same means to obtain information about suspects from family members not in custody (see Section 1.f.). There were reports that police in Zanzibar use torture. Although government officials usually criticize these practices, the Government seldom prosecutes police for such abuses. In October the Inspector General of Police, for a period of 1 week, ordered the whipping of bus drivers and conductors for rampant violations of traffic laws, a punishment similar to one ordered in 1998.
In June a relief worker accused a local government official of raping her. The Government investigated the incident, but found that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute the accused official.
Repeated reports indicate that the police used torture, including beatings and floggings, in Zanzibar, notably on Pemba island. Both the Zanzibar and Union Governments have denied these charges. In April the Chief of Defense Forces, General Robert Mboma, fired 18 members of the Tanzanian People's Defense Force for beating civilians in Zanzibar.
There were reports of numerous incidents in which soldiers attacked civilians, prompting the Chief of the Defense Forces to remind troops that their role was to defend, and not harass, civilians. No other action was taken against those responsible for abuses.
In April more than 200 members of the opposition party NCCR-Maguezi staged a peaceful demonstration to protest police actions (see Sections 2.b. and 3). As they assembled, field force unit officers clubbed demonstrators and injured some. In July Muslims staged a peaceful demonstration protesting a government ban on Muslim school uniforms in public schools; they were dispersed with tear gas and clubs (see Section 2.b.). The rioters were charged later with unlawful demonstration and threatening the peace. Vice President Omar Ali Juma said publicly that the force used to combat the demonstrators was excessive and disproportional.
Pervasive corruption is a serious problem in the police force (see section 1.d.). In June the Inspector General of Police fired 150 police officials, the majority for corruption.
The People's Militia Laws, as amended by Parliament in 1989, bestow quasilegal status on the traditional Sungusungu neighborhood and village anticrime groups. Participation in these groups was compulsory prior to the 1995 election. In the past, these groups were criticized for using excessive force with criminal suspects. While largely moribund since 1995, the Sungusungu still exist, particularly in rural areas. As a result of the President's 1997 initiative to have government law enforcement officials work cooperatively with Sungusungu, members of Sungusungu were given additional benefits on a par with those given to members of the People's Militia, including the right to arrest persons. In return members of Sungusungu were to be held accountable for any abuses; however, none were held accountable for abuses during the year.
As a result of increased criminal activity allegedly perpetrated by some Burundian refugees, there is significant hostility and resentment against Burundian refugees. In May in Kasulu, approximately 50 Burundian refugee women collecting firewood allegedly were attacked and raped by villagers in reprisal for the killing of a local teacher (see Section 1.a.). Eleven men were arrested for the rape and the trial was ongoing at year's end.
There is growing concern over violence allegedly perpetrated by some armed Burundian and Rwandan refugees. Local officials reported incidents of banditry, armed robbery, and violent crime, perpetrated by refugees in the areas surrounding refugee camps. Women and girls in refugee camps suffered a high level of rape and gender abuse perpetrated by other refugees. There were also reports that some refugees engage in vigilante justice within camps, beating and torturing other refugees (see section 2.d.).
Prison conditions remained harsh and life threatening. Government officials acknowledged that prisons are overcrowded and living conditions are poor. The prisons were designed to hold 21,000 persons, but the actual prison population is estimated at 43,000 persons. The Government is expanding prisons, but its efforts have not kept pace with the growing number of prisoners. Some prisoners are paroled or receive suspended sentences as a means of relieving overcrowding. The Government did not release statistics on the prison expansion program or on the exact extent of the overcrowding during the year. The daily amount of food allotted to prisoners is insufficient to meet their nutritional needs, and even this amount is not always provided. In 1998 the Commissioner of Prisons stated that his department received inadequate funds for medicine and medical supplies. Prison dispensaries only offer limited treatment, and friends and family members of prisoners generally must provide medication or the funds with which to purchase it. Serious diseases, such as dysentery, malaria, and cholera, are common and result in numerous deaths. In January a prisoner who was denied medical treatment for almost a month died en route to a hospital. Another person died at a bus stop within minutes of being released from Segerea prison. Convicted prisoners are not allowed to receive food from the outside and often are moved to different prisons without notification to their families. There are credible reports that guards beat and abuse prisoners.
The Warioba Commission reported that wardens give favorable treatment to certain prisoners at the expense of others. In May 56 detainees in a Dar Es Salaam prison refused to attend court proceedings in protest of harassment by police officials. They said that the police demanded bribes for visitation rights and demanded sexual favors from female prisoners. Pretrial detainees are held together with those serving sentences but are allowed to receive food from the outside.
Women sent to remand prison report being forced to sleep naked and being subjected to sexual abuse by wardens.
In April the Tanzania Prisons Service, in cooperation with the University of Dar Es Salaam and the Raul Wallenberg Institute, held a 5-day seminar in Arusha to address the problem of prison overcrowding. No action was taken on the seminar's resolutions during the year.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been permitted to monitor prison conditions. The Government also granted permission to a local nongovernmental organization (NGO) to visit prisons.
d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile
Arbitrary arrest and detention are problems. 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 comply. 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 takes 2 to 3 years or longer to come to trial. Observers estimate that only about 5 percent of persons held in remand ultimately are convicted, and in many cases, those convicted already had served their full sentences before their trial was held.
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 the country and most indigent defendants charged with lesser crimes do not have legal counsel. In many cases, accused persons are denied the right to contact a lawyer or talk with family members. Bribes often determine whether bail is granted or even whether a case is judged as a civil or criminal matter. There are reports of prisoners waiting several years for trial because they could not pay bribes to police and court officials. Authorities acknowledge that some cases have been pending for several years.
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, as amended in 1985, requires that the Government release detainees within 15 days of detention or inform them of the reason for their detention. A detainee also is allowed to challenge the grounds for detention at 90-day intervals. The Preventive Detention Act has not been used for many years; however, 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 still has not introduced corrective legislation. The Law Reform Commission recommended that the act be repealed; however, the President said that repeal was unnecessary if the law was not being used. In October a court charged a popular Muslim leader arrested for allegedly inciting violence against Christians with seditious intention and denied him bail because it reportedly feared that he might commit the same crime again. The Government has additional broad detention powers under the Regions and Regional Commissioners Act and Area Commissioners Act of 1962. These acts permit regional and district commissioners to arrest and detain for 48 hours, persons who may "disturb public tranquillity."
Police continued to make arbitrary arrests, although less frequently than in the previous year. The police occasionally arrest relatives of criminal suspects and hold them in custody without charge for as long as several years in an attempt to force suspects to surrender. Such detainees who manage to get their cases before a judge usually are set free; however, some were rearrested immediately when they left the courtroom.
According to the Warioba Commission report, police arrest innocent persons, accuse them of fictitious crimes, and withdraw or reduce the charges upon payment of bribes. There have been several complaints that police regularly hide their badge numbers while on duty so that complainants cannot report abuses. During the year, the Government dismissed over a dozen police officers from the force for abuse of power, and some police officers have been charged and prosecuted; however, the impact of these efforts was limited.
In June a journalist with the Daily Mail was detained at the central police station in Dar Es Salaam for 2 hours for questioning (see Section 2.a.). Two journalists were arrested during the year on charges of sedition; one was held without bail for approximately 1 week (see Section 2.a.). In October authorities arrested and detained opposition leader Augustine Mrema for making derogatory statements about President Mkapa's wife and the NGO she operates. Mrema was also charged with sedition for statements he made about former President Julius Nyerere. In November authorities arrested opposition leader Reverend Christopher Mtikila and a boy for distributing audiocassettes which contained derogatory statements about Nyerere. The boy was released on bail, but Mtikila remained in detention pending a trial at year's end. In December authorities arrested and detained the regional chairman of the Chadema party and a Chadema candidate after their party held a rally challenging the results of a local by-election. They were charged with inciting the public to violence, blocking the road, and burning tires.
In September police arrested a popular Muslim leader charged with preaching in violation of a law prohibiting incitement against other religions (see Section 2.c.). Soon after, the police banned a rally scheduled by Muslims to protest his arrest (see Sections 2.b. and 2.c.).
In April 160 demonstrators with the opposition party NCCR-Maguezi were arrested and charged with holding an unlawful demonstration (see Sections 1.c., 2.b. and 3).
Since the 1995 election, police in Zanzibar, particularly on Pemba, regularly have detained, arrested, or harassed CUF members and suspected supporters. Despite orders from the Union Government's Inspector General of Police, officers in Zanzibar continued these activities. In 1997 and 1998, police arrested 18 CUF officials, including M.P.'s, and charged them in June with treason for attempting to overthrow the Zanzibar Government. Several sources, including the detainees themselves, report that they do not receive adequate medical care, including basic malaria prophylaxis; however, the ICRC visited the 18 officials and reported that they were being treated adequately. Their hearing was postponed repeatedly by government prosecutors, and the trial was pending at year's end. The Government continued to arrest opposition politicians for acts that it regarded as seditious (see Sections 2.b. and 3).
The Government does not used forced exile.
e. Denial of Fair Public Trial
The Constitution provides for an independent judiciary; however, it suffers from executive interference, corruption, and inefficiency. Nevertheless, the higher courts increasingly have demonstrated independence from the Government. Senior police or government officials no longer pressure or reassign judges who make unpopular rulings. For example, in June the Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal denied the Government's appeal against an injunction granted to the National Women's Council, thereby permitting the Council's continued operation. However, independent observers continued to criticize the judiciary, especially at lower levels, as corrupt and inefficient, and questioned the system's ability to provide a defendant with an expeditious and fair trial. The Warioba Commission found that pervasive corruption affected the judiciary from clerks to magistrates. Clerks took bribes to decide whether or not to open cases and to hide or misdirect the files of those accused of crimes. Magistrates often accepted bribes to determine guilt or innocence, pass sentences, withdraw charges, or decide appeals. The Government initiated efforts as early as 1991 to highlight judicial corruption, and the Chief Justice continued a campaign against corruption in the judiciary. During the year, several magistrates resigned after the Chief Justice was presented with credible evidence of their corruption.
The legal system is based on the British model, with modifications to accommodate customary and Islamic law in civil cases. Christians are governed by customary or statutory law in both civil and criminal matters. Muslims may apply either customary law or Islamic law in civil matters. The court system consists of primary courts, district courts, the High Court, and the Court of Appeal. Advocates defend clients in all courts, except in the primary courts. There is no trial by jury. In addition to judges, there are district (or resident) magistrates. The law also provides for commercial courts, land tribunals, housing tribunals, and military tribunals. 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 that of the mainland but retains Islamic courts to adjudicate Muslim family cases such as divorce, child custody, and inheritance. Islamic courts only adjudicate cases involving Muslims. Cases concerning Zanzibar constitutional issues are heard only in Zanzibar's courts. All other cases may be appealed to the national Court of Appeal.
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.
Bail is set on a discretionary basis by judges based on the merits of each case. However, there is no bail in murder or armed robbery cases. In October a popular Muslim leader charged with sedition was denied bail (see Section 2.c.). The presiding magistrate stated that this was done for the Muslim leader's protection. In November the High Court in Dar Es Salaam ordered the release on bail of two journalists who previously had been denied bail on the grounds that their life would be in danger if released (see Sections 1.d. and 2.a.).
While juvenile courts have existed in principle since 1964, there was not a separate facility for young offenders until 1997; however, the court is underutilized and many juvenile offenders still are tried in adult courts. In 1998 a magistrate ordered prosecutors to stop prosecuting juveniles in adult courts; however, because of the huge backlog in the country's only juvenile court, some cases continue to be sent through the traditional court system where they are processed faster.
There were no reports of political prisoners on the mainland. At year's end, there were 18 political prisoners in Zanzibar.
f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence
The Constitution generally provides for these rights; however the Government continued to interfere with these rights. During the years in which Tanzania was a one-party state, the CCM 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 served 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 retained nearly all of their power and influence, particularly in rural areas. However, since the 1993 elections the role of the cells has diminished considerably, particularly in areas where opposition parties are strong. While in the past CCM membership was necessary for advancement in political and other areas, CCM membership is now voluntary. Nonetheless, some government employees, particularly in Zanzibar, who supported opposition candidates have lost their jobs, and some students have been expelled from school because of their families' political affiliation (see Section 3).
A political agreement between the CCM and the main opposition party, the CUF, was signed in June to make the political process in Zanzibar fairer (see Section 3); however, at year's end, nothing had been done to redress the situation.
The Criminal Procedures Act of 1985 authorizes police officials, including the civilian anticrime groups, 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 police and members of other security services rarely requested warrants, and often searched private homes and business establishments at will. The security services reportedly monitor telephones and correspondence of some citizens and foreign residents.
The police threaten, mistreat and occasionally beat, and arrest relatives of criminal suspects and detain them without charge in an effort to force suspects to surrender (see Sections 1.c. and 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 their productive employment (see Section 2.d.).
In July Muslims protested a government ban on Muslim school uniforms in public schools (see Sections 1.c., 2.b. and 2.c.)
Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:
a. Freedom of Speech and Press
The Constitution provides for freedom of speech and of the press; however, the Government limited these rights in practice. Various laws, such as the Newspaper Act and the Broadcasting Act, limit the media's ability to function effectively. Government ministers and the Registrar of Newspapers pressure journalists to practice self-censorship. The Government also denied political opponents unrestricted access to the media. In January the Government lifted the ban on two newspapers, Majira and Mtanzania; however, in July the Government again banned Majira for 1 week for publishing information on proposed salaries for government ministers and Members of Parliament. In 1998 the Government banned the printing, publication, and circulation of the Chombeza, Arusha Leo, and Kasheshe newspapers for publishing abusive cartoons. When two new tabloids took their place, the Government also closed them.
In June a journalist with the Daily Mail was detained at the central police station in Dar Es Salaam for 2 hours for questioning after he published a report on overcrowding at the central police station. Two journalists were arrested during the year on charges of sedition; one of the journalists was sentenced upon first appearing in court, but the second, who was indicted for not revealing a source, was held without bail for approximately 1 week. In December a Magistrate's Court sentenced the Reverend Christopher Mtikila to 1 year in prison for allegedly seditious comments he made in 1997.
Except in Zanzibar, citizens generally enjoyed the right to discuss political alternatives freely. Opposition political party members and others openly criticize the Government and ruling party in public forums; however, persons using "abusive language" against the country's leadership may be subject to arrest, and the Government used this provision to detain some opposition figures.
On Zanzibar the Government controls radio and television , and also implements a restrictive policy with regard to print media. In 1998 a Zanzibar government minister threatened three newspapers because of their allegedly negative reporting. Soon thereafter, amendments to the Zanzibar News Act further circumscribed journalists' freedom of action, by giving authorities greater protection for the harassment, detention, and interrogation of journalists. In March the Zanzibar Director of Information Services reportedly banned a local freelance journalist from working on the island, allegedly because he invented stories about the Government. Private mainland newspapers are widely available, and many residents can receive mainland television.
The press on the mainland is, on the whole, lively and outspoken. 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 the CCM and the opposition. The rising cost of newsprint resulted in the closure of 15 newspapers in 1996. There is no official censorship, but throughout the year the Government continued to pressure newspapers to suppress or change articles unfavorable to it. In October the Government revoked the registration of 291 publications that had not published during the last 3 years.
Private radio and television stations broadcast in Dar Es Salaam and in a few other urban areas, although their activities may be circumscribed. The Government reportedly does not censor news reports, but attempts to influence their content. Some journalists, such as those in Zanzibar, exercise self-censorship on sensitive issues. Journalists who report arrests can be charged with obstructing police activity under the 1964 Police Act. The authorities occasionally prevent television cameramen from filming the swearing in of an opposition Member of Parliament.
The Union Government sought to maintain some control over the private media with the establishment in 1997 of a code of conduct for journalists and a media council. With the leadership of the local 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 establishment of a Media Council intended to preserve and expand media freedom. The Council was inaugurated formally on August 16, 1997, although it began operating in 1995. Thus far, it has proved ineffectual except as a sounding board for complaints against the media.
Academic freedom largely is respected in practice. Academics, increasingly outspoken in their criticism of the Government, stepped up their calls for reform during the year.
b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association
The Constitution provides for freedom of peaceful assembly; however, the Government limits this right in practice. Political parties that seek to hold rallies must give the police 48 hours' advance notice. Police have the authority to deny permission on public safety or security grounds or if the permit seeker belongs to an unregistered organization or political party. Authorities arrested citizens for assembling without the appropriate permit. In September police banned a rally scheduled by Muslims to protest the arrest in September of a popular Muslim leader (see Sections 1.d and 2.c.).
Opposition parties generally are able to hold rallies; however, CUF meetings on Zanzibar have been restricted far more than other parties, although since the signing of a political agreement between the CUF and the CCM (see Section 3), the CUF successfully held several rallies. In February police dispersed an opposition procession. In April field force unit officers used clubs to disperse a peaceful demonstration by members of the opposition party NCCR-Maguezi, injuring several persons (see Section 1.c). Later, 160 demonstrators were arrested and charged with holding an unlawful demonstration (see Section 1.d.). In July police used tear gas and clubs to disperse a peaceful demonstration by Muslims protesting a government ban on Muslim school uniforms in public schools (see Section 1.c.). The rioters were charged later with unlawful demonstration and threatening the peace. Also in July the Government threatened to take disciplinary action against the CUF for demonstrating with a coffin marked with President Mkapa's name; however, no action was taken against them by year's end. In December authorities arrested and detained the regional chairman of the Chadema party and a Chadema candidate after their party held a rally challenging the results of a local by-election (see Section 1.d.).
Police continue to break up meetings attended by persons thought to be opposed to the Zanzibar Government. In Pemba security forces broke up gatherings and intimidated opposition party officials.
The Government continued to arrest opposition politicians for holding meetings, distributing information, and other acts that it regarded as seditious (see Sections 1.d. and 3).
The Constitution provides for freedom of association; however, the Government limits this right in practice. 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 Constitution and other legal acts stipulate that citizens cannot establish new political parties; candidates must be members of 1 of the 13 registered political parties. The Electoral Law prohibits independent candidates; requires all standing M.P.'s 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 2 regions in Zanzibar, in order to secure full registration and to be eligible to field candidates for election. Unregistered parties are prohibited from holding meetings, recruiting members, or fielding candidates. In October the Registrar of Political Parties called the registration provisions too restrictive, stating that if the letter of the law was adhered to, not a single party would fulfill its registration requirements. Therefore, given the difficulties that all parties faced, it would be unfair to deregister any one party; no party was deregistered during the year.
The most prominent unregistered party is the Reverend Christopher Mtikila's Democratic Party, which advocates the dissolution of the union and the expulsion of minorities from the mainland. Despite his 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.
Under the Societies Ordinance, the Ministry of Home Affairs must approve any new association. Several NGO's have been formed in the last few years to address the concerns of families, the disabled, women, and children. The Government suspended registration of new NGO's in 1997, pending the enactment of new NGO legislation, which was scheduled for late 1997; however, such legislation was not introduced and details of the proposed legislation (which is viewed as restrictive) still were being discussed within the Government, with some input from NGO's, at year's end. The result of this delay is that new registrations have been suspended. The Government continued to harass the National Women's Council for allegedly engaging in political activity contrary to its charter. In June the Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal ruled against the Government's appeal on an injunction, thereby permitting the Council's continued operation (see Section 1.e.).
A number of professional, business, legal, and medical associations only have begun to address political topics. The Government withheld registration from an NGO called Defenders of Human Rights in Tanzania (see Section 4) for more than 3 years before finally denying it registration in during the year. A youth group also has been denied registration on the grounds that there already was a youth organization affiliated with the CCM. The Government continued to refuse registration of the African Human Rights and Justice Protection Network on the grounds that it was politically oriented (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, subject to measures that it claims are necessary to ensure public order and safety. The Government does not penalize or discriminate against any individual on the basis of religious beliefs or practices; however, individual government officials are alleged to favor persons who share the same religion in the conduct of business.
The Government requires that religious organizations register with the Registrar of Societies at the Home Affairs Ministry. In order to register, religious organizations must have at least 10 followers and must provide a constitution, the resumes of their leaders, and a letter of recommendation from their District Commissioner. Christian groups also must provide letters of recommendation from the leaders of three registered Christian churches or from a Christian Council of a similar denomination. Muslim groups also must have letters from the leaders of three registered mosques. These additional requirements apply to other religious organizations in the same manner. There were no reports that the Government refused to register any religious groups that met these criteria. Registered religious organizations do not pay taxes.
The law prohibits preaching if it incites persons against other religions. Following riots in Mwembechi in 1998 (see Section 1.c.), the Government charged that some religious leaders were inciting their adherents to violence. The Prime Minister stated that the Government would further restrict individuals and organizations that were so involved. The Vice President also stated that the Government would ensure that religion was not used to destabilize the country. The Ministry of Home Affairs subsequently sent 22 religious organizations a letter demanding that they show cause why they should not be deregistered and expelled from the country. The Ministry had not acted to deregister these organizations by year's end, although the threat to do so remained. In September police arrested a popular Muslim leader for inciting his followers against other religions. A week later, the police canceled a planned Muslim demonstration to protest his arrest. In October the Muslim leader was charged with seditious intent and denied bail (see Section 1.e.).
In July police used tear gas and clubs to disperse a peaceful demonstration by Muslims protesting a government ban on Muslim school uniforms in public schools (see Section 1.c.).
The Government failed to respond to growing tensions between the Muslim and Christian communities. The Government appears to recognize that a problem exists, but it chose not to take action. The Government cancelled two meetings with Muslim and Christian leaders aimed at improving relations between the two communities. Even senior Muslim officials in the Government appear unwilling to address the problem, aside from general criticism of those who would foment religious conflict.
National and regional parole boards, constituted in 1998, were dissolved when it was found that they did not include Muslim members, and the Government named new boards in January. It was disclosed in February that the Government was investigating reports that the National Muslim Council of Tanzania was receiving millions of dollars from unknown sources in the Middle East and was considered a possible "security risk."
Christians are governed by customary or statutory law in both civil and criminal matters. Muslims may apply either customary law or Islamic law in civil matters. Zanzibar's court system generally parallels the mainland's legal system but retains Islamic courts to adjudicate cases of Muslim family law, such as divorce, child custody, and inheritance.
The Government has banned religious organizations from involvement in politics.
d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation
The Government imposes some limits on these rights. Short-term domestic travel is not restricted, but citizens must follow the Human Resources Deployment Act of 1983, which requires local governments to ensure that every resident within their area of jurisdiction is engaged in productive and lawful employment. Those not employed were subject to transfer to another area where employment was available. The National Employment Service Act, implemented in April, repealed the Human Resources Deployment Act of 1983. The new act provides for training of youths to be self-employed, without having to be moved to other areas. In October the Dar Es Salaam regional commissioner publicly called for renewed efforts to round up beggars and send them out of the city.
Passports for foreign travel may be difficult to obtain, mostly due to bureaucratic inefficiency and officials' demands for bribes. Citizens can return without difficulty.
Mainlanders are required to show identification to travel to Zanzibar; however, Zanzibaris need no special identification to travel to the mainland. Mainlanders are not allowed to own land in the islands, except in partnership with foreign investors. There is no prohibition against mainlanders working in the islands; however, in practice, few mainlanders are hired.
The law includes provisions for the granting of refugee and asylee status in accordance with the provisions of the 1951 U.N. Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol. The Government cooperates with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. The Government traditionally has maintained a generous open border policy both with regard to neighboring countries' refugees and to persons seeking political asylum. However, following an influx of Rwandan refugees in early 1995, the Government temporarily closed its borders with Rwanda and Burundi. Nevertheless, tens of thousands of asylum seekers were able to enter the country. In 1998 Rwandans again were allowed to seek asylum in Tanzania. During the year, a relatively small number of Rwandans who feared for their safety were granted asylum by the Government and appeals by others who petitioned for asylum are pending. The Government continues to offer first asylum to over 400,000 refugees from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The UNHCR facilitated the voluntary repatriation of Burundi refugees until August when efforts were abandoned due to growing insecurity in Burundi.
Refugee camps in the west were plagued by food shortages, overcrowding, and malaria outbreaks during the year. Women and girls in refugee camps suffered a high level of rape and gender abuse perpetrated by other refugees. There were reports that some refugees engage in vigilante justice within camps, beating and torturing other refugees.
Significant resentment and hostility against Burundian refugees is a problem (see Section 1.c.). In May in Kasulu, approximately 50 Burundian refugee women collecting firewood allegedly were attacked and raped by villagers in reprisal (see Sections 1.a. and 1.c.).
There is a growing concern over violence allegedly perpetrated by some armed Burundian and Rwandan refugees. Local officials reported incidents of killings, banditry, armed robbery, and violent crime, perpetrated by refugees in the areas surrounding refugee camps (see Sections 1.a. and 1.c.).
Section 3. Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to Change Their Government
A multiparty political system was introduced officially in 1992, and in 1995 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 186 of 232 elective seats in Parliament and won the presidency. Despite the Government's tactics to restrict or delay the activities of its opponents, the opposition achieved occasional success in judicial challenges and received about 38 percent of the vote. In late 1996, following its loss in a by-election, the Government issued new directives limiting political activity and fund raising on the grounds of maintaining order. On the mainland, the seven by-elections that were held during the year were marred on occasion by violence. Tight security was employed at polling places. Opposition candidates did not win any of the seven by-elections held during the year.
The Government continued to harass its opponents and arrested opposition politicians for holding meetings, distributing information, and other acts that it regarded as seditious (see Sections 1.d. and 2.b.). In advance of a Dar Es Salaam by-election in July, government officials harassed opposition supporters, and some violent incidents took place after the election, when opposition supporters accused the CCM of rigging the voting. In April members of the opposition party NCCR-Maguezi held a peaceful demonstration at the U.N. offices in Dar Es Salaam to protest what they believed were antiopposition activities by the police force. Field force unit officers used clubs to disperse the demonstration, injuring several persons (see Sections 1.c and 2.b.). A total of 160 demonstrators were arrested and charged with holding an unlawful demonstration (see Sections 1.d. and 2.b.). In December authorities arrested and detained the regional chairman of the Chadema party and a Chadema candidate after their party held a rally challenging the results of a local by-election (see Section 1.d.).
In May popular opposition leader and M.P. Augustine Mrema was prohibited from running for reelection by a High Court injunction that stated that he was ineligible to run because he had changed political parties, and had not yet been designated formally as chairman of his new party.
The Constitution of Zanzibar provides citizens with the right to change their government peacefully; however, this right has been circumscribed severely. The 1995 presidential election in Zanzibar was flawed seriously. Government-owned broadcast media in Zanzibar were biased in favor of the CCM incumbent President Salmin Amour Juma. The government party intimidated and harassed the opposition and did not permit opposition rallies until 2 months prior to the election. In addition, 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, 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. The Zanzibar and Union Governments both rejected calls to overturn the result and conduct a new election for the presidency of Zanzibar.
In the 4 years since the election, government security forces and CCM gangs harassed and intimidated CUF members on both main Zanzibar islands, Pemba and Ugunja. Because the CUF won all 20 seats on Pemba, Pembans living on Ugunja were regarded as CUF supporters and as a result were harassed. The CUF accused police of detaining dozens of its members including several local leaders. Many CUF supporters left Ugunja for Pemba or the mainland; however, citizens' safety is not assured in Pemba, where security forces dispersed gatherings and intimidated persons. Some Zanzibar government employees who voted for the opposition in a late 1997 by-election lost their jobs, and students on Pemba report expulsions from school because of their families' political affiliations. Almost all international donors have suspended direct assistance to Zanzibar in response to the authorities' human rights abuses. Under pressure from the international community, the ruling CCM party and the main opposition party, the CUF, signed a political agreement in June to make the political process in Zanzibar fairer; however, the provisions of the agreement were not fully implemented by year's end and observers believe that the Government did not act in good faith in the period following the signing of the agreement.
There are no legal restrictions in law on the participation of women in politics and government; however, in practice women are underrepresented in government and politics. Eight of 232 elected members of the Union Parliament are women. In addition, 37 female members of the CCM and opposition parties were appointed to Parliament to seats reserved for women in order to meet the legal requirement that at least 15 percent of Members of Parliament be women. The President has set a goal that women constitute 30 percent of parliamentarians elected in 2000. Three of the Cabinet's 27 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 continued to refuse registration of the African Human Rights and Justice Protection Network on the grounds that it was politically oriented. The Government had withheld registration from the NGO Defenders of Human Rights in Tanzania for more than 3 years before finally denying it registration in during the year. In June the Government reinstated the National Women's Council, an NGO that it had deregistered in 1997 (see Section 2.b.).
Government officials have said that international human rights groups are welcome to visit the country. Amnesty International visited during the year. There were discussions, both within the Government and among NGO's, concerning the formation of a human rights commission; however, there are sharp differences on how independent it should be. There had been no action on this matter by year's end.
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, or religion. Discrimination based on sex, age, or disability is not prohibited specifically by law but is discouraged publicly in official statements. Discrimination against women and religious and ethnic minorities persisted.
Violence against women remained widespread. Legal remedies exist in the form of assault provisions under the Criminal Code; however, in practice these provisions are difficult to enforce. The Marriage Act of 1971 makes a declaration against spousal battery, but does not prohibit it or provide for any punishment. Traditional customs that subordinate women remain strong in both urban and rural areas and local magistrates often upheld such practices. Women may be punished by their husbands for not bearing children. It is accepted for a husband to treat his wife as he wishes, and wife beating occurs at all levels of society. Cultural, family, and social pressures prevent many women from reporting abuses to the authorities. Nonetheless, in 1998 the Ministry of Home Affairs noted that an average of 10,000 cases of wife beating are reported annually. In 1998 the Ruvuma regional crime officer noted that a large number of women are killed by their husbands or commit suicide as a result of domestic battery. Women in refugee camps suffered a high level of rape and gender abuse perpetrated by other refugees (see section 2.d.). Government officials frequently make public statements criticizing such abuses, but action rarely is taken against perpetrators. In 1998 in response to intensified concern about violence against women, Parliament passed into law the Sexual Offenses Special Provisions Bill which, among other things, provides for life imprisonment for persons convicted of rape and child molestation. Several persons were prosecuted for rape and battery under this law during the year.
Several NGO's provide counseling and education programs on women's rights problems, particularly sexual harassment and molestation. In June the Government reinstated the National Women's Council, an NGO it had deregistered in 1997 (see Section 2.b.).
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. For example, in general, women may not be employed between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. (see Section 6.e.). 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 rural areas, where women are relegated to farming and raising children, and have almost no opportunity for wage employment. Custom and tradition often hinder women from owning property such as land, and may override laws that provide for equal treatment. Male colleagues sometimes harass women seeking higher education, and authorities largely have ignored the practice.
The overall situation for women is less favorable in Zanzibar, which has a majority Muslim population. Women there, and on 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 for certain inheritance and property rights for women, the application of customary, Islamic, or statutory law depends on the lifestyle and stated intentions of the male head of household. Thus far, the courts have 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.
Government funding of programs for children's welfare remained miniscule. The Government has made some constructive efforts to address children's welfare, including working closely with the U.N. Children's Fund and other international and local organizations to improve the well being of orphans and neglected children. Child labor is a problem (see Section 6.d.). A 1998 study funded by the International Labor Organization (ILO) reported a growth in child prostitution, including forced prostitution (see Sections 6.c. and 6.f.).
The law provides for 7 years of compulsory education through the age of 15; however, it is no longer free. Fees are charged for books, enrollment, and uniforms, with the result that some children have been denied an education. The primary school dropout rate is between 30 and 40 percent. The literacy rate is approximately 70 percent; however, for girls it is only 57 percent compared with 80 percent for boys. In the past, girls who became pregnant were expelled from school. Despite a 1996 law to permit pregnant girls to continue their education following maternity absences, the practice of forcing pregnant girls out of school remains in effect. The rate of girls' enrollment in school is lower than that of boys, and generally declines with each additional year of schooling. In some districts, there was a decline in attendance as the result of early marriage, often at the behest of parents. Nevertheless, there have been across the board increases in the rate of girls' participation since 1990.
Although the Government officially discourages female genital mutilation (FGM), which is widely condemned by international health experts as damaging to both physical and psychological health, it still is performed at an early age in approximately 20 of the country's 130 main ethnic groups. According to a 1996 health survey conducted by the Bureau of Statistics, FGM affects 18 percent of the female population. In some ethnic groups, FGM is compulsory, and in others, a woman who has not undergone the ritual may not be able to marry. Government data show this to be a problem that varies by region, with the most affected regions being Arusha (81 percent of women), Dodoma (68 percent), Mara (44 percent), Kilimanjaro (37 percent), Iringa (27 percent), Tanga/Singida (25 percent), and Morogoro (20 percent). FGM is almost nonexistent in the rest of the country. Government officials have called for changes in practices that adversely affect women, and in 1998 Parliament passed into law the Sexual Offenses Special Provisions Bill, under which several persons were prosecuted for FGM during the year. Some local government officials have begun to combat the practice and convicted and imprisoned some persons who performed FGM on young girls. Seminars sponsored by various governmental organizations and NGO's are held regularly in an attempt to educate the public on the dangers of FGM and other traditional practices. These practices include the tradition of inherited wives, which critics contend contributes to the spread of HIV/AIDS, and child marriages, which are sanctioned with parental consent under the Marriage Act of 1971 for girls 12 years of age or older. While some authorities believe that FGM is declining, a 1996 government report has suggested that it is on the rise, especially in the central region. In 1998 the Dodoma Traditional Practices and Beliefs Committee, supported by a World Health Organization grant, began a program to eliminate FGM in the Dodoma region.
People with Disabilities
The Government does not mandate access to public buildings, transportation, or government services for the disabled. Although there is no official discrimination against the disabled, in practice the physically disabled effectively are restricted in their access to education, employment, and provision of other state services due to physical barriers. The Government provides only limited funding for special facilities and programs.
Muslim-Christian relations are fragile and, particularly since the Mwembechi riots in 1998, Muslims are sensitive to perceived discrimination. Mainland Tanzania is 60 percent Christian and 40 percent Muslim, whereas Zanzibar is 97 percent Muslim. The Muslim community claims to be disadvantaged in terms of its representation in the civil service, government, and parastatals, in part because both colonial and early post-independence administrations refused to recognize the credentials of traditional Muslim schools. As a result, there is broad Muslim resentment of certain advantages that Christians are perceived to enjoy in employment and educational opportunities. Muslim leaders have complained that the number of Muslim students invited to enroll in government-run schools still was not equal to the number of Christians. In turn, Christians criticize what they perceive as lingering effects of undue favoritism accorded to Muslims in appointments, jobs, and scholarships by former President Ali Hassan Mwinyi, a Muslim. Despite these perceptions, there does not appear to be a serious widespread problem of religious discrimination in access to employment or educational opportunities.
A few leaders in the Christian and Muslim communities appear to be fomenting religious tension between their groups. A small Christian group, Biblia ni jibu, attempted to promote Christianity by confronting Muslims at public gatherings, which often resulted in localized violence. There is a growing division between secular and extremist Muslims. For example, Muslims who drink, or who marry Christians are criticized sharply by extremist Muslims. Members of the extremist Muslim community also accused secular Muslims in the Government of supporting a Christian regime rather than protecting Muslim interests.
In the past, the Government discriminated against the Barabaig and other nomadic persons in the north. These ethnic groups continued to complain of past government discrimination because of efforts to make them adopt a more modern lifestyle and to restrict their access to pastoral land that was turned into large government wheat farms.
The Asian community, which is viewed unfavorably by many African citizens, has declined by 50 percent in the past decade to about 50,000 persons. There are no laws or official policies that discriminate against Asians; however, as the Government places greater emphasis on market-oriented policies and privatization, public concern regarding the Asian minority'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 for workers; however, workers do not have the right to form or join organizations of their choice. The 1991 Organization of Tanzania Trade Unions Act created the Organization of Tanzania Trade Unions (OTTU), renamed the Tanzania Federation of Trade Unions (TFTU) in 1995, as the only trade union organization. Although it still has not been registered formally, the TFTU acts in all but juridical proceedings under its new name. The TFTU has little influence on labor policy. The TFTU consists of 11 independent trade unions that have the right to leave the TFTU and to collect their own dues, 5 percent of which are contributed to the federation. Only 1 of these 11 independent unions, the Tanzanian Teacher's Union, is registered. Unions exist in the workplace, but the absence of registration makes relations with employers difficult.
Overall, only about 10 to 15 percent of the country's 2 million wage earners are organized. Although the TFTU nominally represents 60 percent of workers in industry and government, in some sectors it deducts dues from workers' pay whether or not they are members. 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; however, 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 TFTU is not satisfied with the decision of the Industrial Court, it may then conduct a legal strike. The mediation and conciliation procedures can prolong a dispute by months without resolving it. Pending a resolution, frustrated workers have staged impromptu, illegal wildcat strikes and walkouts. The last major strike took place in 1998 at Muhimbili Medical Center when more than 70 percent of the doctors and nurses went on strike for higher pay and better working conditions. In 1998 the Zanzibar Government pledged to review the island's labor laws in an effort to improve industrial relations and minimize labor disputes; however, at year's end, there was no progress on this issue.
In 1998 the regional ILO representative called on the Government to ratify conventions on freedom of association, minimum working age, equal opportunity, and freedom from discrimination. The Government still had not responded to the ILO at year's end.
The TFTU expanded upon its forerunner's membership in regional and pan-Africanist trade union organizations by joining the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions in 1996.
b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively
Collective bargaining is protected by law but does not apply to the public sector. The Government sets wages for employees of the Government and state-owned organizations administratively, although privatization and reductions in public sector employment have reduced such employees to about 5 percent of the work force.
Although the 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 ILO has observed that these provisions are not in conformity with ILO Convention 98 on Collective Bargaining and the Right to Organize. The Security of Employment Act of 1964 prohibits discriminatory activities by an employer against union members. Employers found guilty of antiunion activities are required under the law to reinstate workers. The Warioba Commission found that bribes may determine whether a worker dismissed from his job actually is reinstated.
There are no export processing zones (EPZ's) on the mainland, but there are three in Zanzibar. Working conditions are comparable to those in other areas. Labor law protections apply to EPZ workers.
c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor
The Constitution prohibits forced or compulsory labor, which also applies to children (although such labor by children is not prohibited specifically); however, such practices occur. In some rural areas, villagers still are obligated to work in the village community gardens or on small construction projects, such as repairing roads. There were reports of children forced into prostitution by parents or guardians in need of extra income, and children reportedly are trafficked to work in mines and other businesses (see Section 6.f.). The Government is working with NGO's to establish a specific prohibition against child labor. In 1999 the Government drafted a National Child Labor Elimination policy designed to bring national law into compliance with international conventions, and in December the Government invited labor organizations and NGO's to comment on the draft law.
d. Status of Child Labor Practices and Minimum Age for Employment
By law children under the age of 12 are prohibited from working in the formal wage sector in both urban and rural areas, and the Government enforces this prohibition; however, the 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. Approximately 250,000 children engage in child labor.
The minimum age for 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. The Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare and Youth Development is responsible for enforcement, but the number of inspectors is inadequate. The effectiveness of government enforcement reportedly has 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 adult counterparts, although they may be in comparable jobs. Work on sisal and tobacco plantations is particularly hazardous and detrimental to children. From 1,500 to 3,000 children work in unregulated gemstone mines. Girls often are employed as domestic servants, mostly in urban households under abusive and exploitative conditions. In the informal sector, children assist their parents in unregulated piecework manufacturing.
The Constitution does not specifically prohibit forced or bonded child labor, and there were reports of children forced into prostitution by their parents or their guardians, and children reportedly are trafficked to work in mines and other businesses (see Sections 6.c. and 6.f.).
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 approximately $21 (17,500 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 a decent standard of living for a worker and family, and workers must depend on their extended family or on a second or third job. Despite the minimum wage, many workers, especially in the small but growing 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; however, its effectiveness is limited. Labor standards are not enforced in the informal sector.
TFTU officials have claimed that enforcement of labor standards is effective in the formal sector, but no verification studies have been performed. Workers may sue an employer through their TFTU branch if their working conditions do not comply with the Ministry of Labor's health and environmental standards. Workers who make such complaints have not lost their jobs; however, workers do not have the right to remove themselves from dangerous situations without jeopardizing their employment.
f. Trafficking in Persons
The law does not prohibit trafficking, and there were reports that children are trafficked away from their families to work in mines and other business entities. Reportedly senior government officials are involved in the practice. There were also reports of children forced into prostitution by parents or guardians in need of extra income.