United Republic of Tanzania
Head of state: John Magufuli (replaced Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete in November)
Head of government: Kassim Majaliwa (replaced Mizengo Peter Pinda in November)
Head of Zanzibar government: Ali Mohamed Shein

The year was taken up by preparations for the presidential and parliamentary elections, which took place in October. Inefficiencies were reported in the biometric voter registration process, leading to concerns that citizens would be prevented from voting. Legislative restrictions on freedom of expression were introduced. Human rights violations, including killing and torture, against marginalized and minority populations continued with impunity.


In April, the long-promised referendum on the new Constitution was delayed indefinitely, following delays in voter registration. A new referendum date has not yet been clarified.

Presidential and parliamentary elections took place in October. President Kikwete was constitutionally unable to run for a third term. In July, John Magufuli was chosen as the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party's presidential nominee. Also in July, former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa defected from CCM and joined Ukwana, the opposition coalition, as its presidential nominee. Both parties allowed public assemblies to take place, although widespread concern was raised about the efficacy of the new biometric voter registration system, with reports that large constituencies had been unable to register.


Over 50 people were killed on the basis of witchcraft beliefs between January and June, while over 350 were killed in documented incidents of mob violence. There have been no meaningful investigations into these killings. Reports indicated the particular vulnerability of older women in rural areas, as well as of children.

There was one report of a young child with albinism being killed for body parts in February 2015 in the Geita region. A further three cases were reported across the country in the first half of the year, involving abduction, mutilation and dismemberment of bodies. The government failed to institute adequate safety measures for people living with albinism.


In January, the regional East African newspaper was banned from circulation in Tanzania. Through the first half of 2015, several journalists were arrested, harassed, beaten and intimidated on the basis of their work.

In 2015, four bills were introduced to Parliament that collectively codified unwarranted and disproportionate restrictions on the right to freedom of expression. The bills were introduced under a "certificate of urgency", limiting normally available channels for public consultation. With some laws not being published, there was considerable confusion about their status and contents throughout the year.

Of particular concern, the Cyber Crimes Act 2015 (adopted in April) contains overly vague provisions, which purport to criminalize the sharing of "false or misleading" information online. The Statistics Act 2015, passed by Parliament in March, criminalizes and introduces disproportionate custodial sentences for the publication of "false or misleading" statistics.

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