Tanzanian poll is likely to usher in a new era of authoritarianism. Here’s why

President John Magufuli has closed down all the reliable means to evaluate allegations of foul play. Getty Images

Dan Paget, University of Aberdeen

Tanzanians voted in their general election on October 28 in a poll that pitted popular opposition chief Tundu Lissu against incumbent John Magufuli. As the votes are counted, Dan Paget explains why incumbent John Magufuli is likely to be declared the winner, and what his second term will mean for democracy in the East African nation.

How do you rate the independence or fairness of the Tanzania election commission now and in the past?

We should wait until all the results have come out before passing judgement. However, provisionally, I no longer have faith in Tanzania’s National Electoral Commission or the validity of the election results. The validity of elections should be something that is determined by independent bodies and rigorous procedures. However, I am afraid that guesswork and judgement are the only means at our disposal to assess the validity of these elections, because other avenues to verify it have been blocked in advance.

It is never easy to know when to give credence to allegations of election manipulation. Such accusations can always be made in bad faith. If the election commission were independent, and governed by a cross-party board, one might trust them to arbitrate these allegations. Instead the constitution gives the president the authority to appoint the heads of the commission. The opposition has been calling for the commission to be reformed for years.

In the absence of an independent electoral commission, and independent courts, normally one would turn to independent observer missions. They routinely deploy large teams which observe the conduct of the election and assess irregularities, but these missions have been kept away. So have many of the most respected domestic election observers, such as the Legal and Human Rights Centre. The conclusions of the few observation missions present will be important. So will be the judgements of Tanzania Election Watch, which is assaying the conduct of the election remotely. I recommend their preliminary report.

Altogether, the reliable means to evaluate allegations of foul play have been all but closed down. Given all that, it is hard to know what to do except to give prima facie credence to the widespread allegations of election fraud made by the opposition and many analysts.

Their claims acquire weight from the stream of videos and photographs shared via social media. These largely unverified reports appear to show the manipulation of the electoral register, ghost polling stations, pre-filled ballots, pre-printed ballots, ballot-stuffing, polling agents disqualified or barred access to polling stations, and a variety of other irregularities.

What puts it over the top is the scale and character of the victory for the ruling party – Chama cha Mapinduzi – that has been reported so far. Results are still coming in, and final judgement should be suspended until we have a complete picture. Nonetheless, the ruling party’s victories have been declared in places you would least expect them to win, and at a scale which is hard to believe.

The popularity of the opposition and the ruling party alike is difficult to discern, especially given the absence of opinion polls. This makes the size of rallies one of the few indicators of party popularity left available to us. The rally is a treacherous indicator of party popularity. Nonetheless, as I have argued elsewhere, we can draw a tentative, negative conclusion: opposition support has not collapsed. It is not negligible. If it had, we would not have seen large opposition rallies so consistently. This inference is consistent with the opposition’s wide organisational base.

Nonetheless, so far, officials have declared the defeat of the opposition’s most admired leaders in their greatest strongholds. Household names like Zitto Kabwe, Freeman Mbowe, Joseph Mbilinyi, Halima Mdee, John Heche and Esther Bulaya have all lost their seats. These defeats, moreover, are by astounding margins. Altogether, it is hard to see why the National Electoral Commission and the wider infrastructure which oversees elections in Tanzania should be given the benefit of the doubt.

The police made regular arrests of opposition candidates and broke up heir rallies. To what extent were the police – and by extension the government – a factor in the eventual outcomes?

The police have certainly been a forceful presence in this campaign. The video evidence of them firing teargas, breaking up meetings, arresting opposition candidates and committing acts of brutality are available on social media for all to see.

On the instructions of state officials, first the leading opposition candidate for the presidency of Tanzania, Tundu Lissu, and then the leading opposition candidate for the presidency of Zanzibar, Seif Hamad, were temporarily barred from campaigning.

It must all have had an effect on the election outcome.

Alongside the police has been the army. They have been deployed to oversee the election in parts of the country, and there are multiple albeit mostly unverified reports of brutality and murder at their hands.

But their actions need to be interpreted in the wider authoritarian context. Tanzania has always been an authoritarian state. The old authoritarian architecture was never removed after the reintroduction of multiparty elections in 1992. But there has been a sea-change since 2015 when Magufuli came to power. Things that were permitted in 2014 are not permitted today. The media are censored. Political parties are oppressed. Politicians and civic activists are harassed, in court and out of it. Rallies were banned for four years. There has been a spate of violence by anonymous actors, which context suggested but did not confirm were connected to the state. That context is key. The trajectory of party politics in Tanzania has been shaped by it. It is crucial to everything.

Based on what you know so far, was the 2020 election a step forward or backward in Tanzania’s path to fully free and fair elections?

So far, it seems that this election will usher in a new era of authoritarianism. Any resemblance that Tanzania has borne to a liberal democracy seems to be slipping away. Not only is the apparent scale of election manipulation unprecedented. The authoritarian landslide which seems to be in the making will be presented by the regime as a vindication of its extreme authoritarian project over the last five years.

My speculative opinion is that President Magufuli and his ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi will use the super-majority that they seem about to award themselves to enact their authoritarian developmental vision. They will institute a deeper and further-reaching authoritarian agenda. This might include lifting presidential term limits, but it is also likely to include the institution of further measures that consolidate the party’s authoritarian transformation of Tanzania.

Dan Paget, Lecturer in Politics, University of Aberdeen

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The African Energy Chamber raises concern over the arrest of Energy executives

The African Energy Chamber expresses has raised concerns over the alleged arrest and detention of three energy executives in Tanzania last week.

Total Tanzania’s Managing Director Jean-Francois Schoepp, Puma Supply Manager Adam Eliewinga and Oryx’s representative August Dominick were arrested for questioning and taken into custody while attending a consultative meeting between oil marketers and the Energy and Water Regulatory Authority (Ewura) in Dar es Salaam. 

The African Energy Chamber is calling for the respect of the rule of law, and asking that they be afforded all due processes as required by Tanzanian law. Given how critical these times are the ongoing economic crisis across the continent because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Chamber is hoping for a quick and amicable resolution to such disagreements that are detrimental to Tanzanian citizens.

“We hope that any ongoing disagreement between oil marketers and the Tanzanian government will be quickly resolved so everyone can get back to business and to providing services to Tanzanian consumers. The Chamber has repeatedly applauded Tanzania for its strike in discovering significant gas resources. With the right infrastructure, Tanzania’s natural resources could transform the country into an oasis of energy growth. We do not want to see such isolated incidents affect the attractiveness of the country for foreign investors and ultimately affect the its energy independence and slow down jobs creation,” declared Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber.

The Chamber will remain open to assisting all parties in reaching an amicable solution to ongoing disagreements and calls on all stakeholders to promote a stronger dialogue on ongoing matters of fuel supply across Tanzania. 

Novartis expands Africa Sickle Cell Disease program to Uganda and Tanzania

Novartis and its partners announced the expansion of the Africa Sickle Cell Disease program to East Africa with the signature of two new memoranda of understanding with the Ministries of Health of Uganda and Tanzania. The program, first launched in Ghana in November 2019, aims to improve and extend the lives of people with sickle cell disease (SCD) in sub-Saharan Africa, with plans to reach a total of 10 countries by 2022.

Photo Credit: Sickle Cell Disease Coalition

“In this time of worldwide uncertainty, it is even more important to support people living with chronic conditions like sickle cell disease,” said Dr. Patrice Matchaba, Group Head of Global Health & Corporate Responsibility at Novartis. “We are excited to join forces with the Ministries of Health of Uganda and Tanzania and local partners to reimagine treatment and care for people with sickle cell disease.”

Within the scope of these public-private partnerships, Novartis and its partners have agreed to explore collaboration opportunities aimed at tackling the growing burden of SCD in their countries. The partners intend to develop and implement a comprehensive approach that includes making diagnosis and treatment available, accessible and affordable for patients and their families; promoting scientific research, training and education; and pursuing robust monitoring and evaluation of the program. As a next step, Novartis plans to work with the respective Ministries of Health to further define the scope of each collaboration and explore opportunities for additional partnerships.

In Ghana, the program is already making progress with more than 2000 patients being treated with hydroxyurea in 11 treatment centers across the country. To date, Novartis has delivered more than 60 000 treatments of hydroxyurea in Ghana, helping ensure SCD patients have uninterrupted access to treatment during the global pandemic. At the same time, Novartis has registered the medicine for the treatment of SCD in Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya. Hydroxyurea is a commonly used medicine for patients with SCD in developed countries, and is approved for use in both adults and children. A recent study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine2, indicates that hydroxyurea is effective and safe in children with SCD in sub-Saharan Africa and reduces the incidence of pain events (vaso-occlusive crises), malaria, blood transfusions, and death.

In addition, Novartis has signed a memorandum of understanding with the University of Ghana with the intent to collaborate on promoting education, research, advocacy and capacity building to advance Ghana’s national health agenda to improve the health and well-being of people with SCD. At the same time, we are continuing our efforts to develop a child-friendly formulation of hydroxyurea and have announced plans to conduct two clinical trials in Ghana and Kenya for its next-generation treatment for SCD, crizanlizumab. Crizanlizumab, a novel targeted biologic therapy, is approved in a number of countries to reduce the number of pain crises in people with SCD. The trials are expected to start in 2020; this will be the first time that a biologic therapy, which is not a vaccine, enters multicenter clinical trials in sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa).3

“As we fight the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa, we cannot lose sight of other health priorities for the region, including sickle cell disease,” said Dr. Charles Kiyaga, Sickle Cell Program Head at the Ministry of Health in Uganda. “Such partnerships between the public and private sector are necessary to help accelerate progress in SCD prevention and management for the benefit of the patients, their families and communities.”

Sickle cell disease is recognized by the World Health Organization as a public health priority and a neglected health problem in sub-Saharan Africa, which carries approximately 80% of the global disease burden.4 In countries in West, Central and East Africa, the prevalence of the sickle cell gene is between 10 to 30%, while in some areas it is as high as 45%.5 It is estimated that approximately 1 000 children in Africa are born with SCD every day and more than half die before they reach five years of age.1 This is due primarily to a lack of early diagnosis through newborn screening, penicillin prophylaxis, parental education, and comprehensive care. In resource-poor countries, more than 90% of children with SCD do not survive to adulthood.6

Tanzania Selects HID Global’s Solutions for Electronic Visa and Residence Permit Services in e-Immigration Program

The new web-based visa and residence permit services allow visitors and residents to apply for and receive validated credentials for traveling or living in the country

Rob Haslam, Vice President of Sales, Citizen ID business with HID Global

HID Global® (www.HIDGlobal.com), a worldwide leader in trusted identity solutions, on Monday announced that the government of Tanzania has selected HID’s citizen ID solutions to add e-Visa and e-Permit capabilities to its e-Passport, which HID helped deploy last year as part of the Tanzania e-Immigration program.

The new web-based visa and residence permit services allow visitors and residents to apply for and receive validated credentials for traveling or living in the country.

“This is an important milestone as we continue to work with HID Global to enhance and broaden the capabilities of our e-Immigration ecosystem,” said Dr Anna Peter Makakala, Tanzania’s Commissioner General of Immigration. “We plan to continue expanding this solution to our country’s border crossings and across the broader global community as we become a showcase for efficient, comprehensive and integrated e-Immigration solutions.”

“We are pleased to be entering this second deployment phase with the government of Tanzania, building on the success of the country’s e-Passport roll-out last year,” said Rob Haslam, Vice President of Sales, Citizen ID business with HID Global. “Immigration officers in Tanzania now have a convenient and efficient toolset for completing their vital mission of vetting and granting electronic visa and residence permit credentials to applicants.”

Since early 2018, HID Global has been Tanzania’s primary supplier of an end-to-end solution for issuing e-Passports with advanced physical and electronic security features, automated verification capabilities and a tamper-proof contactless chip embedded in a polycarbonate datapage. The country now has a single citizen identification system that spans the entire identity journey from data capture to issuance and can be used to support e-Passports, e-Visas, e-Permits and other physical electronic documents.

HID’s solutions can be found in sixty percent of all government-issued electronic identity projects around the world.  As a solutions provider, HID is delivering complete, end-to-end system solutions that meet governmental requirements for national ID, e-Passport, foreign resident ID, driver license, vehicle registration and other programs. 

Security Council recognizes contributions of police components to UN peacekeeping

The Security Council on Monday adopted a resolution stressing the important contribution that United Nations policing can provide in peacekeeping and special political missions throughout the conflict cycle.


Tanzanian police officer Grace Ngassa (left), serving with the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), interacts with a woman resident of Zam Zam camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs), near El Fasher, capital of North Darfur. UN Photo/Albert Gonzlez Farran

In the unanimously approved text, the 15-member body, while stressing the primacy of political solutions to conflict, resolved to include, on a case by case basis, policing as an integral part of the mandates and decision-making structures of UN peacekeeping operations and special political missions.

In doing so, the Council took into account the need for consistent integration of police expertise within the planning of such missions, and to give dear, credible, achievable, appropriately resourced mandates for policing-related activities.

While recognizing the role of UN policing in UN efforts to prevent conflicts, the Council called on the Secretary-General to make sure that planning of UN peacekeeping and special political missions with police mandates are based on a thorough analysis of the context, capacities and needs of host-States.

Further, the Council recognized the important role that UN police components can play in the protection of civilians, including in preventing and addressing sexual and gender-based violence and conflict-related sexual violence and violations and abuses against children in the conflict and post-conflict situations.

The Secretary-General is requested to submit a report by the end of 2018, including on the implications for the delivery of policing mandates of changes to the Secretariat’s peace and security architecture, as well as efforts to strengthen and improve UN policing coherence, capability, accountability and police generation.

VIDEO: United Nation’s new Police Adviser, Luis Carrilho, speaks about expectations for the UN Police Week 2017. The annual event, running from 6 – 10 November 2017, brings together heads of police components in UN peacekeeping operations and special political missions around the world.
Briefings on UN policing

Briefing the Council, Under‑Secretary‑General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean‑Pierre Lacroix said the United Nations police played a continued vital role in bridging the Organization’s work from prevention and peacekeeping to peacebuilding and development.

UN police now operate on a solid foundation based on the Strategic Guidance Framework, use comprehensive approaches to operations, capacity‑building and development and focused on basic skills transfer and strengthening host‑State police institutions. “As more is demanded from police officers, there is also a need to ensure their welfare, safety and security in the field,” he said and such, they need to be supplied with up‑to‑date equipment to increase their situational awareness.

Issoufou Yacouba, Head of the Police Component of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), said the situation on the ground is characterized by a resurgence of attacks against Malian security forces, Mission forces, Operation Barkhane, humanitarian workers and civilians in the north and centre of the country.

“MINUSMA has developed a comprehensive policing plan charged with strengthening the Malian structures that fights both criminality and terrorism,” he continued. Some 24,000 security personnel had been trained, with 1,385 trained specifically for fighting organized crime and terrorism. A gender strategy was a large part of all training. In addition, Mission officers continued to support the work of the special judicial police, he added.

Georges‑Pierre Monchotte, Police Commissioner of the UN Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH), said the first challenge of the transition is managing troop drawdowns and tailoring the initiative to the new landscape, including promoting gender equality. A harmonious transition had been made in cooperation with Haiti’s national police, using a new approach to transferring skills, with the aim of generating cultural exchanges.

An advice and support programme had centred on mentoring senior officials in the areas of command and administration. More broadly, he encouraged police‑contributing countries to deliver the necessary resources and to include more female officers.

Also briefing the Council, Priscilla Makotose, the Police Commissioner of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), said including more women is indeed important. Noting that 20 per cent of UNAMID officers are female, she said few women are serving in the Sudanese police in Darfur, emphasizing that progress is essential in order to address conflict‑related sexual violence and sexual- and gender‑based violence. “Women also need additional training, mentoring, more role models and the appointment by Member States of more qualified females to senior positions.”

Turning to UNAMID priorities, she highlighted civilian protection and the creation of a protective environment through community policing initiatives and capacity‑building for Sudan’s police force. Mission police also support the institutional development of Sudan’s police force.

Dangote says “Sometimes it is just a matter of communication”

Financial Times editor Lionel Barber asked Nigerian business leader Aliko Dangote in a live interview at the FT Africa Summit on Monday about his relationship with Tanzanian president John Magufuli



Nigerian businessman Aliko Dangote

Financial Times correspondent John Aglionby’s reporting in the fast FT online column that Nigerian businessman Aliko Dangote “accuses ‘Bulldozer’ Tanzanian president of scaring away investors” appears to have caused an overblown row.

When Financial Times editor Lionel Barber asked Nigerian business leader Aliko Dangote in a live interview at the FT Africa Summit (http://APO.af/qv2dZFon Monday about his relationship with Tanzanian president John Magufuli, Dangote smiled and replied positively, “It’s okay. I can always call him; I have his mobile number, and he listens to me”.

Asked to comment on investment policies across Africa, Dangote, whose $620M US investment in a cement factory in Mtwara is among the largest in that country, went on to say that Tanzania’s general policies “need to be looked at”. Sharing his experience as one of Africa’s most prominent investors with operations in 17 countries Dangote explained that policies scare away investors and that once an investor has left “it is very difficult to bring that investor back.”

Dangote was referring to Tanzania’s investment law concerning the extractive industries which requires foreign investors to yield 16% “free carried interests” to the government, although he did clarify that this was not applicable to cement. Dangote pointed out that the policy could lead to others which could dilute control of assets in a country, a concern that is generally factored into corporate decisions on investing in foreign markets.

“Sometimes it is just a matter of communication”, Dangote said when describing how investors sort out contractual arrangements with foreign goverments. With regard to his $620 M USD investment in Tanzania he added “I’m sure we will engage them and try to resolve the issue.”

Tanzanian Investment Minister Charles Mwijage responded immediately to charges reported in the Financial Times defending his government’s policies aimed at ensuring Tanzania’s benefits from the country’s resources and underscoring how accommodating the government has been in facilitating Dangote’s project in the country.

Investors at the one-day FT Africa Summit which hosted the live interview with Africa’s most prominent industrialist seemed to agree that Dangote had not “accused” the Tanzanian president, but had only warned that policies need to be clearly defined and investors need to be reassured that their investments are safe. “There was nothing at all in Mr. Dangote’s comments directed to President Magufuli,” one attendee remarked.


Article first published by APO