Democracy and rights
Since John Magufuli became president in a
contentious 2015 election, Tanzania has become an
increasingly authoritarian state. Media freedom has been
limited and harassment has increased against the
political opposition. In 2019, the country fell to 25
reporters in Reporters Without Borders index of freedom
of the press in the countries of the world. By 2020,
Tanzania fell further in the index.
Tanzania was a one-party state for nearly three
decades until 1992, when multi-party systems were
introduced. However, politics is still largely dominated
by the ruling Revolutionary Party (CCM), which can be
described as a powerhouse rather than a party. CCM has
managed to retain power through an effective
organization at local and regional level. Several strong
interest organizations are also linked to the party,
which also dominates in workplaces as well as within the
police force and the military.
Offers a comprehensive list of airports in Tanzania, including international airports with city located, size and abbreviation, as well as the biggest airlines.
There are opposition parties, but they have become
increasingly difficult to operate after 2015. They often
get rejected for their applications to hold public
meetings. Opposition politicians challenging President
Magufuli are harassed. Two high-ranking members of the
largest opposition party Chadema, party chairman Freeman
Mbowe and his party colleague Esther Matiko, were
detained in police custody for court clashes between
November 2018 and March 2019. Chada's women's union,
Halima Mdee, has been arrested several times, including
for slander by President Magufuli. In March 2020, Mbowe
and eight other Chada politicians were sentenced to
fines or five months in prison for rioting in connection
with a 2017 demonstration.
In January 2019, a law was introduced that gives the
authorities the right to intervene in individual
parties' internal decision-making processes. The law
also makes it easier for the authorities to deregister a
political party and limits the possibilities for party
mergers and mergers in party alliances.
Since 2015, several human rights defenders have been
expelled and voluntary organizations have become
increasingly difficult to operate. In the fall of 2019,
the government decided to tear down the protocol that
gives the African Court of Human Rights the right to
A predetermined proportion of seats in the National
Legislative Assembly shall be reserved for women. In the
2010s, more than a third of the members were women. In
Zanzibar's local parliament, a certain number of members
are nominated by women's organizations. In general,
however, women are still under-represented in politics.
Tanzania is plagued by corruption at all levels in
both politics and business. Not least, several
corruption scandals have been discovered within CCM.
Chadema has made the fight against corruption his main
issue and often criticizes CCM for being characterized
by a bribery culture. Growing revenues from oil and
natural gas feed the bribery culture. In 2014, a number
of donor countries, including Sweden, stopped their
assistance to Tanzania after corruption was revealed
within the state energy company.
Transparency International assesses Tanzania as less
corrupt than neighboring Kenya and Mozambique. In 2019,
Tanzania ranked 96 out of 180 countries in the
organization's index of corruption in the world, while
Kenya and Mozambique were ranked 137 and 146
respectively (see full list here).
As a new president, Magufuli made an ambitious
campaign against corruption. He dismissed thousands of
civil servants who were considered corrupt and deducted
the salaries of over 13,000 so-called ghost workers
(employees who were only on paper).
Freedom of expression and media
Tanzanian legislation does not guarantee freedom of
press and expression. The media's opportunities to
operate freely increased significantly after
democratization in 1992. Then the state media monopoly
was abolished and several opposition newspapers and
magazines were started.
President Magufuli, called the Bulldozer, does not
seem to tolerate any criticism directed at himself or
his politics. With the support of new tougher media
laws, at least a dozen government-critical media have
been shut down by the authorities. Journalists have been
arrested by the police, threatened, beaten and even
killed. One of the authorities' harassment of
independent media is a growing self-censorship among the
country's journalists. In 2018, two press freedom
defenders were arrested and expelled.
Reporters Without Borders ranked 2019 Tanzania as 118
of 180 countries in its index of freedom of the press in
the world (see full list here). This meant that the
country collapsed 25 placements in just one year and a
total of 49 placements since 2014, that is, the year
before President Magufuli's entry. In 2020, Tanzania
backed another six positions to place 124 in the Press
Many of the magazines are owned by the state or by
businessmen with close ties to CCM. The dominant media
group IPP is CCM friendly. The few radio stations that
reach the whole country are considered to favor CCM.
The use of the internet has more than a hundredfold
since the turn of the millennium. In essence, users
access the network via mobile phone. The government has
made significant investments in fiber networks, which
has lowered the costs of internet and mobile telephony.
A 2015 law against cybercrime (criminal activity via
the Internet) has been criticized for striking hard on
social media through vague wording about "false
information". Since the law came into force, a number of
people have been charged with insulting President
Magufuli. To start and run a website or blog requires
accreditation from the authorities that charge high
In June 2018, the Tanzanian web site Jamii Forums
(also called Swahili Wikileaks) was forced to shut down
due to new rules for publishing on the Internet, among
other things, platforms that no longer allow anonymous
posts. Jamii Forums was a kind of whistle-blower site
with millions of followers, where sensitive, often
government-critical, information was posted.
Judicial system and legal security
The legal system has become more independent of those
in power since 1992, but it is still ineffective and
plagued by both political influence and corruption. The
members of the Supreme Court are appointed by the
President and hold their positions until they retire.
Human rights organizations have accused Tanzania's
police force of gross abuses, such as shooting deaths
during demonstrations. In 2013, 13 civilians were killed
by police and military during raids against poachers. In
February 2018, two opposition politicians were murdered
under unclear conditions.
Many Tanzanians have been arrested for their views
and have been refused defense counsel. There are also
reports that torture occurs in detention and prisons as
well as during police interrogations. Rape men often go
free. The death penalty is punished for high treason and
murder. The last execution was executed in 1995.