Tanzania. According to
countryaah, the country's new president John Magufuli went
on the offensive against widespread corruption. In January,
he dismissed several executives in a national ID card
project and opened the way for a corruption investigation
around the equivalent of SEK 3 billion. Magufuli also
threatened to dismiss ministers who did not declare their
assets and refused to sign a declaration of privacy.
In March, presidential elections were again held in
Zanzibar, when the election was annulled by the Election
Commission the year before with reference to electoral
fraud. But the opposition party CUF (the United Citizens'
Front), whose candidate declared himself victorious in 2015,
boycotted the new election. The ruling party CCM
(Revolutionary Party) sitting President Ali Mohamed Shein
therefore won by over 90% of the vote.
Several Western countries objected to how the election
was conducted, and the US marked by withholding aid of close
to half a billion dollars. The protest also involved a new
law against cyber crime that was considered to threaten
freedom of speech in Tanzania.
President Magufuli carried out extensive reforms in the
state bureaucracy. Excessively high salaries were cut and
the lowest were raised. Furthermore, hunting for false
employment was started, which is estimated to cost the state
equivalent to half a billion SEK each year. Business has
complained of ineffective and corrupt public bureaucracy. In
May, it was announced that over 10,000 names were removed
from payrolls, but the hunt continued with the threat of
bringing the fraudsters to justice.
The Mayor was fired in May after he got drunk for taking
part in a parliamentary question. The decision was made by
President Magufuli and attracted attention when the
dismissed minister was considered to be close to the
president. Magufuli made it clear that he intended to
establish discipline in government and public institutions.
In July, the government launched a program to take
control of untouched land to be given to poor farmers and
herdsmen. A lot of land has been bought by foreign
investors, and if it was done for speculative purposes
without investment and development after three years, legal
deeds can be withdrawn. Four-fifths of Tanzanians live on
agriculture and many have lost their livelihoods when
investors bought land.
Magufuli's government met with protests and was accused
of undemocratic methods when the broadcasters were banned
from directly broadcasting parliamentary debates. All
broadcasts would be handled by Parliament. Police used tear
gas to disperse the protesters, but the opposition called
for national protests since seven of its members were
expelled from Parliament.
Police banned demonstrations on the grounds that the
opposition was planning a campaign of civil disobedience.
The opposition denied and accused the government of
silencing its critics and using force against protesters.
The opposition party Chadema called for a protest rally
in September against what they described as Magufuli's
dictatorial regime. Magufuli then threatened to strike
without mercy against what he called troublemakers.
Christian and Muslim leaders warned of bloody violence and
appealed to Chadema to postpone the protests and seek
dialogue. The president, in turn, was urged to give the
opposition more democratic space. As a result, the protest
was canceled and the tension eased.
In September, a university teacher was indicted for
insulting President Magufuli on social media. The teacher
refused. It was the tenth indictment with the help of a new
law on cyber crimes aimed at students and opposition
politicians, among other things, that can give up to three
years in prison or high fines or both.
During the year, a British gamekeeper and helicopter
pilot was shot down and killed when he was pursuing heavily
armed poachers. Magufuli commissioned security forces to
arrest the financiers behind organized poaching, which
threatens the game and damages Tanzania's safari tourism.
The number of elephants in the country has decreased from
about 110,000 to 43,000 in five years, mainly due to
poaching on an industrial scale. Among those arrested in
recent years is the so-called Ivory Queen, a Chinese woman
suspected of leading a network that smuggled over 700
elephant moths worth the equivalent of SEK 23 million. She
denied but was prosecuted during the year and faces up to 30
years in prison.