Tanzania

  1. Trump imposes visa restrictions on un-named Tanzanians

    Mary Harper

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    The US has imposed visa restrictions on Tanzanian officials it says were responsible for undermining the general elections last October.

    The outgoing Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, said those targeted subverted the electoral process and violated human rights.

    He said the intimidation and arrest of opposition candidates, widespread voting irregularities and internet disruptions meant the polls were neither free nor fair.

    The October election was won by the incumbent John Magufuli with more than 80% of the vote.

    A state department statement on the visa directive did not name the sanctioned Tanzanian officials.

    Today is the last full working day for President Donald Trump, his successor Joe Biden will be sworn in on Wednesday as the 46th president of the US.

  2. Magufuli rallies Tanzanians to feed world post-Covid

    Tanzania's President John Magufuli
    Image caption: President Magufuli has always cast doubt on the severity of the pandemic

    Tanzania's President John Magufuli has rallied farmers in the country to increase food production, predicting global food scarcity later in the year caused by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

    He urged farmers to take advantage of the reduced production by the largest food-producing countries in the wake of health restrictions imposed across the world.

    "This year there is a possibility of a severe famine in the world because many people are in lockdown because of corona, but this should not discourage us because even if they are imprisoned they still need to eat. We will grow crops that we will sell to them," he told a gathering in the north-western town of Bukoba.

    The Tanzanian president has been criticised for downplaying the pandemic in the country, he has repeatedly said the health crisis had been exaggerated and mocked those who wear masks.

    In June he declared that the country was "coronavirus-free" thanks to prayers by citizens.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) expressed concern over the government's strategy on Covid-19.

  3. Tanzania to auction 30 wildlife hunting blocks

    The elephant is surprised by the Lioness as she pounces away at the Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania
    Image caption: Tourism is a key part of Tanzania's economy

    The Tanzanian government has invited interested bidders as it auctions 30 “tourist hunting blocks” within game reserves and other areas.

    “The Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority (TAWA) invites applications from qualified applicants for the allocation of Tourist Hunting Blocks through electronic auctioning” the authority says on its website.

    Tawa has set out requirements for companies interested in the blocks, including being registered “within Tanzania intending to engage in hunting of animals”, as well having at least one director with five years of experience in wildlife-based business and conservation in the country.

    “Eligible hunting companies can be allocated up to five hunting blocks each, which shall be of different categories. Auctioning will commence on 8 February 2021 and will last for seven consecutive days” the authority says.

    Some of the hunting blocks are located within the Selous Game Reserve ecosystem, which is listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site. Tourism is one of the key pillars of Tanzanian economy.

    The government initially placed 26 hunting blocks on an online auctioning platform in 2019 in order to enhance transparency and curb corruption.

    Last year’s auction was reportedly shelved after the government was unable to sell many of the blocks in previous auctions.

  4. Tanzania and Mozambique leaders meet over insecurity

    Athuman Mtulya

    BBC News, Dar es Salam

    Burnt buildings
    Image caption: Hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes, many of which have been destroyed, during the insurgency

    Mozambique's President Filipe Nyusi has concluded a one-day state visit to Tanzania where bolstering bilateral cooperation and security between the two neighbouring countries were top of the agenda.

    President John Magufuli and Mr Nyusi did not issue a joint statement as many observers had expected but Mr Nyusi said after the meeting that they had "talked about the security situation".

    Mozambique's northernmost province of Cabo Delgado, which borders Tanzania's southern Mtwara region, has been riven by violence since 2017.

    An Islamist militant group, which has pledged allegiance to the so-called Islamic State group, has carried out raids and deadly attacks killing hundreds and displacing thousands of people in the gas-rich region.

    In one of the worst attacks in November, the militants beheaded more than 50 people in a football pitch in Cabo Delgado.

    This attack happened weeks after the militants crossed the border to Mtwara region and killed an unspecified number of people.

    Concerned about the insurgency spilling into its territory, Tanzania deployed troops along its southern border.

    Police chiefs from both countries have also held meetings to assess the situation.

  5. Chinese official thanked for not wearing mask in Tanzania

    Tanzania's president has thanked a visiting Chinese minister for not wearing a mask, claiming it proves there's no coronavirus in the country.

    "I want to thank minister Wang Yi, he knows in Tanzania we don't have Corona that's why he's not wearing a mask. Thank you very much Mr Wang Yi... and to demonstrate I will shake his hand as we head to share a meal together," President John Magufuli said.

    Yet Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi seemed to be the odd one out in his delegation, with the rest wearing masks as seen in this video:

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    President Magufuli has been widely criticised for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, dismissing World Health Organization guidelines that urge social distancing among other measures.

    Tanzania has not for a long time released data on coronavirus infections in the country.

    Mr Yi is on a five-nation tour to Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Botswana, Tanzania and Seychelles.

    "It is a good tradition of Chinese diplomacy that the foreign minister always begins a year's overseas visits in Africa," China's diplomatic service quotes Mr Yi as saying.

    It also says China will "despatch medical experts" and wants to "fast track" existing building projects that have been put on hold by the pandemic.

    The purpose of Mr Yi's visit to Africa is said to be the forging of "a closer community with a shared future".

  6. Tanzania releases jailed human rights lawyer

    Jailed Tanzanian human rights lawyer, Tito Magoti, has been freed after a year of calls for his release.

    Mr Magoti was fined 17.3 million Tanzanian shillings ($7,500; £5,500) on Tuesday.

    He was arrested in December 2019 alongside an IT specialist Theodory Giyani and charged with economic crimes.

    They were accused of creating a computer programme with the intention of committing an offence.

    Mr Magoti was at the time working for the Legal and Human Right Centre (LHRC) based in the country's commercial capital, Dar es Salaam.

    Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International had called for Mr Magoti's release, accusing the Tanzanian government of violating his rights.

    LHRC tweeted a photo of Mr Magoti (third right) and Mr Giyani (second right) after their release:

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  7. Tanzanian police question Australian women's rights activist

    Zara Kay
    Image caption: Tanzania-born Zara Kay is the founder of an organisation helping women who leave Islam

    An Australian women’s rights campaigner, Zara Kay, is being questioned by Tanzanian authorities about her citizenship, her lawyer confirmed to BBC.

    Benedict Ishabakaki told the BBC that the Tanzania-born activist reported to police as required in the morning but was later transferred to the immigration department.

    Tanzanian authorities are accusing Ms Kay of not renouncing her Tanzanian citizenship by returning her passport after gaining Australian nationality.

    Dual citizenship is illegal in Tanzania.

    Her lawyer says that she did not return her Tanzanian passport because she lost it.

    "She is not using the Tanzanian passport. She entered Tanzania before her arrest using an Australian passport,” said her lawyer.

    The activist tweeted on 28 December that she was heading to the police station after “someone reported me in for blasphemy”.

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    She is the founder of Faithless Hijabi - a group which helps women who face recriminations for renouncing Islam.

    She was released on bail the next day and the International Coalition of Ex-Muslims released a statement saying she was facing three charges including criticising the Tanzanian president's handling of the coronavirus pandemic on Twitter and using a SIM which was not registered to her name.

    However, Tanzanian police boss Simon Sirro didn't mention two of those charges when talking to journalists on Monday, instead only saying that she was being questioned over her citizenship status.

  8. Tanzanian opposition calls for sanctions from exile in Belgium

    Video content

    Video caption: Tundu Lissu claims killings and torture blighted the October election

    Tundu Lissu claims killings and torture blighted the October election

  9. Video content

    Video caption: Male rape: Talking about the stigma surrounding sexual violence in Africa

    Novatus and Onyango describe the challenges faced by men as victims of rape in Africa.

  10. Tanzania 'chooses local herbs over vaccine'

    Alistair Coleman

    BBC Monitoring

    President John Magufuli
    Image caption: President John Magufuli said in June that Tanzania was "coronavirus-free"

    Tanzania has reportedly said it has no plans to import Covid-19 vaccines, instead pinning its hopes on research into “local herbs”.

    In an interview with the East African newspaper, health ministry spokesperson Gerald Chami went on to cast doubt on the safety and efficacy of imported vaccines.

    He said that development has been too rapid for effective testing.

    Covid-19 vaccine tests meet rigorous international standards.

    Tanzania’s approach to Covid-19 has been at odds with its East African neighbours, which have seen a recent surge in cases.

    The country stopped reporting new cases at the end of April, and President John Magufuli said that the country was virus-free.

  11. Tanzanian former MP granted asylum in Canada

    Godbless Lema
    Image caption: Godbless Lema has had run-ins with the police

    A former Tanzanian opposition MP Godbless Lema has been granted asylum in Canada, Kenyan media reports.

    He had fled to Kenya through the Lungalunga border and was briefly detained before being allowed into the country.

    His Kenyan lawyer George Wajackoyah has been quoted by local media as saying that Mr Lema left the country on Wednesday night.

    Mr Lema arrived in Kenya last month accompanied by his wife and three children.

    He fled shortly after the Tanzania elections in October in which President John Magufuli was declared the winner. His main challenger Tundu Lissu disputed the result.

    Mr Lissu fled to Belgium, saying his life was in danger.

  12. Tanzanian ministers warned against selfies and WhatsApp leaks

    Tanzania's President John Magufuli has warned his new cabinet against the "strange sickness" of leaking confidential official communications on WhatsApp groups.

    President Magufuli also warned ministers against taking "selfies" while on duty, saying their work will be "visible" through results achieved.

    He made the remarks on Wednesday at an event to swear in ministers and their deputies in the capital, Dodoma.

    "In government there is now a strange sickness where even communications are posted on WhatsApp groups. Some confidential communications are being leaked. Let's adhere to our oaths," President Magufuli is quoted as saying in a tweet by the government spokesperson.

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    Mr Magufuli was re-elected in October in a landslide victory in a poll that the opposition described as fraudulent. The president got 84% of the vote.

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  13. MP loses job after hesitating over oath of office

    An oath event in Tanzania

    A Tanzanian MP nominated for a government post has been dropped and replaced after he hesitated and struggled to take the oath of office.

    Francis Ndulane, who was to become assistant minister in the mines ministry, attempted to say the words several times before being asked to take a seat as other nominees were called to take their oath.

    A video of the event attended by President John Magufuli has been shared on Twitter.

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    In his remarks Mr Magufuli said that he had reviewed the CVs of all nominees before appointing them but added that Mr Ndulane would be replaced.

    "I will give this position to someone who can take the oath properly," the president said.

    He told Mr Ndulane that he will keep his MP seat but "we will have to get a replacement".

    Mr Ndulane has not commented on why he struggled to take the oath.

  14. Tourism blow as top Tanzania hotel 'becomes student hostel'

    A five-star tourist hotel in Tanzania has been turned into a student hostel, local media report.

    This is a sign of dwindling fortunes for the tourism sector in the country.

    The Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge, located inside a national park in the northern province of Arusha, used to draw many international visitors.

    But it has been forced to close recently for lack of visitors, triggered by restrictions due to the coronavirus outbreak.

    The hotel has now been taken over by the Arusha Institute of Accountancy on a lease basis, with some of the rooms being refitted to accommodate double beds for students.

    The transformation of the hotel has been described as a "low blow" for the industry:

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  15. Human Rights Watch: Burundi refugees 'tortured' in Tanzania

    An adviser on repatriation hangs a Burundian flag on the lead bus transporting refugees arriving at the Gisuru border on October 3, 2019
    Image caption: Tanzania hosts thousands of refugees from Burundi at camps near the border

    Human Rights Watch (HRW) has accused Tanzanian authorities of “gravely” abusing at least 18 Burundian refugees and asylum seekers since late last year.

    In a new report, the rights watchdog says Tanzanian police and intelligence services forcibly disappeared, tortured, and arbitrarily detained at least 11 Burundians for up to several weeks in abysmal conditions in a police station in Kibondo, Kigoma region.

    Tanzanian authorities forcibly returned eight of them to Burundi where they have been detained without charge, while three were released in Tanzania, the report says.

    Seven other refugees and asylum seekers have been arrested and forcibly disappeared since January this year, the HRW said.

    “The Tanzanian government should urgently and impartially investigate allegations that Burundians have been abducted, tortured, and illegally handed over to Burundian authorities, and ensure that those responsible are held to account,” the watchdog said.

    More than 150,000 live in Tanzanian camps, many of whom fled violence in Burundi after then-president Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to run for a disputed third term in 2015.

    The HRW says it has not received any response from Tanzanian authorities after sending letters seeking answers about investigations on the cases.

  16. Berlin to name street after Tanzanian independence activist

    View of Wissmannstraße
    Image caption: Wissmannstraße is set to be renamed next year

    Councillors in the German capital, Berlin, have voted to replace a street name honouring a colonial governor in East Africa accused of having ordered massacres with one of a leading female Tanzanian independence activist.

    Wissmannstraße, named after Hermann von Wissmann, is set to become Lucy-Lameck-Straße.

    She was Tanzania's first female cabinet minister as well as a leading figure in the country's independence movement.

    Von Wissman was governor of German East Africa (now Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda) in the late 19th Century and is believed to have behind the mass killings of local people, German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel reports.

    Berlin Postkolonial, one of the groups behind the call for the name change, welcomed the local authority's decision.

    In a statement it said that the campaign had prevented "the further honouring" of Von Wissmann and in its place put "a Tanzanian woman who actively opposed colonialism and racism".

    "Wissmann was a racist war criminal. Lucy Lameck stands for the undervalued contribution of Tanzania's women to the fight for our independence," Tanzanian activist Mnyaka Sururu Mboro said.

    Read more about the legacy of Germany's colonial history:

  17. Opposition calls for sanctions against Tanzania officials

    Tanzania's opposition leader, Tundu Lissu, has urged the international community to impose sanctions against state officials linked to human rights abuses in last month's disputed general elections.

    President John Magufuli won a second term in the election that was marred with violence and claims of fraud.

    The UK and the United States said there had been systematic interference, but the Tanzania's electoral commission says there was no fraud.

    Mr Lissu, in a tweet, called on the international community to "impose targeted sanctions, asset freezes, travel bans and such measures as are necessary to end the impunity".

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    The opposition leader fled to Belgium soon after the election citing threats to his life. The government said there was no evidence of threats to opposition leaders.

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