Tanzania

Partly Free
34
100
PR Political Rights 12 40
CL Civil Liberties 22 60
Last Year's Score & Status
34 100 Partly Free
Global freedom statuses are calculated on a weighted scale. See the methodology.

header1 Overview

Tanzania has held regular multiparty elections since its transition from a one-party state in the early 1990s, but the opposition remains relatively weak. The ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) has retained power for over 60 years. Since the election of late president John Magufuli in 2015, the government has cracked down with growing severity on its critics in the political opposition, the press, and civil society. Samia Suluhu Hassan, Magufuli’s vice president, became the country’s first ever female chief executive after Magufuli died in 2021.

header2 Key Developments in 2021

  • President Magufuli’s death was announced on March 17 by his successor, then vice president Hassan. Opposition leaders and a Kenyan newspaper reported that Magufuli contracted COVID-19 and sought treatment in Kenya; however, the government initially denied reports that Magufuli was ill and later blamed his death on heart disease.
  • The Hassan administration continued to target and restrict media outlets during the year, despite lifting a ban on media outlets in April. In August, the government suspended the CCM-owned Uhuru newspaper for reporting that Hassan may not seek a full term in 2025. In September, weekly publication Raia Mwema was suspended for 30 days for reporting purportedly false news.
  • In July, Freeman Mbowe, the chairman of the opposition Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema), was arrested ahead of a speech on constitutional reform and was charged with terrorism. Mbowe, whose lawyer claimed that he was tortured after his arrest, remained in custody at year’s end.

PR Political Rights

A Electoral Process

A1 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Was the current head of government or other chief national authority elected through free and fair elections? 1.001 4.004

The president is elected by direct popular vote for up to two five-year terms. In the event of the president’s death, the vice president assumes the post and completes their predecessor’s term. Samia Suluhu Hassan, vice president since 2015, became president in March 2021 after Magufuli died.

The late president won the October 2020 presidential election with 84.5 percent of the vote in a contest that was markedly less free and fair than the 2015 election, which he had won with 58 percent. The 2020 election was marred by widespread fraud and vote-rigging; threats of violence against opposition figures; the use of force by police against participants at opposition rallies; the suspension of media outlets and social media; the obstruction and dispersal of opposition candidate Tundu Lissu’s rallies, and other irregularities. International and local observers were denied accreditation, as were many international media outlets. Turnout was just 50 percent, down from 67 percent in the previous poll.

Opposition parties rejected the results and called for protests. Soon after, opposition figures involved in organizing planned demonstrations were arrested, and a widespread protest movement never emerged. Lissu fled to Belgium in November 2020 with assistance from several European governments and the United States.

The semiautonomous region of Zanzibar elects its own president, who serves no more than two five-year terms. The 2020 Zanzibar presidential poll, held concurrently with the October general elections, was also marred in controversy. The Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) announced that CCM candidate Hussein Mwinyi defeated Alliance for Change and Transparency (ACT-Wazalendo) candidate Seif Sharif Hamad, taking 76.3 percent to Hamad’s 19.9 percent. The ACT-Wazalendo rejected the results. Before the polls opened, the regime mobilized the army to Zanzibar, and Hamad was detained by the police. The army and police were accused of firing into a crowd days before the election, killing several people; members of the crowd were reportedly attempting to stop the delivery of ballots suspected to be fraudulent. Hamad was detained on his way to an early voting location and was held during the election period.

Reports of further detentions emerged after the election, with killings and torture of detainees reported. Some opposition politicians and activists were detained indefinitely and others were released severely injured from torture. That November, the ACT-Wazalendo agreed to form a unity government in Zanzibar, with Hamad becoming vice president. The development prompted co-optation accusations.

A2 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Were the current national legislative representatives elected through free and fair elections? 1.001 4.004

Legislative authority lies with a unicameral, 393-seat National Assembly (the Bunge) whose members serve five-year terms. There are 264 seats filled through direct elections in single-member constituencies, while 113 are reserved for women elected by political parties, 10 are filled by presidential appointment, and 5 members are elected by the Zanzibar legislature. The attorney general holds an ex officio seat.

Unlike the 2015 poll, the 2020 legislative election was marred by extensive fraud and intimidation allegations. Widespread interference in nomination processes, both bureaucratic and physical, led to around 30 opposition candidates being denied a spot on the ballot. Numerous legislative and local government candidates were detained during the campaign period, including high-profile Chadema lawmakers Godbless Lema and Halima Mdee. On election day, opposition politicians complained of election interference and fraud; 97 percent of the directly elected seats went to the CCM, which substantially increased its majority.

The opposition was granted a small number of women’s special seats in line with their share of the vote. Initially, Chadema refused to take those seats. However, a group of 19 female Chadema legislators defected, were seated in the legislature, and were then formally expelled from the party. Several of these women took their seats upon being released from police custody, prompting speculation of coercion.

Members of Zanzibar’s 85-seat House of Representatives serve five-year terms and are installed through a mix of direct elections and appointments. The 2015 legislative elections were annulled along with the concurrent Zanzibari presidential vote, and an opposition boycott of the 2016 rerun left the CCM with full control of the regional legislature. The 2020 legislative elections in Zanzibar were also marred by allegations of fraud.

The CCM was believed to have won control of most of Tanzania’s approximately 200 local authorities in 2020. Opposition parties previously controlled a significant minority of local governments, including almost all urban councils.

A3 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Are the electoral laws and framework fair, and are they implemented impartially by the relevant election management bodies? 1.001 4.004

The National Electoral Commission (NEC) is responsible for overseeing countrywide elections, while the ZEC conducts elections for Zanzibar’s governing institutions.

The structures of both bodies contribute to doubts about their independence. The NEC is appointed by the Tanzanian president. Magufuli’s appointment of a former CCM candidate as NEC director in 2019 was criticized by the Chadema and ACT-Wazalendo leaders. The NEC was criticized for poor administration of voter registration processes ahead of the 2020 elections, and it oversaw the rejection of dozens of legislative and local candidates on technicalities. That October, the NEC ordered the suspension of Lissu’s presidential campaign for a week, saying he had used incendiary language. Opposition parties accused the NEC of complicity in widespread ballot stuffing and use of “ghost voters” to increase CCM vote shares. The NEC did not release the full results of local government or legislative elections in 2020.

Opposition parties and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have called for constitutional reform, saying the current constitution favors the ruling CCM. In May 2021, Chadema vowed to boycott the 2025 presidential election without a new constitution. In separate remarks in June, however, President Hassan and a high-ranking CCM official both said constitutional reform was not an immediate priority. In August, the NEC proposed a set of electoral reforms to Hassan at an event boycotted by opposition parties.

The ZEC is appointed by the Zanzibari president, though the opposition nominates two of the seven members. In 2018, then president Ali Mohamed Shein appointed seven new members to the commission. While some observers approved of Shein’s choices, others accused the new members of being CCM partisans. ACT-Wazalendo presidential candidate Hamad accused the ZEC of failing to register over 100,000 young voters who reached voting age between 2015 and 2020.

B Political Pluralism and Participation

B1 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Do the people have the right to organize in different political parties or other competitive political groupings of their choice, and is the system free of undue obstacles to the rise and fall of these competing parties or groupings? 1.001 4.004

Tanzanians have the right to organize into political parties, but the ruling CCM enjoys considerable incumbency advantages that stifle competition. The system of state funding for parties under the Political Parties Act (PPA) of 2015 disproportionately benefits the CCM. Political parties are regulated by a presidentially appointed registrar whom the opposition criticizes for partisan bias.

Authorities have stepped up efforts to constrain opposition parties in recent years. In 2016, the government banned all political rallies and demonstrations outside election periods, sharply curtailing parties’ ability to mobilize public support. In 2019, the CCM government passed PPA amendments that further eroded the rights of opposition groups. The amendments included empowering a government minister to regulate party coalition formation, a ban on internationally sourced political fundraising, a rule prohibiting parties from engaging in “activism,” and the introduction of tools that the registrar can use to investigate and interfere with the internal operations of targeted parties. The amendments also gave the registrar legal immunity, further reducing that office’s accountability.

The Hassan administration targeted opposition activities since taking power. In July 2021, Chadema chairman Freeman Mbowe and at least 10 other Chadema members were arrested before Mbowe was to give a speech on constitutional reform. Mbowe was charged with terrorism later that month and remained in custody at year’s end. In September, police arrested nine Chadema members ahead of a planned meeting on constitutional reform. In October, Chadema claimed that the head of its Council of Elders, Hashimu Issa Juma, was held by police; police later confirmed that Juma was detained on charges including sedition.

The CCM has achieved growing success in its efforts to co-opt opposition politicians, which critics have attributed to bribery, coercion, and other inducements. A group of female Chadema members defected to take special parliamentary seats after the 2020 elections. Several were released from jail, where they faced politicized charges, in order to be sworn in.

B2 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Is there a realistic opportunity for the opposition to increase its support or gain power through elections? 1.001 4.004

The CCM has governed without interruption for over 60 years. The opposition’s electoral prospects are limited due to interference, harassment, co-optation, deadly violence against activists, and criminal prosecutions. Opposition candidates posted their best-ever electoral performance in the 2015 legislative elections, winning 45 percent of the vote, but secured only 29 percent of the National Assembly’s seats. The political space for opposition parties narrowed further during the 2020 election, with severe repression leaving little opportunity to win support or gain power. Despite the accession of a new president in March 2021, there has been no improvement in opposition prospects.

Opposition parties are hindered by poor relations. ACT-Wazalendo leader Zitto Kabwe struck a conciliatory tone with President Hassan at a cross-party conference, requesting she use “all legal channels” to release Mbowe in December 2021. Chadema rejected Kabwe’s comments as “begging,” saying his request was akin to an apology on behalf of Mbowe.

Chadema lawmaker Tundu Lissu, who traveled abroad to recover after a 2017 attempted assassination, returned to Tanzania to stand as Chadema’s presidential candidate in 2020. Lissu fled for Belgium after the polls and remained in exile as of the end of 2021. Lissu had also been named as a defendant in a 2016 sedition case against three journalists, though the director of public prosecutions said he would not pursue those charges in September 2021.

CCM efforts to convince or coerce opposition politicians to defect to government benches escalated significantly in 2020. Opposition politicians including Ester Bulaya and Halima Mdee agreed to cooperate with the government as independent politicians in parliament, breaking with Chadema. ACT-Wazalendo leader Kabwe agreed that his party would form a unity government in Zanzibar.

B3 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Are the people’s political choices free from domination by forces that are external to the political sphere, or by political forces that employ extrapolitical means? 1.001 4.004

Tanzanian voters and politicians are subject to significant undue influence from unaccountable entities using antidemocratic tactics. During his tenure, Magufuli exerted pressure through local administrative authorities, particularly presidentially appointed regional and district commissioners. These officials are technically nonpartisan, but most are CCM loyalists or former security personnel. They have significant power within their jurisdictions and have been especially repressive when overseeing opposition-oriented areas. President Hassan appointed new regional commissioners in May 2021 and new district commissioners in June. Some appointees came from opposition groups or were nonpartisan, though hardliners maintained some posts.

Civil servants in opposition-controlled councils are under significant pressure to follow directives from CCM officials, rather than elected opposition politicians. The government has sought to remove elected municipal leaders, and arbitrarily threatened and barred the movements and activities of critical NGOs and human rights advocates. The 2019 local elections, which the opposition boycotted due to widespread candidate disqualifications, were notably managed by the government ministry that also supervises regional and district commissioners.

B4 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Do various segments of the population (including ethnic, racial, religious, gender, LGBT+, and other relevant groups) have full political rights and electoral opportunities? 2.002 4.004

Members of ethnic, religious, and other minority groups ostensibly have full political rights, but the participation of some groups is limited in practice. Magufuli, a member of the Sukuma ethnic group, often appointed fellow Sukuma to government positions during his tenure. This represented a departure from predecessors who balanced ethnic and religious groups. The Magufuli-era imbalance that favored the Sukuma remains to a lesser extent under President Hassan.

Women hold 36.8 percent of legislative seats as of March 2021; the constitution requires that 30 percent of seats are held by women. However, women are underrepresented in directly elected seats, which are consistently won by male candidates. Women who run for office face mistreatment; during the 2020 campaign, Chadema candidate Catherine Ruge was arrested, stripped, and beaten by police as she stood for election in the male-dominated Serengeti constituency.

Hassan, who became Tanzania’s first female president after Magufuli’s death, appointed Stergomena Tax as its first defense minister in September 2021. However, misogynistic discourse and behavior has persisted. In June, CCM legislator Condester Sichalwe was ordered to leave the chamber after a male colleague criticized her clothing. In August, Hassan made public comments denigrating the appearance of female athletes. In October, Catherine Ruge criticized the arrest of female Chadema supporters while they were jogging.

LGBT+ people, who face the risk of arrest and harsh discrimination, cannot openly advance their political interests.

C Functioning of Government

C1 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Do the freely elected head of government and national legislative representatives determine the policies of the government? 1.001 4.004

Magufuli consolidated political power in the presidency, sidelining the legislature—in part by suppressing dissent within the ruling party—and exerting greater control over cabinet ministers through dismissals and reshuffles. The CCM government actively manages the activities of legislators and has threatened those who are frequently absent. Bills are sometimes passed using “certificates of urgency,” which speeds the legislative process.

President Hassan and pro-Magufuli legislators clashed over COVID-19 policy during 2021. Three CCM legislators who openly dissented from Hassan’s policies were censured in September.

C2 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Are safeguards against official corruption strong and effective? 2.002 4.004

Corruption remains a problem in Tanzania, and reform efforts have yielded mixed results. The Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) has been accused of focusing on low-level corruption and doing little to address graft committed by senior officials.

In recent years, several scandals have exposed higher-level corruption. In 2020, nine senior PCCB staff and 22 senior officials at the Tanzanian Revenue Authority were suspended for major corruption in two separate incidents. In March 2021, the Tanzanian Ports Authority’s director general was arrested for embezzlement.

Public funds are mismanaged; recent audits have revealed that funds were misappropriated or unaccounted for. In April 2021, the auditor general’s office reported significant financial irregularities at local government authorities. The office also reported losses in publicly owned Air Tanzania, despite officials claiming it was profitable during the Magufuli administration.

C3 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Does the government operate with openness and transparency? 1.001 4.004

A weak access to information act was adopted in 2016. The law imposes prison terms on officials who improperly release information but assigns no clear penalties for those who improperly withhold information. The Statistics Act was amended in 2019 to remove criminal liability for publishing information that conflicts with the National Bureau of Statistics, but the government generally continued to resist transparency efforts and punish journalists and civil society groups that attempted to expose official wrongdoing. Live broadcasts of parliamentary sessions have been suspended in recent years.

The government has also been opaque about the COVID-19 pandemic, especially under Magufuli. Magufuli declared that the coronavirus was “defeated” in 2020, and suspended the head of the country’s testing laboratory after questioning the accuracy of tests. Authorities stopped publishing figures of COVID-19 infections and deaths in April 2020. The government more openly endorsed COVID-19 mitigation measures after Magufuli’s death. It began releasing statistics on deaths and infections in June 2021, though these figures are considered underestimates.

The government was not transparent about President Magufuli’s health. Officials, including then vice president Hassan, denied rumors that he was severely ill in early 2021. Opposition leaders, however, claimed that Magufuli had contracted COVID-19 and sought treatment in Kenya. Then vice president Hassan announced Magufuli’s death on March 17, blaming heart disease. Kenyan press accounts contradicted the government’s announcement, with the Daily Nation reporting that Magufuli was sent to Nairobi for treatment before being returned to Tanzania and dying on March 11.

Before the pandemic, the government was suspected of manipulating economic statistics. In 2019, Tanzania was accused of blocking the publication of an International Monetary Fund report that criticized “unpredictable” economic policies, a claim that was denied by a government spokesman.

CL Civil Liberties

D Freedom of Expression and Belief

D1 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Are there free and independent media? 1.001 4.004

Independent journalists and media outlets are subject to harsh repression in Tanzania. The 2016 Media Services Act grants the government broad authority over media content and the licensing of outlets and journalists. It also prescribes severe penalties, including prison terms, for publication of defamatory, seditious, or other illegal content.

Sustained legal and regulatory pressure on journalists and the expression of other public figures has contributed to self-censorship and other suppression of news coverage. In a December 2021 report, the University of Dar es Salaam cited government pressure as a factor in the media sector’s pro-CCM bias during the 2020 elections. The government also threatened to arrest journalists who reported on Magufuli’s health in early 2021.

There was initial hope that President Hassan would open the media environment. In April 2021, she ordered that a ban on media outlets be lifted. However, the government subsequently continued to target journalists and outlets. In August, it suspended Uhuru for 14 days, after it reported that Hassan may not seek a new term in 2025. In September, the government suspended Raia Mwema for 30 days for publishing news deemed false. That same month, political cartoonist Opptertus John Fwema was arrested after posting a cartoon critical of President Hassan to Instagram.

The 2018 Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations require bloggers and owners of online discussion platforms and streaming services to pay more than $900 in annual registration fees.

D2 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Are individuals free to practice and express their religious faith or nonbelief in public and private? 3.003 4.004

Freedom of religion is generally respected and interfaith relations are largely peaceful, though periodic sectarian violence has occurred. Muslims are believed to be a minority nationwide, but almost all Zanzibaris practice Islam. Political tensions between mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar often play out along religious lines. The government occasionally raises the specter of interreligious conflict as an excuse to detain political rivals, contributing to a general sense that Muslims are sometimes treated unfairly by authorities.

Religious services were not restricted in Tanzania during the COVID-19 pandemic. Religious leaders resisted Magufuli’s COVID-19 denialism during his rule, and actively opposed COVID-19 and vaccine skepticism after his death.

D3 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Is there academic freedom, and is the educational system free from extensive political indoctrination? 2.002 4.004

Academic freedom in Tanzania was harmed by the passage of the 2015 Statistics Act. This law requires data released publicly to be first approved by the National Bureau of Statistics and prescribes fines, a minimum of three years in prison, or both for anyone who disputes official government figures. The law was amended in 2019 to remove criminal liability for publishing independent data, though it was unclear whether the change would strengthen academic freedom in practice. Tanzanian academics engage in self-censorship, though scholars sometimes release reports critical of the government.

D4 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Are individuals free to express their personal views on political or other sensitive topics without fear of surveillance or retribution? 1.001 4.004

The government historically monitored the population through a neighborhood-level CCM cell structure and has policed personal expression on social media in recent years. Under laws including the 2015 Cybercrimes Act and the 2018 Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations, social media users have been prosecuted for offenses such as insulting the president. Vague prohibitions on communication that “causes annoyance” or “leads to public disorder” have confused users as to what constitutes a violation and empowered authorities to suppress unfavorable speech at their discretion. The Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations 2020 prohibits “spreading rumors” or insulting the nation online. In early 2021, several citizens were arrested for commenting on President Magufuli’s illness and death online.

Under Magufuli, the Tanzanian government consulted with Hacking Team—a firm that provides electronic surveillance capacity—and signed cybersecurity collaboration agreements with the South Korean and Israeli governments. In 2019, recordings of CCM leaders criticizing Magufuli were publicly leaked in an apparent attempt to demonstrate pervasive surveillance and encourage self-censorship. Magufuli admitted in 2019 to monitoring the digital communications of some ministers. In 2020, the Tanzanian authorities reportedly used Twitter copyright rules to force regime critics off the service, which serves as one of the last remaining uncensored spaces for domestic discussion of Tanzanian politics.

E Associational and Organizational Rights

E1 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Is there freedom of assembly? 1.001 4.004

The constitution guarantees freedom of assembly, but the government limits this right through legal mechanisms, restrictions on social media platforms used to organize, and outright violence. Organizers must notify the police 48 hours in advance of any demonstration, and police have broad discretion to prohibit gatherings that could threaten public safety or public order. A ban on political rallies has been in place since mid-2016. The 2019 amendments to the PPA further restricted public assembly, in part by broadening the scope of activities that are deemed “political.”

In 2021, the government used heavy-handed tactics to disperse and prevent meetings related to constitutional reform. In July, police surrounded the Mwanza hotel where the opposition planned to hold a forum before arresting Freeman Mbowe. In August, police arrested Chadema members who protested Mbowe’s July arrest. In September, police in the town of Musoma arrested nine Chadema members who were organizing another event on the constitution.

E2 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Is there freedom for nongovernmental organizations, particularly those that are engaged in human rights– and governance-related work? 1.001 4.004

Tanzania has a diverse and active civil society sector, but NGOs are subject to laws that give the government broad authority to deregister them. Human rights organizations and activists been subject to restrictions, deregistration, legal harassment, and unlawful arrests. NGOs are prohibited from filing public-interest litigation. NGOs are also subject to onerous financial reporting requirements. In September 2021, President Hassan called on NGOs to reduce their dependence on foreign funding while speaking at a national conference.

In 2020, the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition and the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) were threatened with deregistration and banned from election-related activities they had overseen in previous elections. Human rights lawyer and LHRC employee Tito Magoti and information technology specialist Theodory Giyani were arrested in 2019 and arraigned on spurious money laundering and cybercrimes charges. Magoti was released in January 2021 but was ordered to pay fines.

E3 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Is there freedom for trade unions and similar professional or labor organizations? 2.002 4.004

Trade unions are nominally independent of the government and are coordinated by the Trade Union Congress of Tanzania and the Zanzibar Trade Union Congress. The Tanzania Federation of Cooperatives represents most of Tanzania’s agricultural sector. The government has significant discretion to deny union registration, and many private employers engage in antiunion activities. Essential public-sector workers are barred from striking, and other workers are restricted by complex notification and mediation requirements. Strikes are infrequent on both the mainland and Zanzibar.

F Rule of Law

F1 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Is there an independent judiciary? 1.001 4.004

Tanzania’s judiciary is underfunded. Judges are political appointees, and the judiciary does not have an independent budget, making it vulnerable to political pressure. The results of such pressure are particularly evident in cases involving opposition figures and government critics, as well as legal changes that suppress free and fair competition and protect the regime from prosecution. Politicized courts have enforced laws that attack human rights and are selectively invoked to keep the government in power. Lower-level courts are especially affected by political influence and corruption. Under a 2020 Court of Appeal ruling, the government can hold suspects without bail for several offenses including money laundering—a charge commonly levied against political opponents.

In June 2021, the High Court in Dar es Salaam ordered that several Chadema members, including Mbowe, should be reimbursed for fines related to 2018 convictions that the court overturned.

F2 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Does due process prevail in civil and criminal matters? 1.001 4.004

Due process guarantees are not well upheld in civil and criminal matters. Policies and rules governing arrest and pretrial detention are often ignored, and pretrial detention commonly lasts for years due to case backlogs and inadequate funding for prosecutors. Legal activists have been known to suffer repercussions for seeking justice through courts. Arbitrary and often violent arrests of opposition politicians, journalists, and civil society leaders are commonplace.

Security offices and militia members engaged in violence against opposition activists and civilians in Zanzibar after being deployed during the 2020 election but have not faced justice since.

F3 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Is there protection from the illegitimate use of physical force and freedom from war and insurgencies? 1.001 4.004

Reports of abuse and torture of suspects in police custody are common, and police have been accused of extrajudicial killings and other violence in recent years. In August 2021, a lawyer representing Chadema leader Mbowe told a court that Mbowe was tortured while in custody. In October, Chadema activist Mdude Nyangali disclosed that he was subjected to torture.

F4 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Do laws, policies, and practices guarantee equal treatment of various segments of the population? 1.001 4.004

Women’s rights are constitutionally guaranteed but not uniformly protected. Women face de facto discrimination in employment, including sexual harassment, which is rarely addressed through formal legal channels. Women’s socioeconomic disadvantages are more pronounced in rural areas and in the informal economy.

Same-sex sexual relations are punishable by lengthy prison terms, and LGBT+ people face discrimination and police abuse, leading most to hide aspects of their identities. Men who are suspected of same-sex sexual activity have been arrested and forced to undergo anal examinations.

Nearly 126,000 Burundian refugees resided in Tanzania as of December 2021, while 150,000 resided there in late 2020. Burundian refugees have been forcibly repatriated; in 2020, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that Burundian and Tanzanian authorities collaborated to identify Burundian political opponents and those discouraging repatriation, and found that refugees were tortured and forcibly returned to Burundi in violation of international law. In April 2021, the United Nations reported that Burundian refugees and asylum seekers feared abduction by Tanzanian authorities.

Pastoralist ethnic groups do not enjoy equal treatment, particularly when it comes to land disputes. These groups often live near lucrative national parks, and the government has engaged in heavy-handed treatment of those who refuse to comply with government directives to move. In 2018, opposition leader Zitto Kabwe reported that around 100 people had died in clashes between local officials and pastoralists in Kigoma Region. In February 2021, the Livestock and Fisheries Ministry said it would work with local and regional authorities to demarcate grazing lands nationwide.

G Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights

G1 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Do individuals enjoy freedom of movement, including the ability to change their place of residence, employment, or education? 2.002 4.004

Residents enjoy some basic freedoms pertaining to travel and changes of residence, employment, and education. The government has wide discretion in enforcing laws that can limit movement, particularly in Zanzibar, where the approval of local government appointees is often required for changes in employment, personal banking, and residency. Separately, the authorities in recent years have arbitrarily arrested and deported some Kenyans, many of whom had been granted Tanzanian citizenship. The government imposes travel restrictions on activists, human rights researchers, opposition figures, and other prominent individuals. Opposition politicians who were under threat of violence struggled to leave Tanzania after the 2020 election.

G2 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Are individuals able to exercise the right to own property and establish private businesses without undue interference from state or nonstate actors? 2.002 4.004

Tanzanians have the right to establish private businesses but are often required to pay bribes to license and operate them. The state owns all land and leases it to individuals and private entities, leading to clashes over land rights between citizens and companies engaged in extractive industries. These laws have been used to expropriate the resources and lands of wealthy opposition politicians, including Freeman Mbowe’s holdings in Hai and Dar es Salaam. President Hassan has sought to reassure domestic and international investors that the government would take a less active role in the economy.

G3 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Do individuals enjoy personal social freedoms, including choice of marriage partner and size of family, protection from domestic violence, and control over appearance? 1.001 4.004

Rape, domestic violence, and female genital mutilation (FGM) are common but rarely prosecuted. An escalating pattern of rapes in which the attackers break into women’s homes has been reported in recent years in western Tanzania. In September 2021, Tanzanian police opened an investigation into claims that several officers sexually harassed and raped nightclub patrons.

Laws and practices regarding marriage, divorce, and other personal status issues favor men over women, particularly in Zanzibar. Tanzania’s adolescent fertility rate is more than twice the global average.

The government restricts access to family planning services. In 2019, the government encouraged women to help increase the country’s birth rate and spur the economy. In 2017, the government prohibited those who had given birth from returning to school. The Hassan administration overturned this ban in a nonbinding decision in November 2021.

G4 1.00-4.00 pts0-4 pts
Do individuals enjoy equality of opportunity and freedom from economic exploitation? 2.002 4.004

Sexual and labor exploitation remain problems, especially for children living in poor rural areas who are drawn into domestic service, agricultural labor, mining, and other activities. Child labor in gold mines, where working conditions are often dangerous, is common.

Most Tanzanians do not benefit from the country’s extensive natural-resource wealth. Tanzania has one of the highest levels of income inequality in the world, and the poverty rate remains high.

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  • Global Freedom Score

    34 100 partly free