Tanzania: UPR Joint Submission 2021

Submission of Tanzania Stakeholders Coalition for the

Universal Periodic Review of Tanzania

(Third Cycle November 2021)

Organizations submitting the report

This is a joint submission by a Tanzanian faith-based stakeholders’ coalition and partners for the UPR. The participating institutions include; Edmund Rice International (ERI), Edmund Rice Network Arusha, Teach for Tanzana, Haki Elimu (Right to Education) and CWVT.

Edmund Rice International (ERI) is an international non-governmental organization, founded in 2005 and with Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC since 2012. ERI is supported by two Catholic Religious Congregations, the Christian Brothers and the Presentation Brothers. It works with networks of like-minded organizations and in the countries where the two Congregations are present. ERI has a special interest in the rights of the child, the right to education and in eco-justice.

Teach for Tanzania raises student learning outcomes by placing outstanding Tanzanian graduates to teach in rural public primary schools while developing leaders to end educational inequity in Tanzania. Teach for Tanzania’s innovative approach is designed to help improve the quality of education for all children in Tanzania to ensure every child has an opportunity for quality education irrespective of their social economic circumstances.

Address : Kisorya Rd, Bunda, Mara, Tanzania

Phone : +255 625 794 173

Email : info@teachfortanzania.org

HakiElimu (Swahili, meaning ‘Right to Education’) is a registered non-governmental organization in Tanzania established in 2001 by 13 Tanzanian Founding Members. Today, HakiElimu is a leading national expert in education, policy analysis and advocacy, and in 2019 the organization was selected as the overall winner of The African Civil Society Excellence Awards.

Our Vision: An open, just and democratic Tanzania where all people enjoy the right to education that promotes equity, creativity and critical thinking.

Phone: +255 78 7655000; +255 75 4354681

Email: info@hakielimu.or.tz

CWVT (in Swahili is chama cha waandishi wa habari vijana Tanzania) in English Youth Media Organization in Tanzania (YMOT) deals with the Programme and Strategy extending from the Youth Media Organization in Tanzania. YMOT brings research-based results for enlightening the public on critical media subjects such as policy and laws, and their impact on the freedom of expression as a basic human right.

Email: cwvt @gmail.com

Postal address : Box 1180 Dar-es-Salaam-Tanzania

Edmund Rice Advocacy Network Arusha (ERANA) was established in 2008 as part of the Edmund Rice Advocacy Network in East Africa (ERAN) to promote social justice through improved access to fundamental rights and freedoms for all.
ERANA undertakes measures to prevent, promote and protect human rights, especially the rights of the child, from abuse and neglect. In addition ERANA conducts research, capacity building, lobbying and advocacy on different thematic human right issues for better policies and programming, with a deliberate focus on the poor and marginalized. 

Email: edmundricesinon.ac.Tz

Box:7131 Arusha, Tanzania.

Edmund Rice Advocacy Network (ERAN) is a Faith-Based Organisation under the leadership of the Christian Brothers in the East Africa District with a vision to promote social justice and transformative change.


I Executive Summary

1. This submission focuses firstly on the consequences of the implementation of the free Pre-Primary and Secondary Education policy in Tanzania. On 27th November, 2015, the Tanzanian government issued Circular No. 5 which aimed at implementing the education policy raised in 2014. The policy was to ensure that public bodies promote free pre-primary and secondary education for all children where tuition fees were to be exempted, but other costs such as exam and sports fees, uniform expenses and learning materials such as exercise books and pens, were to be paid by the parents.

The submission also addresses the issue of media freedom in Tanzania and the response of the Tanzanian government to the Covid-19 pandemic.

II Achievements of the Education Policy

2. A majority of school age pupils are enrolled in various schools. The establishment of free pre-primary, primary and secondary education in 2015 resulted in an increase of enrolment from 59% in 2002 to 94% in 2015. Not only that, school attendance also improved compared to previous years.[1].

3. For the teacher to remain effective and able to offer quality education to the learners, the government of Tanzania conducted training to improve skills and knowledge among teachers. For instance, several in-service trainings were conducted and supervised by Regional Education officers (REOs), District Education officers (DEOs) and local Ward Education coordination headed by Ward Education Offices (WEOs). The training also aimed at building capacity in School Management Teams.

4. The government provided transportation facilities (bicycles and motorcycles) for the education supervisors to ensure adequate monitoring and evaluation of overall sector performance. Furthermore, the supervisors were able to visit various schools, develop a framework for the education sector, create dialogue structures and provide regular performance updates of the programs to the community.

5. Improvement of infrastructure within the schools also resulted, as the government set aside 18 billion TZS (approximately 5.7 million GBP) to facilitate construction costs of classrooms, laboratories and water and sanitation facilities. In addition, the government injected 137 billion TZS (approximately 43.8m GBP) to promote free primary and secondary education.

6. Education partners and the entire community participated in the development of the education sector plan (2018) that endorsed the accessibility of basic education for all. The plan included discussion on major issues such as assessment, the cost of basic education, teacher study resources, and a human resources situation analysis, among others. Moreover, the government pioneered research studies which aimed at the development of the education sector at different levels.

7. There were numerous challenges anticipated in relation to the promotion of the policy. After the introduction of the policy, the increase in enrolment put pressure on teachers, and their workload increased.  The increase in student numbers in class compromised the quality of imparting knowledge and skills to the learners. Not all learners performed well due to the difficulty of one teacher having to closely monitor all students.

III Other Challenges

8. The Fee Free Education (FFE)was not inclusive of all children especially those abled differently (disabled), indigenous groups, children living in remote or rural populations and displaced children. There was insufficient infrastructure and instructional materials for children with special needs. For instance, only 10% of children with special needs are able to access education which means that the vast majority of such children are left behind. Teaching and learning materials are inadequate for this group of children and there is a lack of teachers with specialized skills.

9. With the implementation of the free education policy in Tanzania, schools experienced a shortage of teachers and instructional guides to facilitate the learning process for pupils.

10. In-service training is insufficient

11. The lack of trained teachers in science and technology, together with limited internet access and poor internet connectivity restricts the availability of teaching and learning resources in education provision.

12. There is inadequate funding from the government. For example, Kagoma Primary School, in Muleba, received capitation of TZS 840,376 during 2015 for 586 pupils, an average of TZS 1,434 per pupil per year. The amount was clearly not adequate to provide quality education. (HakiElimu, 2017).[2] This capitation is used for facility repairs, administration materials, chalk, exercise books, examination paper, supplementary reading materials and other operational costs. Schools ought to receive TZS 10,000 per student per year for each primary student (UNICEF -Tanzania Education Budget Brief, 2018).[3]

13. Recommendations to the State

(i) Increase capitation funds to reach at least the international standard of USD2 (4,600 TZS) per student per day.

(ii) Ensure the availability of sufficient teachers and learning materials as recommended in the Secondary Education Development Plan (SEDP) of 2004-2009, and a student-book ratio of 1:1.[4] This target was to have been reached by 2009.

(iii) Allocate adequate funds for running in-service-training to equip teachers with skills and knowledge to cope with the current situation, particularly in regard to science and technology.

(iv) Allocate more funds to developing quality infrastructure such as classrooms and employing more teachers as a step towards achieving the international standard recommended pupil-teacher ratio of 1:40, and to meet needs of groups with special needs such as children with disability and displaced children.[5]

IV Freedom of Mass Media

14. Freedom of the press is a fundamental principle ensuring that communication and expression through various media including print, electronic media, social and published materials, is a right to be exercised freely. Such freedom implies the absence of interference from a state, and its preservation may be sought through constitution or other legal protection and security measures.

15. Since late 2015, the Tanzanian government has introduced measures impacting negatively on the freedom of mass media and freedom of speech. These included:  

The weekly newspaper Mawio has been forcibly shut down, not just once but twice. Most recently, the paper was banned after publishing an article in June 2017 detailing problems in Tanzania’s mining industry and including pictures of two former presidents in the story. Using administrative powers, the government suspended the Mawio newspaper for two years on the grounds of “national security and public safety”. The move was enforced months after the country’s High Court had lifted a previous sanction handed down in January 2016. Simon Mkina, Mawio’s editor and the president of the Tanzania Journalists Alliance, told the International Press Institute (IPI) that his paper has again appealed to the High Court but there is no progress. “The government should leave the media to do their work because they are contributing to the development of this country”, Mkina said.

16. Mawio is far from alone in its experience of censorship in Tanzania. In September 2017 the Swahili-language weekly Mwana HALISI also published a story that upset the government. The article called for prayers for the opposition leader Tundu Lissu, who had recently been shot. The headline of the article asked whom Tanzanians should “pray for”, the president or Tundu Lissu. The government apparently interpreted the headline as an insult to President Magufuli and suspended the paper for two years for “sedition”. “The reasons for the ban were weak according to the law”, Jabir Idrissa, Mwana HALISI’s editor told IPI. “We were clamped down on because we raised opposition voices. If you want to survive, you have to report what the government wants”. Idrissa said the weekly has been able to continue separately publishing online but forced to operate without subscriber revenues. In addition to their papers being banned, Mkina and Idrissa have been charged with sedition and threatening national security because of an article that Idrissa wrote for Mawio in 2016. The court case is still ongoing.[6]

Forced disappearances and arrests

17. Press freedom in Tanzania has drifted into an unprecedented crisis under President Magufuli’s regime. According to the Tanzania Editors Forum (TEF) at least five newspapers and two radio stations have been suspended for periods ranging from three to 36 months for pretexts including “false information”, “sedition” and “threatening national security”. One paper decided to suspend publication after dissemination of a story it feared might irritate officials.[7]

Violent incidences and harassments

18. In March 2017, Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner Paul Makonda entered the headquarters of Clouds Media with six armed men, reportedly to pressure the staff to air a video undermining a popular local pastor critical of the commissioner. A probe team by then-Minister of Information Nape Nnauye concluded that Makonda had broken the law. What followed was indicative: Nnauye was sacked by President Magufuli, and his replacement, incumbent Minister Harrison Mwakyembe dismissed the probe team’s recommendations which included having the commissioner apologize to the media outlet.[8]

19. Another alarming incident took place in November 2017 when journalist Azory Gwanda was reported missing by his wife in Kibiti district south of Dar es Salaam. He has not been seen, either dead or alive since then. Before his disappearance, Gwanda had reported about the high rate of murder in the district. Tanzanian security authorities have claimed that the matter is still under investigation.

20. In August 2018, two journalists were allegedly attacked and beaten by police officers in separate incidents.

In one incidence, a sports journalist Sillas Mbise of Wapo Radio was attacked during football match at national stadium in Dar es Salaam by police officers in uniform after exchanging few words[9]. Another case is that Daima journalist Sitta Tuma was beaten after taking photographs during political rally in Mara Region, allegedly for having been involved in an illegal gathering.[10]

New media laws used to curtail press freedom

21. The crackdown on press freedom in Tanzania is being facilitated by a legal framework that has increasingly become unfriendly under President Magufuli’s regime. Tanzania’s constitution guarantees freedom of speech but does not explicitly mention press freedom. Journalists say this distinction has allowed the country’s authorities to enact laws that curtail press freedom on the pretext of national security and the “public interest”.

22. One of the most troubling examples is the Media Services Act, which was signed by Magufuli in November 2016 to replace the Newspaper Act of 1976. The Media Services Act concentrates power over media in the hands of the government. The minister of information is responsible for licensing print media annually and is able to prohibit importation of publications contrary to the public interest and order private media houses to report on issues “of national importance”. The law does not define “public interest” or “national importance”, leaving wide room for interpretation.

23. Under the new law, the government now holds de facto control over two regulatory bodies: the Journalists Accreditation Board and the Independent Media Council, which is responsible for upholding ethical and professional standards. All practicing journalists in Tanzania must obtain Board accreditation and be members of the Media Council. Both bodies are officially independent, but their board members are appointed by and are accountable to the minister of information.

24. IPI previously expressed concern over the Media Services Act in 2016 for its potential threat to press freedom and its failure to meet international standards. On that occasion, IPI also urged the Tanzanian Parliament to abolish licensing requirements for journalists, newspapers, social media and broadcast media, as well as to repeal criminal defamation laws.

25. The TEF and other media stakeholders have also raised concerns over online media regulations introduced in March 2018. The Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations require all bloggers as well as online radio and television streaming services to apply for a license and to pay fee up to USD 900.  In reality, the cost is even higher because applicants must first establish a company in order to apply for a license. Per capita income in Tanzania was slightly below USD 900 a year in 2016.

26. These regulations also give a quasi-independent government body and the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority the ability to revoke a permit if a site publishes content that “causes annoyance” or leads to “public disorder”, without providing any right to appeal or request judicial review of takedown orders. Anonymous use of the Internet is now essentially prohibited as well. Failure to comply with the regulations may lead to heavy fines and to imprisonment for a minimum period of 12 months.

27. Media stakeholders fear that the regulations will further restrict freedom of expression, citizens’ right to privacy and the work of whistleblowers and investigative journalists. After the regulations came into force, several blogs as well as a popular social media platform called JamiiForums went dark as they failed to register according to the new rules. (Some of the sites were later reinstated.)

28. The media’s fear is based on past experience. Concerns raised three years ago over the Cybercrimes Act, which was passed under President Jakaya Kikwete in 2015 and foresees draconian fines and lengthy prison sentences for publishing false or “misleading information”. Examples of cases filed under the law’s nebulous provisions have proven those fears justified, Tanzanian journalists say.

29. Recommendations to the State

(i) Create a legal framework to directly protect the rights of journalists. This could be by means of creating provisions that recognize and protect media and journalists in the constitution of the country and other forms of legislation.

(ii)  Raise awareness and provide civic education to citizens on the proposed constitution draft before a referendum which has provisions for protection of journalists.

(iii)  Bring to justice the perpetrators of journalist attacks and killings.

(iv)  Conduct training workshops for police offers on human rights, protection of human rights defenders and the non-use of excessive force in the course of their duties.

(v)  Ensure that members of the police force observe and protect the rights of journalists when undertaking their duties in all parts of the country.

(vi)  Create a criminal justice system that provides an independent investigation organ to investigate all cases involving journalists who died or assaulted while on duty.

(vii)  Ensure that all the media, especially public media, have equal opportunities for coverage of all news and events, especially during elections times.

(viii)  Amend the Public Media Policy or enact a new Policy and Law that regulates the conduct of the modern public media.

(ix) Ensure that leaders or directors of public media are not political appointments but recruited as are other public servants to avoid conflict of interest and also provide individual and professional independence.

(x)  Pass a law changing the Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) from a state broadcaster into a public broadcaster.

V The Covid-19 Pandemic in Tanzania

30. The Tanzanian government has politicized the pandemic by withholding information from its citizens and limiting the expression of differing points of view-about the pandemic. The President of Tanzania has declared that the country is corona-virus free, doctors have been pressured not to recognise coronavirus symptoms and hospitals have adopted treatments for respiratory problems that have not been approved by the WHO such as steam inhalation. Tanzanian authorities have not updated the data on covid-19 since the beginning of May 2020.

31. In contrast, the secretary of the Tanzania Episcopal conference (TEC) – an official assembly of Catholic Bishops, has stated that the covid-19 threat was alive in Tanzania and implored the citizens to protect themselves while noting that in two months, more than 25 priests and 60 Catholic sisters have died of respiratory problem – something that has never happened before in such a short space of time.[11]

32. Recommendations to the State

(i) Increase transparency about the evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country, raise awareness and provide citizens with accurate scientific information about the virus and the steps needed to enhance its mitigation.

(ii) Adopt WHO health protocol to remedy spread of the Covid-19 virus.

[1] (DOC) The Impacts of Fee-Free Education in Tanzania | Pasence Paul – Academia.edu

[2] https://hakielimu.or.tz/en/annual-report-2017/10-annual-report-2017/viewdocument.html

[3] UNICEF-Tanzania-2018-Education-Budget-Brief.pdf

[4] SEDP FINAL..doc (unesco.org)

[5] https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwjgkOH62qruAhWEtXEKHUfTBSAQFjABegQIAxAC&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.unicef.org%2Ftanzania%2Fmedia%2F1236%2Ffile%2FUNICEF-Tanzania-2018-Education-Budget-Brief.pdf&usg=AOvVaw1M94cOxvyUD0Miubhu12dv

[6] https://www.refworld.org/docid/59ca69474.html

[7] https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwienN_q26ruAhXURhUIHQuvDJgQFjAAegQIAhAC&url=https%3A%2F%2Fipi.media%2Ftanzania-press-freedom-plunges-into-unprecedented-crisis%2F&usg=AOvVaw2YZrnDJwHq02_TKXEkvgvw

[8] https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwi5_9qP3KruAhUFXhUIHXFTA0gQFjAAegQIAhAC&url=https%3A%2F%2Fipi.media%2Ftanzania-press-freedom-plunges-into-unprecedented-crisis%2F&usg=AOvVaw2YZrnDJwHq02_TKXEkvgvw

[9] Dailynews

[10] TEF condemns beating of ‘Tanzania Daima’ journalist by police in Mara (ippmedia.com)

[11] https://cruxnow.com/church-in-africa/2021/03/church-in-tanzania-urges-covid-precautions-in-face-of-govt-denial/