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The Chanzo Morning Briefing – July 30, 2021

In our briefing, today: AU rights body ‘concerned’ over Tanzania’s human rights situation; WB proposes measures to transform TZ’s tourism sector; LHRC says employers prefer casual workers to permanent employees; and TZ: Coalition against trafficking in persons launched.

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Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Thursday, July 29, 2021.

AU rights body ‘concerned’ over Tanzania’s human rights situation

The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights yesterday accused Tanzania of violating the right to due process enunciated in Article 7 of the African Charter when police arrested CHADEMA national chairperson Mr Freeman Mbowe and eleven other party members on July 21, 2021, in Mwanza.

Mr Mbowe and the other CHADEMA cadres were arrested ahead of the party’s New Constitution conference that was to take place on July 21, 2021, before the police interrupted it under the excuse that political rallies were banned in Tanzania. On July 24, 2021, police released the eleven CHADEMA cadres who were arrested in the company of Mr Mbowe except for the opposition figure who is currently at the Ukonga Maximum Security Prison in Dar es Salaam facing terrorism charges.

Article 7 of the African Charter concerns the right to a fair trial, which include the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty by a competent court or tribunal and the right to be tried within a reasonable time among others. The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (also known as the Banjul Charter) is an international human rights instrument tasked with the role of promoting and protecting human rights and basic freedoms in the African continent.

“The Commission notes that most of those arrested [in Mwanza] were kept in custody without charges,” the statement released yesterday by the commission charged. It said that the failure on the part of the Tanzanian authority to adhere to the right to due process “leads to abuse of the right to be free from arbitrary arrest and creates an atmosphere of fear on the part of opposition parties.”

The Commission’s sentiments were echoed by the US Ambassador to Tanzania Mr Donald Wright who on Thursday said in a Twitter post: “One of the fundamental principles of democracy is that a person accused of a crime has the right to due process and equal [and] transparent treatment under the law. It is important that these principles be upheld.”

Mr Wright did not specify in his tweet if he was referring to the situation in Tanzania. However, the statement came within less than twenty-four hours after members of the opposition party CHADEMA Women Wing (BAWACHA) wrote to him, seeking his intervention in the “gruelling” human rights situation in Tanzania that involve “abduction, arrest, and arbitrary detentions.”

WB proposes measures to transform TZ’s tourism sector

The World Bank said Thursday that tourism offers Tanzania a long-term potential to create good jobs, generate foreign exchange earnings, provide revenue to support the preservation and maintenance of natural and cultural heritage, and expand the tax base to finance development expenditures and poverty-reduction efforts.

In its latest Tanzania Economic Update, Transforming Tourism: Toward a Sustainable, Resilient, and Inclusive Sector, the World Bank highlights tourism as central to Tanzania’s economy, livelihoods and poverty reduction, particularly for women, who make up 72 per cent of all workers in the tourism sector.

“This Economic Update spotlights the pandemic’s impact on the Tanzanian economy through the sharp decline in tourism in 2020 and sluggish recovery in 2021,” a statement released yesterday by the bank quoted Mr Bill Battaile, World Bank Lead Economist for Tanzania as saying.

Mr Battaile called the Economic Update “a call to action” to help the sector recover, ‘build forward better’ and support private sector development more broadly. He added: “This is a critical agenda to protect the welfare of poor and vulnerable households, attract new foreign and domestic investment, and support an employment-intensive recovery.”

For Tanzania to realize the potential that tourism offers, the World Bank proposes measures like the creation of an efficient, reliable and transparent business environment; improving tourism information management system; ensuring affordable financial support to struggling businesses across the value chain; strengthen adherence to health and safety protocols and data transparency; and supporting nature-based landscape and seascape management through the development of co-investment and partnership arrangements.

LHRC says employers prefer casual workers to permanent employees

Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) says in its Tanzania Human Rights and Business Report 2020/21 that the overall situation of human rights and business in Tanzania has deteriorated compared to the situation during the previous survey of 2019, with violations of labour rights and standards taking the centre stage.

The 360-page report that was launched virtually yesterday also reveals that the enforcement of relevant laws and regulations to ensure compliance of businesses with labour laws and standards, tax obligations remains inadequate. The LHRC survey found that most employers, especially SMEs, prefer casual workers so that they do not have to treat them as employees.

It also observed employment contracts with unfair or discriminatory terms, including a condition of working 10 hours as normal working hours, which is contrary to labour laws and standards. Complaints about inadequate wages were also observed as workers lamented their wages being inadequate and not proportionate to the current costs of living. The Wage Order has not been reviewed since 2013, despite the law requiring review after every three years.

“[LHRC] also found an acute ignorance of Tanzania’s labour laws and regulations among the surveyed workers,” LHRC Executive Director Anna Henga said yesterday during the virtual launching of the report. “Tabora region leads in this problem where about 92 per cent of workers there do not know anything about laws and regulations that govern labour in the country.”

A total of 2,600 respondents, which included 1,069 women and 1,531 men, were reached during the course of the survey that took place in 15 selected regions of Tanzania Mainland.

The respondents included employees/workers, regulatory authority officials, community members, corporate management officials, bus and truck drivers, and local government officials. A total of 160 businesses/companies were reached, including small and medium-sized industries and businesses.

TZ: Coalition against trafficking in persons launched

Today is the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons that is commemorated on July 30 of every year and to mark this year’s commemoration a total of 45 institutions in Tanzania, including civil society organizations (CSOs), religious organizations and media decided to launch a coalition whose goal is to put an end to the crime in the country.

Organizing under the auspices of the Tanzania Relief Initiatives (TRI), a local non-governmental organization advocating against trafficking in persons in Tanzania, the members, which include The Chanzo Initiative, officially launched their coalition yesterday in Dar es Salaam by submitting over 5000 signatures from Tanzania’s commercial capital to the government calling for authorities to ramp up efforts to deal with the crime.

According to a 2020-Trafficking in Persons Report by the US Department of State, “Tanzania does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so.” Some of the things that make Tanzania seems to be not serious about combatting trafficking in persons is its failure to amend its law to remove sentencing provisions that allow fines in lieu of imprisonment as well as its inability to initiate more prosecutions on the crime.

“It is saddening because the biggest victims of this crime are children below 25 years of age,” said Mr Edwin Mugambila, TRI Executive Director who doubles as the coalition’s chairperson. “One way through which trafficking in persons can be eradicated in Tanzania is first and foremost to make people aware of the crime. This is what the coalition seeks to accomplish. It seeks to make Tanzanians part and parcel of both local, national and international strategies to end trafficking in persons in Tanzania.”

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