Tanzania Quarterly Update
Tanzania Quarterly Update
Shining a global spotlight on Tanzania’s elections and helping avert state violence against citizens
In the run-up to the October elections, Tanzania was marred with state-sponsored violence, with opposition leaders victimized, civil society and journalists barred from doing their work, and fear of post-election violence rife. Ahead of the elections, Crisis Action mobilized a coalition – including Tanzania’s Centre for Strategic Litigation, the Kenya Human Rights Commission, Kituo Cha Katiba in Uganda and the Tanzania Elections Watch and the Open Society Foundation – that helped to secure some important milestones to prevent further violence in the country. As a result of this campaign, days before the election, Tanzania’s National Election Commission swore in agents of opposition candidates, when they had previously refused to do so, and the UN Secretary General and African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson issued statements calling for peaceful elections, alerting President Magufuli that the world is watching. Crisis Action coordinated the campaign by:
- Facilitating a briefing with senior officials at the United Nations Secretariat with a Panel of Eminent Pan Africanists. Two days later, the UN Spokesperson issued a statement on behalf of the Secretary General, calling for inclusive and peaceful elections in Tanzania, as requested by the Crisis Action-led coalition. A few days later, this statement was echoed by the African Union Chairperson, Moussa Faki.
- We spurred an African thought leader Professor P.L.O. Lumumba, known to have the ear of President Magufuli, to both publicly and privately call for peaceful elections and ask for elections to be run fairly. Lumumba privately sent WhatsApp messages to Magufuli (whilst sitting with our partners), published an Op-Ed in the East African Newspaper and sent out a video clip via social media. Over 6,000 people watched the video on the day it was sent out.
- We coordinated various social media campaigns including #TanzaniaFree, and a more direct #TellMagufuli campaign, to galvanize public demands for credible and peaceful elections. Both hashtags trended at number 1 in east Africa and together had more than 10 million views.
- Coordinating media coverage of the Tanzania elections by international media, including prominent coverage by Aljazeera journalists covering UN news, with whom we worked to raise questions at the spokesperson’s daily briefings for several days until the elections.
- Ensuring President Magufuli was aware of the demand for free and fair elections in Tanzania. This is critical given limited information on irregularities surrounding the elections due to media suppression prior to the campaign.
- After the voting, we helped partners send a private letter to the African Union Commission Chair, Moussa Faki, signed by Eminent African leaders calling on him to facilitate a mediation of the election dispute.
President Magufuli was declared winner of the elections by the Tanzania National Election Commission despite documented evidence of massive irregularities. A preliminary report our partners publicized has gained traction, leading to calls by international actors led by the US and the UK to investigate these allegations. The pressure on President Magufuli has meant that he has not unleashed violence against civilians as had been feared. Further to this, opposition leaders who had been arrested after calling for mass protests to challenge the outcome were released following pressure from envoys from the US, UK, Germany and Canada. We are proceeding to exit the emergency response as we judge that the aim of averting post-election violence has been met