TZ gov’t concedes human rights challenges

Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete

Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete

The Tanzanian government said Friday it has ‘long way to go’ in protecting human and people’s rights especially with the escalating disputes over land but although there have been positive strides in promoting human rights.

While touring the Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRGG) in Dar es Salaam, President Jakaya Kikwete said land related conflicts was a matter of national concern and that they aree impacting peace and security.

“This is a critical problem threatening peace in the country,” he told CHRGG staff

The president however was quick to outline his government success in promoting human rights notably in the areas of health, judicial, hunger, education and poverty reduction.

Kikwete said in the last ten years of his administration, he guaranteed opportunity to women to take over leadership positions. He cited that in 2005 there were only eight Judges for the Court of Appeals and at the High Court, the number that jumped to 41 in 2015.

“We have built ward based secondary schools to ensure a universal access to basic secondary education. This has helped the nation archive the Millennium Development Goals (MGDs). More villages have now at least one university graduate … this is part of promoting fundamental human rights,” he said

CHRGG Chairman Bahame Tom Nyanduga told the president about 26,818 grievances from the public were reported between 2001 to June 31, this year.

Of the reported cases, 19,508 (about 73 percent) have been concluded while files on 7,310 cases are in various stages including 14 cases filed in the courts of law

Nyanduga said since 2009 the commission had conducted several investigations mostly on land disputes and killings of people with Albinism.

The commission also found serious corruption practices and forgery in land title processing which therefore fueled land disputes.

Kikwete’s tenure has been dogged by rampant killings and persecution due witchcraft beliefs.

At least 43 Albinos have been killed in Tanzania since 2006. And 13 people have been convicted of murder of Albino persons and sentenced to death. Albinos in Tanzania have been targeted and brutally murdered by people seeking their body parts as good luck charms.

In a related development, the government this week shutdown 70 employment agencies across the country that export workers to the Middle East fearing most Tanzanians especially women and children end up in forced labour and prostitution.

“Most of these girls and boys are subjected to commercial sex or work as domestic servants and barmaids, with some sent on forced labour in factories, farms and mines under very poor conditions,” Seperatus Fella, the Secretary of Anti-Trafficking Secretariat told Reuters this week upon declaring the move.