"In 2001 after the 2000 election in Zanzibar, the Civic United Front (CUF) began planning a series of peaceful demonstrations to protest alleged fraud in the October 2000 presidential elections, calling for a rerun of the elections and constitutional reforms. The CUF notified the police of their intended routes, both the government officials and police immediately responded and announced that the demonstrations were banned. Police were ordered to use all force necessary to break up the demonstrations. The Tanzanian prime minister was recorded as stating that force would be used to break up the demonstration. According to him, "government has prepared itself in every way to confront whatever occurs ... any provocation will be met with all due forces of the state". CUF demonstrations, which were widely supported, took place on 27 January 2001 and as the unarmed demonstrators walked peacefully toward the four designated meeting grounds, security forces intercepted and opened fire without warning. They attacked the civilians, [and]ordered them to disperse [under] firing and beating. ... All these events occurred in the face of the fact that the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania (CURT) provides for freedom of assembly. The requirement of permits has been removed and section 40 of the Police Force Ordinance and 11(1) of the Political Parties Act were declared void on grounds that the requirement for a permit to hold an assembly infringed the freedom of peaceful assembly and procession enshrined in article 20(2) of the CURT. However the government limits these rights in practice, police have authority to deny permission to hold an assembly on public safety and security grounds. The relevant provision is section 41 of the Police Force Ordinance which permits any police officer to stop the holding of any assembly. The situation has not improved for opposition parties seeking to hold assemblies because of the way the police apply section 41. Rather than invoking this provision only in extraordinary situations as required, the police, once served with a notice of a planned meeting, issued prohibition orders claiming that they had information that the meeting was likely to cause chaos, but without giving evidence. ... These restrictions on the right to freedom of assembly and the excessive use of force by police officials as depicted in the above recounted incident and others of its kind, violate numerous provisions of international legal istruments to which Tanzania is a party. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) guarantees for the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, as does the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The African Charter limits the right to assemble subject to necessary restrictions provided by law, in particular those enacted in the interest of national security and the safety, health, ethics and the rights to freedoms of other. But the African Commission has interpreted these claw back clauses to mean that the limitations must be in accordance with international law and thus the standards developed under the ICCPR, especially, would be relevant in determining when the rights to assemble may be limited. The exercise here is to examine the nature of the Tanzanian laws on the right to peaceful assembly and demonstration in the light of police practice having regards to the nature of the right as guaranteed under international human rights instruments." -- Introduction.
Prepared under the supervision of Prof. K. Quashigah at the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana
Thesis (LLM (Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa)) -- University of Pretoria, 2004.