Nipashe, 25/3/15 – “Media Bills” under tight security
By Aidan Eyakuze and Ben Taylor *
At first we were excited. Tanzanian media and freedom of information advocates had been waiting for years for the Access to Information (ATI) and Media Services Bill, and the timetable for the latest parliamentary session included both. Were things finally moving?
The timetable also had bills on Statistics and Cybercrime. Was President Kikwete trying to push through a series of new laws before his time in office comes to an end later this year? He has played a leading role on the global stage on these issues, particularly through the Open Government Partnership (OGP), so perhaps this was an attempt to enshrine open government as his legacy.
Then we were concerned. Why were the ATI and Media Bills not available on the bunge website? Why were they being rushed through under certificates of urgency, severely limiting opportunities for consultation and debate? Continue reading →
Witchcraft is a huge issue in Tanzania at the moment. Levels of belief are extremely high, with horrific consequences for two groups in particular: older women (and others) who are accused of being witches and in many cases murdered as a result, and people with albinism who are attacked or murdered for their body parts, which are said to possess supernatural powers. With a general election coming up next year, there are fears that the situation for people with albinism could get even worse. And though it is less obvious, the manipulative actions of people calling themselves witchdoctors – tricking people out of their money through big promises and/or blackmail and fear (as alleged in this case) – are also highly damaging.
I will explore this issue in more depth at a later date, but for the moment, I just want to bring one thing to wider attention: did you know that Tanzania has a Witchcraft Act on the statute books?
It dates from colonial times, 1928 in fact, but was amended as recently as 2009.