Talks on legal and electoral reform in semi-autonomous Zanzibar continued between the ruling Party of the Revolution (Chama Cha Mapinduzi) and the opposition Civic United Front (CUF) but without much progress.
Freedom of expression and the media
Journalists writing articles criticizing the government were at times harassed, threatened or arrested.
• Three journalists of Rai newspaper were arrested and charged in July.
• In August Richard Mgamba of The Citizen newspaper was arrested and threatened with being stripped of his citizenship and expelled from the country on account of an interview he gave in a documentary film about arms trafficking.
• Three visiting mainland journalists were briefly arrested in Zanzibar in September.
A previous sedition case against opposition party leader Augustine Mrema and two environmental rights activists, all three of whom were free on bail, was continuing.
Violence against women
Female genital mutilation continued to be illegally practised in many rural areas on the mainland, with rates of over 80 per cent among some ethnic groups. No prosecutions were reported. The World Health Organization reported a high rate of domestic violence in Tanzania, with 30 per cent of victims suffering serious injuries due to severe beatings.
The government accepted the need to reduce severe overcrowding in prisons but little action was taken. The National Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance inspected mainland prisons and criticized harsh conditions, particularly the holding of juvenile prisoners together with adults. The Commission was still barred by the Zanzibar government from working or opening an office in Zanzibar.
The government ordered the deportation of all illegal immigrants who had failed to register or apply for citizenship. Deportations began of several thousand people originating from neighbouring countries such as Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and Democratic Republic of the Congo who had lived in Tanzania for up to 15 years or longer. There was a much larger number of such people, some of whom were former refugees integrated into rural communities who had never regularized their status.
In August President Kikwete commuted all death sentences on mainland Tanzania to life imprisonment. The total number of commutations was not officially disclosed, but was estimated to be about 400. Many of the prisoners had been on death row for several years. At the end of 2006, no one was under sentence of death in Tanzania, either on the mainland or in Zanzibar.