The CIA defines terrorism as,
“(A) premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents.”
Going by this definition, Freeman Mbowe could never be labeled a terrorist because he does not fit within the definition by any stretch of the imagination.
He is charged with terrorism for demanding a new constitution for Tanzania, offering improvements from the current constitution that is making the lives of the masses there miserable.
He wanted to educate people about the need for a new constitution for the greater good of the country but instead ended up in jail.
However, repeatedly, the police have proven that they are acting in accordance with the vision of the ruling CCM party and are involved in hindering the path towards justice.
The police chief of Tanzania, Simon Sirro, loves his job more than doing justice to the people of Tanzania.
He knows that if he defies orders, he will be removed from his powerful position by an all-authoritative president, Samia Suluhu, who has often portrayed her ambitions clearly; she will go to any length to persecute her political rivals.
Acting against noncombatant targets is explicitly mentioned in the definition of terrorism, and this is exactly what the police chief is forcing its institutions to do.
The ordinary police officers just become the pawns in the hands of the big fishes, who often go uncriticized and unmonitored.
Simon Sirro should be standing where Freeman Mbowe is present right now, as he is the one who is involved in terrorist actions against noncombatants.
Police Brutality and State-Sponsored Terrorism: Suluhu on a Path to Destroy the African Nation
State-sponsored terrorism is defined as,
“State-sponsored terrorism is government support of violent non-state actors engaged in terrorism. States can sponsor terrorist groups in several ways, including but not limited to funding terrorist organizations, providing training, supplying weapons, and hosting groups within their borders.”
Police brutality in Tanzania is widespread, which strangles opposition political parties and activists not only during election seasons but also in everyday life.
This is an outright example of state-sponsored terrorism, as the state itself is involved in perpetrating violence against its own citizens.
Freeman Mbowe’s case is yet another example of state-sponsored terrorism. Here, the state of Tanzania choked the opposition leader by equipping the police with unnecessary authority and teamed up with the judiciary to prosecute their political rivals.
Seeing the assertiveness of the police chief and the overall institution in general, it seems that the real terrorists in Tanzania are hiding behind the police uniforms.
Tanzania has taken the definition of state-sponsored terrorism to an entirely new level.
Police chief Simon Sirro is the man behind the implementation of the draconian laws, which the Tanzanian government passes with regularity.
This makes the police bureaucracy of the country highly controversial and seen as biased against the opposition political parties. The very institution which is supposed to protect the citizens is the one that is suppressing them.
In 2018, when Tanzanians were ready to protest in significant numbers in the country on the voice of a US-based Tanzania social media activist, the police chief categorically labeled Tanzanians as “stray dogs.”
In his bid to create deterrence against the protest, he said that anyone protesting would be beaten like a “stray dog.”
The police, who are supposed to protect people from violence, are promising to beat them like “stray dogs” in Tanzania, which portrays the hidden ambitions of this dangerous state institution.
When the court inquiry is also not impartial in the case of Freeman Mbowe, it is itself a notion that the government is involved in state-sponsored terrorism.
Adam Kasekwa, a witness in Mbowe’s case, was tortured by the police as the uniformed terrorists kept him under arrest in brutal conditions.
The witness told the court about the inhuman episodes of torture he faced while in police custody.
Meanwhile, another witness, Moses Lunjenge, required to be present in front of the court, is missing now, and the news of his death is circulating.
Obviously, this would not be a natural death, but yet another episode of state-sponsored terrorism, as Samia-backed goons would have been involved in killing him.
This kind of horror occurs because the Tanzanian Government and CCM ruling party has lost integrity and the belief in the sanctity of human life.
Stability, not Human Rights: the US is Following the Old-Fashioned Approach to Tackle the Crisis
Joe Biden is walking the path of his former boss, Barack Obama, who set a precedent of promoting stability at the expense of human rights overseas.
When Obama funded the Saudis, who subsequently escalated the Yemen war, his goal was to ensure the stability of the Middle East.
The so-called stability obviously came at the expense of the innocent Yemeni children and women who were bombed in devastating numbers by the US-provided weaponry.
But for him, the stability came in the form of a balance of power. Now the Biden administration is following the same path, as he is proving unable or unwilling to censure the Tanzanian government despite rigorous attempts by the brutal regime to undermine human rights.
Whether it is about political rivals or the average citizen, human rights in the African nation are widely compromised, and the Biden administration is continuously overlooking these violations.
Because of Biden’s approach, the stability he sought has resulted in suppression of the people’s right to vote, and to prohibit them from protesting against the hegemonic regime.
Biden is proving his foreign policy choices even worse than his predecessor, Donald Trump, whose ambassador criticized Magufuli’s brutal human rights design.
The former US ambassador to Tanzania, Donald J. Wright, was a vocal advocate for the Tanzanian people, criticizing John Magufuli, Suluhu’s predecessor, and his dangerous policies.
However, instead of appointing the same ambassador, Biden replaced him with a new diplomat, who has yet to comment on the deteriorating human rights conditions in Tanzania.
This is the reason why even Tundu Lissu, a Tanzanian lawyer and politician, praised the US ambassador for calling out the government in favor of human rights in Tanzania. He said,
“Trump’s Africa policy was more progressive than Barack Obama’s… America’s Africa policy (under Trump) was made by the people working on African issues in the State Department. (Donald J. Wright was) criticized at first, but he has been one of the strongest voices in Tanzania.”
Hypocritical Pro-Government Tanzania Diaspora: Protecting Samia’s Interests by Labeling it Human Rights
Currently, Tanzania has two prominent diaspora organizations, namely,
- TDC Global
- Dicota US
While the first one is a global brand, the second one deals with Tanzanians living in America.
TDC Global is so chartered that it claims to have no political or sectarian affiliations and pledges to oppose any discrimination.
However, it denied including Tundu Lissu in the TDC GLOBAL LAUNCH & INVESTMENT CONFERENCE on 9th April 2019 in Stockholm, Sweden, and yet still invited the then-speaker of the house, Job Ndugai.
The message is clear here. The Tanzania government wants to control all the external organizations so that it can have a policy of its own choice.
The diaspora wants to have dual citizenship, but the government is not ready for this at all. Instead, they want to give them a so-called “special status,” the exact definition of which no one knows.
The government likes the so-called special status so they can maintain their dictatorship by putting provisions in the special status so as to continue to guarantee diaspora silence on the government atrocities.
The hypocrisy of the pro-government diaspora community is evident from the fact that without knowing what lies in the special status, the current diaspora framework is blindly agreeing and accepting of it.
The brutal government knows that giving people dual citizenship will empower them to criticize the government with more legal protection, even after coming to Tanzania. So, the government does not want to go that route.
The Self-Serving Diaspora of Tanzania is Playing with Fire
The current Tanzanian diaspora setting is self-serving. They invest their energies in things that are crucial for their own social status instead of helping the suppressed community back home.
The diaspora alignment with the government policies is present just to get more perks due to their presence overseas.
They avoid speaking against the hegemonic elite in return for the Tanzania government giving special status to the diaspora community.
However, by maintaining this silence, innocent Tanzanians are killed back home by police brutality and judicial terrorism.
They are unable to raise their voice for Freeman Mbowe, who was arrested for a crime he never committed. They even failed to condemn the brutal assassination attempts on Tundu Lissu, which alarmed the whole world except the pro-CCM diaspora.
The diaspora community of Tanzania is busy dancing around the fire, not knowing that the same fire is gradually spreading to a dangerous extent, which can take them into its ambit soon.
This self-serving attitude of Tanzania’s current diaspora must be ended if they want to see their country progressive in the true sense of the word.
The need of the hour is to enact a diaspora organization that can fight for human rights and social justice without any governmental influence. Only this sort of diaspora organization, without any CCM influence, can make a difference.
This attitude is encouraging and enabling Samia Suluhu’s government to feel that she is on the right path, and she must continue with the same policies, as even the people based in the foreign countries are accepting and confirming her behavior.
Diaspora Activism for Democracy and Human Rights: An Eleven Point Approach
Tanzania’s diaspora, led by a new diaspora organization worldwide, needs to lead the efforts of promoting democracy in the country because of the media restrictions back home.
They need to realize that if the media tries to unleash the hegemonic ambitions of the ruling elite within Tanzania, they will be arrested, or the media outlet will be banned.
Time and time again, the Tanzania government has proven this dictum of suppressing the journalistic voices throughout the country by silencing anyone speaking against the government.
So, the Tanzania diaspora needs to embrace the following multi-tiered approach to fix the mess at home.
- They need to create awareness among the world that Samia Suluhu’s government is suppressing the truth.
- The diaspora needs to tell the world about the dangerous intermingling of the state institutions of Tanzania, which are directly controlled by the president herself.
- Using the power of the internet, they need to spread the word universally so that the global investors think a thousand times before flooding their money into the regressive regime.
- Diaspora activists need to give interviews to the global media giants to tell the world about the hegemonic and authoritative ambitions of the government.
- As diaspora activists are under no binding of the local Tanzanian laws, they are not subjected to any kind of censorship. Especially in a country like the United States, the activists can speak loudly against Tanzania’s injustices against its own citizens without facing any legal penalty.
- One of the major roles for diaspora activists is to expose the state-sponsored terrorism at home, which the government is propagating using the police force. While local journalists cannot even show the world the internationally published reports, the diaspora activists can do it seamlessly.
- When anyone in Tanzania becomes subjected to the violent practices of the president, the diaspora activists should stage protests in front of Tanzania’s embassies in their respective countries and expose the hypocrisy of the government online. The case of Freeman Mbowe must be highlighted at the global stage by the diaspora community as soon as possible.
- The demands and rights of the citizens of Tanzania, which are not possible to propagate within the country itself, should be propagated by diaspora activists. For instance, anyone speaking of the new constitution while in Tanzania gets punished. However, diaspora activists can raise these demands on the global forums using their public relations power.
- Another feasible way for diaspora activists to stage their protest is when the home leader is visiting their country for some global event. For instance, when President Samia Suluhu recently visited the United States to address the UN general assembly, the US-based Tanzanian diaspora had a great opportunity to protest during her entrance into the UN building. This is crucial because, at that time, the president gets media coverage, and the protests are more likely to get global visibility.
- Raising their voices to recommend prosecution of the actual oppressors is also one of the things that come under the aegis of diaspora activists. While no one in Tanzania can call to prosecute the police chief, the diaspora activists can do it without worrying about their physical safety.
- The diaspora activists who have a direct linkage to the lawmakers of their respective countries can ask the legislatures to sanction Samia Suluhu’s oppressive regime, which is doing no benefit, and much harm, to Tanzanians.
Tanzania has already passed the stage of human rights advocacy, and it is time to promote activism, as the heavily censored media is in no position to show the truth to the people at home. Now it is relying on its diaspora worldwide; otherwise, the country will face chronic human rights violations if the diaspora community continues acting in negligence of these responsibilities.
US Problem: Not Engaging with the Cultural Elements in Negotiating Overseas
The United States is making the same blunder in the case of Tanzania that was committed in Afghanistan.
For the sake of pursuing so-called stability, the US often disregards the local sentiments about the whole scenario.
For instance, the locals back in Tanzania are fed up with the oppressive rule of Samia Suluhu and her cabinet.
However, the US does not measure these sentiments at all. Rather, it is busy contributing to making the matter worse.
America did the same thing in Afghanistan. They did not incorporate the local support of the Taliban fighters in their strategy, which at the end of the day contributed to the hasty withdrawal of the US from Afghanistan.
Even General Mark Milley explicitly said in his Congressional hearing that the US had the military might and the technological advancements, but it failed to incorporate the cultural factors into the war, which made them lose on the battlefield.
If the US continues ignoring Tanzania’s voices against Samia Suluhu, eventually that the strategy will backfire, and the US will bite the dust in its tackling of Tanzania’s affairs.
If the US wants to course-correct, it needs to sanction Tanzania economically because this seems to be Samia Suluhu’s biggest aim right now.
She is addressing global investors to come to Tanzania and invest under her regime. So, if the US can stop investors going there, it can push Samia Suluhu’s government to change its oath for the greater good of everyone living in the African nation.
The World has all the Intelligence, the Action is Missing Now: The UN Chief Owes an Apology for Praising Magufuli
It is not that the global community is ignorant about the brutal human rights practices in Tanzania.
In fact, many first-world countries have first-hand intelligence into the regressive practices observed in Tanzania daily.
Some of the countries did try to criticize former President John Magufuli for his questionable human rights ambitions.
In 2018, Tanzania expelled the EU ambassador Roeland van De Geer for speaking against the human rights model of the then-president.
It was evident then that Magufuli was not tolerant of any criticism against his policies, even if they violated the fundamental rights of the people.
However, the worrying part is that the EU ambassador was not the only one being ousted from Tanzania over his human rights advocacy.
Ms. Awa Dabo, the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Head, was also expelled from Tanzania.
On that basis, when the UN Secretary-General endorses the brutal Tanzania dictator John Magufuli’s policies, as he did in one of his speeches, he needs to revisit his approach of leading the most prominent intergovernmental organization of the world.
Tanzania’s dictator expelled the head of one of the UN bodies, and, being the head of the UN, it was the duty of Antonio Guterres not to endorse any such leader.
However, it seems that either the UN chief is suffering from short memory, or the institution is being hijacked by the mentality driven by the likes of Tanzania’s dictator.
Recently, during the government-fabricated case of Freeman Mbowe, the deputy German ambassador to Tanzania, Dr. Kathrin Steinbrenner, talked with Freeman Mbowe in court and assured him about the continuing German support to his struggle.
The same ambassador saved Tundu Lissu when the brutal Tanzanian regime wanted to slaughter him after the first failed attempt by arranging for his escape. Tundu Lissu went to the Tanzania Germany embassy for protection while being chased by the Tanzanian terrorist organization, the police.
She further asked him not to give up his crusade against the oppressive government of Samia Suluhu, and Freeman did commit that he would not give up his courage to resist the oppressive rule.
The meeting itself signifies that Germany has the necessary intelligence in Freeman’s case, and the country needs to provide this information to other global powers as well, especially the USA.
International Lawyers Busting the Terrorist Agenda of Samia’s Administration
Robert Amsterdam, one of the most prominent international lawyers, has busted the unlawful regime of the ruling CCM in Tanzania.
He scolded the administration for winning the election using bogus means and promoting one-party rule in the country.
By drawing an analogy with the Republican Party of the US, he said that the CCM is acting the same way as Republicans do in the US to suppress votes of the people of color.
The community of international lawyers knows very well that Tanzania will remain a one-party state under the current constitutional framework, and the episodes like the arrest of Freeman Mbowe will be repeated against anyone demanding the new constitution.
Policing the police is the primary necessity to bring the institution under control. This should be accomplished by establishing a rigorous setup of independent oversight.
It is in dire need that a regulatory body free from political influence is created in Tanzania to oversee the functioning of the police and its bureaucracy.
This is the only way through which police brutality can be countered in an effective fashion.
However, due to the authoritative nature of the constitution of Tanzania, establishing any such body would require approval from the president, who will hesitate in making it; otherwise, her clandestine ambitions would be unveiled.
Eli is a Political Data Scientist with over thirty years of experience in Data Engineering, Analytics, and Digital Marketing. Eli uses his expertise to give the latest information and distinctive analysis on US Political News, US Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, and Racial Justice equipping readers with the inequivalent knowledge.