Cablegate: Tanzania by-Election: Chiefs of Mission See Calm in Tarime

DE RUEHDR #0647/01 2821359
R 081359Z OCT 08



E.O. 12958: N/A

REFS: A) DAR ES SALAAM 635, B) FOX-LIDDLE e-mail dated 08OCT08

DAR ES SAL 00000647 001.2 OF 002

1. (U) SUMMARY & INTRODUCTION: CDA and three heads of Diplomatic
missions visited Tarime district to discuss the upcoming by-election
with all concerned. The playing field is tilted towards the ruling
CCM party, but not grossly so. Police presence is much greater than
during the 2005 national elections. The police appear to have a
pro-ruling party bias. However, the main opposition party in the
district won its seat in parliament with 58 percent of the vote in
2005. Moreover, local ethnic Kurya people are well known for not
being easily intimidated. It is likely to be a close race. END

Our Delegation & Who We Talked to:
2. (U) While we had hoped to arrange a more representative group of
Heads of Mission, last minute dropouts left only the Canadian and
British High Commissioners, the Swedish Ambassador and the American
CDA. We spent 48 hours in the district (3-5 October).
3. (U) On the Government of Tanzania side, we met with the District
Commissioner, Regional Commissioner, Returning Officer (senior
National Electoral Commission official in the district), Commander
of the Police Special Operations (Dar es Salaam-based) and the
Police Officer Commanding District (senior local police official).

4. (U) We met with the Chadema parliamentary candidate and had a
briefing from Chadema election officials (with media present).
Chadema, the second largest opposition party nationally, is the
largest party in the district, has a slim majority in the local
district council and is defending the parliamentary seat (see ref
5. (U) We met with the CCM (national ruling party) parliamentary
candidate, the CCM council candidate and a senior national-level CCM
member (who is also a prominent local businessman and our
6. (U) Finally, we met with 30-plus residents of a remote rural
community who freely and vocally shared their views on the campaign
and the issues that matter to them.
What We Learned:
7. (SBU) All our interlocutors referred to the incidents of violence
over the past several weeks (stone throwing, provocative language
and gestures, i.e. burning of campaign material, dressing a dog in a
CCM T-shirt, etc.) but suggested that calm had now been restored.
The evening following our departure violence escalated again. Police
reportedly used tear gas to break up a throng of Chadema supporters
and arrested the Chadema candidates, among others. They were later
released on bail.
8. (SBU) All our interlocutors made reference to the underlying
propensity to violence and inter-clan rivalry amongst the Kuria as a
contributing factor. As noted in reftel and unanimously confirmed
locally, the Kurya/Kuria clans feud over land, cattle, the marijuana
trade and other grievances whether or not there is a political
campaign afoot. The clans of the two major contestants are solidly
behind their "sons," but the other clans are divided in their
sympathies. None of the Kuria will be easily intimidated.
9. (SBU) During our 48 hour visit, Tarime appeared calm. We saw no
acts of violence. Many of our interlocutors commented on the
increased police presence. The group of villagers we spoke with
noted that they were uneasy when the police arrived in force. They
questioned why they never see such police numbers when clan fighting
breaks out or during the last national campaign. However, they went
on to say that over time they became comfortable with the presence
as they were largely left alone.
10. (SBU) Chadema's main concern was their view that the police were
not acting impartially and were quick to arrest and detain Chadema
supporters and act on the complaints of the CCM but not on
complaints filed by Chadema (see ref email attachment). "Our
complaints are always 'under investigation' with no follow up," they
lamented. A key concern was the alleged arrest and detention of two
Chadema supporters who had been kidnapped, taken to the forest,
beaten and stripped (allegedly by CCM supporters). On reporting to
the police station, instead of being treated as victims, they were
arrested and detained for the dog and t-shirt incident. They
believed that no action was taken to arrest the perpetrators whom
they had named. While we had no way of ascertaining the truth of
these allegations, the perception of police neutrality will be an
important element in maintaining peace throughout the election
period. (All observers agreed as to the outline of the story, but
CCM leaders insisted that the incident was Chadema-on-Chadema
violence.) Chadema expressed concern that they had submitted
written complaints on all incidents to date to the Returning
Officer, with copies to NEC HQ, but had not yet received a response
and were concerned that no action was being taken.
11. (SBU) Police advised that they were being criticized by both
sides, but sought to reassure us that they were working fairly,
impartially and in accordance with the law. In some cases police
could make immediate arrests because they witnessed the offense. In

DAR ES SAL 00000647 002 OF 002

other cases alleged offenses needed to be investigated. The local
police commander told us that supporters of several parties,
including CCM, had been arrested and charged for acts of violence
but that everything had been brought under control.
12. (SBU) The Returning Officer and the police provided slightly
different information on allegations of buying of voter registration
cards. The Returning Officer advised that the allegations had been
investigated and were determined to be unfounded, while the police
told us they were still under investigation. The villagers told us
that while all parties were attempting to buy voter registration
cards, it was mainly CCM. We were impressed by the villagers'
determination to use their right to vote even though they were
critical of both CCM and Chadema for not delivering on their lavish
campaign promises.
Comment: Worth the Trip; Likely to be a Close Race

13. (SBU) This trip garnered considerable positive broadcast and
print coverage, including a political cartoon (in possession of
AF/E/Tanzania desk). Our mission was accomplished. Tanzanian
officials are aware that we are closely following events. They are
also aware that several missions will send (NEC-accredited)
observers to the district for the final day of the campaign and the
election itself. Our visit was immediately preceded by and followed
by violence, but our presence contributed to the calm that reigned
in Tarime for 48 hours.

14. (SBU) The race in Tarime is likely to be close,
notwithstanding a playing field tilted somewhat towards CCM.
Although Chadema won 58 percent of the parliamentary vote in 2005
with the charismatic Chacha Wangwe, his would-be successor lacks
charisma. Moreover, Chadema is fractured over suspicions that their
late MP was done in by one of their own. Most of his family members
have left the party. CCM, using its significant financial
resources, is bringing the weight of its ministers and senior-most
party leaders to bear on the district. Chadema's national
leadership has campaigned locally, but has not maintained a
long-term presence. However, CCM in Tarime is reportedly divided
into two rival factions. One is backing the council and
parliamentary candidates. The other is backing Chadema ("CCM by
day, Chadema by night") as payback against their CCM rival.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


UN: Bachelet Calls On Mexico To Step Up Efforts As Tragic Milestone Reached Of More Than 100,000 Disappearances

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Tuesday called on the Mexican authorities to step up efforts to ensure truth and justice for victims of disappearances, who now number more than 100,000, according to official data... More>>

ADC: Statement On The Assassination Of Shireen Abu Akleh

Early this morning in Jenin, Occupied Palestine, revered Palestinian voice Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian American journalist for Al Jazeera, was assassinated by Israeli Occupation Forces snipers...

Ukraine: UN Rights Office Probe Spotlights Harrowing Plight Of Civilians

Almost 76 days since Russia invaded Ukraine, countless civilians remain caught up in the horror and destruction of war, UN rights investigators said on Tuesday... More>>

Access Now: Elon Musk’s Twitter Buyout Must Not Come At The Expense Of Human Rights

Following today’s announcement that Elon Musk will acquire complete ownership of Twitter in a cash sale of around 44 billion USD, pending shareholder approval, Access Now urges Twitter’s Board, employees, and shareholders... More>>

UN: Biodiversity And Ecosystem Protection Highlighted On Mother Earth Day

Marking International Mother Earth Day, UN General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid urged on Friday, for collective action to safeguard biodiversity and protect ecosystems... More>>

Ukraine: Hundreds More Reach Safety After Fleeing Besieged Mariupol
In Ukraine, humanitarians said on Wednesday that hundreds of people have managed to reach safety after fleeing Mariupol, where there’s also been condemnation for the killing of Lithuanian filmmaker Mantas Kvedaravicius... More>>