Cablegate: Tanzania 2008-2009 International Narcotics Control


DE RUEHDR #0869/01 3661119
R 311119Z DEC 08




E.O. 12958: N/A


I. Summary

Tanzania is located along drug trafficking routes linking Latin
America, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe and, to a lesser
extent, the United States. Drugs like hashish, cocaine, heroin,
mandrax, and opium pass through Tanzania's porous borders. In
addition, the domestic production of cannabis is a significant
problem, with active cultivation in many regions. Drug abuse,
particularly involving cannabis and, to a lesser extent, cocaine and
heroin, is gradually increasing, especially among younger people and
in tourist areas. Tanzanian institutions have minimal capacity to
combat drug trafficking, and corruption reduces that capacity still
further. Tanzania is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

Sustained economic growth and increasing affluence, especially in
urban areas, have helped drive a demand for narcotics. Domestic
production of cannabis is expanding and improving in quality.
Cannabis grown in the Arusha region reportedly sells at a premium
price in Kenya. In October, police reported the seizure of over 200
kilograms of marijuana thought to be from Tanzania at a port in
Comoros. During the year, Tanzanians were arrested for drug
trafficking elsewhere in East Africa as well as in India and

Domestic use of narcotics appears to be on the rise. Because
cocaine and heroin are not as affordable as cannabis or khat, they
are used in smaller quantities and primarily within affluent urban
areas. The growth of the tourism industry, particularly on Zanzibar
and near Arusha, has also increased demand for narcotics.
Tanzania's location, along trafficking routes with numerous possible
points of entry through its eight land borders and 600 kilometer
coastline, provides the opportunity for relatively easy drug

Drugs are believed to enter Tanzania by air, sea, roads and rail.
Major points of entry include airports in Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar
and Kilimanjaro, seaports at Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar, and smaller
ports like Tanga, Mtwara and Bagamoyo. Anecdotal evidence suggests
that improved port surveillance has driven many traffickers out of
the major points of entry to minor sea ports and unofficial land
entry points. Traffickers reportedly conduct a significant amount
of narcotics smuggling off-shore via dhows, small boats that avoid

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2008

Policy Initiatives: According to the Deputy Minister for Trade,
Industry and Marketing, Hezekiah Chibulunje, the government saw an
upward trend in the trade of counterfeit goods in 2008. This new
trend was thought to be a reaction by small-scale drug dealers,
those hardest hit by antinarcotics efforts, to diversify from
narcotics, as well as a means for large-scale traffickers to launder
their money.

Efforts to amend the Anti-Drugs Control Commission Act of 1995,
designed to strengthen the Drug Control Commission (DCC) and
increase the penalty for drug trafficking, failed in 2007 With the
failure of the 2005 amendments, the semi-autonomous archipelago of
Zanzibar has indicated that it will proceed independent of the
mainland with its own anti-narcotics legislation.

Accomplishments: In 2008 Tanzania's judiciary convicted 467
individuals for narcotic offenses involving "hard drugs" like
cocaine and heroin, and 6033 individuals on minor offenses involving
drugs like cannabis. It was reported by the police that
approximately 200 metric tons of cannabis and two metric tons of
khat, locally known as mirungi, were seized during the year.

Law Enforcement Efforts: Tanzania has three counter-narcotics
police teams, located in Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, and Moshi. Law
enforcement efforts are increasingly successful at arresting small
scale smugglers; however, law enforcement has been less successful
at apprehending "kingpins" of narcotics activities. Newspaper
articles and editorials have criticized the government for not
investing more in manpower and training of drug control officials.

Senior Tanzanian counter-narcotics officials acknowledge that their
officers need additional training. However, they are limited by a
lack of resources and staff. Antinarcotics units lack such basic
resources as modern patrol boats to monitor the harbor and must rely
on modified traditional wooden dhows to interdict smugglers at sea.
Tanzanian officers and police staff are not able to effectively
implement profiling techniques to seize large amounts of narcotics.
Narcotics interdiction seizures generally result from tip-offs from
informants. Moreover, low salaries for law enforcement personnel

encourage corrupt behavior.

Formal cooperation between counter-narcotics police in Kenya,
Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania is well established, with bi-annual
meetings to discuss regional narcotics issues. This cooperation has
resulted in significant increases in effectiveness in each nation's
narcotics control efforts. Tanzania also cooperates formally with
countries from the Southern African Development Community, including
Zambia and South Africa. In 2008, the United Kingdom provided
counter-narcotics training to Tanzanian officers from immigration,
customs and police divisions. Other officers attended various
international training events held in Malawi, Botswana and

Corruption: Neither the government nor senior officials encourage
or facilitate the production or distribution of illicit drugs;
however, corruption continued to be a serious concern in the
Tanzanian Police Force. It is widely believed that corrupt police
officials at ports facilitate the transshipment of narcotics through
Tanzania. There is no specific provision of the anticorruption laws
regarding narcotics related cases. In June 2006, two police
officers were arrested following the disappearance of approximately
80 kg of cocaine and heroin from police custody. During the year,
the courts began hearing the case, but there was still no ruling by
the end of 2008.

Many believe that corruption in the courts often leads to case
dismissals or light sentencing of convicted narcotics offenders.
Some prosecutors have complained that many arrested suspects plead
"not guilty" until the magistrate hearing the case can be bribed.
Once confident of the magistrate's complicity, the suspects change
their plea to guilty, thereby forgoing a lengthy trial process, and
the magistrate issues a judgment of only a minor fine.

Agreements and Treaties: Tanzania is a party to the 1988 UN Drug
Convention. The 1931 U.S.-U.K. Extradition Treaty is applicable to

Cultivation and Production: Traditional cultivation of cannabis
takes place in remote parts of the country, mainly for domestic use.
It is estimated that an acre of land can produce up to $1000 worth
of cannabis crop as opposed to $100 worth of maize. The Ministry of
Public Safety and Security identified the following eight regions as
the primary production areas for cannabis: Iringa, Tabora,
Shinyanga, Mara, Arusha, Mwanza, Mbeya and Tanga. However, for
2008, Morogoro topped the list for farmland where cannibis plants
were destroyed, with a reported 600 acres. No figures on total
production exist, but during the year, police and government
officials reported that production continued and had spread to
different regions in response to eradication efforts and special
police operations against drug traffickers in Iringa, Mbeya and
Ruvuma regions. Given the availability of raw materials and the
simplicity of the process, it is likely that most hashish is
produced domestically; however, other illegal drugs in Tanzania are
probably produced elsewhere.

Drug Flow/Transit: Due to its location and porous borders, seaports
and airports, Tanzania has become a significant transit country for
narcotics moving in sub-Saharan Africa. Traffickers from landlocked
countries of Southern Africa, including Zambia and Malawi, use
Tanzania for transit. Control at the ports, especially on Zanzibar,
is difficult. Traffickers using sophisticated methods of forging
documents and concealment face poor controls and untrained and
corrupt officials. According to the Anti-Narcotics Unit, heroin
entering Tanzania from Iran and Pakistan is being smuggled to the
U.S., China and Australia in small quantities by traffickers from
Nigeria, Tanzania (with a significant number of traffickers from
Zanzibar) and other countries in East Africa. Cocaine enters
Tanzania from Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, and Curacao in
transit to South Africa, Europe, Australia and North America.
Cannabis Resin, a drug that is not known to be consumed
domestically, enters Tanzania mainly by sea from Pakistan and
Afghanistan. It is often concealed with local goods such as tea and
coffee and smuggled to Europe, North America and the Seychelles.
The port of Dar es Salaam is also a major point of entry for mandrax
from India, Nepal and Kenya headed toward South Africa. Tanzanians
continue to be recruited for trafficking.

In November, the Commissioner of the Drugs Control Commission said
that number of suspects arrested for involvement in drug trafficking
increased, while the overall volume of trafficked narcotics
decreased. He attributed this to a new strategy by drug lords to
spread the risk by increasing the number of traffickers but giving
each of them smaller amounts of drugs.

In April, a Tanzanian national was arrested in the Maldives after
arriving from India for possession of large quantities of narcotics.
In June, while traveling to the Olympic Games, Tanzanian boxers and
their coach were arrested in Mauritius for trafficking of narcotics
worth 120 million shillings, (approximately USD 100,000). The

president of the Boxing Federation of Tanzania was later arrested
and charged with arranging the deal.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction: Police have been actively
involved in community education programs to educate the public about
the dangers of narcotics. In 2008, the Drugs Control Commission
(DCC) worked together with the police to use the media to spread
anti-narcotic messages. Police and DCC officials participated in
state sponsored trade fairs and youth-centered events to create
greater awareness about drug trafficking. The DCC attributed the
increase in narcotics-related arrests to working more closely with
local communities to identify and stop drug dealers and users. The
DCC, under the Prime Minister's Office, also managed a small demand
reduction program, which included training courses for nurses,
counselors, and teachers in urban centers across the country.
Limited government resources existed for specialized care for drug
addiction and rehabilitation. Any required in-patient care was
typically provided by psychiatric hospitals.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation: U.S. policy initiatives and programs for
addressing narcotics problems in Tanzania are focused on training
workshops and seminars for law enforcement officials. State
Department law enforcement assistance included funding the
establishment of a forensics lab and training in its use. The United
State Government is funding the Personal Identification Secure
Comparison and Evaluation System (PISCES) to improve interdiction
capabilities at major border crossings. The program is primarily
designed to target terrorist activities, but also is effective
against narcotics and other smuggling activities as well.

The Road Ahead: U.S.-Tanzanian cooperation is expected to continue,
with a focus on improving Tanzania's capacity to enforce its
counter-narcotics laws.


© Scoop Media

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