Cablegate: Tanzania International Narcotics Control Strategy Report
DE RUEHDR #0747/01 3071212
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 031212Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8965
UNCLAS DAR ES SALAAM 000747
DEPARTMENT FOR AF/E JTREADWELL, INR FOR JLYLE
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SNAR PGOV PREL TZ
SUBJECT: TANZANIA INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS CONTROL STRATEGY REPORT
REF: STATE 97230
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 cocaine, heroin, khat, and
Mandrax, and opium pass through Tanzania's porous borders. In
addition, the domestic production of cannabis is a significant
problem, with active cultivation as well as natural growth in many
regions. While domestic use of cannabis has plateaued, heroin and
cocaine use continues to increase, particularly among the young, in
affluent neighborhoods, and around tourist areas, like Zanzibar.
While the Government of Tanzania is working to build the capacity of
its law enforcement and health institutions to combat drug
trafficking and abuse, they are constrained by the lack of financial
as well as human capital. Within the law enforcement sector,
corruption continues to erode the efficacy of existing
anti-narcotics efforts. Tanzania is a party to the 1988 UN Drug
II. Status of Country
TanzaniaQs location, along trafficking routes with porous borders
that offer numerous possible points of entry through its eight land
borders and 1,424-kilometer coastline, provides opportunities for
drug traffickers. 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 ocean and lake ports like Tanga, Mtwara,
Mwanza, and Bagamoyo. Traffickers reportedly conduct a significant
amount of narcotics smuggling offshore via dhows and small boats
that avoid ports. Tanzanians are sometimes used as "drug mules".
During the year, Tanzanians were arrested for drug trafficking
elsewhere in East Africa.
Domestic use of narcotics appears to be on the rise, although
cannabis use appears to have stabilized. Because cocaine and heroin
are not as affordable as cannabis or khat, they are used in smaller
quantities and primarily within affluent urban areas. However, the
growth of the tourism industry, particularly on Zanzibar and near
Arusha, as well as increasing affluence have increased demand for
these more expensive narcotics.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2009
Policy Initiatives: 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. Currently, magistrates typically impose fines on
offenders as opposed to seeking prison sentences. The law
stipulates that convicted drug traffickers be fined three times the
market value of the drugs with which they are caught, but not less
than Tsh 10 million (approximately $7700).
According to the DCC, the government drafted a national drug control
policy during the year. This policy is currently under review by
various government stakeholders.
In 2008, the DCC formed a task force, which includes representation
from the DCC, Police Service, Customs, and Immigration. This body
facilitates interagency collaboration on narcotics issues, operating
at the national, regional, and district levels to maximize the
benefits of collaboration between law enforcement organs. Task
force activities are funded out of the DCC's $700,000 budget.
On Zanzibar, the proposed Illicit Drugs Bill was passed by the
Zanzibar House of Representatives on October 23. This bill enhances
the powers of police officers to search and seize narcotics, while
also allowing for "controlled delivery" of persons suspected of
transporting illegal narcotics to facilitate international arrests.
In addition, the bill provides for the formation of a narcotics
secretariat and an anti-drug commission to coordinate
counter-narcotics efforts. The new bill is currently awaiting the
Zanzibar presidentQs signature.
Law Enforcement Efforts: Tanzania has three counter-narcotics police
teams, located in Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, and Moshi. The
Anti-Narcotics Unit (ANU) has roughly 150 officers nationwide, with
50 in the capital city. Law enforcement efforts are increasingly
successful at arresting small-scale smugglers and "drug mules".
This increase reflects the ANU's efforts to sensitize community
members about drug issues and earn their confidence by demonstrating
their commitment to combat drug trafficking. Narcotics
interdictions generally result from tip-offs from informants.
Further, law enforcement officials have successfully built
international relationships which allow for information sharing
regarding the movement of narcotics from one continent to another.
Officers from the National Park Service have broad powers to search
and seize. They have been helpful in seizing quantities of locally
Law enforcement, however, has been less successful at apprehending
QkingpinsQ of narcotics activities. There are suspicions that
"kingpins" may be able to infiltrate investigations and elude
capture. Low salaries for law enforcement personnel in some cases
encourage corrupt behavior. However, the police have put in place a
system of incentives to reward police for their efforts to arrest
drug offenders, which they hope will help reduce corruption.
While Tanzanian narcotics officials acknowledge their efforts are
hampered by a lack of resources, such as modern patrol boats, they
have used community outreach and interagency coordination to help
mitigate the impact of such resource shortages. Nevertheless, while
capability for land interdiction at established borders is
reasonable, marine interdiction remains a problem. Furthermore,
Tanzanian officers and police staff are not able to effectively
implement profiling techniques to seize larger amounts of narcotics.
Formal cooperation between counter-narcotics police in Kenya,
Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania is well established. 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. Officers attended
various international training events held in Botswana, Japan, and
Russia. During the year, the DCC coordinated training and encouraged
working relationships between law enforcement in various neighboring
countries. The DCC provided drug test kits to officials along the
Malawian and Zambian borders with Tanzania to assist with the
identification of illegal narcotics.
Between January and October 2009, police arrested approximately
4,000 individuals for drug possession, of which 112 related to
heroin, 107 related to cocaine, 363 related to khat, and over 3,000
related to cannabis. Roughly 15 people were arrested for possession
of Mandrax. To date in 2009, police seized over 45,000 kilograms of
drugs. More than 70 percent of this total was cannabis. Police
seized 32,000 kilograms of cannabis, eight kilograms of heroin, and
4 kilograms of cocaine. There were no convictions for drug
trafficking in Zanzibar during the year, however by June there were
123 cases pending in the High Court.
Corruption: The Government of Tanzania does not, as a matter of
government policy, encourage or facilitate illicit drug production
or distribution, nor is it involved in laundering the proceeds of
the sale of illicit drugs; however, corruption continued to be a
serious concern within 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
Many believe that corruption in the courts often leads to case
dismissals or light sentencing of convicted narcotics offenders.
Some prosecutors have complained that they suspect many arrested
suspects plead Qnot guiltyQ 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
Agreements and Treaties: Tanzania is a party to the 1988 UN Drug
Convention, the 1961 Single Convention as amended by the 1972
Protocol, and the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances.
Tanzania is also a party to the UN Convention against Corruption,
and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and its
three protocols. The 1931 U.S.-U.K. Extradition Treaty is
applicable to Tanzania.
Cultivation and Production: Traditional cultivation of cannabis
takes place in remote parts of the country, mainly for domestic use.
Although cannabis is produced in almost all regions, DCC and ANU
officials identified the following regions as the primary production
areas for cannabis: Morogoro, Iringa, Tabora, Mara, Arusha, Rukwa,
Rumuva, and Tanga. During the year, production spread to Lindi and
Mtwara due to increased demand from Mozambique. In conjunction with
the seizure of 357 kilograms of cannabis in the Tarime district of
the Mara region, police destroyed 50 acres of cannabis in 2009. In
total, police destroyed seventy acres of cannabis during the year.
No figures on total production exist. However, the DCC plans to
conduct research to determine the extent of cannabis cultivation.
Khat is also grown locally, primarily in Arusha and Tanga. However,
most of the khat found in Tanzania is smuggled in from Kenya, where
it is legal to produce.
Drug Flow/Transit: Due to its location and porous borders, its
weakly controlled seaports and airports, Tanzania has become a
transit country for narcotics moving in sub-Saharan Africa.
Traffickers from landlocked countries of Southern Africa, including
Zambia and Malawi, and island nations, like Comoros, use Tanzania
for transit. Control at the ports, especially on Zanzibar, is
difficult. Internal waterways, such as Lake Victoria, also provide
convenient transit routes for drug smugglers. While controls at
established ports of entry on the mainland are effective,
traffickers often cross the border at points without established
posts. There were reports of "rampant" drug smuggling from
neighboring countries through uncontrolled areas near the Kasumulu
and Tunduma border posts with Malawi and Zambia respectively.
Traffickers using forged documents and various methods of
concealment face poor controls and untrained and corrupt officials.
Smugglers often travel via South Africa to obtain fraudulent
documents which are used to hide travel to the Middle East and South
America. In an effort to elude drug sniffing dogs, drugs are often
concealed with local goods such as tea and coffee or swallowed by
According to the Anti-Narcotics Unit, heroin entering Tanzania from
Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan via Dubai and other locations, often
by boat, is being smuggled to China and Europe in small quantities.
Cocaine enters Tanzania from Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, and
Curacao in transit to South Africa, Europe, Australia and North
America. The port of Dar es Salaam is also a point of entry for
Mandrax from India, Nepal and Kenya headed toward South Africa.
Tanzanians continue to be recruited as Qdrug mulesQ for
In Zanzibar, enforcement officials said that local smugglers usually
travel to Dubai where they are given drugs by contacts coming from
Brazil. These smugglers then transport the drugs to China via
Nairobi, returning with goods to sell on the local market.
While the traffickers are primarily from Tanzania, particularly the
Tanga region, foreign nationals have also been arrested for drug
trafficking in Tanzania. In August, a Kenyan woman was arrested
with three kilograms of heroin en route to South Africa and in
Zanzibar; an Italian national is currently under investigation for
possession of illegal narcotics.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction: Cannabis is the most commonly
used narcotic. Although its use has not declined, it has begun to
stabilize. Local use of Mandrax is limited. Since the introduction
of powdered heroin in 2000, however, use of this drug has increased.
Intravenous drug use is more common in Zanzibar than on the
mainland. With direct flights connecting South America and Africa,
cocaine use has also increased in recent years, particularly among
the youth and tourists.
Through its community outreach activities, the police have been
involved in efforts to educate the public about the dangers of
narcotics. In 2009, DCC launched a drug awareness campaign,
participating in state sponsored trade fairs, national celebrations,
and youth-centered events to create greater awareness about drug
trafficking. In Zanzibar, narcotics officials worked with the
Department of Substance Abuse Prevention and Rehabilitation of the
Zanzibar Ministry of Health, conducting seminars for local leaders,
media outlets, and the public on the importance of providing the
police with information. On October 25, the Zanzibar Anti Narcotics
Squad of Zanzibar aired a television program on narcotics as part of
its media outreach program.
The DCC, under the Prime Minister's Office, oversees treatment and
prevention activities, coordinating with NGOs and other medical
facilities. It 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.
Most treatment is provided at the local level by NGOs or at
community health facilities. However, these organizations lack
trained personnel to identify, assess, and assist drug addicts,
particularly those in need of psycho-social interventions. Because
resources are stretched so thin, quality of care is an issue and
relapse is common among drug users. Although Tanzania has adopted
the UNODC guidelines on treatment, these have not been disseminated
to local NGOs.
During the year, DCC's Technical Working Group developed three
manuals for service provision, including a guide for the management
of drugs at primary health care centers, an outreach service guide,
and a strategic framework for the prevention of HIV among IV drug
users. The DCC received a grant from the UNODC and WHO to support
training activities in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar.
Any required in-patient care was typically provided by psychiatric
hospitals. Drug addicts were often hesitant to seek in-patient
treatment due to the stigma associated with psychiatric facilities.
There are six psychiatric units in the country, 20 trained
psychiatrists, and fewer than five psychologists.
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. During the
year, Tanzanian officers participated in a USG sponsored workshop on
investigation techniques, held in Tanzania. The Department of State
also sent officers from the Tanzania National Police to the
International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Gaborone, Botswana
The Road Ahead: According to police, fighting corruption will be a
priority in 2010 in order to improve the efficacy of
counter-narcotics efforts. In addition, DCC will seek the approval
of the national drug control policy and step up cannabis eradication
efforts by promoting alternative crop production. Finally, DCC hopes
to establish a methadone treatment program in Tanzania as well as a
national drug precursor monitoring program. U.S.-Tanzanian
cooperation will continue, with a focus on improving Tanzania's
capacity to enforce its counter-narcotics laws.