Volume 3, Issue 2, June 2020, Page: 26-35
Contesting Constitutional Multi-Culturalism in Tanzania: The Trials of Christopher Mtikila
Michael Frank Lofchie, Department of Political Science, University of California, Los Angeles, USA
Received: Mar. 24, 2020;       Accepted: Apr. 27, 2020;       Published: May 28, 2020
DOI: 10.11648/j.jpsir.20200302.11      View  58      Downloads  32
Abstract
Conflicts over the permissible limits on speech that weaponizes racial, religious, and ethnic identities are a global phenomenon. Tanzania’s constitutional and legal debates over this matter are a microcosm of a global dialogue. Since the early years of independence, Tanzania has imposed constitutional and legal restrictions on speech that speech that espouses ethnic, religious, or racial divisions. These restrictions are the surviving portion of founder-President Julius Nyerere’s multi-faceted effort to construct a multi-cultural political environment. Tanzania’s early leaders were deeply aware that ethnic rivalries had come to cominate the political life of other countries in their region. They were determined that Tanzania should become and remain the non-Sudan, non-Rwanda, and non-Kenya of Eastern Arica. They did so by introducing constitutional and restrictions on ethnic political appears into the country’s constitution and electoral laws. Since independence, each iteration of the Tanzanian Constitution has forbidden the registration of political parties that base their electoral appeal on these forms of speech. Tanzania has also embedded these limitations in its electoral laws, which limit candidacy for electoral office, at both national and local levels, to candidates nominated by registered parties. These limitations have given rise to more than twenty years of constitutional litigation. This article presents a study of the key constitutional cases. The methodology of this article is a close examination of a series of trials in which Tanzania’s constitution and electoral laws have been subjected to litigation. Four trials are of utmost significance: two, before the Tanzanian High Court; one, before the Tanzania Court of Appeal, and one before the African Court of Human and People’s Rights. Despite adverse court rulings, Tanzania’s political leaders appear determined to retain the restrictive portions of their constitution and electoral system; these remain in place to the present time.
Keywords
Human Rights, Ethnic Politics, Tanzania, Political Trials, Multiculturalism, Freedom of Speech
To cite this article
Michael Frank Lofchie, Contesting Constitutional Multi-Culturalism in Tanzania: The Trials of Christopher Mtikila, Journal of Political Science and International Relations. Vol. 3, No. 2, 2020, pp. 26-35. doi: 10.11648/j.jpsir.20200302.11
Copyright
Copyright © 2020 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Reference
[1]
For an outstanding example, Richard W. Abel, Speaking Respect, Respecting Speech. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1998.
[2]
Suzanne B. Goldberg, “Free Expression on Campus: Mitigating the Costs of Contentious Speakers,” in Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Vol. 41, No 1, Winter 2018, pp. 171–172.
[3]
Jacob Mchangama, “Europe’s Freedom of Speech Fail, “ Foreign Policy (FP), July 7, 2016.
[4]
This court was created by Article 1 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and People’s Rights, which was adopted by the Organization of African Unity in 1998. The Protocol creating the Court came into effect in January, 2004. As of 2017, eight African countries had agreed to accept the jurisdiction of the Court. Tanzania was among these.
[5]
Yaniv Roznai, Unconstitutional Constitutional Amendments: The Limits of Amendment Powers. Oxford, 2017.
[6]
The United Republic of Tanzania, The Interim Constitution of Tanzania, 1965.
[7]
The United Republic of Tanzania, The Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania of 1977, Article 20 (2) (a)
[8]
Grace Creek Media, Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism: Rev. Christopher Mtikila Interview (2013).
[9]
Richa Nagar. (1996). The South Asian Diaspora in Tanzania: A History Retold. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, 16, 2, 62 - 80.
[10]
James R. Brennan, “Blood Enemies: Exploitation and Urban Citizenship in the Nationalist Political Thought of Tanzania, Journal of African History, Vol. 47, No. 3 (2006). See esp. pp. 404ff.
[11]
Ronald Aminzade, Race, Nation, and Citizenship in Post-Colonial Africa: The Case of Tanzania. New York, Cambridge University Press, 2013, p. 329.
[12]
Paul J Kaiser. “Structural Adjustment and the Fragile Nation: the Demise of Social Unity in Tanzania.” The Journal of Modern African Studies, vol. 34, no. 02, June 1996, p 233.
[13]
The Political Parties Act [CAP 258 R. E. 2002].
[14]
Constitutional Amendment Act No. 4 of 1992 appears as Article 3 (1) of the amended 1977 constitution.
[15]
Rev. Christopher Mtikila v. the Attorney General, Civil Case No. 5 of 1993 in the High Court of Tanzania.
[16]
The United Republic of Tanzania, An Act to provide the procedure for enforcement of constitutional basic rights and dutires and for related matters. No. 33 of 1994.
[17]
The Eleventh Constitutional Amendment Act No. 34 of 1994 appears as Article 21 (1) of the present Tanzania Constitution.
[18]
In The High Court of Tanzania (Dar es Salaam Main Registry), Misc. Civil Cause No 10 of 2005, Christopher Mtikila (Petitioner) versus The Attorney General (Respondent)
[19]
The Court of Appeal of Tanzania at Dar es Salaam, Civil Appeal No. 45 of 2009, Between the Honourable Attorney General, Appellant and Christopher Mtikila, Respondent, “Judgment of the Court.”
[20]
Amnesty International Annual Report 2016/17,” pp. 357.
[21]
Barnabas Samatta, “Judicial Protection of Democratic Values: The Judgmentof the Court of Appeal on Independent Candidates,” as reprinted in Shivji, Issa G., and Hamudi Majamba. Rule of Law v. Rulers of Law: Justice Barnabas Albert Samattas Road to Justice. Dar es Salaam: Mkuki na Nyota, 2011, p. 239.
[22]
African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, Article 13, Section 1.
[23]
United Nations, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Section 2.
[24]
Oliver Windridge, “A Watershed Moment for African Human Rights: Mtikila & Others v Tanzania at the African Court on Human and Peoples Rights.” African Human Rights Law Journal, vol. 15, no. 2, 2015, pp. 299–328.
[25]
African Court on Human and People’s Rights, “In the Consolidated Matter of 1. Tanganyika Law Society [and] 2. Legal and Human Rights Centre v. The United Republic of Tanzania,” para 82.3.
[26]
UN Human Rights Committee (HRC), CCPR General Comment No. 25: Article 25 (Participation in Public Affairs and the Right to Vote), The Right to Participate in Public Affairs, Voting Rights and the Right of Equal Access to Public Service, 12 July 1996, Paragraph 17.
[27]
Zephania Ubwani, “EA Law Society: Minister Wrong to Threaten TLS,” The Citizen, TZ, February 23, 2017.
Browse journals by subject