from ALLOYCE KIMBUNGA in Dodoma, Tanzania
DODOMA, (CAJ News) – THE restrictions the United States (US) government has imposed on some Tanzanian officials indicates diplomatic ties between the two countries tumbling to their lowest point in four decades.
In Donald Trump’s last day in office on Tuesday, US announced visa restrictions on Tanzanian officials it alleged were responsible for or complicit in undermining the October 28 general elections won by incumbent, John Pombe Magufuli.
“The actions of these officials subverted the electoral process, continuing the downward trajectory of the country’s democracy,” Michael Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, said.
Quoting civil society, the US alleged widespread irregularities as well as human rights abuses and violations before, during and after the election that retained Chama Cha Mapinduzi party in power.
The US also reported civil society leaders remained under threat in the post-election period, and opposition leaders had fled the country out of fear for their safety.
Pompeo stated the US would continue to closely follow developments in Tanzania and would take additional actions against individuals complicit in undermining democracy and violating human rights in the East African country.
“Finally, we emphasize that today’s actions are not directed at the Tanzanian people,” he said.
The course of relations between Tanzania and the new US administration of Joe Biden remain unpredictable.
However, relations between US and Tanzania have not always been cordial.
The early tension in the relationship is rooted in Tanzania’s interests in promoting anti-colonial liberation forces in Southern Africa, and the US interests in protecting markets and business interests in Africa.
These interests were often in conflict between 1961, and the late 1980s, when relations normalized.
– CAJ News