The Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF) undertook an assessment of the performance of the TPF during the general elections of 25 October 2015.
The overarching objective of the assessment was to observe whether the TPF acted in accordance with democratic policing and human rights principles without bias in favour of any contesting party before and during the election period.
The specific objectives of the assessment were to:


  • Observe if police action contributed to creating an atmosphere of peace and stability during the electoral process.
  • Monitor whether civil rights were respected by the police during campaigning, voting, counting and the announcement of results.
  • Assess whether the police acted in accordance to their professional code of conduct.
  • Observe the attitude of stakeholders such as civil society, representatives of National Election Committee (NEC) and candidates of political parties towards the police before and during the election period.


To conduct the assessment, the HSF contracted the African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum (APCOF) in October 2015.

  1. Background to the project

The October 2015 Tanzanian elections were the fifth general elections since multi-party elections were restored in 1992. Tanzania’s NEC registered 23,161,440 voters, demarcated into 265 parliamentary constituencies.[2]

The elections were widely expected to be the most closely contested elections experienced in the country.[4]

  1. Legal framework for assessment

The framework against which an assessment of the TPF’s performance before, during and after the election is drawn from the international and regional normative standards for human rights, elections and policing, and the national framework for Tanzania, as expressed in the Constitution and relevant legislation.


  1. International norms and standards

Tanzania is party to a number of binding international human rights instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).[6] In the specific context of elections, the international normative framework requires, at a minimum, that national legal frameworks:

  1. Regional norms and standards

At an African level, the normative framework is informed by instruments including the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AChPR), the African Union Declaration on the Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa[15] among others (SADC Norms).

The AU DeclarationSafeguarding human rights and civil liberties of all citizens including the freedom of movement, assembly, association, expression, and campaigning as well as access to the media on the part of all stakeholders, during electoral processes.Taking all necessary measures and precautions to prevent the perpetration of fraud, rigging or any other illegal practices throughout the whole electoral process, in order to maintain peace and security.Ensuring adequate logistics and resources for carrying out democratic elections.Ensuring the provision of adequate security for all parties participating in elections[21] call on states to ensure that its security forces act impartially and professionally in the electoral context. Respect for all human life – respect for human rights, non-discrimination, use of force, prohibition on torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, protection of persons in custody, and treatment of victims of crime (Articles 1-6).

  • Reverence for the law – respect for the rule of law and Code of Conduct (Article 7).
  • Integrity – Trustworthiness, corruption and abuse of power (Articles 8-9).
  • Service Excellence – performance of duties, professional conduct, confidentiality (Articles 10-12).

Operationalisation of the EAC’s Common Standards through the development of four Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), which have been endorsed by the TPF, aim to promote the alignment of domestic policing practices with the international and regional normative framework for a rights-based approach to policing. The SOPs address key policing powers, namely:Use of force.

  • Stop and search.
  • Arrest and detention.
  • Public order policing.

The EAC SOP on Public Order Management, which provides a detailed framework for a rights-based approach to public order management, is attached as Annexure 1.


  1. Domestic legal framework

The Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania (1977) provides the framework for the promotion and protection of civil and political rights, and the administration of elections.  Specific protections include the rights of equality, life, privacy, personal security, and freedom of movement, expression, religion, association and participation in public affairs.[27]

These constitutional provisions enable specific legislation regarding elections, specifically the National Elections Act, (CAP 343, June 2010); and the Local Authorities (Elections) Act, (CAP 292, July 2015).  Together, these laws set the procedure for the conduct of elections in Tanzania and detail offences and associated penalties in relation to the conduct of these elections.[29]  

The Police Act also establishes police powers including, general powers and duties of police officers, the use of arms and force, search powers, collection of fingerprints and photographs, inspections and searches, the policing of assemblies, and the power to disperse assemblies and processions.[31]

The domestic legal framework outlined above defines the procedures by which elections in Tanzania are to administered, the powers and limits to the powers of the police in relation to this, and, importantly the manner in which citizens rights are to protected during election periods.

To operationalize this legal framework, and make it more accessible and readily understood by its personnel, the TFP developed and published a code of conduct for the policing of the elections.

This code covers the essentials, including:Code of conduct.

The legal framework outlined above, and the associated code of conduct for policing, form the basis on which to assess the policing of the Tanzanian elections of October 2015.

4. The National Human Rights Action Plan

The Tanzanian National Human Rights Action Plan 2013 – 2017 (NHRAP)Arbitrary interference in the right of peaceful assembly by law enforcement bodies.

  • Absence of a room for dialogue between the Government and would-be demonstrators about perceived threats or possible alternatives.
  • Absence of guidelines on how peaceful demonstration can be regulated.
  • Lack of political tolerance among political parties.


Among the objectives identified by the strategy are

  • Develop Standard Operating Procedures that clearly explain how police should exercise their duties while upholding individual rights to peaceful assembly in line with human rights standards.
  • Provide human rights training to law enforcement on the freedom of assembly and the use of reasonable force.
  • Create public awareness on the procedure to be followed in exercising the right to freedom of assembly and demonstration.
  • Develop guidelines on freedom of assembly and demonstration such as those provided by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), together with the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission.

The Action plan in relation to Freedom of Assembly is attached as Appendix 2. Given the relevance of the NHRAP recommendations made in this assessment are where possible linked to the plan.

5. Assessment methodology

The assessment of the TPF consisted of a rapid situational appraisal, conducted from the 21 to 28 October 2015.

The benchmarking for this assignment was drawn from the relevant legal norms and principles (set out in section 3, above), and consisted of an assessment of the extent to which the TPF perserved the peace and maintained law and order during the election process in compliance with relevant constitutional and legal protections and guarantees. The assessment therefore required consideration of the TPF’s performance in terms of the following:

  • Protection of the democratic space for free association and assembly and full political participation ahead of the election.
  • A police presence at the polling stations.
  • The provision of protection and security of the ballots to prevent tampering.
  • Post-election presence to manage public order incidents during, and following, the announcement of election results.

The preliminary findings of the rapid situational appraisal were subject to consultation with key stakeholders prior to the finalisation of this report and its recommendations.


It was beyond the scope of this rapid appraisal to develop a comprehensive election assessment tool and matrix, which would have included indicators and sub indicators such as, adequate resourcing and personnel, necessary logistics and training, effective command and control, communication strategy. Such tools can add significant value to future election planning and reviews.

Further, the election results for Zanzibar were cancelled, with new polls scheduled for December 2015 and then March 2016. The policing response to this election re-run will be a critical inclusion to a comprehensive assessment of police performance and election readiness. Although the new Zanzibar polls fall outside the scope of this project, the consultation on this report provided an opportunity for stakeholders to make observations and recommendations in terms of the TPF’s conduct before the elections, to inform the project’s overall findings and recommendations.

5. Assessment of policing in the 2015 election


5.1 Police activity prior to the election

According to Commissioner D.J. Nyambabe, Head of Operations (TPF), the TPF were ‘thoroughly prepared for the election’.A dedicated community sensitisation and outreach programme – including use of popular radio stations and through other community engagement initiatives such as community meetings; public advertisement of dedicated mobile telephone numbers for information, reporting and complaints; and outreach through ‘the more than 526 police inspectors’ deployed as community policing officers in different part of the country.The establishment of national and regional and district level ‘Election Desks’, set up solely to liaise with the NEC, political parties and individual citizens, and to respond to arising issues. In addition, TPF staff deployed to these desks maintained an incident and response log, a personnel deployment plan and standardised reporting structure.The establishment of a Joint Operations Cell to include participation of the other security services.

  • The recruitment of auxiliary personnel from the Department of Home Affairs, including personnel from the fire, prisons and immigration services. This was necessary as the NEC had declared over 65,000 polling stations and, with an obligation to deploy a police officer to every station, the 45,000 strong TPF required additional resources.

The TPF Head of Operations pointed to one main concern and that related to the ‘mobility of the police’, an issue related to the availability of vehicles, and noted that this had been addressed when the President allocated additional vehicles to the TPF.[39]  This provided the required clarity on the matter and guidance for policing at the polling stations.

5.2 Policing on election day – observation in Dar es Salaam.


Direct observation of the police at three polling centres in Dar es Salaam on the 25th October indicates that the prior preparation reflected positively in terms of the conduct of the TPF on the election day.

  • Kisuthu Police Post – The polling stations were located next to a formal police post in an urban  residential area so, although three police officers had been formally deployed to polling centre, there was a larger police presence. It was clear there was good communication between the police and the NEC officials and a very positive atmosphere in the orderly voting queues. This post was also observed by the Norwegian Ambassador’s election monitoring team, and the SADC observer team. No incidents were reported.
  • Milimani City – the polling stations were situated on a piece of land opposite the highway and a petrol station, and was much more congested than the others observed. Four unformed police officers were visible at the polling stations and three auxiliary police officials were deployed.  Given the congestion, the lack of shade and the lack of firm perimeter cordons, which meant that voters could try to push ahead in the queues, the atmosphere was a little tense. However, the police were observed to intervene appropriately to disruption in the queues and to calm things down very quickly – including being able to call on an election official to explain procedures to some who were questioning them. An armed detective in civilian clothes was not able to produce his TPF identity card when asked to do so. No incidents were reported at the time of observation.
  • Chole Road Container Bar (Polling Station 75) – the presiding officer reported that the polling station had opened on time, all eligible voters had cast their votes and the station had closed on time at 4pm. The voters had dispersed after voting and it was observed that counting was underway – this was being keenly observed by the party agents and single police officer. No incidents were reported.

However, there were some public order incidents requiring police intervention reported by observers to the Legal and Human Rights Centre, related to a lack of ballot papers at some polling stations – Sinza A, C and Kinondoni District. Polling at these stations was officially postponed to the following day, to allow the NEC to distribute the required voting materials.

The High Court ruling on Section 104 of the National Elections Act related to the prohibition on gatherings at polling stations did not cause major issues – and the Commonwealth Observer Mission ‘noted the discreet, yet effective police presence.’[41]

Police should be aware that their presence at demonstrations sometimes can have undesired effects. For instance the sudden arrival of large numbers of police in the proximity of a demonstration can be understood as an attempt to intimidate participants in the gathering, and may increase tension and hostility from the crowd. This does not mean that police should not attend gatherings but that they should be conscious about how they present themselves to the crowd. It may in general be advisable to avoid deployment of large contingents of police or police wearing or carrying riot equipment in the immediate vicinity of a demonstration unless there is information indicating that such units need to be deployed.

5.3 Policing after Election Day

Police activity immediately after Election Day was focused largely on containing sporadic outbursts of public discontent resulting from delays by the NEC in the announcement of election results, and in some instances, discontent with the results announced by the NEC. In Mwanza, for instance, police used teargas to disperse a crowd, which had gathered to wait for the announcement of elections results;[43]

The police’s use of teargas to disperse crowds was common to much reporting on police activity at this time. However, it is not clear from the available reports whether what appears to be ready resort to the use of teargas was merited in terms of the actual situations on the ground - in other words, it is not clear whether the use of teargas was justified in terms of the police’s understanding of whether the crowds posed a threat to the police, to individuals or property nearby, or, more generally, to public order. Asked directly, the TPF Head of Operations responded that in no instance did the police feel endangered, and that ‘the use of teargas is a standard procedure to disperse crowds’.[45]

Consideration of the likely risk to innocent persons by uses of force and specific types of weapons or ammunition. The presence of children, elderly people, persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups should be a factor that motivates for additional caution in using force. Weapons or ammunition that are not regarded as lethal may be more likely to have lethal consequences if they hit a young child or elderly person. They may also be at greater risk in the event of a crowd stampede.

There is no reason to question either of these assertions – however, it may be useful for the TPF to review this procedure in light of its international and domestic commitments to minimum use of justifiable force, as detailed in the legal framework outlined above.

The key issue is that of police discretion -  that is, the police are empowered to make decisions on whether a criminal or disorderly act has taken place, but this power is, or should be, mitigated by the need to secure and maintain public consent for policing, that is, a judgment of how the legitimacy of the police action will be experienced and perceived by the public.[47]

However, the issue of police discretion was highlighted again when armed police raided the offices of the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) affiliate Tanzania Civil Society Consortium on Election Observation (TACCEO) in Kawe, Dar es Salaam Friday on 29 October and arrested 36 data capturers and confiscated 27 computers and 25 mobile phones.[49] Earlier in the week, police had also reportedly raided several hotels rented by the opposition’s Chadema’s election staff in Dar es Salaam and Njombe region, and arrested 191 volunteers, releasing 183 shortly after, and later charging the remaining 8 with cybercrime offenses.[51] The issue here then is that the discretionary power of the TPF command to enforce Section 16 of the Cybercrime Act has opened the TPF up to allegations of bias, and marred otherwise very positive perceptions of the policing of the elections.

6. Recommendations


  1. Election Planning. Future election planning will benefit from the development of a detailed operational plan against an agreed matrix of policing responsibilities drawn from domestic legislation and international continental and regional obligations. Ideally this plan should be shared, if only in outline form (so as to exclude operational detail) with state and civilian stakeholders as essential in confidence building and police credibility. Such an election strategy and operational plan will provide clear objective indicators for post event review. A detailed and participatory review of the police election response (which should include civil society) should be conducted.


Public awareness

The following recommendation is linked to the objectives of the NHRAP recommendation on promoting public awareness on the procedure to be followed in exercising the right to freedom of assembly and demonstration

  1. b.Community Outreach.  TPF community sensitisation efforts were clearly successful and future election planning would benefit from enhancing such outreach, especially via the participation of community based organisations.

Standard Operating Procedures and Guidelines on Assembly

The following recommendations are made and are linked to the objectives of the NHRAP recommending the development of a rights based operating procedures and guidelines related to how police should exercise their duties while upholding individual rights to peaceful assembly in line with human rights standards.

  1. Review the chain of command for police action likely to have significant impact on domestic and international opinion – this refers to the level of command required to authorise police action likely to result in significant public sentiment, and the TPF may find it worthwhile to assess the seniority required for ordering or approving such action.


  1. Review of the procedure for the use of teargas and less lethal equipment -  Tanzania’s international and domestic commitments to rights-based policing, and therefore, the minimum use of justifiable force, mean that the use of teargas and less lethal equipment should not be an immediate response to crowd control or the maintenance of public order. The TPF should therefore review the manner in which the use of teargas is authorised in the light of Tanzanian international and regional commitments, especially the EAC Standard Operating Procedures for the Use of Force and Public Order Policing.
  1. Review procedures for crowd control at polling stations – this refers to secure and hard perimeter cordons and for queue demarcation, and is largely a resource issue. Where there are queues of voters unsure of where to stand, or how the procedure works, or frustrated at the length of time taken to get to vote, a police official pointing to a line may not be sufficient to maintain order. The TPF should therefore consider the use of hard barriers for this, even if only in those polling areas identified as volatile in the contingency plan.  As this is a resource issue, the TPF should liaise with the NEC regarding the provision of such equipment.

f. Review procedures for contingency planning at polling stations – this refers to improving police response to issues at polling stations related to delays in voting procedures, inclement weather and medical emergencies. Again, this is a resource issue and refers particularly to the provision of lighting at polling stations (should polling be delayed to after sunset); the provision of at least basic shelter at polling stations (in case of rain) and the availability of first aid kits, and personnel trained in first aid at the polling stations (to address medical issues).  Again, the TPF could liaise with the NEC regarding the provision of this equipment. Another option may be that the TPF and NEC consider the establishment of small dispute resolution structures at the polling stations, trained and able to mediate any frustration or conflict that may arise.


Human Rights Training

The following recommendation is made and is linked to the objectives of the NHRAP recommending human rights training to law enforcement on the freedom of assembly and the use of reasonable force.

  1. Extend training on human rights and the policing of public events - to its senior staff and more junior operational commanders to ensure greater understanding of Tanzania’s international and domestic obligations in terms of local law and international best practice.


As indicated in the report above, most of the police action after the voting was completed, stemmed from what was perceived by the public as delay in the announcement of results by the NEC.

It is beyond the remit of this report to comment on the validity of these perceptions, but it is worth noting that measures by the NEC to expedite the announcement of results, or to adequately and timeously communicate reasons for delaying the announcement of results, would go a long way to mitigating the need for police action.

  1. 7.Conclusion

The administration and policing of the 2015 Tanzanian elections has been universally endorsed by the Tanzanian Public domestic and international observer missions, most of whom noted that while there were some ‘anomalies in the application of certain procedures, they were not of such gravity to negatively impact the integrity of the process.Commissioner D.J. Nyambabe – Head of Operations, TPF

  • Charles Mkumbo – Regional Police Commander, TPF, Mwanza
  • Assistant Inspector Robert Mwita – TPF Regional Election Desk, Mwanza and 6 police officers
  • Pastor Simon Chemu – Chair, Huruma Peace Mercy Foundation, Mwanza
  • John Chetta – Secretary, Machinga Union of Tanzania, accompanied by Salum Ismaeli, Hafeel Tibaijuka  and Ernest Masaja, also members of the Machinga Organisation of Tanzania. Mwanza
  • John Pinini – Information Officer, Jikomboe Integral Development Association (JIDA), and former Chair of the Press Club, Tabora.
  • Hamisi Seleman – Regional Police Commander, Tabora
  • 8 TPF officials deployed to the Regional Election Desk, Tabora
  • Eveline Paul – journalist, FM Radio, Tabora.

Annexure  1 - The EAC Standard Operating Procedure on Public Order Management




  1. 1All Police Officers, members of special police forces and units, and staff of the police service are bound by this operating procedure.
  1. 2The purpose of these standing operating procedures (SOPs) is to provide a general standard for police in the East African Community in relation to the management of demonstrations, political rallies and large scale disturbances.
  1. 3Demonstrations are events that are intended to express particular views (often of a political nature) or to oppose certain policies or measures. They include assemblies at a fixed locality as well as processions.  In some cases they may evolve into disturbances involving the risk of harm to law enforcement officials, the public or damage to property.
  1. 4These SOPs is not intended to address policing responsibilities at gatherings like sporting events or large music festivals except when these types of events turn into demonstrations and/or disturbances.



  1. 1Provisions of international human rights laws and international human rights instruments that are relevant to these SOPs include but are not limited to:
  1. 1.1The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, provides that ‘everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.’ (Article 20(1))
  2. 1.2The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966, provides that ‘The right of peaceful assembly shall be recognized. No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of this right other than those imposed in conformity with the law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order (ordre public), the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.’ (Article 21)
  3. 1.3The Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, 1979 provides that ‘In the performance of their duty, law enforcement officials shall respect and protect human dignity and maintain and uphold the human rights of all persons.’ (Article 2)
  4. 1.4The Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, 1990 provides that:
  • 1.4.1Governments and law enforcement agencies should develop a range of means as broad as possible and equip law enforcement officials with various types of weapons and ammunition that would allow for a differentiated use of force and firearms. These should include the development of non-lethal incapacitating weapons for use in appropriate situations, with a view to increasingly restraining the application of means capable of causing death or injury to persons. For the same purpose, it should also be possible for law enforcement officials to be equipped with self-defensive equipment such as shields, helmets, bullet-proof vests and bullet-proof means of transportation, in order to decrease the need to use weapons of any kind (Article 2);
  1. lawful use of force is unavoidable law enforcement officials shall ‘Exercise restraint in such use and act in proportion to the seriousness of the offence and the legitimate objective to be achieved’ (Article 5a) and ‘Minimize damage and injury, and respect and preserve human life’ (Article 5b) and ‘Ensure that assistance and medical aid are rendered to any injured or affected persons at the earliest possible moment’ (Article 5c);
  2. 1.4.3In the dispersal of assemblies that are unlawful but non-violent, law enforcement officials shall avoid the use of force or, where that is not practicable, shall restrict such force to the minimum extent necessary. (Article 13);
  3. 1.4.4Law enforcement officials shall not use firearms against persons except in self-defence or defence of others against the imminent threat of death or serious injury, to prevent the perpetration of a particularly serious crime involving grave threat to life, to arrest a person presenting such a danger and resisting their authority, or to prevent his or her escape, and only when less extreme means are insufficient to achieve these objectives. In any event, intentional lethal use of firearms may only be made when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life (Article 9);
  4. 1.4.5In the dispersal of violent assemblies, law enforcement officials may use firearms only when less dangerous means are not practicable and only to the minimum extent necessary. Law enforcement officials shall not use firearms in such cases, except under the conditions stipulated in principle 9 (Article 14).
  1. 2The above principles are also endorsed by the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights adopted in Banjul in 1981. Article 11 of the Charter provides that:
  1. 2.1Every individual shall have the right to assemble freely with others. The exercise of this right shall be subject only to necessary restrictions provided for by law in particular those enacted in the interest of national security, the safety, health, ethics and rights and freedoms of others.
  1. 3The right to freedom of peaceful assemblies is also recognised in the Constitutions of the Partner States. In combination the above international treaties and declarations provide a number of basic principles governing the conduct of police in dealing with protests, demonstrations and large scale disturbances. These include but are not limited to the principles that:
  • Everyone has the right to peaceful assembly though restrictions may be placed on the exercise of this right if necessary in the interests of national security or public safety, public order (ordre public), the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.’
  • Where assemblies are unlawful but non-violent police should avoid the use of force if it is necessary to disperse the assembly. If force is unavoidable it should be restricted to the minimum necessary.
  • Firearms should only be used to protect life.
  1. 2Additional factors that needs to be considered by police in applying these principles are:
  1. 2.1Police have role to support members of the public in exercising their right to assemble or protest in a peaceful manner. Due to the fact that police are employees of the state and that demonstrations are often targeted at the state police are sometimes put under pressure to obstruct gatherings from taking place. However in so far as possible police should prioritize their role in supporting the public in exercising their rights.
  1. 2.2 Police should be aware that their presence at demonstrations sometimes can have undesired effects. For instance the sudden arrival of large numbers of police in the proximity of a demonstration can be understood as an attempt to intimidate participants in the gathering, and may increase tension and hostility from the crowd. This does not mean that police should not attend gatherings but that they should be conscious about how they present themselves to the crowd. It may in general be advisable to avoid deployment of large contingents of police or police wearing or carrying riot equipment in the immediate vicinity of a demonstration unless there is information indicating that such units need to be deployed.
  1. Whilst police should seek to uphold the right to assembly there will often be other public interests at stake. Police should aim to protect the right to peaceful assembly but need to weigh the interest of members of the public in exercising this right against other public interests. For instance a demonstration may prove to be highly disruptive to many people particularly if it is located in or passes through an area where there are schools or places of worship, a residential area or area where there is a high level of commercial activity. In situations where there is advance information received about a demonstration and it is possible to discuss their plans with the organisers it may be appropriate to motivate to them that they change their plans so as to be less disruptive to these other public interests.
  1. 4In all situations where problems relating to public order situations need to be resolved police should aim, where reasonably possible, to resolve these by dialogue.  When advance information about a forthcoming demonstration is received this dialogue should be initiated at the earliest possible stage with event organisers and other relevant parties. Where appropriate third parties who may assist in addressing issues to do with the organisation of the demonstration, or resolving issues which are the subject of contention, should be involved. Links with event organisers and other relevant parties should be established and maintained in order to build trust and confidence. Police should aim to be approachable and accessible and communicate as clearly as possible.
  1. 5Police should where possible focus on containing and deescalating situations where there is the potential for harm to persons or damage to property:
  • Violent actions against persons or property are not protected under the right to peaceful assembly. In situations where demonstrators or members of the public are at risk of harm, or there is a danger of damage to property, police should aim to minimise the risk of such harm taking place. This may involve the use of force subject to the principle that the force used will be the minimum force necessary, and will minimise the risks of harming people who are not violent or causing damage including other participants in the demonstration.
  • However where there is no an imminent danger to persons or property caution should be exercised in using law enforcement actions such as arrests even if participants in a demonstration are technically in violation of the law.  In highly volatile situations such interventions may escalate tensions and increase the potential for violence.
  1. 6The need for specialised public order policing units needs to be evaluated in each Partner State on an ongoing basis. Irrespective of specialised capacity Police must be trained and equipped to manage public order situations




  1. 4.Advance information about demonstrations


4.1 Where police receive advance information that a demonstration is due to take place they should gather as much information as possible about the intended event in order to plan for an appropriate police response. This should include making contact with leaders or organisers of the demonstration.

  1. 2Procedures for informing police of planned demonstrations should be clearly outlined and accessible to enable the organisers of demonstrations to inform police about planned demonstrations.
  1. 3Police personnel who receive information about an intended demonstration should ensure that the appropriate senior police personnel are notified about this.
  1. 4A notice period of 2 days  is required
  1. 5Where police receive advance information of a demonstration from someone other than the organisers or leaders of the demonstration they should inform the organisers or leaders of any requirement for notification by persons organising demonstrations with a view to encouraging future compliance with such requirements.
  1. 6In so far as no advance information is received this may mean that police find out about the demonstration when it is already underway.
  1. Such a demonstration may be a relatively spontaneous, peaceful and small one in which case there may be little difficulty in mobilising the appropriate police response.
  2. Where police have not had prior notification of protest activity, local commanders must ensure that command and control systems are quickly established for the police response. In areas where spontaneous protests are more frequent, local commanders should develop contingency plans so that a quick response can be mounted to situations of this kind.

4.7 Where police have not received advance information about a demonstration it is more likely that police will face difficulty in mobilising an appropriate response.  Police may not be able to deal appropriately with potential problems arising from the demonstration, particularly if it is a large demonstration or there is a danger of harm to persons or damage to property. 

  1. As a result it is appropriate for national laws or regulations to require that people who intend to hold demonstrations provide advance notification to the police or other authorities.
  2. The absence of such notification should not in itself be used as reason to obstruct the holding of a demonstration.
  3. However where the nature or scale of a demonstration is such  that police will not reasonably be able to deal with potential problems arising from it this may be seen as grounds for intervening and seeking to bring an end to the demonstration.


  1. 5. Planned demonstrations


  1. 1This section applies in circumstances where police received advance information about a demonstration that is due to take place and the officer in charge responsible for that jurisdiction believes on reasonable grounds that there is a likelihood of large scale disturbance and serious public disorder involving the threat of:

(a) Harm to demonstrators or other members of the public;

(b) Serious damage to property; or

(c) Serious disruption to community life. 

  1. 2In the circumstances outlined in paragraph 5.1 police should take steps to secure the cooperation of the organisers of the demonstration and other relevant parties in ensuring that the demonstration is able to proceed in a peaceful manner.  Any agreement between the police and organisers or other parties should be reduced to writing. This may include arrangement relating to:
  1. Information to be provided to potential participants regarding standards of conduct to be observed at the demonstration. This may include details of the manner of dissemination of such information; 
  2. The provision of marshals or stewards for the demonstration. Where possible, and specifically in the circumstances referred to in paragraph 5.1, the organisers of a gathering should be requested to appoint a suitable number of marshals to guide and control the participants in the gathering, ensure that the  gathering proceeds peacefully and that the provisions of any agreement entered into is complied with. Where possible marshals should be clearly distinguishable The names of the appointed marshals must be provided to the police before the event. The organisers must provide marshals with information necessary for them to perform their responsibilities including plans for the demonstration and details of the agreement.
  3. The commencement and dispersal times, location or route of the demonstration;
  4. Other matters as appropriate.
  1. 3 In the circumstances outlined in paragraph 5.1, where police are unable to secure the cooperation of the organisers in the manner outlined or for other reasons, they may approach a court for an order prohibiting the demonstration.
  1. 4In some circumstances a demonstration may proceed despite being prohibited by a court order. In the event that such a demonstration is likely to proceed in a non violent and peaceful way police must apply the framework outlined in these SOPs.
  1. 5In the event that a demonstration proceeds despite a court order prohibiting it this may provide a basis for instituting charges against the organisers or convenors of the demonstration subsequent to the demonstration.



  1. 6.Types of public order situations


  1. 1In applying these principles there are in broad terms three types of situations that police officers may face:
  1. 2Lawful and peaceful demonstration These are gatherings or marches that have been organised in conformity to any laws or regulations intended to regulate the holding of demonstrations. Police presence at such gatherings may be necessary to:
  1. 2.1Monitor the gathering particularly with a view to ensuring the safety of participants and other members of the public and the maintenance of public order.
  2. 2.2.Minimise the potential for injury or harm to members of the public including participants in the demonstration.
  1. The risk of harm may arise partly from vehicle traffic (see
  2. In the event of rival gatherings this will involve ensuring that an appropriate distance is maintained between the gatherings.  In certain instances demonstrators may also face hostility and potential harm from members of the public not involved in this or another demonstration (bystanders).
  1. 2.3Deal with obstructions to the demonstration, or to vehicular or pedestrian traffic, especially during traffic rush hours. This may include stopping or diverting traffic in order to enable a march to continue along the intended route. It may also involve efforts to minimize obstructions to pedestrian or vehicular traffic for instance by containing a procession to one side of the road or by establishing alternative routes for the traffic or procession.
  1. 2.4Facilitating access to homes and workplaces – People who reside, are employed, or have business of an emergency nature in the area of the demonstration shall not normally be barred from entering the demonstration area unless circumstances suggest that their safety would be jeopardized or their entry would interfere with the demonstration.
  1. 2.5The prevention of damage to property.
  1. 3Unlawful or unauthorised but peaceful demonstrations - these are gatherings or marches that have not been organised in terms of any procedures provided for in laws or regulations intended to regulate the holding of demonstrations but are nevertheless peaceful. They may be spontaneous demonstrations in which case the police may not have advance notice or any information about the demonstration.
  1. 3.1In order to uphold the right to peaceful assembly police should deal with these situations as they would deal with lawful and peaceful assemblies or marches unless there are substantial reasons for bringing the demonstration to an end, particularly in the form of a danger of harm to demonstrators or members of the public or of serious damage to property.
  1. 3.2Where there is a compelling public interest for intervention, police should establish contact with crowd leaders to assess their intentions and motivations and develop a mutually acceptable plan to:
  1. Enable the demonstration to continue in such a manner as to  minimise the risk of any  foreseeable harm; or
  2. Enable de-escalation and orderly dispersal of the demonstration.
  1. 3.3Violent demonstrations (whether initially lawful or not )
  1. 3.3.1Where a gathering is largely peaceful but a limited number of individuals are conducting themselves in a manner likely to cause harm to other people or damage to property police should if possible focus on the individuals in question. This may include:
  1. Requesting leaders of the demonstration to address the issue by speaking to the individuals directly or addressing the gathering as a whole and demanding that the individuals conduct themselves in an orderly manner or immediately leave the demonstration; and/or
  1. Targeting specific violent or disruptive individuals for arrest
  1. Where the gathering is more generally of a disorderly nature and is currently violence or likely to result in harm to persons or damage to property the priorities of the police should be to.
  1. Protect persons, including nonparticipants and participants alike, and property at risk.
  2. Disperse disorderly or threatening crowds in order to eliminate the immediate risks of continued escalation and further violence
  3. Effect the arrest of individual law violators and the removal or isolation of persons inciting violent behavior.


  1. 7.Command and control


  1. For each demonstration or public order incident a commander (the event commander)  must be appointed to have overall command and control of the police response to the event. The commander must be appointed as soon as possible after information about a demonstration, whether forthcoming or impending, is received. Where the demonstration or incident is dispersed or very large in scale assistant commanders may need to be appointed with specific geographic or other areas of responsibility.  
    1. Unity of action and command and control are necessary for effective handling of demonstrations and large scale disturbances. Thus, unless circumstances require immediate action, police shall not independently make arrests or employ force without authorization by a commander. In urgent circumstances, supervisors may independently authorize the use of force, arrest or other tactics in accordance with this SOP and other relevant policies.
    2. 3.The event commander must ensure that issues related to crowd management and civil disturbances are addressed. These may include but are not limited to:
      1. Provisions for communication with leaders or organisers of the demonstration prior to and if possible during the demonstration. 
      2. Determination of the personnel, equipment and other provisions (including food for police personnel) needed and the possible duration of their need. This may include any necessary arrangements for reserve or reinforcements in the event that these may be necessary.
      3. Establishment of a command post and procedures for coordinating police action.
      4. Determination of the level of force and engagement tactics deemed reasonable to resolve unlawful actions.
      5. Authorization for arrest as a means of curtailing unlawful actions.
      6. Secure public buildings and national key points
      7. Designation of a liaison officer to coordinate with emergency services or other  government agencies as may be appropriate.
      8. Designation of a public information officer (PIO) to manage information flow to the public through the news media. Liaison with the media is a key instrument for outlining the overall approach of the police to dealing with demonstrations and for maintaining public confidence in the ability of the police to respond to demonstrations and disturbances in an appropriate way. Media access to the sight of the demonstration can also help to dispel exaggerated or false information about a demonstration or disturbance. Liaison with the media should therefore have sufficiently high priority in operational planning.  Media liaison can also be used as a channel for informing members of the public about routes that may be blocked or other likely disruptions.
      9. Designation of a procedures for monitoring, recording, and investigate events at the demonstration including any unlawful behaviour by demonstrators and uses of force or misconduct by police.
  1. 8.Deployment of personnel
  1. Police who are called up in response to a demonstration or civil disturbance should be directed to assemble in a specified area. They should be provided with all necessary equipment and briefed on the type of incident that may be anticipated or that is underway, the types of force that may be needed, and the need for unity of action and centralised control of uses of force.
  2. Police should wear visible identification on the outside of their uniforms at all times.
  3. Police should be positioned in such a manner as to minimize contact with the assembly.
  4. Police officers should keep a courteous and neutral demeanour.
  5. Police should not engage in conversations related to the subject demonstration with or be prompted to act in response to comments or other provocations from demonstrators.
  6. Any reserve units should be located in such a manner so as not to be visible to participants.


  1. 9.Use of force


Minimizing Harm


  1. 1The planning for and control of police deployment at a demonstration should aim to minimise, to the greatest extent possible, the potential for harm including in particular serious injury and the potential need for recourse to the use of lethal force.  Steps that are taken with a view to minimising such harm may include though they are not limited to:
  1. Liaison and negotiation with organisers or leaders of a demonstration prior to and during a demonstration. The emphasis should be on outlining police intentions to minimise harm and on securing cooperation of the demonstrators in achieving this objective;
  2. Detailed planning for the demonstration;
  3. Efforts to prevent a demonstration, that is likely to involve serious public disorder, from going ahead;
  4. Training of police officers;
  5. Effective command and control of police response to the demonstration;
  6. Use of shields, helmets and other protective equipment by police officers;
  7. Provision and use of non-lethal weaponry;
  8. Availability of communication equipment appropriate to the anticipated size of the crowd.
  9. Consideration of the likely risk to innocent persons by uses of force and specific types of weapons or ammunition. The presence of children, elderly people, persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups should be a factor that motivates for additional caution in using force. Weapons or ammunition that are not regarded as lethal may be more likely to have lethal consequences if they hit a young child or elderly person. They may also be at greater risk in the event of a crowd stampede.
  10. 2.Advance training is necessary for police in order for them to be able to use certain types of weaponry.
  11. 3.Prior to any use of force an audible and clear verbal warning should be given where reasonably possible.
  12. 4.Any force that is used should be the minimum force that is necessary.
  13. 5.In situations where there is an imminent threat of injury to persons or damage to property it may be necessary to use force.

Handcuffs and Batons

  1. 6.No weapons other than, where necessary, handcuffs or other approved physical restraints should be used against passively resistant individuals.   People who passively resist arrest should be carried to transportation vehicles by two or more police officers if they refuse to walk. Force should not be used against individuals who are restrained, or otherwise controlled, unless they pose a risk of injury to themselves Police Officers or others which cannot be contained using less extreme measures.
  2. 7.Batons may be used where reasonably necessary against people who pose a danger of harm to persons or property including people resisting arrest by means of physical force (actively resistant individuals).
  3. 8.Baton strikes should not be directed at the head, neck, spine, groin or centre of the chest (sternum) of an unarmed person unless immediately necessary to protect the police officer or another person against death or serious injury.


  1. 9Firearms, or other weapons that are likely to cause death (lethal force), should only be used
  1. where no lesser  means are available or likely to be effective and
  2. there is an imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm to one or  more persons, and
  3. It is possible to target the persons who are source of this threat or danger without recklessly endangering the lives of other people.
  1. 10The police should not use firearms from moving vehicles or aircraft
  1. 11Direct-fired impact ammunitions such as plastic bullets or beanbag rounds may similarly only be used where no less harmful means are available
  1. To prevent conduct that poses a threat of death, serious bodily harm or serious large-scale damage to property; and
  1. Where the individuals responsible can be properly targeted. Projectiles should be aimed to strike only the lower part of the body, below the waist.  Firing higher than the waist should be prohibited unless there is an immediate threat to life or threat of serious injury which cannot be contained by less extreme options.
  1. Where minimum safe firing distances (which will vary from one weapons system to another) can be observed.  Firing at less than this range should be prohibited unless there is an immediate threat to life or threat of serious injury which cannot be contained by less extreme options.


Other devices

  1. 12Devices designed for  non target-specific use (such as water cannons or fire-hoses) may be used where other less harmful means are unlikely to be effective:
  1. In circumstances where there is a danger to life or threat of serious bodily harm to any person, but
  2. It is not possible to direct the use of force exclusively against the persons posing the danger.  Nevertheless the weapons should not be fired indiscriminately but should be targeted in such a manner as to bring an end to the identified danger.

9.13 Officers should be trained to be aware of the issues associated with using such impact munitions, including concerns around their inaccuracy. These may have implications for the safety of both the target and people who are in close proximity to him or her.

  1. 14However given the risk of death, serious injury, and danger to bystanders, skip-fired projectiles and multiple projectiles should not be used.
  1. 15Contact electric-shock weapons, such as electric-shock batons or electric-shock shields, are not suitable for law enforcement purposes and should not be issued to police officers in any circumstances.  As part of this, their use in crowd control is particularly problematic and should not be authorised, given their short range, limited efficacy and risk of causing stampedes.


  1. 16Chemical irritants  shall only be used when other target specific non-lethal weapons are not available or are unlikely to be effective as follows:
  1.  may be used by trained and authorised officers according to the instructions of a  senior commander;
  2. prevent serious injury or serious large-scale damage to property likely to cause serious injury; and
  3. avenues of escape are available to the crowd, and, where possible announced to the crowd in advance;
  1. 17Chemical irritant grenades or canisters which are fired from a launcher must never be fired directly at an individual, hospital facilities or other closed facilities.
  1. 18Hand-held chemical irritant sprays (such as PAVA or CS gas) issued to individual officers may be used against specific individuals engaged in unlawful acts or who are actively resisting arrest or as necessary for defensive purposes, if no lesser options are available.  Where it is necessary to use hand-held sprays, officers should be trained to apply only a burst of one second long in order to allow them to bring the subject under control.  Any additional dose should generally be avoided and applied only under the same standard as the first dose
  1. 19Flammable chemical irritants should not be used in situations where there is a fire risk.
  1. 20CN a harmful chemical which predates CS gas shall not be used under any circumstances.

10    Dispersal

  1. Prior to issuing dispersal orders steps should where possible be taken to ensure that medical personnel or other emergency personnel are on hand in case their assistance is required. Where there is a possibility of acts of arson by members of a dispersing crowd emergency personnel should include fire services. 
  1. Where it may be necessary to carry out multiple arrests, vehicles and other logistical arrangements will need to be in place. 
  1. Where time and circumstances permit warnings will be issued prior to taking physical actions to disperse the crowd. The warning will include the motivation for the order, the order to disperse, and identify dispersal routes.
  1. The warning should be given in a language that is likely to be understood by the majority of participants in the crowd.
  1. Warnings are to be issued frequently enough and loudly enough. Where necessary in order for the warnings to be heard by all participants they should be issued from a number of vantage points or with the use of public address systems  of moving patrol vehicles.
  1. A second and a third warning shall be issued at reasonable time intervals before action is taken to disperse the crowd.
  1. Where possible, the warnings shall be audio- or video-recorded at a point to the rear of the crowd and the time and the names of the issuing officers recorded in the incident commander’s event log.
  1. Specific crowd dispersal tactics shall be ordered as necessary where the crowd does not heed warnings. These include any one or any combination of the following:
  1. Display of forceful presence to include police lines, combined with motorcycles, police vehicles and mobile field forces
  2. Multiple simultaneous arrests
  3. Pyrotechnics such as smoke grenades or thunder flashes.
  4. Police formations and batons or crowd control chemical agents may be used for forcing crowd movement where the crowd actively resists dispersal and where lesser means have proved ineffective.
  5. Where a crowd is dispersing this must be closely monitored particularly in relation to the possibility that some demonstrators will regroup or resort to violent actions in which case follow-up action may be required.

11    Arrests


  1. 1The use of arrests should be avoided during demonstrations unless strictly necessary.
  2. 2Arrests of individuals during the course of a demonstration or disturbance should only in general be used:
  1. Against specific individuals engaged in acts of violence or damage to property; or
  2. Where for reasons of compelling public interest it is lawful and necessary to bring an end to a demonstration and demonstrators refuse to disperse after being provided with a reasonable opportunity to do so.
  1. 3Where appropriate due to specific violations of the law, leaders or other participants in a demonstration may be arrested and charged subsequent to the demonstration.

12    Documenting and video recording of demonstrations


  1. 1Video recording of all demonstrations by police is necessary even where demonstrations are entirely lawful and non violent.
  1. 2Any police use of force should be documented as fully as possible by means of video recording.

13    Deaths during a demonstration


  1. 1In  the case of a death or potentially fatal injury to a demonstrator or other member of the public during a demonstration or other public disturbance  the following must be prioritized:
    1. Check for vital signs and arrange first aid, medical support or immediate hospitalization if appropriate.
    2. Identify all potential witnesses  and secure the scene as appropriate.
    3. Promptly notify relevant agencies so that an independent inquiry into death can be undertaken.
    4. 2Family members must be informed promptly of the death and the circumstances and cause and whereabouts of the remains.
  1. After the officers involved have provided their initial account and the needs of the investigation have been met affected personnel should be debriefed and counselled as the need may be.

14    Review of police management of demonstrations


  1. Police departments should establish procedures to review the policing of demonstrations. Particularly attention should be given to demonstrations that took place in the circumstances outlined in 5.1 or where members of the public or police officers were killed or injured. The review of demonstrations may focus on lessons to be learned in terms of (i) examples of good practise in police management of the demonstration, and (ii) improving the police response to demonstrations. Lessons learned should inform training programmes for police officers.

Annexure 2 National Human Rights Action Plan 2013 - 2017


4.1.4. Freedom of Assembly

Monitoring and Evaluation Agency:  CHRAGG, and CSOs

S/N Broad Objectives Action/Activity Linkage to Development Plans Lead Ministry Cooperating Actors Output(s) Time Frame


(Tzs Millions)





1. To reform the law to provide for a balance between freedom of assembly and preservation of peace. 1. Review the Police and Auxiliary Services Act and other laws to make them compatible with human rights standards (NEW)
  • MKUKUTA II, Cluster 3, Goal
  • MKUZA II, Cluster 3, Goal
  • UPR 86.44
  • MoCLA
  • MoHA
  • MoJCA
  • LRC/Z
  • Political Parties
  • TPF
  • CSOs
  • AGC/Z
  • DGG/Z

ü  Police and Auxiliary Services Act and other laws reviewed for compliance with human rights standards.

ü  Laws amended to further incorporate human rights standards.

2-5 45 96

2. Establish mechanisms and procedures to ensure that the freedom of assembly is enjoyed in practice and is not subject to unduly bureaucratic regulations.

Any restrictions imposed on freedom of assembly must be proportional. (NEW)

  • MKUKUTA II, Cluster 3, Goal
  • MoCLA
  • MoHA
  • PO-GGU
  • MoJCA
  • Political parties
  • CSOs
  • TPF
  • CSO/Z

ü  Mechanisms and procedures established.

ü  Complaints against inhibition of right to demonstrate decreased.

ü  Negotiation/ Mediation machinery created to resolve disagreements, e.g. Police vs. Political parties.

2-4 50 240
3. Create a quicker negotiation and/or mediation system to help resolve disputed assemblies.(NEW)  
  • MoCLA
  • MoHA
  • MoJCA
  • MoHA
  • Political Parties
  • TPF
  • CSOs/Z
  • DPWD- Z
  • MCT


ü  Negotiation/ mediation machinery in place.

3-4 175 200
2. To conduct training, education and awareness raising campaigns on the right to freedom of assembly and on the procedures for exercising it. 1. Develop Standard Operating Procedures for the Police when dealing with freedom of assembly (NEW).
  • Five-Year Dev. Plan 2011/12-2015/16, A.1.7.
  • MKUKUTA II, Cluster 3, Goal –
  • MKUZA II, Cluster 3, Goal
  • MoCLA
  • MoHA
  • MoJCA
  • AGC
  • TPF
  • CSOs
  • AGC/Z
  • DPP/Z
  • OEC

ü  Standard Operating Procedures in place.

ü  Standard Operating Procedures disseminated to all members of the Police Force and made publicly available.

2-3 100 56

2. Incorporate into the police academy curriculum training on freedom of assembly.(ONGOING)

  • MoHA
  • TPF
  • CSOs
  ü  Civil and political rights incorporated into police academy curricula. 1-3 80 48

3. Train political parties on freedom of assembly and political tolerance.(NEW)

  • PMO
  • MoJCA
  • Political Parties
  • Registrar of Political Parties
  • CSOs/Z
  • FBO
  • Media

ü  Trainings conducted for political parties.

ü  Campaign conducted around political tolerance.

1-5 200 120


[2] ibid.

[6]Article 2.2, ICCPR

[8]Article 2.2, ICCPR; Preamble, UDHR.

[10]Articles 2.3, 22, 25 and 26, ICCPR.

[12]Preamble, UDHR.

[14] African Union Declaration on the Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa, AHG/Decl.1 (XXXVIII), 2002

[16] African Union Declaration on the Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa, AHG/Decl.1 (XXXVIII), 2002

[18] ibid(f)

[20] ibid(h)

[22] Ibid (5)

[24] See Common Standards for Policing in East Africa, Commonwealth Human Right Initiative; APCOF, 2010.

[26] The Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania (CAP 2), 1977 Articles 12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21

[28] See Chapter VI, National Elections Act, CAP 343, June 2010; and Part XII, Local Authorities (Elections) Act, CAP 292, July 2015.

[30] IBID Articles  27,29,35,36,39,40,41,42,43 and 44

[32] See Guidelines for the Behaviour of the Police during the Elections in the United Republic of Tanzania, Tanzanian Police Force and United Nations, 2015.

[34] Interview, 21 October 2015

[36] Observed at interviews at Regional Election Desk, Mwanza, 22 October, and at Regional Election Desk, Tabora, 27 October.

[38] Interview, 21 October 2015

[44] Interview, 20th November

[46] See Brogden, M; Jefferson, T, Walklate, S. Introducing Police Work. London: Unwin Hyman, 1988.

[53] See: Constitution de Burundi, 2005 (Article 32); Constitution of Kenya, 2010 (Article 37) Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda, 2003 (Article 36); Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, 1977 (Cap 2) (Article 20(1)); Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, 1995 (Article 29(1)(d))