Tanzania Govt Orders Operators to Block Bulk SMS Ahead of Elections


Tanzania is going to hold its general elections on October 28, 2020.

The advent of any elections in emerging economies, especially in Africa, is sometime some developments, mostly in the form of human rights abuses.

The abuses are usually presented in the form of police brutality following demoes that are often fueled by elections irregularities.

In modern times, the demonstrations happen on the ground and online through social media platforms and other internet-based news outlets.

To counter online hue and cry, the affected countries introduce some form of censorship. Sometimes, the matter escalates to banning social media apps, and in extreme conditions, access to the internet is curtailed.

This playbook seems to be shaping up in Tanzania following reports that the government has compelled operators to block bulk SMS messages.

That is not all; the Tanzania government has also ordered telcos to filter some content related to the presidential elections.

Bulk SMS is handy in such periods, especially is dispersing messages to the masses (especially groups not connected to the internet).

According to Access Now, which has since established the enforcement of the ban, this development is a severe breach of human rights because it effectively stops people from communicating.

Overall, the continent has been in the spotlight regarding human rights abuses. At the moment, Nigerians are tasking their government to change the manner the police operate after the #ENDSARS campaign that is faulting a section of the police called SARS. SARS has been linked to criminal activities, including kidnap and murder.

The state of things has been bad and has also been marked by Nigeria’s Communications Authority issuing subtle gags orders for the media.

Whether Tanzania will reverse the move is something we will have to wait and see.


  1. The way forward in times like this is to setup local community intranets.
    If they think they will always gag the people, then the people have a right to find a way around that gag.

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