Tanzania Arrests 4 Chinese Over ‘Slow Construction Projects’
Tanzanian authorities arrested four Chinese contractors for what officials described as slow progress on state-funded construction projects that were “going nowhere”. The authorities said the arrests would serve as an example to others.
The four arrested, including one woman, represent two companies building a canal and a section of a road in the capital, Dar es Salaam. There are no visible signs that the projects are under construction, according to Abubakar Kunenge, the executive secretary of the region.
“The governor of the Dar es Salaam region, Paul Makonda, ordered the arrest of these business people, as he wants it to serve as an example to others,” Kunenge said in a statement.
“These are projects of great public interest… business people who cannot respect contracts have no place in Dar es Salaam.”
Tanzania, like many other African countries, has turned to Chinese investment under the belt and road initiative.
The belt and road initiative is a global development strategy adopted by the Chinese government involving infrastructure development and investments in 152 countries including in Africa.
Tanzania’s relations with Beijing have in recent months been strained due to President John Magufuli’s nationalist agenda.
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President Magufuli, nicknamed “the Bulldozer”, has overseen the East African country’s shift towards greater resource nationalization while stifling press and political freedoms.
This has included renegotiation of contracts considered unfair with foreign companies, a crackdown on the LGBT community, a ban on pregnant schoolgirls, abuses against the media and the brutal repression of opposition politicians.