Tanzanian Government Expels Top UN Official

Fredrick Ngugi April 26, 2017
Awa Dabo. Photo credit: Michuzi

The Tanzanian government has come under heavy criticism, after it expelled the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Country Director Awa Dabo from its country Tuesday.

Dabo, a Gambian, was hurriedly deported, after the Tanzanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement asking the UNDP to expel her, reports Chief Wire.

In the statement, the ministry accused Dabo of not getting along with her colleagues, which, it insisted, negatively affected the performance of her agency:

The government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, would like to ask UNDP to remind its staff that its priority must be to work with the government to achieve the 2025 development goals, the statement read in Swahili.

Political Interference

Critics, however, have faulted the ministry’s claims that the Gambian diplomat was dismissed due to poor performance, saying the real reason for her removal was due to her involvement in local politics.

Speaking to the Tanzanian parliament also on Tuesday, legislator Pascal Haonga said there was no doubt that the main reason for Dabo’s dismissal was due to her alleged involvement in the 2015 elections in the island nation of Zanzibar:

The results of that controversial election were nullified by Zanzibar’s electoral body, following claims of massive irregularities even as the opposition claimed victory.

A repeat of the poll saw the ruling party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), win with a landslide vote, even though the main opposition party, Civic United Front (CUF), boycotted the results.


Some are blaming Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli for Dabo’s controversial eviction, saying he is slowly changing into an authoritarian leader.

For example, Nuha Nyassi wrote on Facebook:

African leaders will never cease to amaze. So soon a change. I initially had high regard to his [President Magufuli] leadership style right from his condemnation of the huge resource expenses on national independence celebrations.

Others are worrying that Dabo’s dismissal could jeopardize Tanzania’s relationship with the UN, which is currently supporting several development projects in the East African country.

Last Edited by:Abena Agyeman-Fisher Updated: June 19, 2018


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