Tanzanian President John Magufuli. Picture: REUTERS/SADI SAID
Tanzanian President John Magufuli. Picture: REUTERS/SADI SAID

Tanzania is well on its way to becoming an uninvestable basket case, with scant regard for the sort of values enshrined in SA’s constitution. The rest of the world is noticing too. As The Economist put it this month, under President John Magufuli Tanzania is "on the descent from patchy democracy towards slapdash dictatorship".

Last week, former the Mail & Guardian editor Angela Quintal (now with the Committee to Protect Journalists) was detained by Tanzanian police, who then sent out a message in her name falsely claiming she’d been released.

Quintal was later set free. But our minister of international relations & co-operation, Lindiwe Sisulu, claimed Quintal’s team hadn’t "familiarised" themselves with Tanzania’s laws — a worrying statement.

But this isn’t the only disturbing incident. There has been talk by Tanzanian officials of setting up "surveillance squads" to trace incidents of homosexuality. There is also a willingness to throw opposition MPs into prison for treason and jail musicians who criticise the president. Businessmen have been shaken down for cash or jailed. Magufuli, hailed as a corruption-buster when elected in 2015, has become a despot.

Tanzania’s fabric is unravelling, and any SA business there needs to reconsider with whom it chooses to consort.