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Tanzania has dedicated counterterrorism legislation from 2002 that defines terrorist offences in broad terms. There is a limited carve-out for the exercise of certain fundamental rights.

Compliance with International Law:
Last updated: one year ago

The Definition of Terrorism in Domestic Law

The 2002 Prevention of Terrorism Act defines terrorism as follows:

A person commits terrorist act if, with terrorist intention, does an act or omission which–

(a)    may seriously damage a country or an international organization; or

(b)    is intended or can reasonably be regarded as having been intended to–

(i) seriously intimidate a population; (ii) unduly compel a Government or perform or abstain from performing any act; (iii) seriously destabilise or destroy the fundamental political, constitutional, economic or social structures of country or an international organization; or (iv) otherwise influence such Government, or international organization; or

(c)    involves or causes, as the case may be– (i) attacks upon a person's life which may cause death; (ii) attacks upon the physical integrity of a person; (iii) kidnapping of a person.S. 4(2), 2002 Prevention of Terrorism Act.

   An act also constitutes terrorism within the scope of the Act if it is an act or threat of action which–

(a)    involves serious bodily harm to a person;

(b)    involves serious damage to property;

(c)    endangers a person's life;

(d)    creates a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public;

(e)    involves the use of firearms or explosives;

(f)    involves releasing into the environment or any part of it or distributing or exposing the public or any part of it to– (i) any dangerous, hazardous, radioactive or harmful substance; (ii) any toxic chemical; (iii) any microbial or other biological agent or toxin;

(g)    is designed or intended to disrupt any computer system or the provision of services directly related to communications infrastructure, banking or financial services, utilities, transportation or other essential infrastructure;

(h)    is designed or intended to disrupt the provision of essential emergency services such as police, civil defence or medical services; 

(i)    involves prejudice to national security or public safety, and is intended, or by its nature and context, may reasonably be regarded as being intended to–(i) intimidate the public or a section of the public; (ii) compel the Government or an international organization to do, or refrain from doing, any act, and is made for the purpose of advancing or supporting act which constitutes terrorism within the meaning of this Act.S. 4(3), 2002 Prevention of Terrorism Act.

There is a limited carve-out for the exercise of fundamental human rights:

An act which–

   (a)    disrupts any services;

   (b)    is committed in pursuance of a protest, demonstration or stoppage of work,

shall be deemed not to be a terrorist act within the meaning of this section, so long and so long only as the act is not intended to result in any harm referred to in paragraphs, (a), (b), (c), or (d) of subsection (3).S. 4(4), 2002 Prevention of Terrorism Act.

Adherence to Global and Regional Terrorism Treaties


Tanzania is a State Party to several of the main United Nations treaties on terrorism.


Adherence to Global Terrorism Treaties
Treaty Adherence
1973 Convention on Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons State not party
1979 Hostage-Taking Convention State Party
1997 Terrorist Bombings Convention State Party
1999 Terrorist Financing Convention State Party
2005 Nuclear Terrorism Convention State not party


Tanzania is also a State Party to one of the two regional treaties on terrorism.


Adherence to Regional Terrorism Treaties
Treaty Adherence
1999 Algiers Convention State Party
2004 Protocol to the Algiers Convention Signatory

Laws and Penalties for Terrorist Offences

A person who commits a terrorist act under Sections 5, 7, or 8 of the 2002 Prevention of Terrorism Act is liable on conviction to imprisonment for at least thirty years.S. 11A(c), 2002 Prevention of Terrorism Act, as amended by S. 55, 2016 Written Laws (Miscellaneous Amendment No.2) Act. 

Membership (or professed membership) of a terrorist group carries a penalty of at least eighteen years in prison.S. 25(1), 2002 Prevention of Terrorism Act.Harbouring a terrorist carries a penalty of at least eighteen years but not more than thirty years in prison.S. 19, 2002 Prevention of Terrorism Act.

Collecting funds for or providing funds to a terrorist group carries a penalty of at least fifteen years but not more than twenty years in prison.S. 13, 2002 Prevention of Terrorism Act.

Counterterrorism Capacities and Policies at Domestic Level

The bombing of the US embassy in Dar es Salaam prompted the Tanzanian government to introduce antiterrorism legislation and initiate its countering violent extremism (CVE) apparatus. Tanzania is geographically close to countries where al-Qaeda, al-Shabaab, and other terrorist organizations are present and operating.

Tanzania’s National Counterterrorism Centre (NCTC) is the government’s primary liaison body for CVE. Since 2017, the NCTC has been drafting a National Strategy and Action Plan for Preventing Violent Extremism with the support of UNDP. The Action Plan is not publicly available.


Tanzania 2002 Prevention of Terrorism Act

USIP Report on Violent Extremism