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Tanzania Uranium Awareness Mission


The eight environmental defenders, namely Briton Mateus Mgaya, Wakisa Elias Mwansangu, Majidi Nkota,  Christandusi Ngowi,  Ashura Kyula,  Martin Guido Ndunguru, Wilbert Mahundi and Rainery Komba are all from Songea, Tanzania, and are affiliated with various civil society groups, some of which initiated a small consortium called Tanzania Uranium Awareness Mission (TUAM). TUAM is a platform for knowledge exchange and information sharing on the socio-economic and environmental impacts related to mining and extractives. They have emphasised cross-learning on democratic ownership and transparency in the mining sector, and some had even taken part in similar visits to countries other than Malawi.

Once considered a country where civil society could express itself freely, Malawi descended into a spiral of authoritarianism which culminated in the targeting of human rights defenders through arrests, prosecution, death threats and the violent dispersal of protests. Tensions between the authorities and civil society reached its climax in 2011. The sudden death of President Mutharika in early April 2012 led to a change of government. Since then, Malawis leaders have moved towards walking back the authoritarian tendencies of their President Mutharika.