Tanzania risks getting slapped with sanctions over its deteriorating human rights record.

In a statement released on Monday, European Union said that it will review its ties with the East African nation as it "regrets the deterioration of the human rights and rule of law in the country and as a result will be conducting a broader review of its relations with Tanzania."

The announcement comes after EU recalled its head of delegation in the country, Mr Roeland van de Geer, on Saturday "to discuss the situation in Tanzania".

The Head of Delegation of the European Union to Tanzania His Excellency Roeland van der Geer.  (Cultural Arts Centre at Tumaini University Makumira)

In September, the EU expressed concerns over allegations of human rights violations in Tanzania, citing arbitrary arrests of rights activists, journalists, bloggers and Members of Parliament.

The Tanzania government in recent years has restricted political rallies and live broadcast of parliamentary sessions, while arbitrary arrests of opposition leaders deny them the opportunity to address their voters. Politicians are only allowed to hold rallies within their constituencies but under strict police supervision.

Since coming to power in 2015, President John Pombe Magufuli, once a darling of foreign investors and seen as a reformer, quickly started cracking down on Human rights activists, opposition leaders and the media much to the West’s chagrin.

Tanzania opposition firebrand, Tundu Lissu  (IPPMEDIA)

Early this year, Tanzania opposition firebrand, Tundu Lissu who escaped an assassination attempt after his car was sprayed with bullets said Tanzania was ‘a land of horrors,”  where the government was determined to crush dissent by all means including assassinating them and cited disappearances of critics as a worrying trend.

“The attack was purely an assassination attempt by the people in power in Tanzania. It is by God’s grace that I survived,” said Mr Lissu.

A Kenyan politician, whom I will not name, warned us some years ago that this regime would commit terrible acts against the opposition should it sense defeat. Based on what is happening in my country right now, I can now confirm that he was right,” he told journalists at an hospital in Kenya where he was recuperating.

Tanzania's President John Magufuli.  (Citizen TV)

Last year, President Magufuli attracted stinging criticism  after he said schoolgirls who get pregnant will not be allowed back to school.

Ukishapata mimba ni Kwaheri Translated: (After getting pregnant, you are done.)"  he said while speaking at a public rally in Chalinze town, about 100km west of the main city Dar es Salaam.

In August 2018, President Magufuli’s administration went after Twaweza, a not-for-profit research firm, based in Tanzania which carried out survey revealing his popularity was dwindling rapidly.

The government confiscated the firm’s executive director Aidan Eyakuze passport and barred him from leaving the country.

Also read: Tanzania now wants to make President Magufuli a life president

Aidan Eyakuze, Twaweza executive director.  (Twitter)

Similarly, his administration has not gone easy on media outlets either and has banned a number of publications for what it terms as publishing false information and inciting the public.

In late 2017, Tanzania Daima, a Swahili daily newspaper become the fourth victim of government’s crackdown after it was banned for 90 days for allegedly publishing false information.

One of the ‘false stories’ the government cited was about the number of Tanzanians on anti-retroviral drugs.

Tanzania Daima, a Swahili daily newspaper was banned for 90 days for allegedly publishing false information in 2017.  (mobile.thecitizen.)

In its Sunday edition, the Newspaper had carried a bold headline stating that '67 per cent of Tanzanians are on ARVs', something which irked the government.

Others already banned include; Mawio, Mwanahalisi and Raia Mwema.

The government banned the critical newspaper MwanaHalisi in September for two years after accusing it of inciting violence.

Also read: A Tanzanian newspaper has been suspended for 'insulting' President Magufuli

Tanzania's President John Magufuli doing press ups to proof his fitness at a past event.  (Pulselive.)

Mawio, was banned in June over articles linking two former presidents to alleged improprieties in mining deals signed in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Rights groups including Amnesty International have also protested recent calls by local politicians for homosexuality to be outlawed.

It remains to be seen between President Magufuli and EU who will blink first, only time will tell.