5.9k Share this

Freeman Mbowe and 10 other Chadema members were rounded up Mwanza before a planned conference to demand constitutional reforms, the party says.

Tanzania’s main opposition party Chadema has said its leader and other members were arrested before a planned conference to demand constitutional reforms.

Freeman Mbowe and 10 Chadema members were rounded up overnight in the northwestern port city of Mwanza, the party said on Twitter early on Wednesday.

“We condemn the repression of the rights of Tanzanians with the strongest force. These are signs that the dictatorship that existed during the rule of President John Magufuli continues,” it charged.

“Freeman Mbowe was accosted by an army of police officers in his hotel when he arrived at 2:30am and was arrested together with other leaders.”

While the other Chadema members were taken to the Mwanza police station, there was no information about Mbowe’s whereabouts.

“We want the police to come out and say where the chairman is and why he was arrested,” Chadema said.

There was no immediate comment by the police.

‘Cannot continue with old order’

The arrests come four months after Tanzania’s first female President Samia Suluhu Hassan took office in March following the sudden death of her predecessor Magufuli.

There have been high hopes that Hassan would usher in a change from the “autocratic rule” of her predecessor, who was nicknamed the “Bulldozer” for his uncompromising leadership style.

Chadema’s former presidential candidate, Tundu Lissu, who lives in self-imposed exile in Europe, tweeted that Hassan’s rise following Magufuli’s death in March had brought “hope that Magufuli’s reign of terror and war on democracy would end.

“Last night’s arrest of Chairman Mbowe and Chadema leaders has dashed any such hope. It’s now time for nationwide protests and international isolation of her regime.”

The arrests took place after Mbowe pledged to go ahead with a meeting on constitutional reforms despite Mwanza provincial authorities banning public gatherings to contain the spread of coronavirus.

“We cannot continue with the old order,” Mbowe said in a video published on Twitter on Monday.

“We have the right to meet but are arrested, beaten, accused and taken to court for two to three years and then freed.

“If they want to arrest all members of the Chadema party, let them first expand the jails because we are all ready to be arrested and will not request bail.”

In April, Hassan had reached out to the opposition and promised to defend democracy and basic freedoms in the country.

In November 2020, several top opposition leaders including Mbowe were briefly detained after calling for mass protests against what they charged was a rigged election that returned Magufuli to power for a second term.

The deeply COVID-sceptic Magufuli died in March of what the authorities said was a heart condition but his political opponents insisted he had contracted the disease.

Source: Al Jazeera

5.9k Share this
You May Also Like

‘Nobody takes my husband away from me, not even war’ : Zelensky and wife reunite for cup of tea

‘Nobody takes my husband away from me, not even war’ : Zelensky…

Female Virginia science teacher, 28, is charged with possession of child pornography

Female Virginia science teacher, 28, is charged with possession of child pornography…

Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker venture out for a cruise on the Italian Riviera

A night of extravagance was followed by a day of tranquility as…

MP Crispin Blunt insists AGAIN ex-Tory Imran Ahmad Khan is INNOCENT of sex attack on teenage boy

A senior Tory MP doubled down on his defence of a colleague…

Is the door closing on children’s jails? Axing young offender institutions is part of major review

Is the door closing on children’s jails? Axing young offender institutions is…

Princeton Prez Demands Tenured Prof Be Fired After He Opposed Giving Black Colleagues Special Treatment

Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber is demanding that a tenured professor be…

Texas Teen Sex Trafficked from Dallas Mavericks Found in OKC

Eight individuals have been arrested in connection to a human trafficking investigation…

Kevin Kiley Warns California Is a ‘Preview’ for Biden’s America

Kevin Kiley, a Trump-endorsed congressional candidate for California’s third district, joined Breitbart News…