Authorities Arrest Leader of Tanzania’s Main Opposition Party

145 Viewed Obiajulu Joel Nwolu 0 respond
Authorities Arrest Leader of Tanzania’s Main Opposition Party
Tanzania Chadema party chairman Freeman Mbowe (C) arrives at the party's headquarters after being released from Segerea prison in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on March 13, 2020. - Chadema party, the main opposition movement challenging Tanzania's powerful ruling CCM party, paid his fine of 70 million Tanzanian Shillings (about 30,400 USD) which collected by online fund-raising. A court in Tanzania on March 10, 2020, ordered a group of opposition lawmakers and other co-accused to pay a fine or serve five months prison on charges related to a banned demonstration. (Photo by Ericky BONIPHACE / AFP)
Obiajulu Joel Nwolu

Law enforcement in Tanzania has arrested Freeman Mbowe, the Leader of the country’s main opposition party Chadema and other members on Wednesday ahead of an imminent conference to demand constitutional reforms, the party disclosed.

The party in a tweet on its Twitter handle said Mbowe and 10 Chadema members were rounded during late hours of the night in the northwestern port city of Mwanza.

It read, “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.

“Freeman Mbowe was accosted by an army of police officers in his hotel when he arrived at 02:30 am and was arrested together with other leaders,” it said.

While the other Chadema members were taken to 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.

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.

The arrests took place after Mbowe vowed 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, dressed in a red shirt and beret.

“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.”

This post was written by Obiajulu Joel Nwolu.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.

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