Chadema Chairman Freeman Mbowe and 15 other members were rounded up during a crackdown and condemned as a setback of the oppressive rule of the country’s late leader.
Tanzania’s main opposition party stated that its leaders and other members will be charged with “terrorism crimes.” Arrested In a midnight raid that attracted international attention.
Chadema Chairman Freeman Mbowe and 15 other members were rounded up during a crackdown on Wednesday night, which was condemned as a setback to the repressive rule of the country’s late leader.
The party said on Thursday that police searched Mbowe’s home in Dar es Salaam, confiscated his laptop and other equipment from his family, and then transferred Chairman Chadema to the city’s central prison.
It said on Twitter: “We have received shocking news that Mbo will be charged with terrorist crimes along with other suspects detained in Dar es Salaam prison.”
Mbowe and other Chadema officials were arrested in the port city of Mwanza on Lake Victoria before the planned public forum for constitutional reforms.
The police commander in the area, Ramadhan Ngh’anzi, said that Mbowe will return to Mwanza later to meet other people arrested for organizing a “prohibited” meeting.
“At the moment, he is safe at the Central Police Station in Dar es Salaam,” he told reporters.
The detention took place four months after the first female president of Tanzania, Samia Suluhu Hassan, took office. sudden death In John Magufuli’s March, under his autocratic rule, such suppression of the opposition was not uncommon.
In April, Hassan contacted the opposition and pledged to defend democracy and fundamental freedoms.
People have high hopes that Tanzania will get rid of the tough and uncompromising leadership of its predecessor.
But the round-up of key figures in Chadma has been condemned by rights groups and opposition activists because it proves that the government’s intolerance to dissent is still prevalent.
Amnesty International described the arrests as “arbitrary” as part of an escalating anti-political opposition movement in a country that was once regarded as a beacon of democratic stability in the region.
“The Tanzanian authorities must stop targeting the opposition and try to reduce their space for activity,” said Flavia Mwangovia, deputy director of Amnesty International’s East Africa.
“These arbitrary arrests and detentions show that the Tanzanian authorities have blatantly ignored the rule of law and human rights, including the rights to freedom of speech and association. These politically motivated arrests must stop.”
unless #Tanzania‘n The authorities have a clear legal basis to justify these arrests. All 11 @ChademaTz The member must be released immediately.They must also explain @freemanmbowetz And to ensure his safety and safe return. https://t.co/B6toNd9LAf
-Amnesty East Africa (@AmnestyEARO) July 22, 2021
The United States said on Wednesday that it was confirming the details of Mbowe’s arrest, but this would be “very worrying.”
State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that Secretary of State Anthony Brinken encouraged Hassan to protect civil liberties in a call on July 6, and emphasized the importance of “ensure that all Tanzanians have a democratic, peaceful, free and prosperous future. Sex”.
According to the United Nations, at least 150 opposition leaders were arrested after condemning what they said was a huge fraud in the October 2020 election, which put Magufuli and Hassan in power again.
Magufuli, who was deeply suspicious of COVID, died in March of what the authorities said was a heart attack, but his political opponents insisted that he contracted the disease.