Narrowing on Dissent? Tanzania Police Puts Ban on Political Rallies as Opposition plans Nationwide Campaign on Against Magufuli

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Tanzania Police has put a temporary ban on political rallies, days after the opposition Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA) party announced nationwide tour to challenge President John Magufuli “style of leadership”.

CHADEMA accuses Magufuli of running the nation with reckless abandon, narrowing on dissent and acting with total disregard to the law.

The party’s director of recruitment and coordination Benson Kigaila told the media in Dar es Salaam that Magufuli for example personally sacked or directed sacking of public officials in blatant disregard to the rules of disciplinary action.

According to a statement released by Commissioner of Police for Training and Operations, Nsato Mssanzya, the ban on political gatherings takes immediate effect over ‘security concerns’. Mssanzya ask politicians to adhere to the ban and warned against defiance.

“The Police Force calls upon politicians to immediately stop putting pressure on citizens to disobey the laws of the country…We will take to task any political party that will disobey this order immediately,’’ read the statement in part.

Ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) in a presser said it intends to make counter rallies to deflate the opposition messages. CCM Spokesperson Christopher Ole-Sendeka told reporters in Dar es Salaam that his party will  not tolerate any “false propaganda and criticism” intended to tarnish the good image their leadership. He said Magufuli was taking the nation in the “right direction”.

Police said rallies of both parties were banned as they are likely to spur social discontent. According to the statement, parties demonstrated a determination to attack each other opponents, which might have led to violence between the two political groups.

Meanwhile the Catholic Church is organizing a national congregation to conduct special prayers for Magufuli and other national leaders in a fresh move towards national cohession and peace buillding.

The head of Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC) Bishop Methodius Kilaini told reporters that the event will mainly be used to pray for the peace of the nation.

“We will pray for the leaders of the nation and in a special way for the President so that God can lead him to perform well this heavy tasks by applying maximum level of integrity, professionalism and wisdom with blessings of the Holy spirit in leading the nation,” Kilaini said.