Tanzania President lifts ban on opposition political gatherings

Tanzania: President lifts ban on opposition political gatherings

Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan on Tuesday announced the lifting of a ban on political gatherings, which the opposition had imposed since a decision by her predecessor, the authoritarian John Magufuli, in 2016.

“I am here to declare that the ban on political gatherings is now lifted,” the President said at a meeting with political party leaders in the economic capital, Dar es Salaam.

“You are all free to criticize the government,” she assured them.

“Further legal reforms are pending to ensure that the rights of all parties are respected,” the head of state of the East African country continued.

After his election in October 2015, President Magufuli banned public gatherings of political parties. In fact, this ban only affected the opposition, because the presidential party Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM), which had been in power since independence in 1961, could hold meetings where and when they wanted.

The announcement marks a new sign of openness since the inauguration of Samia Suluhu Hassan, who succeeded John Magufuli, nicknamed “the bulldozer” for his authoritarian style, from 2015 until his sudden death in March 2021.

Addressing the opposition, she allowed media outlets banned under Mr Magufuli to reopen and vowed to uphold democracy and fundamental freedoms.