In Tanzania, president lifts six-year ban on political rallies and announces plans for constitutional reform process

By Bonface Witaba, 13 February 2023
Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan (photo credit via BBC)
Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan (photo credit via BBC)
On 3 January, Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan announced that she had lifted the ban on political rallies imposed in 2016 by her predecessor, John Pombe Magufuli, with the main aim of cracking down on political dissent. The president’s announcement came on the sidelines of a meeting with leaders of nineteen opposition parties at State House in Dar es Salaam. [...] Speaking to the media in the presence of various opposition leaders she had convened, Suluhu revealed that the decision was driven by her “four Rs philosophy” (reconciliation, resilience, reforms and reconstruction), and based on the recommendations of a working group on constitutional reforms comprising the ruling party and the opposition, among other stakeholders. [...] In addition, Suluhu revealed that in due course a work group comprising political parties, civil society organisations and Tanzanians from all walks of life would be formed to launch a new constitutional reform process and develop the stalled 2014 draft constitution which, in her view, cannot be implemented now because it has already been overtaken by events[.] She added that other urgent reforms would focus on revamping the electoral body known as the National Electoral Commission, amending laws banning political parties and reforming the judiciary, among others. [...] Freeman Mbowe, leader of Tanzania’s main opposition Party for Democracy and Progress, said in an interview with Global TV online: “We have received President Samia’s statement ‘positively’, albeit with great caution. Our nation has had a system of suppression of democracy for a long time, from the national to the local government level. It is right that the president has allowed public meetings, which were a constitutional and legal right in our nation, to continue..."
Read the full article here: Pressenza


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