The parliamentary leader of the opposition and national chairman of the Chadema party Freeman Mbowe was seriously assaulted on the morning of Tuesday, June 9, outside his home in Dodoma. Mbowe was reportedly ambushed by a group of unidentified assailants in the early hours as he returned home from a political meeting, suffering a broken leg and other blunt force trauma injuries in the attack. Several of the attackers are reported to have brandished firearms, but none are believed to have been discharged during the incident. Mbowe is currently recovering at a Dodoma hospital.
There have been significant concerns over increasing levels of political violence in Tanzania under President John Magufuli. Dozens of opposition activists have been threatened, attacked, or abducted by unidentified assailants since the president took office 2015, but despite claims by the police to be investigating and monitoring the incidents, few arrests have been made. These attacks have included the attempted assassination of a prominent opposition MP, Tundu Lissu, in 2017 and the killing of two Chadema officials the following year. Other prominent activists have been kidnapped, tortured, and threatened. Many of these attacks have been linked to specific political activity and campaigns but the government has done little to acknowledge or stem the rising tide of political violence.
Tuesday's attack came a day after Lissu, who is currently in self-imposed exile in Belgium following the 2017 attempt on his life, announced his intention to stand as Chadema's candidate in Tanzania's October presidential election.
Those in Tanzania are advised to remain apprised of the political situation, avoid all public demonstrations and election-related events as a precaution, avoid discussing politically-sensitive topics in public, and heed all directives issued by the local authorities.
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