Police reportedly fired tear gas on Monday, September 28, to disperse Chadema opposition supporters in the Mara region town of Nyamongo. The incident occurred after crowds gathered to meet Chadema's presidential candidate Tundu Lissu as he traveled through the town in a vehicular convoy en-route to a scheduled campaign event in the nearby Serengeti National Park. Having previously stated that Lissu was not authorized to travel through Nyamongo, suggesting an alternative route via Bunda, dozens of police officers reportedly moved in to disperse the crowd as the candidate's convoy entered the town. Opposition activists also accused police of beating those at the rally and firing warning shots, but police officials are yet to comment on the claims or why the rally was dispersed.
Further political gatherings and election-related unrest are likely across Tanzania ahead of the general election on October 28. Political demonstrations and gatherings, particularly those associated with opposition groups, are highly likely to attract an increased security presence and cause localized travel and business disruptions.
Political tensions have been rising in Tanzania in recent weeks ahead of the country's general election on October 28. Since being confirmed as the Chadema Party presidential candidate at the beginning of August, Tundu Lissu has seen a number of campaign events banned or disrupted by police. The veteran opposition leader has also faced multiple legal challenges to his candidacy, including reprimands from the National Election Commission.
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.
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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