Police reportedly arrested an unspecified number of Chadema opposition supporters in the Coast Region on Tuesday, October 6, as authorities disrupted alleged unauthorized campaigning by Tundu Lissu, the party's candidate in the upcoming presidential election. Police officials stated that Lissu had planned to hold unofficial campaign events in Mtabani, Mlandizi, and Zanati on Tuesday, in violation of a temporary suspension of his campaign by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) last week. Small crowds of supporters awaiting Lissu at the sites were reportedly dispersed by police, with an unspecified number being arrested.
On Friday, October 2, the NEC had banned Lissu from campaigning in the presidential race for one week following claims by the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) that he had made seditious statements against President John Magufuli. Although the presidential candidate has not officially been arrested, he is reported to be under unofficially-imposed movement restrictions in the Coast Region for the duration of his suspension, with police reportedly preventing him from traveling to other areas.
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 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.
Copyright and Disclaimer