Tanzanian President Lifts 6-year Ban On Opposition Political Party Rallies

Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan has lifted a six-year-ban on opposition rallies imposed by her autocratic predecessor, a move that was cautiously welcomed as a gain for democracy by the main opposition party.
Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan
| Photo Credit: NewZimbabwe.com

The President of Tanzania Samia Suluhu Hassan on Tuesday lifted a ban on opposition rallies that was imposed by her predecessor the late John Pombe Magufuli in 2016. 

The ban was proscribed by former President John Magufuli in 2016 during his first term, in an overture to political rivals seeking the restoration of democratic traditions. Early in his tenure, he banned political rallies saying it was time for work and not politics.

President Hassan has been under pressure to break with the hardline policies of John Magufuli, who died in 2021 after six years of heavy-handed rule in a country once seen as a democratic beacon in East Africa. 

While addressing party leaders invited to the State House on Tuesday, Hassan announced that the ban on political rallies is now lifted.

“According to our laws, it is the right of political parties to hold their public meetings, my presence today in front of you is to permit that the announcement to prevent public meetings is now lifted,” Hassan said on Tuesday.

“The government will be responsible for ensuring security during rallies, but I urge all politicians to also practice civilized politics,” she said.

“You are all free to criticize the government wherever you see challenges so that we address them for the benefit of our people,” she added.

The announcement attracted comments from opposition leaders including Freeman Mbowe, who spent seven months in prison on terrorism charges. 

“It is good that the president has allowed political meetings, but we are now waiting to see the implementation by the other government officials,” he said.

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