Tanzania – Opposition Under Attack Charges Zitto Kabwe


Alliance for Change and Transparency (ACT Wazalendo) party leader Zitto Kabwe claims that the opposition is under attack in Tanzania.

Kabwe argues that the actions of the state do not comply with the rule of law, citing an example as the fact that while the Political Parties Act allows for mobilisation including the holding of public rallies, parties have been prevented from doing so since the issuance of a presidential decree in July 2016.

He has also pointed to the various charges facing leaders of the opposition party Chadema. Kabwe has himself been arrested at least four times since President John Magafuli was elected in 2015, most recently last week when he was detained for two nights before being charged with incitement after he claimed that 100 people were killed in recent clashes between herders and police in his western home province of Kigoma. The case is due to be heard on November 26.

Tanzania prohibits the dissemination of information that could threaten public peace. In a move criticised by a range of opposition and civil society groups, recent amendments made to the Statistics Act have imposed harsh penalties for anyone questioning official statistics or disseminating statistics that intend to invalidate, distort or discredit official statistics, or without the approval of the National Bureau of Statistics.

The Electronic and Postal Communications Online Content Regulations of 2018 are another example of narrowing democratic space in the country as their introduction early this year means bloggers and the owners of online forums must now be registered with the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) at a cost of up to $900 a license. The regulation applies to various online forums, including YouTube channels, with those found to violate the new rules facing fines and possible imprisonment.