In a groundbreaking turn of events a multitude of supporters from Tanzania’s primary opposition party, Chadema, flooded the streets of Dar es Salaam, heralding the country’s first significant demonstration in seven years.
This demonstration represents a pivotal departure from the political rally restrictions enforced during the tenure of the late President John Magufuli which began in 2015. President Samia Suluhu Hassan, who assumed office in 2021, notably rescinded the ban last year as part of her efforts towards national reconciliation.
Chadema’s bold display underscores a pressing call for constitutional and electoral overhauls in anticipation of the forthcoming 2024 elections. Central to their agenda is the advocacy for constitutional amendments allowing the scrutiny of presidential election outcomes in court.
Additionally, they advocate for reforms to electoral regulations to prevent the president from unilaterally appointing members to the electoral commission.
Beyond electoral concerns, the opposition party also highlights the urgent need for the government to address the soaring cost of living in Tanzania. Demonstrators armed with placards and whistles, marched peacefully through the thoroughfares of Dar es Salaam flanked by a heavy police presence.
Under Magufuli’s administration, opposition gatherings often faced brutal crackdowns by law enforcement with their leaders frequently subjected to arrest. Notably, prominent figures within Chadema, including Mbowe and deputy Tundu Lissu, were targets of attacks by unidentified assailants, both asserting that these assaults bore political motives.
The resurgence of opposition protests symbolizes a renewed drive for political transparency and reform in Tanzania mirroring the evolving political landscape under President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s stewardship.