Tanzanian Opposition Leader Arrested

Freeman Mbowe and 10 Chadema members were rounded up in the dead of night in the north-western port city of Mwanza.

Tanzanian Opposition Leader Arrested

The leader of Tanzania's main opposition party Chadema and other members were arrested on Wednesday, July 21 ahead of a planned conference to demand constitutional reforms.

Freeman Mbowe and 10 Chadema members were rounded up in the dead of night in the north-western port city of Mwanza.

"We condemn the repression of the rights of Tanzanians with the strongest force. These are signs that the dictatorship that existed during the rule of President John Magufuli continues," the party charged on Twitter.

Tanzanian opposition leader Freeman Mbowe. /EAST AFRICAN

"Freeman Mbowe was accosted by an army of police officers in his hotel when he arrived at 02:30 am and was arrested together with other leaders," it said.

While the other Chadema members were taken to Mwanza police station, there was no information about Mbowe's whereabouts.

"We want the police to come out and say where the chairman is and why he was arrested," Chadema said.

The arrests come four months after Tanzania's first female President Samia Suluhu Hassan took office in March following the sudden death of her predecessor John Pombe Magufuli.

There have been high hopes that Suluhu would usher in a change from the autocratic rule of her predecessor.

But the arrest follows Hassan's meeting to the opposition where she vowed to defend democracy and basic freedoms in the East African country.

"We condemn the repression of the rights of Tanzanians with the strongest force. These are signs that the dictatorship that existed during the rule of President John Magufuli continues," the party charged.

While the other Chadema members were taken to Mwanza police station, there was no information about Mbowe's whereabouts.

"We want the police to come out and say where the chairman is and why he was arrested," Chadema said.

Tanzania's President Samia Suluhu Hassan with President Uhuru Kenyatta during the former's visit to the country in May 2021. /PSCU