Tanzanian Opposition Leader Freeman Mbowe Arrested Ahead of Protests

According to Aljazeera, Tanzanian opposition leader of the Chadema political party, Freeman Mbowe, has recently been arrested alongside other opposition figures Godbless Lema, Isaya Mwita and Boniface Jacob. Mbowe’s arrest comes ahead of peaceful demonstrations which were set to take place today in protest of last week’s election results. Authorities have since labelled the planned demonstrations as “illegal”. Last week’s elections saw President John Magufuli victorious with 84 percent of the vote. The opposition have cried foul and called on Tanzanians to protest until a vote rerun is granted.


READ: Deep Dive: Protest Movements Across the Continent

BBC reports that Chadema has alleged that there was tampering with the ballot boxes. This past Sunday, Mbowe said that “We first call for fresh elections as soon as possible.” He added that, “We call for continuous, peaceful, countrywide demonstrations until our demands are met.”

However, according to independent lawyer, Fredrick Kiweloindependent lawyer, Fredrick Kiwelo, “The election law after the announcement of the results by the National Electoral Commission, doesn’t give permission to someone who isn’t satisfied by the results”. Kiwelo went on to add that, “The law forces you to agree with what has been announced regardless if you’re satisfied or not.” Additionally, the East African observer team led by former Burundian President, Sylvestre Ntibantunganya, announced that the election was both free and fair.

President Magufuli begins his second term as Tanzania’s head-of-state and has promised to continue with the ambitious projects he began in hist term in addition to boosting the country’s economy. Magufuli has not provided any comment or response with regards to the opposition’s allegations that there were irregularities with the elections.