Detained Tanzanian Opposition Leader Faces Terrorism Charges
Tanzanian authorities plan to charge the main opposition leader with conspiracy to commit terrorism, the police said.
Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo Chairman Freeman Mbowe also faces accusations of “plotting the assassination of government leaders,” Tanzania Police Force spokesman David Misime said in a statement, without providing further details. Mbowe won’t be granted bail if charged with terrorism, according to Tanzanian laws.
Mbowe and several other leaders of Chadema, as the party is known, were arrested in the northwestern city of Mwanza on Wednesday, hours before they were to hold a meeting on constitutional reform. The opposition is demanding presidential powers be reduced and the electoral process amended.
The arrests come after opposition parties asked President Samia Suluhu Hassan to break with the past after succeeding former President John Magufuli, who they accused of reducing political freedoms and cracking down on opponents before he died in March.
Bureaucrats in Mwanza had warned opposition parties against holding the conference, citing restrictions on meetings as part of government measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Amid rising Covid-19 infections, Health Minister Dorothy Gwajima on Thursday announced stricter measures that effectively prohibit all non-essential gatherings.
Misime said the arrests weren’t related to the planned meeting in Mwanza.
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