Tanzanian Chadma Party says leader Freeman Mbo has been arrested
The party said that Freeman Mbovey and 10 other Chadma members were rounded up before the planned meeting to call for constitutional reform.
Tanzania’s main opposition party, Chadma, said its leader and other members were arrested before the planned meeting to call for constitutional reforms.
The party said on Twitter earlier Wednesday that Freeman Mbowe and 10 Chadema members were rounded up overnight in the northwestern port city of Mwanza .
“We condemn with the strongest force the right to suppress Tanzanians. These signs show that the dictatorship that existed during the reign of President John Magufuli continues,” it accused.
“When Freeman Mbowe arrived at the hotel at 2:30 a.m., he was struck up by a team of police at his hotel and arrested along with other leaders.”
When the other Chadema members were taken to the Mwanza police station, there was no information about Mbowe’s whereabouts.
Chadma said: “We hope that the police will come out and tell the chairman where he is and why he was arrested.”
The police did not immediately comment.
‘Cannot continue the old order’
The arrest took place four months after Tanzania’s first female president, Samia Suluhu Hassan, took office in March after the sudden death of her predecessor, Magufuli.
People have high hopes that Hassan will usher in the transformation of his predecessor’s “authoritarian rule”, who is nicknamed “Bulldozer” because of his uncompromising leadership style.
Although the authorities in Mwanza province banned public gatherings to curb the spread of the coronavirus, Mbowi promised to continue the constitutional reform conference and arrested these people.
“We can’t continue the old order,” Mbo said in a video posted on Twitter on Monday.
“We had the right to meet, but we were arrested, beaten, charged and brought to court for two to three years before being released.
“If they want to arrest all members of the Chadma Party, let them expand the prison first, because we are all ready to be arrested and will not ask for bail.”
In April, Hassan contacted the opposition and pledged to defend democracy and fundamental freedoms in the country.
In November 2020, several senior opposition leaders, including Mbowe, were briefly detained after calling for large-scale protests. They accused them of accusing the election of being rigged, which brought Magufuli to power again.
Magufuli, who was deeply suspicious of COVID, died in March of what the authorities said was a heart attack, but his political opponents insisted that he contracted the disease.