US Embassy in TZ express concern over political intolerance ahead of elections

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The United States Embassy in Tanzania has expressed concern over recent actions by the government in Tanzania to stifle Democratic norms, including the arrest of Political opposition figures and the revocation of the media license of an opposition Newspaper.

In a statement released by the embassy on Thursday, the US is concerned about growing intolerance and repression in President Magufuli’s government which are intended to sniffle democracy ahead of a presidential election in October.

Tanzanian opposition party leader Zitto Kabwe and eight other members were arrested in Kilwa district, southern Tanzania on Tuesday, as they attended an internal meeting.

Magufuli’s government also revoked the licence of the opposition-leaning newspaper Tanzania Daima, alleging violations of journalistic ethics and laws including spreading false information.

The authorities in Tanzania accused them for holding an illegal assembly.

“The US embassy expresses concern over recent actions by government of Tanzania to stiffle democratic norms…these actions follow a disconcerting pattern of intimidation towards oposition members, Civil society and media outlets. The rights to peaceful assembly and expression are enshrined in the Tanzanian constitution and the Universal Deceleration of Human Rights” the statement reads in part.

President John Magufuli, who is expected to run for a second and final five-year term, dissolved parliament last week ahead of the election.

Kabwe was found guilty a month ago of sedition and incitement after being found to have falsely alleged that around 100 people had been killed in his home region in 2018 in clashes between herders and police.

He was released without sentencing on condition that he refrain from saying or writing anything potentially seditious for one year. Kabwe had pleaded ‘not guilty’ and his lawyers said they would appeal.

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