Tanzania’s opposition parties are accusing President John Magufuli and his ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) administration of maneuvering to amend the country’s political parties’ law to bind a “one-party” State and outlaw many legitimate political activities.
Media reports say the moves comes amid government claims that the opposition is inciting chaos to derail economic reforms. Once amended, the proposed changes – which also bar opposition parties from functioning as pressure or activist groups – would expand criminal grounds on which authorities can suspend political parties and jail their members.
However, some critics told Reuters that the proposed amendment would sharply curb political freedoms in the East African country and prevent an effective challenge to Magufuli and his party in this year’s local elections and the 2020 elections.
On Monday Tanzania’s High Court Judge Benhajj Shaaban Masoud rejected a petition by some opposition leaders to stop parliamentary debate on a government draft proposal to amend the law on the grounds that it was not properly filed.