Several members of Tanzania’s main opposition Chadema party that are pushing for constitutional reform in the country have been arrested.
This is the latest crackdown on a group.
Police detained nine party members and raided its offices in the northern lakeside town of Musoma to block a planned symposium by the youth wing on constitutional change, Chadema said in a statement on Saturday.
“We strongly condemn this blatant violation of the constitution and rule of law, sowing the seeds of hatred, discrimination and discord within communities,” it added, protesting against the “suppression of democratic rights” by police and other security forces.
Longinus Tibishibwamu, police chief in the Mara region referring to Saturday’s arrests said the force cannot allow such events to take place.
“The president has instructed that people should now focus on economic development … So such conferences will have to wait,” Tibishibwamu was quoted as saying by local media.
The arrests of the party members follows the detention of Chadema leader Freeman Mbowe on “terrorism” charges that his party have branded a bid by President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s government to muzzle the opposition.
Mbowe who has been behind bars since July 21 when he was arrested along with some other senior Chadema officials hours before they were to hold a similar forum on calls for a new constitution has been charged with terrorism financing and conspiracy.
He is due to appear at the High Court again on Monday.
The opposition says President Suluhu Hassan is continuing the oppressive rule of her late predecessor John Magufuli.