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Tanzania’s president ends 6 years ban on political rallies

Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan on Tuesday has lifted a ban on political rallies, six-and-a-half years after her predecessor John Magufuli imposed the ban.

Early in his tenure, Magufuli banned political rallies, saying it was time for work, not politics.

The policy which became effective in 2016, allowed elected politicians to conduct rallies in their constituencies but banned other political rallies or protests.

Hassan, who came to office after the death of Magufuli in March 2021, said her decision to lift the ban was part of her strategy of Reconciliation, Resilience, Reforms and Rebuilding the nation, dubbed 4Rs.

“I am here to declare that the ban on political rallies has been lifted. It is the right of political parties to hold rallies but we all have responsibilities,” the president said to leaders of Tanzania’s 19 registered political parties during a meeting at her office in the capital Dar es Salaam.

“Just inform us as the laws require. Security organs will evaluate your requests. If there is any threat, they won’t allow you, but for the step we are in right now, they will definitely allow you to conduct your rallies.”

Reacting to the development, Tanzanian opposition leader, Zitto Kabwe, said the decision was a first step toward greater political reforms.

“I am exhilarated! This is the right that was snatched by the state through an illegal presidential decree. President Samia has cleaned up the mess. It is a normal thing but Huge,” he told AFP.

Writing by Muzha Kucha