Tanzania police have banned opposition parties from conducting planned nationwide protests for fear they could escalate into civil disobedience amid growing allegations that President John Magufuli was abusing his power.
The development comes after the main opposition party Chadema scaled up attacks against the president after the government dropped live broadcasts in parliament and Deputy Speaker Tulia Ackson rejected MPs’ calls to cancel the debate on the decision to suspend over 7,800 students pursuing special teaching diploma courses at Dodoma University.
As a result, opposition MPs boycotted the parliamentary budget sessions chaired by Dr Ackson whom they accused of hijacking their parliamentary privileges. The MPs said they will bring up a motion on a vote of no confidence against him.
The leader of opposition, Freeman Mbowe also criticised President Magufuli’s decision to move regional administration and local government portfolios from the prime minister’s office to the president’s office and the reallocation of budget funds without seeking approval from parliament.
The ruling party Chama cha Mapinduzi said that shortly after it was informed that Chadema planned to use its countrywide rallies to criticise President Magufuli’s stance on corruption, it would also organise similar rallies to counter the opposition.
Commissioner for operation and training, Nsato Msanzya said in a signed letter that the police they were banning all rallies until the security situation stabilised.
“The police force is asking all the politicians to stop inciting citizens; The police force will not hesitate to take stern legal action against those who defy this order,” the statement read.