Tanzania opposition leaders arrested on eve of election protests

Monday November 02 2020

In this file photo taken on March 14, 2020 Tanzania's Chadema party chairman Freeman Mbowe (C) arrives at the party's headquarters after being released from Segerea prison in Dar es Salaam. PHOTO | AFP


Dar es Salaam,

At least three opposition leaders and officials in Tanzania have been arrested as police take actions to forestall planned demonstrations called to protest the outcome of the October 28 General Election.

The two main opposition parties, Chadema and ACT-Wazalendo, rejected the ruling party's overwhelming victory and termed the elections “a fraud and travesty”. They called on their supporters to demonstrate to force a repeat of the polls.

Police say they have arrested top Chadema leaders, including national chairman Freeman Mbowe, over the planned protests.

Dar es Salaam Special Police Zone commander, Mr Lazaro Mambosasa, said Chadema’s Nothern Zone regional chairman Godbless Lema and former Ubungo Mayor in Dar es Salaam Boniface Jacob have also been arrested.

“We are holding them alongside several other people for inciting demonstrations,” Mr Mambosasa told Mwananchi on phone Monday morning.


The fate of Chadema presidential candidate Tundu Lissu remained unclear.


In Dar es Salaam, there was a heavy police presence at major road intersections but there were no signs of civilians protesting as people were seen going about their business as usual.

On Saturday, Chadema and ACT-Wazalendo held a joint press conference in Dar es Salaam and announced they will embark on continuous and peaceful public protests to force a repeat of the elections.

They warned the police against using excessive force to stop the protests, which they said would be peaceful.  


The National Electoral Commission on Friday declared incumbent President John Magufuli winner of the General Election with 12,516, 252 valid votes (84.4 per cent). Mr Lissu came second with 1, 933,271 votes (13.04 per cent).

In the parliamentary elections, candidates of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party won in over 95 per cent of electoral zones, with only two opposition MPs declared winners in Mainland and four in Zanzibar.

According to ACT-Wazalendo, a police clampdown on protesters in Zanzibar as the elections took place left 12 people dead and several others missing from their homes. 

The opposition claims the elections were marred with serious irregularities but the electoral body say these reports are unverified.

Zanzibar president-elect, Dr Hussein Mwinyi, will be sworn into office on Monday to succeed Dr Ali Mohamed Shein, while President Magufuli will be sworn in on Thursday in Dodoma.