Tanzanian MP faces arrest for criticising president in teen mums row

Tuesday July 04 2017

Tanzanian opposition MP Halima Mdee. PHOTO | NMG

By The EastAfrican

A Tanzanian opposition lawmaker, Halima Mdee, faces arrest for her fierce criticism on President John Magufuli’s stance on education of teen mothers.

A district commissioner in Dar es Salaam, Ally Hapi, has ordered that she be arrested and charged for using abusive language against the president.

“I instruct Halima Mdee to be arrested by the police and detained for 48 hours, interrogated and prosecuted over her insults against our President,” Mr Hapi, Kinondoni District Commissioner, ordered Tuesday.

Tanzania’s laws allow for the detaining for 48 hours of anyone who may “disturb public tranquillity.” 

Ms Mdee is reported to have called for proper scrutiny of presidential candidates to ascertain capabilities, if they can comprehend important issues.

She said the president is not a law unto himself and that Tanzania is governed by a Constitution and is signatory to various human rights treaties including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948.


Speaking to reporters at the opposition Chadema party headquarters, Ms Mdee said the president’s statements “must be protested against very strongly”.  

President Magufuli has ruled out giving schoolgirls who give birth a second chance in public schools.

READ: No more school for Tanzania's teen moms

The remarks sparked a heated debate with civil society organisations vowing to continue campaigning for the re-admission of teen mothers despite government threat to ban such organisations.

READ: Teen mums debate: TZ lobby groups to defy ban threat