Tanzanian critic arrested for writing a book on Magufuli’s leadership style

Prince Bagenda - Courtesy

Police authorities in Tanzania have arrested Prince Bagenda, a seasoned political analyst, for allegedly writing a book that criticises President John Magufuli.

SAUTI KUBWA is aware that Bagenda, a former politician and one of the founders of the early 1990s multiparty movement in Tanzania, is working on the book draft whose title is not yet decided. 

His early proposals for the title were: “With Magufuli in power, it is business unusual,” and “The Genesis of Wannabe Political Gangsterism.”

Sources told SAUTI KUBWA that Bagenda was arrested on Friday 24th April 2020 at his home in Kisutu, Dar es Salaam. His computers and phones were confiscated. He is detained at the Oysterbay Police Station for interrogation. 

His lawyers said he was expected to appear in court on Monday 27th April 2020 to answer charges yet to be disclosed. Colleagues and human rights defenders are still working to bail him out.

During preliminary interrogations on Friday, police asked Bagenda if he had been in contact with the author of “John Magufuli: An Epitome of Cowardice” published in June 2019. 

Bagenda’s arrest is a continuation of the regime’s threats against independent opinion, freedom of expression and of the press, which have characterised the country’s socio-political terrain since Magufuli assumed power in 2015.

Tens of government critics have disappeared or died. Others have been tormented or persecuted in various ways. They include Azory Gwanda a journalist who went missing in November 2017 and Erick Kabendera, abducted in July 2019 who, after being eventually accessed, was arrested and taken to court, and was slapped with the heaviest charges that kept him denied bail in prison for seven months until he bought his freedom for the court to release him.

So far, Magufuli’s first four years of intimidations, torture and killings, have truly become a vindication of the early prediction published in the East African about the fate of critics in Tanzania under Magufuli. The worst is definitely yet to happen.


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