Tanzania’s opposition leader arrested on the eve of nationwide protests

Freeman Mbowe, Tanzania's opposition leader

POLICE in Dar es Salaam have arrested the leader of the opposition in Tanzania, Freeman Mbowe, in an attempt to foil the mass protests over the stolen presidential and parliamentary election.

The nationwide protests are scheduled to start on 2n November 2020 in demand of the fresh vote and the complete overhaul of the National Electoral Commission, which is accused of mismanaging the just ended general election. While the aggrieved opposition has called it a “travesty,” the eminent persons’ panel – Tanzania Elections Watch – said it was “not credible.”

Dar es Salaam Police Commander Lazaro Mambosasa confirmed the arrest of Mbowe and Godbless Lema, the former MP for Arusha Urban, but SAUTI KUBWA is aware that the authorities also apprehended Boniface Jacob, the former Mayor for Ubungo, and Isaya Mwita, the former Mayor for Dar es Salaam City. According to Mambosasa, more leaders would be arrested in connection with organising the protests.

A day before, police had issued a statement in response to the opposition’s press conference, warning them and the general public against taking part in the protests. Police Director for Operations and Training, Liberatus Sabas, said the protests were illegal and unacceptable.

It is likely that police will attempt to arrest more opposition leaders in the efforts to frustrate them and to avert the protests, but the public looks determined. It is one of the democratic ways for them to raise their voice against the most serious and evident vote-rigging in Tanzania’s history.

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