Tanzania President Samia Suluhu Hassan Tuesday lifted a blanket ban on political assemblies by opposition parties. Hassan expressed the will to have a dialogue within and among political parties in Tanzania.
The ban was imposed in 2016 by Hassan’s predecessor John Magufuli to curb political dissent and included draconian measures which prohibited political parties from organizing rallies and other activities. Further, the ban restricted politicians to hold assemblies in their respective constituencies only. Meanwhile, officials from the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party conducted political activities outside their own constituencies in an unfettered manner. The ban was severely criticized for its selective application against opposition party leaders who faced intimidation, harassment and arbitrary arrest.
Section 4 of the 1988 Tanzania Parliamentary Immunities, Powers and Privileges Act protects the right of MPs to hold public assemblies in their constituencies. Moreover, the legislation directs the responsible authorities to facilitate such assemblages.
In December 2021 Hassan constituted a Multi-Party Democratic Stakeholder Coordination Task Force which worked for ten months before recommending the ban’s repeal. Hassan has indicated revision of certain other measures like Tanzania’s current electoral laws. She hopes for broader participation of various stakeholders in the political landscape in the near future.