Tanzania police have arrested two people in connection with anti-government protests planned for April 26. The police also dismissed that the country was under authoritarian leadership.
Police chief in the city of Dodoma, Gilles Muroto paraded the two people, a farmer and driver, for calling on citizens to protest against the president, John Pombe Magufuli.
“These two people here were inciting others to protest on 26 April, saying on social media that there is no freedom [in Tanzania], that there is a dictatorship, which is totally false,” Muroto said.
He went on to caution that people who defied no-protest orders risk ending up with “a broken leg” and going hone as cripples. The protests were called by an opposition activist against the political climate in the country.
Addressing a public gathering in northwestern Tanzania weeks ago, Magufuli dared the protesters to go ahead with their plans. “Some people have failed to engage in legitimate politics; they would like to see street protests everyday…Let them demonstrate and they will see who I am. We want to build a strong economy for all Tanzanians and we are on the right track. Let us be patient, Tanzania will become a land of honey,” the president added.
A U.S.-based Tanzanian social media activist, Mange Kimambi, is behind the call for a nationwide anti-government demonstration on April 26 to protest over a shrinking of political freedoms and human rights abuses back home.
Kimambi, who has a large youth following on social media, is rallying Tanzanians via Telegram chat groups to take to the streets after previous demonstrations called by the main opposition CHADEMA party in 2016 were called off.
In Tanzania, anyone wanting to stage a demonstration must inform police and receive a permit from them. Police have declared the Kimambi-led protest illegal and an act of treason.