Tanzania: Church accuses government of hurting democracy

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Tanzania’s Catholic Church has accused President John Magufuli’s government of hurting democracy by suppressing freedom of expression.

In a letter penned by the country’s Catholic bishops, the church criticised what it called “violations of the Constitution and national laws,” and warned that continuing to infringe upon civil rights could put national security at risk.

Church speaks out against government

Tanzania’s Catholic Church has been criticised in recent months for staying quiet as rights groups and civil activists accuse President John Magufuli of clamping down on political freedom. Now, the church is speaking out against the government and its apparent efforts to limit freedom of expression.

“Party political activities, such as public meetings, demonstrations, rallies, debates inside premises, which are after all every citizen’s right, have been suspended until the next elections,” the letter reads, in part.

“If we allow this to continue, we should not be surprised if we find ourselves embroiled in worse conflicts which will destroy the basis of peace and national unity.”

Criticism against the government has increased over the attempted murder of opposition MP Tundu Lissu who was shot at his home in Dodoma. Despite the attack taking place during the day, in an area guarded by police, no suspect has been arrested.

Opposition party Chadema accuses the government of being behind the attack.

Featured image: YouTube

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.