Tanzania: MPs grant government sweeping powers over political parties
Tanzania’s parliament has passed new amendments to legislation granting the government sweeping powers over political parties in the country.
The changes were voted through by MPs on Tuesday in a move that opposition legislators argue will turn the country into a single-party state. President John Magufuli has caught the attention of rights groups over the past few years over moves that point towards an increasingly authoritarian regime.
Tanzania ‘one-party state’
Sadly we are watching the defeat of democracy in Tanzania. It is a slow and painful death by a thousand cuts. If current trends continue, there will not be much left by the next election. My thoughts go out to civil society friends, who can’t even comment as it is too dangerous. https://t.co/JhkIhIA1Ze
— Prof Nic Cheeseman (@Fromagehomme) January 29, 2019
Opposition groups fear the amendments will effectively criminalise political activities. ACT-Wazalendo party leader Zitto Kabwe was unsuccessful in his attempt to seek a court injunction to block parliament passing the law changes. He later criticised the amendments in parliament late on Tuesday, suggesting they are unconstitutional.
“You can’t have a constitution that allows freedom of association then give someone powers to revoke that freedom of association,” he told lawmakers in parliament.
President Magufuli’s ruling party says the amendments are required to give the country’s government-appointed registrar authority to act as a political referee and ensure parties don’t embezzle funds.
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