Opposition parties decry loss of democratic space

Wednesday December 19 2018

 

By Khalifa Said @RealKhalifax ksaid@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. After their two-day consultative meeting, leaders of six opposition parties have decried the deterioration of democratic space in the past few years.

They cited some of the incidents, which according to them, indicated that the country was heading to dictatorial leadership, which include detention of political leaders, abduction of people, including journalists and businessmen.

They also claimed that the government enacted or amended some of the laws to suppress the opposition or non-governmental organisations. The laws, according to them, include the Statistics Act, online content regulations and laws governing NGOs’ operations.

The six political parties, whose members met in Zanzibar since December 16 declared that they would work to turn the tide in 2019.

The resolutions were signed by the Civic United Front, Chadema, ACT-Wazalendo, National League of Democracy (NLD), NCCR-Mageuzi and Chama cha Ukombozi wa Umma (Chauma).

The leaders also vowed that they will declare arbitrary arrest of political leaders ‘political imprisonment.’

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The signed communiqueindicates that come 2019 the parties will ‘institute their democratic right’ to hold public rallies, which have been banned by the government.

They also condemned the government’s indifference to calls by various groups to invite independent investigators to look into cases of killings, torture, abductions and disappearance of people, including politicians, businessmen as well as journalists.

In the communique, the opposition also faulted statistics, which have been released by state organs, which have been indicating that the country’s economy was growing, while according to them it was deteriorating.

We are noting this because we are Tanzanians, hence we have to work together to make sure that we save people from extreme poverty,” read the communique in part.

It added: “It is now or never for us (the opposition) to unite to make sure that the country doesn’t slide into authoritarianism.”

“We declare 2019 as the year of ‘demanding democracy, a year that we will demand all our basic rights’, which we are currently denied by the State, which is a violation of laws and the Constitution,” the communique further reads.