Dar es Salaam. Alliance for Change (ACT-Wazalendo) party leader Zitto Kabwe on Monday warned that Dr John Magufuli risked being a one-term president if his government continues to exhibit “dictatorial tendencies”.
The firebrand opposition politician queried why the Head of State had remained silent amid continued police harassment of opposition leaders and a crackdown on their meetings and other democratic activities countrywide.
“He is sowing the seeds of a dictatorship and we, as opposition leaders, will not accept that,” he declared at a news conference in Dar es Salaam.
Mr Kabwe said if the situation was not immediately addressed it would alienate the electorate and would eventually taint Dr Magufuli’s image as a man of the people committed to bringing true change in the country.
The Kigoma Urban MP said the Police Force was being used to trample on democracy and undermine the Opposition, adding that what was being created was fertile ground for the public to turn against their own government.
Visibly angry, Mr Kabwe asked President Magufuli to stop police from harassing the Opposition, saying this could prompt opposition politicians “to find alternative ways of expressing themselves”.
“Tanzania may be gradually turning into a police state. This is not supposed to be happening in this century. CCM members must caution President Magufuli that he is heading in the wrong direction,’’ he said, and warned that the media would be next in the government’s “crackdown” on free speech.
He added that the consequences of suppression of freedom of expression could be dire.
“Before the introduction of multiparty politics, there were cases of some people attempting to overthrow Mwalimu Julius Nyerere’s government because they were not allowed to express themselves.
“But since 1992, such scenarios have been virtually unheard of because political pluralism created breathing space for the public to air their grievances without fear. If someone felt they were not being treated fairly, they were free to go to public places such as Mwembe Yanga and vent their anger and frustration.