Tanzania – The US has criticised Tanzania’s arrest of eight opposition leaders during their party meeting on Wednesday, saying the action stifles democratic norms.
ACT-Wazalendo party leader Zitto Kabwe and other members were taken by authorities, citing alleged illegal assembly.
“The police detained us for more than 30 hours,” said Kabwe, adding that the arrest was politically motivated.
Political tensions have been rising in Tanzania ahead of the October general elections in which President John Magufuli plans to be re-elected.
There has been a disconcerting pattern of intimidation toward opposition members, civil society and media outlets.
It is said that the government also closed the Tanzania Daima newspaper following coverage critical of Magufuli’s administration.
“These actions follow a disconcerting pattern of intimidation toward opposition members, civil society and media outlets,” said the U.S. Embassy in Tanzania in a statement on its Twitter account.
Magufuli has denied in the past that he cracking down on dissent.