Tanzania intensifies repression ahead of polls, says report

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP)—Tanzanian governments have stepped up censorship in the face of polls on 28 October, as the outgoing President , John Magufuli, is pursuing a second term, to silence the opposition and civil society and the public, an international human rights organization said on Monday.

The Tanzania Daima newspaper, the world's second largest newspaper, was indefinitely banished by Amnesty International in the media in recent months by the government.

The government's prohibition order of 23 June has accused the journal of breaching law and professional ethics, which was owned by opposition leader Freeman Mbowe, without mentioning particular laws and histories supposedly unlawful or objectionable.

In July, Kwanza TV, a health warning provided by the US Embassy to COVID-19 for 11 months, was barred by the Tanzanian Communication Regulatory Authority, Amnesty said.

The country, which amended laws requiring foreign broadcasters to have accredited local partners in order to gain air content authority from the regulatory body, was restricted to the Foreign media coverage of the elections in Tanzania, the study stated.

With just two weeks to go, the opposition parties reportedly rejected hundreds of their contestants, the article stated.

Members of the Opposition Group also accused the Zanzibar Election Commission of declining to grant eligible electoral identity cards.

The Tanzanian political room has diminished since Magufuli came into force five years ago, both foreign and local rights organizations previously claimed.

Repression grew as he sought a second five-year term, they say.

Early in his presidency, the report said, Magufuli 's self-democratic trends became visible.

The Magufuli administration introduced many oppressive laws with the legislative majority of its Party to expand the Government's power over politics and culture throughout the region.

The Rights Groups said: "There is a selective ban on political rallies in July 2016 until elections in 2020 on opposition parties, whose leaders were subjected to intimidation , harassment, arbitrary arrest and trumped-up prosecutions."

Since then, the judiciary, without an independent parliamentary vetting, has been weakened by executive appointments and several political trials have taken place, said the report.

In 2016 , the Government released the Information Services Act, authorizing the government to ban and shutter media outlets for covering reports of abuse and abuses of human rights, the study stated.

Tanzania's government issued sweeping authority to regulate the internet, prompting users to filter their web messages online, it added, in the 2018 online advertising legislation and the cybercrimes rule.

"These reforms have cumulatively greatly weakened the rule of law and impaired regard for human rights," said the study.

The leading opposition candidate, Tindu Lisboa, who was shot 16 times, was assassinated during this period.

Another leader in the party, unknown assailants, was attacked and his leg broke following a government criticism of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Another opposition leader has since the advent of Magufuli in power been detained multiple times and charged with numerous offences like the conducting of unlawful meetings.

It has been confirmed by Magufuli that Tanzania no longer has a coronavirus issue since COVID-19 is defeated by prayer.

Since April, his administration has not announced any new COVID-19 incidents.

In banning any sort of gatherings, except political protests, the President has rejected the fight against spreading the virus.

Tanzania's electoral authority has indicated that more than 29 million voters in more than 80,000 polling centers across Tanzania have registered for voting.

Amnesty study was obtained by 29 telephone interviews since the COVID-19 travel limits also stopped researchers from traveling to Tanzania.