Tanzania: Post-election crackdown and intimidation underway with ‘arrest and release’ of opposition leaders

Authorities in Tanzania’s semi-autonomous region of Zanzibar have mounted a campaign of intimidation, arbitrary detention and subsequent release of opposition leaders from the ACT-Wazalendo party following contested elections. Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa, said:

At least 36 ACT-Wazalendo members and five party leaders have been arbitrarily detained in recent days
Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International's Director for East and Southern Africa

“At least 36 ACT-Wazalendo members and five party leaders have been arbitrarily detained in recent days. Presidential candidate Seif Sharif Hamad was yesterday arrested for the second time in a week, part of a crackdown on critics and political opponents. They were all later released on bail between Thursday night and Friday morning.

“These arrests, accompanied by heavy police presence on the streets, signal an escalating attack on political opponents and dissent in Zanzibar. Police must not be used as a tool of intimidation. 

These arrests, accompanied by heavy police presence on the streets, signal an escalating attack on political opponents and dissent in Zanzibar.
Deprose Muchena

“Authorities must stop harassing opposition leaders and party members, and ensure that the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly are guaranteed in the post-election environment and beyond.”

 

Authorities must stop harassing opposition leaders and party members, and ensure that the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly are guaranteed in the post-election environment and beyond

Background

The ACT- Wazalendo presidential candidate in the semi-autonomous region of Zanzibar, Seif Sharif Hamad, together with five other leaders and at least 36 ACT- Wazalendo members were arrested on Thursday at the party’s headquarters, after they held a press conference calling for peaceful protests against election irregularities. The run-up to the 28 October election was marred by arbitrary arrests and intimidation of the opposition.

Seif Sharif Hamad and his running mate, Prof. Omar Fakhi, were released last night and were required to report to the police station earlier today, while the rest were released on Friday morning. None of them have been yet formally charged despite being released on bail.