Human Rights Watch Group says the authorities in Tanzania, have stepped up repression of opposition parties and non-governmental organisations, ahead of next month’s elections.
Human Rights Watch has also criticised new media restrictions, which prevent media outlets from covering politically sensitive topics, including the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the rights group, since mid-June, at least 17 opposition party members and critics of the government have been arrested. The government has also suspended one of the country’s human rights groups and canceled the license of another.
Human Rights Watch adds that some organisations which have monitored previous polls, have been banned from doing so by the Tanzania National Electoral Commission.
“It’s not a coincidence that the Tanzanian government is now increasing its repression of the opposition, activists group and the media, just when elections are approaching,” said Oryem Nyeko, an Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “It’s at this time when the government should be upholding the right to freedom of expression, instead of adopting measures that raise concern of the credibility of the elections.”
Only last week,a private media house, Clouds TV, was suspended for announcing election statistics, not approved by the electoral body.