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Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan Lifts Six-year Ban on Political Rallies

Her decision is part of her 4Rs initiative – Reconciliation, Resilience, Reforms and Rebuilding. She acknowledged parties had the right to hold rallies but she urged them to be “civil” and not to “trade insults.” Mr Magufuli had banned rallies in between elections in what was seen as an attempt to weaken the opposition. He dismissed rallies as a waste of time and money, and said they detracted from the key challenge of building the economy. The chairman of the main opposition Chadema party, Freeman Mbowe, said he welcomed the announcement. “The move is first of all a return to a right guaranteed in the constitution and our laws,” he added. Mr Mbowe spent seven months in prison, before the prosecution dropped charges of terrorism against him in March 2022. His arrest had raised doubts about Mrs Samia’s commitment to reforms after she became president following Mr Magufuli’s death in 2021. Mrs Samia also promised to look into opposition demands for changes to the constitution. Opposition parties say the constitution gives too much power to the president. They also want changes to safeguard the independence of the electoral commission and the courts.