Her predecessor John Magafuli banned political gatherings of opposition groups in the country in 2016.

Tanzanian president Samia Suluhu Hassan lifted a ban on opposition rallies imposed in 2016 by its powerful predecessor, in a rapprochement with political rivals seeking to restore democratic traditions.

“Under our laws, it is the right of political parties to hold their public meetings…my presence before you today is to authorize…that the notice to prevent public gatherings has now been lifted,” the local news outlet reported. ITV, Hassan. as said on tuesday.

She spoke to leaders of Tanzania’s 19 registered political parties at a meeting at her office in the capital Dar es Salaam.

“Just inform us as required by law. Security bodies will review your requests. If there is any threat they won’t let you in, but for the step we are in now they will definitely allow you to have your rallies,” added Hassan, who said her decision to lift the ban on was part of its strategy. of reconciliation, resilience, reform and rebuilding of the nation, called 4Rs.

The ban was outlawed in 2016 by former President John Magufuli during his first term in office. Originally intended for all political parties, critics said it only targeted the opposition.

In 2018, the Magafuli-led government passed a law that forces bloggers social media influencers and online platforms apply for a permit and pay a one-time fee of $930 to keep their sites up and running.

Three years later, Hassan took office after the death of Magufuli, nicknamed “The Bulldozer” by many who said he restricted free speech and targeted dissidents.

The incumbent president is constitutionally serving the remainder of Magufuli’s second five-year term in office, which ends in 2025.

She has also been accused of perpetuating Magufuli’s authoritarian tendencies.

Despite trying to take conciliatory steps towards the opposition since taking office, critics have labeled Hassan a “dictator” and fears remain over the state of political and media freedoms.

In 2021, a newspaper owned by the ruling party was suspended for publishing a story saying that Hassan would not run for office in 2025.

In addition, the seven months’ imprisonment of opposition leader Freeman Mbowe, who was arrested in July 2021 on suspicion of “terrorist financing” charges, dealt Hassan’s democratic credentials a massive blow. Mbowe was released last March following a court order.

His supporters said the case was a politically motivated move to quell dissent, and Mbowe has accused police of torturing him while in custody.

But Hassan also lifted a ban on four newspapers earlier and during a visit to Brussels last year, she met Tundu Lissu, an exiled opposition leader.

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