Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan announced on Tuesday the lifting of the ban on political gatherings that had hit the opposition since a decision in 2016 by her predecessor, the authoritarian John Magufuli.
“I am here to declare that the ban on political gatherings is now lifted,” the president said during a meeting with political party leaders in the economic capital Dar es Salaam.
“You are all free to criticize the government,” she assured them.
“Further legal reforms are forthcoming to ensure that the rights of all parties are respected,” continued the head of state of this East African country.
After his election in October 2015, President Magufuli banned public gatherings of political parties. But, in fact, this ban only affected the opposition, because the presidential party, the Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM), in power since independence in 1961, could hold meetings where and when it wanted.
The announcement marks a new sign of openness since the inauguration of Samia Suluhu Hassan, who succeeded John Magufuli, nicknamed "the bulldozer" for his authoritarian style, in power from 2015 until his sudden death in March 2021.
She reached out to the opposition and allowed the reopening of media outlets banned under Mr Magufuli, vowing to uphold democracy and fundamental freedoms.