DAR – ES – SALAAM – Tanzania’s opposition Chadema party held its first mass rally since a ban, imposed by former president John Magafuli, was lifted.
The 2016 ban was removed by current president, Samia Suluhu Hassan, raising hopes of greater political freedom and party workers are keen to make the most of the opportunity.
Tanzania’s first woman has president reached out to rivals, reopened banned media outlets and reversed some of Magufuli’s most controversial policies.
The rally marked the 30th anniversary of the party’s political registration.
Acting chairperson for Chadema’s women’s wing, Sherifa Suleiman, said: “We will organise as many rallies as possible to reach all wards and villages in the country.”
Supporters wore the party colours – blue, red and white – and sang songs praising their leaders while just a handful of police officers looked on.
Speaking to crowds, Freeman Mbowe, Chadema’s chairman added: “Despite thanking the president for lifting the ban, our country needs a new Constitution – it’s unavoidable. We [the opposition and ruling party] need reconciliation on this, but for that we need an independent electoral commission.”
Supporters are cautiously welcoming recent developments as a move towards greater democracy in Tanzania.
President has Hassan has been in power for 22 months and is hoping to break with some of Magufuli’s hard-line policies.