Tanzania's opposition rallies against 'cosmetic' electoral reforms

Thousands of people in Tanzania on Wednesday staged protests against the high cost of living and a raft of contentious electoral reforms.

The rally, in the economic capital Dar es Salaam, is the largest public demonstration since the government lifted a ban on opposition political protests a year ago.

It was organised by Tanzania's main opposition party, Chadema, and comes as lawmakers prepare to debate three electoral bills that were tabled in parliament by the government.

Chadema has argued that there has not been enough consultation on the bills and is calling for the bills be withdrawn until this happens.

"This is just the beginning," Chadema leader Freeman Mbowe told protesters, warning the rallies would spread to other parts of the East African country until the government addressed their concerns.

Elections countdown

Tanzania is scheduled to hold its first presidential election in 2025 since Samia Suluhu Hassan – the country forst woman leader – took power in 2021 following the death of president John Magufuli.

While Magufuli, whose nickname was nickname "Bulldozer", had been accused of stifling dissent after banning political rallies, Hassan has sought to strike a reformist political tone.

Chadema's Mbowe, who has spent time in prison under both leaders, says the proposed electoral reforms fail to address concerns over the last polls in 2020, when Magufuli won in a landslide despite claims of fraud.

(with newswires)

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