Tanzania’s President John Pombe Magufuli has been lauded for tackling corruption head-on and public embezzlement but his critics warn of a diminishing democratic space and freedom of expression.
Since November 2016 after winning Tanzania’s hotly contested election, Magufuli has earned himself a reputation as a serious leader through his passion and zeal to end wasteful government spending, curb corruption and improve public service delivery but also many others alleged him dictatorship.
Twitter Trends like #WhatwouldMagufulido created after President Magufuli cancelled Independence Day celebrations and mobilized his citizens to do a nationwide clean-up instead. “It is so shameful that we are spending huge amounts of money to celebrate 54 years of independence when our people are dying of cholera,” Magufuli had said.
In January this year, Magufuli’s government stopped the live broadcast of parliamentary proceedings stating they could no longer afford it. He has since banned political rallies until 2020 and has shown a growing desire to restrict social media until some popular Medias are restricted from broadcasting.
Magufuli cancelled Independence Day to do a nationwide clean-up instead
The government of Tanzania suspended from the air two radio stations on 29 August 2016 for unidentified period after airing alleged peace tarnishing programmes. Radio 5FM, based in Arusha and Magic FM of Dar es Salaam accused of airing rabble-rousing programmes which were unhealthy for the society tranquility and wellbeing.
Since the fifth phase government came to power last November two newspapers have been banned, while some radios and television stations fined. In June this year, the ministry annulled the registration of 473 newspapers and magazines for being inactive for three consecutive years.
Tundu Mughwai Lissu, the Tanzanian politician and chief of opponent party, Chadema, faces charges of sedition. Lissu is accused of asking Tanzanians to rise up against President Magufuli, who he allegedly referred to as a ‘petty dictator.’ He has denied those charges.
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