Nairobi, Kampala, Gaborone, London 2 nd November 2020: The Panel of Eminent Persons monitoring the Tanzania 2020 General Elections strongly condemns the systematic arrest of opposition leaders following the conclusion of the elections.
The Panel is appalled by the arrest and later release of Chadema’s Presidential Candidate Tundu Lissu designed to suppress the peaceful expression of grievances arising from the outcome of the elections.
The Panel calls on the Tanzania government to immediately release other opposition leaders being held for unspecified reasons, including:
- Freeman Mbowe
- Godbless Lema
- Nassor Ahmed Mazrui
- Boniface Jacob
- Salome Makamba
The Panel is concerned by emerging information that the government intends to press non-bailable charges of terrorism against the leaders as reported during the press conference held by the Dar es Salaam’s Zonal Police Commander SACP Lazaro Mambosasa on Monday 2nd November 2020.
The Panel urges the Tanzanian authorities to pursue amicable means of resolving disputes arising from the election and refrain from police or other forms of harassment in violation of constitutionally guaranteed rights.
It is the position of Tanzania Elections Watch that the elections were marred with widespread irregularities in both Mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar and failed to meet the free fair and credible test as outlined in both the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.
The panel reiterates that peaceful protest is a universally-accepted right as is peaceful assembly and freedom of expression guaranteed under Article 21 and 19 respectfully of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Tanzania is a signatory. The same is provided for under Article 11 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and the recent assault on the opposition leaders marks a clear violation of the standards and norms set out in the universally accepted norms and standards.
Freedom of opinion and expression are indispensable and foundational preconditions for a free and democratic society to which Tanzania subscribes. We would like to remind Tanzanian authorities that peaceful public demonstrations are indeed an effort to exercise the right to peaceful assembly as provided under Article 20 of the constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania.
We call on the international community to join us in reminding the Tanzanian government of its obligations under national and international law to uphold fundamental freedoms and rights provided under nationals and international laws. We implore the international community to urge President John Pombe Magufuli to ensure that peace and stability prevails in Tanzania by upholding the rule of law and electoral justice.
Professor Frederick Ssempebwa – Chairperson
Ms. Alice Mogwe – Co-Chair
Dr. Willy Mutunga – Co-Chair