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CHADEMA Closes Dar Rallies With Promise of More: ‘We’re Not Done Yet’

The party says it is high time authorities in Tanzania deliver key political reforms that people demand, saying more rallies should be expected to ensure that happens.

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Dar es Salaam. Opposition party CHADEMA on Wednesday successfully mobilised its members and supporters to participate in peaceful demonstrations in the city, which the centre-right party organised to protest proposed key electoral bills, the high cost of living crisis and the stalled constitution-writing process. 

Starting at 9:00 AM, the rallies took two different routes before demonstrators were joined at the Shekilango intersection in Sinza in the city and walked to the United Nations premises at Sam Nujoma Road, where the party’s national chairperson, Freeman Mbowe, submitted the party’s message to a UN representative.

Route one began at Mbezi Mwisho through Morogoro Road to Shekilango Road, Igesa Road to Sam Nujoma Road and ended at UN offices, while route two started at Buguruni through Uhuru Road towards Morogoro Road and took Igesa Road to Sam Nujoma Road and to the UN offices.

CHADEMA deputy national chairperson (Tanzania Mainland) Tundu Lissu led demonstrators in route one, while Mr Mbowe led those who took route two. The demonstrations were largely peaceful, Dar es Salaam special zone police commander Jumanne Muliro admitted at their conclusion at UN premises.

READ MORE: CHADEMA Pro-Democracy Demos: Will Tanzania’s Opposition Party Prove Doubters Wrong?

“There were no violations of laws whatsoever during the course of demonstrations,” Mr Muliro told journalists during a brief press conference. “It was very peaceful, and police were on the streets to ensure just that.”

Diverse messages

Rally-goers took placards which displayed various messages on key issues troubling Tanzanians. Some called for ongoing load shedding to stop, and others wanted the price of sugar to be lowered. Protestors demanded raises in teachers’ salaries, while others condemned police brutality.

Women protesters carried placards which cried that women in the country are the biggest victims of the ongoing high cost of living, pleading with authorities to take urgent measures to alleviate the pain.

The demonstrations involved not just members and supporters of CHADEMA but also representatives of activist groups and social movements that have been at the forefront of demanding key political and legal reforms in the country, like Sauti ya Watanzania and Vugugu la Kudai Katiba Mpya.

READ MORE: Tanzania’s Police Reach Agreement With CHADEMA Over Planned Demos

After the rallies, Mr Mbowe urged demonstrators to disperse and wait to hear from the UN regarding the petition CHADEMA had submitted to the intergovernmental organisation whose message he declined to reveal to the public.

“But it contains issues that we have been pleading with [Tanzanian] authorities to fix,” Mr Mbowe said of the petition in a brief statement. “We expect to hear from the UN very shortly and shall communicate with Tanzanians about the development.”

Mr Mbowe said the rallies would continue in several parts of the country after CHADEMA has sat down and took stock of Wednesday’s developments. He said the public will be updated on any move the party decides to take in the coming few days.

Lissu, on his part, said that Wednesday’s rallies and those expected to happen in the other parts of the country aimed at achieving what talks with the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) and the government have failed to deliver to Tanzanians.

READ MORE: Electoral Bills Review: Genuine Commitment for Transitional Justice in Tanzania?

“For thirty years, we have been imploring those in power to consider changing the current constitution and give Tanzanians a new constitution,” the firebrand opposition figure remarked. “Those calls have always been ignored. Now, we’ll demand the new constitution on the streets.”

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