Tanzanian MP and lawyer arrested for planning maandamano

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Tanzanian police have arrested a lawyer and an opposition politician, accusing them of incitement and planning to organise nationwide protests aimed at bringing down the government.

Boniface Anyasile Mwabukusi and Mpaluka Nyagali have both denied wrongdoing through a lawyer.

It comes after 22 people who’d criticised parliament for approving a port management deal between Tanzania and an Emirati company were arrested or threatened, according to Human Rights Watch.

The deal has been criticised by activists, citizens and opposition politicians, who see it as Tanzania’s government selling off their country, but the government denies this.

Critics are particularly concerned that the agreement failed to specify when the Emirati management of the ports would end.

Tanzanian activist Maria Sarungi-Tsehai told the BBC’s Newsday programme that the human rights situation in the country has been worsening and there had been a lot of pushback from citizens over the port deal, which has leading to crackdowns.

“It’s never been this bad” where “mainly citizens who are not politicians” were being targeted, she said.

She said the two arrested had been involved in a case at a regional court seeking to stop an Emirati firm from running Tanzania’s ports – which they lost – and were moving the case to a higher court for an appeal when they were arrested.

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