In response to a court in Tanzania sentencing two opposition political leaders — Joseph Mbiliyini and Emmanuel Masonga – to five months’ imprisonment for using insulting language against President John Magufuli, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“The jailing of opposition politicians for expressing their views on issues of public interest, such as political violence, highlights the Magufuli administration’s growing intolerance of peaceful and legitimate dissent and is aimed at intimidating critics of the government,” said Jon Temin, director of Africa programs. “At the same time, credible reports of the kidnapping, disappearance and murder of several political and human rights activists in recent months point to accelerating political violence. These developments together heighten already significant concerns about Tanzania’s commitment to democratic governance and human rights.”
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.