President Suluhu resurrects Tanzania’s constitutional review process
President Samia Suluhu has resurrected the process reviewing the constitution of the republic of Tanzania which stalled in 2014 and has been on hold ever since. This is in addition to the release of over 500 political prisoners which she sanctioned and the opening up of political and civil space for citizens to exercise their democratic rights and freedoms.
Whereas opposition political parties have been given license to comb the country, reviving grass root structures and popularising their political ideologies, they suffer from a dearth of political finance required to carry out such activities. “The political parties in opposition are broke”, said Israel Illunde, the chairperson of Tanzania civil society election observation group, Ushiriki while in a conversation with Secrets Known.
Businessmen in Tanzania are reluctant to provide political finance contributions to political parties in opposition for fear of the Tanzania revenue Authority targeting them with tax computations that might drive them out of business.
The next presidential elections in Tanzania are expected in 2025 and incumbent President Samia Suluhu is likely to contest in her first election as a front runner candidate for the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party (CCM) which has been in power since independence.
The political and civic spaces being opened up in Tanzania would send a strong message to neighboring countries such as Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. East Africa, like many other regions on the continent, is going through a resurgence of authoritarianism that has placed democracy on the back foot.
In many of these countries, political parties are not permitted to freely interact with citizens between elections.