Tanzania’s Magufuli warns against ‘illegal anti-government protests’

Tanzanian President John Magufuli warned on Friday that punitive steps will be taken against anyone who tries to take part in illegal demonstrations planned for next month in the east African nation.

“I will never allow my government’s economic reforms to be derailed by street protests,” Magufuli told a public rally at his home district of Chato in western Tanzania, where he was on vacation.

“Some people have failed to engage in legitimate politics. They would like to see street protests everyday,” he said. “Let them demonstrate and they will know who I am.”

“I took an oath to ensure that our country remains peaceful… We want to build a strong economy for all Tanzanians and we are on the right track.

“Let us be patient. Tanzania will become a land of honey.”

Magufuli introduced a series of economic reform measures after taking office in November 2015, including spearheading an aggressive anti-corruption drive, war on tax evasion and drug trafficking.

The president also cut wasteful government spending and overhauled fiscal and regulatory regimes to ensure that Tanzanians benefit more from the country’s vast natural resources, including minerals and natural gas.

Magufuli said the wide-ranging reforms being implemented by his government are already starting to yield some positive results.

“Good things are coming. We are moving forward. They (opposition parties) should let us implement CCM’s election manifesto and judge us after five years,” Magufuli said, using the acronmym of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party.

Nsato Marijani, commissioner of operations and training in the Tanzania Police Force, also warned that the security forces are on high alert against any would-be street protests being organized via social media platforms such as Telegram.

An activist based in the United States, Mange Kimambi, has called for nationwide anti-government demonstrations on April 26 to protest against what she described as the closing up of democratic space and human rights abuses in Tanzania.

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