Tanzania’s police has urged residents of the city of Dar es Salaam to calm down and ignore calls for demonstrations on Union Day tomorrow.
The April 26 protests have been banned by authorities even though the Tanzanian activist behind it, U.S.-based Mange Kimambi, insists the nationwide protests will go ahead as planned.
The Dar Special Zone police chief, Sweethbert Njwele told an association of bodaboda operators on Wednesday that ‘there will be no demonstrations’.
Everybody should go about their work as they usually do.
Bodabodas are commercial motorcycles commonly used by commuters in East African nations.
The bodaboda association had sought to dissociate itself from alleged participation in ‘illegal’ protests, contrary to what they say is being communicated on social media.
Njwele added that the police was ready to deploy and ensure that there is no breach of peace.
‘‘Everybody should go about their work as they usually do,’‘ Njwele said.
Earlier, police arrested seven people in the south-eastern city of Arusha for their alleged role in planning the anti-government protests.
The city’s deputy police boss, Yusuph Ilembo, told journalists that the “government will not allow an illegal protest being planned by a few people to destabilise the country”.
The United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued a security alert in respect of Tanzania, cautioning Brits to stay safe as political gatherings have in the past been confrontational and even led to loss of lives.
Online activist Mange Kimambi has two million followers on Instagram, who in the past used her social media profile to promote Magufuli when he was a presidential hopeful, but has since fallen out with him and is using the same platform to call for “the mother of all anti-Magufuli protests”.
The banned protests are specifically against the style of leadership of president John Pombe Magufuli, who is increasingly accused of dictatorial use of his executive powers.
Magufuli who came to power in 2015 has, however, been lauded in the area of anti-corruption and public service delivery. He has fired close allies and heads of utility agencies for failure to protect public interest.