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Crowds gather as Tanzanian opposition holds first rally since ban lifted

Freeman Mbowe (L), Chairman Tanzania's main opposition party Chadema, during party's first political rally after an imposed ban in 2016 was lifted, on Jan. 21, 2023.   -  
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Freeman Mbowe, the chairman of Tanzania's opposition party Chadema, arrived Friday (Jan.20) for a political rally in Mwanza.

The leader was greeted by crowds of supporters in a city located north-west of Dar es salam.

It was the first opposition rally to take place in the country following the lift of a ban by president Samia Suluhu Hassan.

Her predecessor, Tanzania's former head of state John Magufuli had imposed the ban back in 2016.

He presided over a crackdown on political freedoms, earning the nickname "Bulldozer".

Freeman Mbowe who was imprisoned under Hassan on terrorism charges was cautions sheannounced the lift in early January.

Many opposition figures still await greater political reforms, though.

NGO Amnesty international "urged Tanzanian authorities to go further and work towards greater protection of human rights, which includes removing all obstacles to rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, association and expression".

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