Tanzania: Chadema Condemns Strongly the Arrest of Two Press Freedom Advocates in Tanzania

Dar es Salaam — The main opposition party, Chadema, has severely criticised the arrest of foreign press freedom advocates saying the move amounted to yet another threat to the country's economy.

The party argued that tendencies by police officers of acting in a manner that threatened both local and international human rights activists was only further jeopardizing the country's economic growth by creating an environment that lacked freedom of expression, something that could scare away tourists and international investors.

Addressing journalists on Thursday, November 8, in Dar es Salaam, the party's director of protocol, communication and foreign affairs, Mr John Mrema, said the government had the obligation of controling its security forces in order to safeguard the country's reputation.

"We are against these actions that amount to threats against human rights advocates as well as journalists. We want the government to protect the reputation of this country as a safe home to everybody and so enhance economic growth," he said.

Mr Mrema said such tendencies only undermined the industrialization drive that the government has been touting, as harassment of any kind caused investors to think twice before investing the country.

"The two journalists were arrested from their hotel rooms, detained by unknown persons and their mobile phones and other gadgets abused. This caused their accounts to be deactivated. We condemn these acts in the strongest voice possible," he said.

South African journalist Angela Quintal, Africa programme coordinator for press freedom group the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), and her Kenyan colleague Muthoki Mumo were been by authorities on Wednesday evening in Dar es Salaam.

However, on Thursday morning reports from CPJ in South Africa said that the two journalists had been released.

CPJ said that Ms Quintal, who is a former editor of South Africa's Mail and Guardian, and Mumo were legally in Tanzania on a reporting mission when they were detained.

"Officers who identified themselves as working with the Tanzania's Immigration authorities detained Quintal and Mumo in their hotel room in Dar es Salaam," CPJ said in a statement.

Further, Quintal and Mumo's social media accounts have since been deactivated.

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