Tanzania Voter Choice - Economic Growth or Civil Rights?

Tanzanians will go to the polls on October 28, 2020, to vote for a president and ministers for both the mainland and Zanzibar. Under the shadow of Covid-19, they will have to make a choice between economic stability on the one hand, and civil liberties on the other. While all is set for the polls, the opposition says the playing field is uneven. They claim it is skewed in favour of incumbent, John Magufuli, and the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party, and that they're participating "grudgingly". To his credit, President Magufuli has steadily guided the economy on an upward trajectory. Before Covid-19 the country's economic growth figures were among the highest in Africa. It has also recently been recognised as a lower middle-income country by the World Bank. However over the past five years, Magufuli has been accused of clamping down on political dissent and freedom of speech. There have been numerous reports and an outcry from civil society over shrinking civic and democratic space, and attacks on freedom of expression and association. Newspapers have been shut down, and journalists are being harassed and arrested, writes Ringisai Chikohomero for the Institute for Security Studies.


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