When President Magufuli was elected on a credible good governance and anti-corruption platform, everybody thaought that he was the right person for the job. His first few months were so successful, that even those who had initially had doubts about him, were impressed with his determination, his vision, his commitment to making things right.

At some point however things have started to change. Parliament was no longer allowed to broadcast its hearings and sittings, opposition parliamentarians started to being harassed, political opponents disappeared (and were thn found dead), parliamentarians were shot, and efforts to murder parliamentarians at time resulted in the death of civilians. To the list one should add that the government took steps to reduce the freedom of the press and of the social media,

The attacks against Parliament, the press and the opposition are incompatible with democracy. My Tanzanian friends say that they do not practice Western-style democracy. I need to correct them: a country where Parliament is marginalized and opposition persecuted is not a democracy of any kind. And Tanzania is becoming a non-democratic regime where any form of diversity is persecuted–from political opposition to homosexuality.

The government of Tanzania should realize that it is on the wrong track and it should stop. It should not harass opposition, it should not harass disssenters, and it should not discriminate and persecute individuals because of their sexual preferences.

An illiberal un-democratic Tanzania may appeal to some government officials, but it won’t be terribly appealing to investors, tourists, and the international community.  And without aid and foreign investments, Tanzania will find it much harder to achieve its ambitious developmental goals.

ripel