Tanzania’s opposition Alliance for Change and Transparency said its leader, Zitto Kabwe, was arrested on Tuesday and is being questioned over a speech he gave on Oct. 29.
“He talked about the quality of life of Tanzanians, the state of the economy and how to defeat the ruling party,” Abdallah Khamis, the party’s spokesman, said by phone.
Kabwe has been arrested at least twice this year in a series of detentions of opposition figures who have become more vocal in their criticism of President John Magufuli’s administration. In July, more than 50 members of the main opposition Chama Cha Demokrasia Na Maendeleo, or Chadema, were charged in court for unlawful assembly.
Chadema’s chief whip, Tundu Lissu, was arrested in July for allegedly calling Magufuli a dictator. He was shot in September by unidentified gunmen and was airlifted to a hospital in neighboring Kenya. The detentions and closure of several newspapers have stoked fears of a crackdown on dissent.
Lazaro Nyalandu, a Chama Cha Mapinduzi lawmaker since 2000, quit the ruling party and joined Chadema over what he described as the deteriorating political situation in East Africa’s second-biggest economy. He cited reports of human-rights violations and a lack of separation of powers between the government, parliament and the judiciary were behind his decision.
The former natural resources and tourism minister’s resignation is the first significant defection from the ruling party since the president took office in late 2015. Elected after promising to fight endemic corruption, Magufuli has cut government waste and demanded more revenue from companies mining gold and diamonds such as Acacia Mining Plc.