Abduction of well-known opposition activist fuelled concerns for shrinking political space. Unidentified gunmen 4 May abducted Mdude Nyagali, high-profile member of main opposition party Chadema; Chadema 5 May accused security forces of kidnap, authorities dismissed allegation. Villagers 8 May found Mdude Nyagali in bush in Mbeya region in south west, he was unconscious and showing signs of torture. In capital Dodoma, authorities early May detained for one night Chadema MP Paschal Haonga after he reported Nyagali’s abduction. Group of 38 international NGOs and regional organisations 13 May denounced deterioration of human rights in early 2019, called for action at forthcoming UN Human Rights Council 24 June-12 July.
Next year’s elections in Zanzibar, the semi-autonomous Tanzanian archipelago, will be hard fought. With the ruling party changing the rules in its favour, they could turn violent. The islands’ politicians should urgently meet to discuss levelling the playing field and lowering the risk of clashes.
Al-Shabaab remains focused on recapturing power in Somalia, but it continues to plot attacks in Kenya and Tanzania – and perhaps in Uganda as well. To counter the movement, East African states should eschew heavy-handed crackdowns and work instead to reduce its appeal to potential recruits.
Originally published in The East African