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Tanzania opposition calls for new constitution

By Reuters | April 13th 2021
Freeman Mbowe (C), chairman of Chadema, Tanzania's main opposition party, arrives at Kisutu Magistrate Court in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on March 10, 2020. [REUTERS/Emmanuel Herman]

Tanzanian opposition leader Freeman Mbowe has called for the new government to prioritise a new constitution, reviving calls for limiting presidential powers.

Mr Mbowe, chairman of Chadema, the country's main opposition party, said in a speech the current constitution gives “someone the chance to be a dictator or a king".

He said it should be a government priority to set a timetable and a procedural framework to change the constitution.

Mbowe also called on President Samia Suluhu to "fast track" her proposal, presented last week, to form a scientific committee to research Covid-19.

President Suluhu took office on March 19 following the death of President John Magufuli, who had been Africa’s most prominent Covid-19 sceptic.

Magufuli had urged people to shun mask-wearing and denounced vaccines as a Western conspiracy.

The country also stopped reporting data on coronavirus last May.

Magufuli disappeared from public life for several weeks before he died and there were rumours that he was ill with Covid-19.

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Suluhu, who served as Magufuli’s deputy for six years, has said he died of heart disease.

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