On 3 January, President Samia Suluhu Hassan continued her incremental reform of Tanzania’s restrictive political system by lifting a ban on political rallies. The policy had been imposed in 2016 by Hassan’s predecessor, the late John Magufuli. The ban had resulted in frequent arrests of opposition politicians and clashes between their supporters and the police. By the end of January, Tanzania’s main opposition party, Chadema, had held its first rally in six years and welcomed back from effective exile one of its most prominent leaders, Tundu Lissu, whose return to the country was prompted by the lifting of the ban.
Tanzania’s Minister for Information, Communication and Technology, Nape Nnauye, warned against the online distribution of pro-LGBTQIA+ material, which is illegal under Tanzania’s highly restrictive anti-pornography legislation. According to Nnauye, it is an issue the government is now taking seriously and called upon administrators of social media groups, such as those on WhatsApp, to remove offending content or risk arrest. The warning comes in response to what the Minister described as the use of cartoon-related content to promote same-sex relationships amongst children. Consensual same-sex conduct between adults is illegal in Tanzania and LGBTQIA+ people face discrimination.