After making headlines as a reformer and becoming a darling of many Africans including Malawians who are unhappy with their leaders, Tanzanian President John Magufuli has taken a step higher in his radical reforms on governance.
An opposition member of parliament in Tanzania has reportedly been arrested by police for saying President Magufuli has become “ill-mannered” and will one day “order Tanzanians to go topless”.
According to BBC, the MP, Halima Mdee, was held on Tuesday evening after she said – during a meeting in her Chadema party – that Magufuli had become ill-mannered.
Mdee was accused by a district commissioner in Dar es Salaam of making “unacceptable” comments.
Tanzania’s The Citizen newspaper, said on Tuesday that the commissioner Ally Happi had ordered the arrest of Mdee for uttering “abusive language” towards the president.
Mdee, the report said, criticised Magufuli, over his stand regarding teen mothers’ right to return to school after delivery.
Magufuli sparked outrage from women’s rights campaign groups in June after he said that students who became pregnant should not be allowed to finish their studies after giving birth.
“I give money for a student to study for free. And then, she gets pregnant, gives birth and after that, returns to school. No, not under my mandate,” the president was quoted as saying at the time.
A report by Human Rights Watch claimed that school officials in Tanzania have been conducting pregnancy tests in order to expel pregnant students, thus depriving them of their right to an education.
But Magufuli hit back, saying if Tanzanians listened to western human rights organisations, “all the students in an entire class could have babies”.
“In that case, what would happen? While the teacher is conducting class, they’ll all leave to nurse their babies? Never under my mandate”, he said.
“If the NGOs really love these students they should open special schools for mothers.”
According to the BBC, Mdee’s arrest comes just days after Mr Magufuli warned opposition leaders to be careful about what they say in public.
He told the authorities to take action against anyone who incites violence.