Activists: new laws a ‘slap in the face’

Tanzania's presidential spokesman defended two bills, which activists claim are 'draconian,' and says President Kikwete will sign them into law 'soon.' Photo: Daniel Hayduk

Activists are ready to go to court to challenge the new cybercrime and statistics laws. Photo: Daniel Hayduk

Activists say they’re ready to go to court to challenge the newly signed cybercrimes and statistics laws.

In a joint statement, activists say they’re disappointed that president Jakaya Kikwete signed the bills into law after they petitioned him to return them to parliament for review.

The bills, they argue, infringe on the constitutional rights to freedom and expression.

The activists, which include Jamii Media and the Tanzania Human rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC), accuse Kikwete of “slapping the face of the public” and reversing progress Tanzania has made in regard to democracy and human rights.

“This has happened despite concerted efforts by the citizens, civil society and media, to urge revision of the bills before signing them into law, due to a number of irregularities that will severely infringe on fundamental rights and freedoms thus far enjoyed by Tanzanians,”  says the activists in a statement.

“We appeal to like-minded groups and individuals in the country to lend their support and join the push to repeal these laws immediately.”

Read more: Contentious cybercrime bill quietly signed

Read more: Gov’t defends stats, cybercrime bills

Read more: ‘Draconian’ bill stuns rights groups

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