This past week President John Magufuli of Tanzania met with main opposition leader , Edward Lowassa, at the State House for the first time since the 2015 polls. Lowassa, a former Prime Minister in the country, had long wanted to meet Magufuli and in a statement from the State House, he is quoted as saying, "I have commended the president for the good work he has done, we must acknowledge the work done and he needs to be encouraged." He also added that by implementing projects like upgrading the central railway line into standard gauge, Magufuli has generated employment opportunities for the youth. Magufuli returned the favor, describing Lowassa as a good politician and adding, "We will continue to honor these elders who made their contributions... and I thank Mr Lowassa for acknowledging that we have done a lot of good things."
It seems all is well in Tanzanian politics but on Christmas, Magufuli was criticised by the church for his hardliner, and intolerant leadership style. In a scathing attack, Bishop Zachariah Kakobe of Full Gospel Bible Fellowship in Dar es Salam said, "If the country has been returned to a one-party state, we should be told so. You just go to Parliament and pass a law to effect that, because you (CCM) are the majority”.
The Magufuli administration responded by threatening to de-register churches that criticised the president from the pulpit. This intolerance to dissent can also be seen in the manner the administration has tightened screws on press freedom with at least three newspapers being closed down just last year.
In June 2016, Magufuli banned opposition rallies until 2020 attracting much warranted criticism.