LONDON, UK--A former 2015 presidential candidate and a key opposition leader, Edward Lowassa, has rejoined the governing party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM).
Mr. Lowassa who had earlier served as prime minister from 2005 to 2008, defected from CCM earlier in 2015 when the party refused to endorse him as its candidate for the presidency.
Prior to his announcement, Lowassa had been meeting with President John Magufuli in state house on several occasions, prompting rumor that he would return to CCM.
In the past few months and year, several opposition MPs defected to the governing party, a move that has weaken the country’s fragile opposition.
This comes as rights groups and foreign governments accused the president of intimidating opposition parties and vocal critics, sparking concerns about the freedom of expression.
Recently, diplomats from Western countries criticized the government for ordering a week-long ban on the publication of the daily Citizen newspaper which published a piece about the devaluation of the Tanzanian shilling against the dollar.