The President of the Medical Association of Tanzania (MAT), Namala Mkopi, was arraigned on Tuesday at Kisutu Resident Magistrate's Court charged with two counts of disobeying lawful orders and inciting members of MAT, mainly medical interns, to remain on strike.
Mkopi pleaded not guilty to the offences and was released after fulfilling bail conditions which required him to present two reliable sureties. The sureties signed a bond of 500,000/- each.
However, a heated argument erupted before the bail was granted. The prosecution, led by Tumaini Kweka, demanded that the accused should surrender his passport and be prevented from travelling out of Dar es Salaam. The prosecution cited Section 148 (6) of Criminal Procedure Act to hammer home its argument.
The altercation prompted Resident Magistrate Faisal Kahamba to adjourn the case for ten minutes so as to go through that section of the law and give his ruling.
After the break the magistrate ruled that everyone has a right to get bail. "After going through Section 148 (6) as cited by the prosecution, it is true that the court may compel the accused to surrender his passport.
"However, under the same section 148 (c) the court may also give its conditions to the accused. So, the court is granting bail to the accused. He has fulfilled the conditions of this court and whoever is dissatisfied may appeal to the High Court," said Magistrate Kahamba.
Mkopi, a medical doctor, is defended by four advocates who are led by Mr Isaya Matambo, Dr Maulid Kikondo, Dr Gaston Kennedy and Dr Rugemeleza Mshala. State Attorney Kweka together with State Attorney Ladislaus Komanya alleged that between June 26 and 28 this year the accused, being the President of MAT, disobeyed an order given by the High Court of Tanzania Labour Division dated June 26, this year.
The order required him to address members of his association through the media that they had been restrained from participating in the strike (that was prevalent) as was previously ordered by the same court on June 22 this year.
Kweka also alleged that, on June 27, this year, in Dar es Salaam, being the president of MAT, the accused incited members of MAT to strike contrary to an order of the court dated June 22 this year.