22 February 2019

Tanzania: Police Grill Sugu for Hours Over Incitement

Mbeya — Mbeya Urban Member of Parliament(MP) Joseph Mbilinyi spent many hours at a police station being interrogatedfor allegedly uttering remarks, which were considered as incitement.

The police claimed that Mr Mbilinyi's statements were also abusive and disrespect to government authorities on Identity Cards, which were issued by President John Magufuli to small scale entrepreneurs across the country.

Mr Mbilinyi, who is popularly known as Sugu, reported at the Central Police Station at 8am yesterday after being summoned by the Regional Police Commander (RPC), Mr Ulrich Matei.

However, the MP was released late in the evening.

Mr Matei said Mr Sugu had been summoned following a video clip which went viral on social media depicting him as addressing citizens, during which he uttered words which could disrupt peace and security in the region.

"There is a video clip circulating on social media with Mr Mbilinyi seen either at a school classroom or the marketplace. He uses the meeting speaking various issues about entrepreneurs' IDs," he told this paper.

He said apart from remarks uttered by the legislator, the law enforcers were unaware of the gathering, though he noted that people are allowed to assemble, but they should inform the law enforcers in advance.

"He was listening to his people's grievances, but some people dressed in Chadema uniforms and that means the meetings were planned in advance," he said.

In the clip, the entrepreneurs were telling the MP that they were unable to raise Sh20,000 for the IDs out of vegetables businesses they were doing.

"The exercise was supposed to start by educating citizens instead of starting its implementations in haste. However, it has happened is like washing your hands before entering a washroom instead of the vice versa," the MP is quoted as saying.

He added: "We have addressed the matter at the Parliament and we will continue doing that in the next session. My belief as the MP is that something didn't go well with the IDs because the President meant they should be given to petty traders lacking formal structures."

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