13 June 2019

Tanzanian Opposition Leader Zitto Kabwe Arrested, Banned From Foreign Travel

Photo: Facebook
Opposition legislator Zitto Kabwe (file photo).

Tanzanian opposition leader and Member of Parliament for Kigoma, Zitto Kabwe, has been arrested and banned from travelling outside the country.

According to a tweet on his official Twitter handle, Kabwe was arrested on Tuesday evening by immigration officers at the airport as he was about to leave the country.

The legislator said he has been accused of violating section 50 (1) (a) of Media Services Act.

"Nimekamatwa tangu saa nane mchana Leo. Nimezuiwa na maafisa Uhamiaji kuwa sina ruhusa kutoka nje ya nchi. Sasa nipo Polisi kwa maelekezo ya TAKUKURU kuwa Nina mashtaka yatokanayo na sheria ya Huduma za Habari 50(1)(a)," Kabwe tweeted.

Section 50 of the Tanzania Media Services Act states that, any person who makes use by any means of a media service for the purposes of publishing information which is intentionally or recklessly falsified in a manner which threatens the interest of defence, public safety, public order, the economic interests of the United Republic, public morality or public health.

It further states that if a person is found guilty for the above offence, they shall liable to a fine of not less than five million Tanzanian shillings but not exceeding 20 million shillings.

The person can also be imprisoned to a period not less than three years but not exceeding five years or both.

MAGUFULI CRITIC

In April this year, East African Court of Justice declares several sections of the Tanzania Media Services Act, 2016 to be in violation of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community for encroaching on the freedom of expression. Section 50 is among them.

Earlier on Tuesday, the legislator together with other opposition leaders talked to the media about the current situation in the country.

During the conference, the leaders also agreed to work together as opposition leaders as they approach the election year.

Kabwe, is the leader of the Alliance for Change and Transparency and its only member of parliament.

He has built a reputation of being a staunch and outspoken critic of President John Pombe Magufuli.

During the press conference, Kabwe did not shy away from blaming Magufuli for the economic crisis being experienced in the country.

ARRESTED

The MP blamed the president for a current deal that almost cost the Tanzania government 18 billion shilling after the government agreed to sell cashew nut to a Kenyan firm Indo Power Solution. It later emerged that the firm does not exist.

Kabwe also blamed the Tanzanian government for intimidation of political leaders.

According to their statement, assassination and forced disappearance of political leaders and media personalities has been experienced in the country.

In 2017, CHADEMA politician and Member of Parliament for Singida East constituency, Tundu Lissu, was shot multiple times and seriously injured by unknown assailants in the parking lot of his parliamentary residence in Dodoma.

Since the incident, Kabwe has taken the mantle of opposition leader and has been doing his work of putting the government in check.

In November last year Kabwe was arrested and charged with three counts of incitement in a Dar es Salaam court.

On many other occasions, Kabwe has been arrested for questioning the government, holding political gatherings without a permit and even charged with sedition.

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