Tanzania: Determine Chadema Leaders' Criminality, DPP Asked

A prosecution witness yesterday threw the ball to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), and investigators to determine whether words given by senior leaders with Chadema when winding up campaigns for parliamentary by-elections for Kinondoni Constituency had criminal elements.

The sixth prosecution witness, Police Officer Corporal, Charles, told Principal Resident Magistrate Thomas Simba at the Kisutu Resident Magistrates' Court in Dar es Salaam that some of the words given were seditious and incitement to members of the public.

During cross-examination by defence counsel Peter Kibatala, the witness admitted that in the video tapes displayed in court by the prosecution did not indicate the accused stages a demonstration or showed them attacking or throwing stones to the police.

He further admitted before the court that he had not given investigators the two video tapes he had recorded at a rally held at Buibui grounds in Kinondoni District for the purpose of interrogating the accused before preparing the charges against them.

In a further cross-examination session, the witness also admitted that by viewing the two video tapes none of the accused or supporters of the opposition party was armed with any offensive weapon or had attacked the police officers, who were surrounding them at the meeting.

The accused on trial are Chadema National Chairman, Freeman Mbowe, the party's Secretary General Dr Vincent Mashinji, John Mnyika, the Deputy Secretary General (Mainland) and Salum Mwalimu, who is Deputy Secretary General (Zanzibar).

Others are Peter Msigwa MP for Iringa Urban, Halima Mdee, the MP for Kawe, John Heche, the MP for Tarime Rural and Ester Bulaya, who is MP for Bunda Urban as well as the MP for Tarime Urban, Ester Matiko.

They are charged with 11 counts, which are conspiracy to commit offences, unlawful assembly, rioting after proclamation, raising discontent and ill-will for unlawful purposes, sedition and inciting the commission of offences.

The charges are alleged to have been committed between February 1 and 16, 2018 in the city. The prosecution alleges that on February 16, 2018 along Kawawa Road at Mkwajuni, being assembled with intent to carry out a common purpose, jointly and together, all accused conducted themselves in such a manner as to cause fear of the breach of the peace.

It is claimed further that on the same day and in the same place, with more than 12 other persons not in court, having riotously assembled, in disobedience of the proclamation given by a police officer, the accused failed to disperse and continued taking part in the riot.

Thereby, according to the prosecution, the accused breached the peace and terrified members of the public, culminating in the death of National Institute of Transport (NIT), student Akwilina Akwiline Baftaa and injury of two police officers, Police Constable Fikiri and Corporal Rahim Msangi.

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