Tanzania: Chadema Insists It Didn't Breach Peace

NO-ONE was offended by utterances given by leaders of Chadema when winding up a campaign for a by-election of Kinondoni Constituency in February 2018, a defence witness told the Kisutu Resident Magistrate's Court in Dar es Salaam yesterday.

Ubungo Mayor, Boniface Jacob testified before Principal Resident Magistrate Thomas Simba that they did not receive any complaint from the people who attended the rally, apart from congratulating party leaders for "best" speeches and were encouraged to go and vote.

"No one complained about the remarks at the meeting, other than praising the leaders' speeches and were encouraged to vote," the tenth defence witness testified, led by Advocate Peter Kibatala.

He was giving evidence in support of a defence case for nine senior leaders of the party facing sedition charges. They are National Chadema Chairman, Freeman Mbowe, the then party's Secretary General Vincent Mashinji, John Mnyika, the Deputy Secretary General (Mainland) and Salum Mwalimu, who is Deputy Secretary General (Zanzibar).

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

The mayor further told the court that there was an Ethics Committee in charge of the election.

The committee, he said, did not give or receive any complaints on any violation of ethics following the winding up of a campaign meeting held at the Buibui grounds.

According to him, the committee had issued instructions that after the campaign rally, people should disperse peacefully and in case of meeting with supporters of other parties along the way, they should avoid peacethreatening disturbances.

"I remember that the Civic United Front (CUF) had complained to the committee against CCM, whose supporters had interfered with their rally while coming from a rally. But the committee dismissed the complaint as there was no party with enough vehicles to ferry people from the meeting to their respective homes," he testified.

In the trial, the accused are charged with 13 counts, including conspiracy to commit offences, unlawful assembly, rioting after proclamation, raising discontent and ill-will for unlawful purposes, sedition and inciting commission of offences.

The prosecution alleges that on February 16, 2018 along Kawawa Road at Mkwajuni area, being assembled with intent to carry out a common purpose, jointly and together, all accused persons conducted themselves in such a manner as to cause a fear of breach of peace.

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

Thereby, according to the prosecution, the accused persons breached the peace and terrified 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.

According to the prosecution, on the same day at Buibui grounds, while addressing Kinondoni residents at the public meeting, Mbowe, Mdee and Heche made statements likely to raise discontent and promote feelings of ill-will amongst the inhabitants of the United Republic of Tanzania.

The prosecution alleged further that Mbowe, in related offences, made seditious statements with the intention of bringing hatred and contempt to the citizens of the United Republic of Tanzania against the lawful authority of the government.

It is alleged further that on the same day at Buibui grounds, Mbowe, Msigwa and Bulaya, with other persons who are not in court, jointly incited the residents of Kinondoni District in the city to commit offences of unlawful assembly, going armed in public and rioting

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