Tanzania: Woman Alleges Police Shoot in 'Dar Demo'

A DAR ES SALAAM resident, Aida Ulomi on Thursday claimed to have been shot by police on her left leg and later locked for 14 days at Oysterbay Police Station in the city for allegedly causing trouble and taking part in demonstrations.

The 50-year-old Kigamboni area dweller was testifying as defence witness in the trial of nine senior officials with Chadema, who are facing several sedition charges at the Kisutu Resident Magistrate's Court in the city.

Drawing the chronological sequence of events, Aida told Principal Resident Magistrate Thomas Simba that on January 16, 2018 in the morning, she crossed the Magogoni Crick to Kinondoni area to attend to her sick mother, who was staying along Lunguya Street only to be shot by the police.

Led by Advocate Peter Kibatala, witnessed testified that while on her way she witnessed a busy road with some people driving cars and motorcycles and others carrying flags for some political parties.

Upon reaching home she, inquired to her mother what the matter was. According to her, she was informed of political campaigns that were being held for by-election of Kinondoni Constituency.

She went on explaining that after attending her mother in the evening the witness went to Studio Bus Stop to wait for transport to Kigamboni via Karume areas.

While at the bus stand alongside several others, she testified, some police officers coming from Magomeni arrived at the area in three different vehicles nicknamed as "Asante Makonda" while armed and started firing live bullets on the air.

She testified that all the people ran away towards different directions.

Aidan told the court that several others, including herself, ran towards the office of CCM party, but as she was approaching the gate she was hit by an object on her left leg.

"The blood started to leak. My colleagues told me that I had been shot. I sat down. Four male police officers came and told me that I was in the demonstrations. I told them that I didn't understand anything. They started slapping me, while saying we were creating chaos," the witness testified.

Other policemen, she said, went to arrest other persons who were hiding in the office and subsequently whisked them to police vehicles, where they were held.

The witness explained that some people were discharged, while others were taken on the next day to a place she could not know.

The 12th defence witness testified that she remained at the police station where the police officers took her to a nearby hospital until March 1, 2018 when she was discharged and her husband took her to a private hospital for other treatments.

In the case, the accused persons include the party's National Chairman Freeman Mbowe, then party's Secretary General Vicent Mashinji , current Secretary General John Mnyika, who was by then 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.

They are charged with 13 counts of conspiracy to commit offences, unlawful assembly, rioting after proclamation, raising discontent and ill-will for unlawful purposes, sedition and inciting 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 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 terrifying 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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