Tanzania: Zitto Faces Three Sedition Charges

THE Kisutu Resident Magistrate's Court in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday found the leader of Alliance for Change and Transparency (ACT) Wazalendo, Zitto Kabwe, with case to answer in three sedition counts, for allegedly linking the police force with killing over 100 people in Kigoma Region.

Principal Resident Magistrate Huruma Shaidi ruled that the prosecution, through its witnesses, established a prima facie case, requiring the outspoken opposition leader and Member of Parliament (MP) for Kigoma Urban to give his defence evidence.

A prima facie case is a case in which the evidence produced is sufficient to enable a decision or verdict to be made unless the evidence is rebutted.

It is a cause of action that is sufficiently established by a party's evidence to justify a verdict, provided such evidence is not rebutted by the other party.

The term prima facie is used in modern legal English to signify that upon initial examination, sufficient corroborating evidence appears to exist to support a case.

In common law jurisdictions, prima facie denotes evidence that, unless rebutted, would be sufficient to prove a particular proposition or fact.

During the prosecution's case led by Principal State Attorney Tumaini Kweka as well as Senior State Attorney Nassoro Katuga, 15 witnesses were called to give evidence in a bid to prove the charges.

Following the court's decision, Zitto said he will give evidence on oath supported by 10 other witnesses. The magistrate ordered the defence hearing to commence on March 17.

In the case, the prosecution alleges that the accused person committed the offences on October 28, 2018 at Kijitonyama area within Kinondoni District in Dar es Salaam, while holding a press conference at ACT Wazalendo Headquarters.

With intent to bring hatred to the citizens of the United Republic of Tanzania against the lawful authority of the government, the leader of the opposition party is alleged to have uttered several seditious words against the Tanzania Police F orce.

Among such words includes, "....watu ambao walikuwa ni majeruhi katika tukio la mapambano baina ya wananchi na polisi wakiwa wamekwenda hospitali kupata matibabu katika kituo cha afya cha Nguruka, Polisi wakapata taarifa kuwa kuna watu wane wamekwenda hospitali ..wakawafuata kule wakawaua."

Literary meaning, "people who were injured during confrontation with the police went to the hospital for medical treatment at Nguruka health centre, but when the police received reports that four people had gone to the hospital... they tracked them there and killed them."

Zitto is also alleged to have said, "....lakini tumefuatilia kwa kina jambo hili, taarifa ambazo tumezipata kutoka kijiji cha Mpeta-Nguruka, Uvinza ni mbaya, ni taarifa ambazo zinaonyesha wananchi wengi sana wameuwawa na jeshi la polisi.... Meaning, ".....but we have closely followed the matter; the information we have received from Mpeta-Ngwa village, is bad as it shows that several people have been killed by the police force... ."

"Pamoja na kwamba afande Sirro amekwenda kule, halijatoa taarifa yoyote kuhusu wananchi... kama hawa Wanyantuzu walivamia eneo la Ranchi, kuna taratibu za kisheria zakuchukua na sio kuwauwa, wananchi wengi sana wamekufa...." It means, "...although Mr Sirro has gone there, no any information has been given about the people ... if these Nyantuzu people invaded the ranch area, there are legal procedures to take and not to kill them, so many people have died...".

Furthermore, the prosecution charges Zitto with sedition for saying, "Tumekuwa tukifuatilia kwa kina yanayojiri yote huko Uvinza...tunasikitika kusema kuwa taarifa tunazozipata kutoka Uvinza zinaogofya mno; kwani tunaambiwa kuwa wananchi zaidi ya 100 wa Kabila la Wanyantuzu wamepoteza maisha kwa kupigwa risasi na Polisi, wengine wakisemwa kuuawa hata wakiwa kwenye matibabu hospitalini baada ya kujeruhiwa kwenye purukushani na jeshi la polisi."

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