Tanzania: Lissu Summoned in Dar es Salaam Court August 26

THE Kisutu Resident Magistrate's Court in Dar es Salaam has ordered former Singida East Constituency Member of Parliament (MP) Tundu Lissu to show up on August 26, 2020 to attend two out of five sedition cases he is facing.

The cases are before Principal Resident Magistrate Kasssian Matembele and Senior Resident Magistrate Augustina Mbando.

The court gave the order after considering an application by prosecution and defence, after Lissu failed to attend the two cases on Thursday.

Advocate Peter Kibatala, for the ex-MP, had earlier told the court that his client arrived in the country recently from Belgium, where he had been attending treatment following an armed attack at his house in Dodoma about three years ago.

He submitted that upon his arrival and having interacted with several people, he was advised to remain in isolation for at least 14 days.

It was at that point in time when the prosecution, led by Senior State Attorney Wankyo Simon and Lenatus Mkude sought for a summons for Lissu's appearance.

In the case before Matembele, Lissu, who is currently Chadema's Vice-Chairman, is facing five counts of uttering words with intent to injure religious feelings and raising discontent and ill-will for unlawful purposes.

The offences, according to the prosecution, are alleged to have been committed on January 11, 2017 at Kombeni area within Magharibi B District in Mjini Magharibi Region in Zanzibar, during the Dimani Constituency election campaign.

In the case before Mbando, the former lawmaker is charged with hate speech, an offence which is alleged to have been committed on July 17, 2017 at Ufipa area within Kinondoni District in Dar es Salaam.

Lissu is accused of using several abusive words against the fifth phase government, led by President John Magufuli, characterising it as being racist, ethnic, regional, and religiously biased, sentiments which are likely to stir up ethics hatred.

There is a third case before Principal Resident Magistrate Thomas Simba in which Lissu is charged alongside three other accused persons with publishing seditious material in Mawio newspaper dated January 14, 2016, relating to the re-run of elections in Zanzibar.

In the case, Lissu is charged alongside two seasoned journalists Simon Mkina and Jabir Yunus, as well as businessman and printer Ismail Mehbood.

The charges they are facing include conspiracy to publish a seditious publication, publishing and printing a seditious publication and printing a newspaper without submission of an affidavit.

They are charged with an alternative count of intimidation to the charge of publishing a seditious publication.

It is alleged that between January 12 and 14, 2016, at an unknown place in the city, Yunus, Mkina and Lissu conspired together to publish a seditious publication.

According to the prosecution, the publication bore title "Machafuko yaja Zanzibar," in the newspaper namely Mawio dated January 14, 2016.

The fourth case is before Senior Resident Magistrate in Charge Godfrey Isaya, whereby the prosecution accuses the then MP of committing the offences on August 2, 2016, at the Kisutu Resident Magistrate's Court.

It is alleged that with intent to incite hatred to citizens of Tanzania against the president, Lissu uttered seditious words, allegedly characterising the Head of State as a dictator.

In the fifth sedition case, the opposition leader is accused of insulting the Head of State allegedly committed on June 28, 2016, at the Kisutu Resident Magistrate's Court in Ilala District in the city, when he uttered some seditious words.

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