Tanzania opposition leader arrested over alleged drugs link

Monday February 20 2017

Tanzanian main opposition Chadema party chairman Freeman Mbowe. PHOTO | FILE

Tanzanian main opposition Chadema party chairman Freeman Mbowe. PHOTO | FILE 

By LOUIS KOLUMBIA and ROSINA JOHN

Tanzanian main opposition Chadema party chairman Freeman Mbowe was Monday arrested in Dar es Salaam for snubbing a police summon.

Mr Mbowe had been directed by the Dar es Salaam Special Zone Commander, Mr Simon Sirro, to report to the Central Police Station within 48 hours.

He was wanted by the police for questioning on his alleged links with drug abuse and trade after being named by the Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner, Mr Paul Makonda.

Party lawyers

However, reports from senior Chadema officials established that Mr Mbowe had decided to surrender himself to the police in the afternoon before law enforcers intercepted his car to arrest him.

“Mbowe has been arrested by the police,” was a short statement posted on Mr Tundu Lissu’s Twitter account. Mr Lissu is Chadema's chief legal advisor.

“Mbowe has been arrested by police who have been following him as he headed to Central Police Station. He is accompanied by party lawyers,” reads party’s Twitter account.

The Citizen journalist at the Central Police Station reported to have seen Mr Mbowe’s car there, though she could not establish whether he came in it or not.

Narcotic use

His arrest is the culmination of a week of war of words between the police on the one hand and Chadema lawyers, and Mr Mbowe himself on the other.

The Chadema supremo was named by Mr Makonda along with other prominent people as having something to do with narcotic use or trade in the city.

He, however, refuted any such links during a press conference in Dodoma and was categorical he would not comply with the police summons.