Tanzania court 'blocks opposition politicians' trips'
Thursday September 26 2019
A court in Tanzania has blocked two top politicians from the opposition Chadema party from travelling abroad until they are cleared of sedition charges, the country's private Citizen newspaper reports.
Vincent Mashinji, Chadema's secretary-general, and MP Esther Matiko are facing charges, along with seven others including Chadema's leader, for participating in a protest in February 2018, which saw a 22-year-old student killed by a stray bullet fired by police.
The paper says their lawyers had asked the court to adjourn the case and allow them to travel abroad to attend separate meetings.
Mr Masinji is supposed to travel to London to attend meetings for 10 days, while Ms Matiko is scheduled to go to Rwanda and later Belgium for five days of meetings.
But magistrate Thomas Simba rejected the requests on grounds that they would delay the case.
“The accused are supposed to start their defence on charges facing them, so by allowing them to travel it will derail the case,” Mr Simba is quoted as saying in court in Dar es Salaam.
He adjourned the case until 7 October, which is when the defence will start to put forward its case.
President John Magufuli has been criticised for limiting political freedoms since coming to power in 2015, and has banned political rallies.