Tanzania's opposition Chadema seeks mediation

Monday April 9 2018

Tanzania main opposition Chadema leaders in the precincts of the Dar es Salaam court.

Tanzania main opposition Chadema leaders in the precincts of the Dar es Salaam court. The six are charged with sedition and incitement to violence. PHOTO | THE CITIZEN | NMG 

ERICK KABENDERA
By ERICK KABENDERA
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Tanzania's main opposition party Chadema wants the international community to intervene in the country’s political situation.

The chairman Freeman Mbowe, said efforts by the opposition and civil society to mobilise citizens to stand up against intolerance were thwarted after the government banned political rallies.

In an interview with The EastAfrican minutes before his dramatic arrest, Mr Mbowe said: “We have a constitution which gives too much power to the president with insufficient democratic checks and balances against the president’s abuse of power. President John Magufuli has banned all opposition political rallies and assembly but he continues travelling across the country holding rallies.”

The leader of the opposition in parliament also accused the office of the Speaker of ordering the closure of his office in parliament, describing the move as “unprecedented efforts to tame the opposition” in parliament.

“Apart from my office car being taken away, all my private businesses have been targeted and demolished and my personal back accounts frozen,” Mr Mbowe said.

Mr Mbowe and four other officials of the party had reported at Central Police Stations for further questioning in connection with the February 16 demonstrations in the city.

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They were then detained and taken to court where they were charged with committing offences on February 16 during public rallies in different venues in the city.

Illegal protests

The court was informed that it was during the “illegal demonstrations” that a National Institute of Transport student Akwilina Akwiline was killed by a stray live bullet from the police.

This is the first time the leader of the official opposition has been arrested, charged and taken to remand since multi-partyism was re-introduced in Tanzania in 1995.

Others arrested and charged alongside Mr Mbowe are party secretary-general Vincent Mashinji, deputy secretaries — John Mnyika (mainland) and Salum Mwalimu (Zanzibar) and Serengeti Zone chairman John Heche.

Others are Tarime Urban MP Esther Matiko and Iringa Urban MP Rev Peter Msigwa.

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