Case against Tanzania's Freeman Mbowe stalls again as witness 'taken ill'

Friday February 11 2022
Chadema chairman Freeman Mbowe.

Chadema chairman Freeman Mbowe (fourth left) and co-accused at a court in Tanzania. PHOTO | THE CITIZEN | NMG


The hearing of an economic sabotage case against Chadema chairman Freeman Mbowe and three others failed to proceed for a second day on Thursday after a prosecution witness failed to appear in court.

The witness was said to be unwell.

However, this did not go down well with defence lawyer Peter Kibatala who maintained his Wednesday stance that the witness in question, Inspector of Police Tumaini Swila, was using ill health as an excuse to evade cross-examination.

Mr Swila, the 13th prosecution witness in the case, claimed to have been taken ill while being cross-examined by defence lawyers on Wednesday, compelling the court to adjourn the case to Thursday.

Mr Swila becomes the third prosecution witness in the case to fall ill abruptly during cross-examination.

Mr Swila’s colleagues in the police force, Mr Jumanne Malangahe and Inspector Innocent Ndowo, also fell ill while being cross-examined on different occasions.


When the case came up for hearing Thursday, senior state attorney Nassoro Katuga told the court that Mr Swila could not attend the session because his health had not improved and doctors advised him to rest.

In his ruling, Judge Joachim Tiganga said adjourned the case until February 14, ordering the state lawyer to ensure Mr Swila attends proceedings on Monday if his health improves, or bring in another witness so that the case can proceed.

Mr Mbowe, Halfan Bwire Hassan, Mohamed Abdillahi Ling’wenya and Adam Kasekwa face six charges, including conspiracy to commit terrorism acts.

Mr Mbowe is facing a separate charge of financing terrorism acts.

They are accused of conspiring to destroy several filling stations across the country and attempting to harm former Hai District Commissioner Lengai Ole Sabaya.

They are also accused of conducting meetings in Arusha, Dar es Salaam and Morogoro, between May 1 and August 5, where they conspired to commit the offences.

They have denied the charges.