Mbowe charges: Court says it has jurisdiction to hear terrorism case

Wednesday September 01 2021
Freeman Mbowe.

Freeman Mbowe, chairman of Tanzania's main opposition party Chadema (centre), heads to court in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. PHOTO | MWANANCHI LTD | NMG


Tanzania's High Court Wednesday said it has jurisdiction to hear Chadema chairman Freeman Mbowe’s terrorism case.

The High Court Division of Corruption and Economic Sabotage, popularly known as the Corruption Tribunal, dismissed an objection filed by Mbowe and three colleagues, alleging that the tribunal has no jurisdiction to hear terrorism cases.

Judge Elinaza Luvanda said the objections filed by the defence were baseless.

Mbowe, the leader of Tanzania's main opposition party, and three others have been charged with six offences, including financing terrorist acts, raising money for terrorist acts, possession of a fire arm, and illegal possession of police uniforms. Mbowe also faces two counts of conspiracy and financing terrorist acts.

Mbowe's supporters say the case is politically motivated. Chadema argues that Mbowe is not a terrorist and has been calling for his unconditional release.

The 59-year-old has been behind bars since July 21 when he was arrested along with three others in a night-time police raid just hours before they were to hold a public forum to demand new constitution.