By TZ Business News Staff.
LEADERS AND MEMBERS of Tanzania’s leading opposition political party Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema) celebrated a court decision on late Thursday, March 29, 2018, granting bail to their party chairman, Freeman Aikaeli Mbowe who was sent to remand prison on Tuesday, March 27, 2018 after appearing in court on a total of eight charges including sedition, rioting, Raising discontent and ill-will for unlawful purpose and unlawful assembly.
The Chadema Deputy Chairman (Mainland), Prof. Abdallah Safari, told the media outside the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court in Dar es Salaam the party was happy the chairman had been granted bail. Prof. Safari also thanked party members who had gathered at the court for their tolerance as bail procedures were being implemented.
The entire top brass of Tanzania’s leading opposition political party Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema), including Mr. Mbowe– the party’s National Chairman who is also member of parliament for Hai District in Kilimanjaro region—appeared before the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday, March 27, 2018 facing one count of Unlawful Assembly, one count of rioting after Proclamation, two counts of raising discontent and ill-will for unlawful purpose, and two counts of inciting the commission of offense.
The leader of the official opposition in Parliament is charged jointly with Chadema Secretary General Vincent Mashinji , Chadema Deputy Secretary General (Mainland) John Mnyika, Chadema Deputy Secretary General (Zanzibar) Salum Mwalimu, along with Iringa Urban Member of Parliament Peter and the Member of Parliament for Tarime UrbanEster Matiko.
It had earlier been feared Mbowe and others would spend their 2018 Easter Holidays in remand Prison on account of two conflicting reasons; the American Associated Press claimed to quote a court statement saying a court in Dar es Salaam had denied the high profile politician bail. The report was amplified by the racist US television network Fox News.
Sections of Tanzania’s local media said Mr. Mbowe could not be taken to court to hear the verdict on his bail application on Thursday, March 29, 2018–a day before Easter holidays began–because the prison vehicles which should have taken him and others to court were found to have mechanical problems.
A video statement from Chadema said the Dar es Salaam court granted bail to the accused persons in their absence, adding that the accused were ordered to report back at the court on April 03, 2018.
“…that the court has granted us our bail application …I am very thankful; we were very worried on the question of bail…but we said not all magistrates are myopic in their views; so today we are grateful,” Prof. Safari told reporters.
“And today the Republic issued noticed of appeal. As you saw many arguments were presented; but notice is just notice…you can give notice and decline to proceed with the appeal…. But I am glad the court has noticed the trick the Government wanted to play and justice has been done,” the deputy Chadema chairman said.
On Tuesday, the prosecution said investigations into matters of the offense had been completed, according to the Government owned Daily News. The accused persons denied all the charges.
The Principal Resident Magistrate Wilbard Mashauri Magistrate Wilbard Mashauri then ordered the accused sent to remand prison at Segerea on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam until Thursday, March 29, 2018 to allow him compose his ruling on the bail application submitted by the defence team comprised of advocates Peter Kibatala and Hekima Mwasiku.
The prosecution comprised of Principal State Attorneys Faraja Nchimbi, Zainabu Mango, Senior State Attorney Patrick Mwita and State Attorney Wankyo Simon, requested the court to deny bail to the accused persons for public interests and safety of the society.
Before adjournment of the trial on Tuesday, the prosecution requested the court to deny bail to the accused persons for public interests and safety of the society, according to the Government owned Daily News which was present at the proceedings.
Giving details on their objection to bail, the trial attorneys asked the court to weigh the interests of individuals (accused persons) and that of the society before exercising its discretion to grant bail or otherwise. They forcefully submitted that the interests of the nation and safety of the society would be at stake if the accused persons were bailed out.
The trial attorneys said although the court had discretion to consider bail to the accused persons, such discretion must be exercised judiciously. According to the prosecutors, the court must consider the seriousness and circumstances of offences involved and that the way such crimes were allegedly committed led to jeopardising national security and for the entire public in totality.
They maintained that the offences against the accused persons were very serious and that if the court granted them bail, and thereby allowing them to rejoin the society where seditious statements were made, the rights of the society would be jeopardised. However, the defence team comprising advocates Peter Kibatala and Hekima Mwasiku, vehemently opposed the prosecution’s line of submissions, maintaining that their clients were entitled to bail as the offences were bailable.
They told the court that the reasons cited by the prosecution were not contained in Section 148 (5) of the Criminal Procedure Act which governed bail issues. The defence submitted that the reasons given by the prosecution to object bail were matters of evidence which needed to be supported by an affidavit.
According to the advocates, no such evidence was submitted by the prosecution to back up the objection to bail, and that the right of an individual could not be taken away by statements from the bar. They submitted that no material have been placed before the court to deny bail to accused persons.
The six leaders of Tanzania’s main opposition were formally charged on a total of eight counts before the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s court in Dar es Salaam. The charges relate to a protest March one month earlier in which a passerby was shot and killed by the police. Here below are the details of the official charge sheet for criminal case No 112 of 2018 at the Kisutu court:
FIRST COUNT: Unlawful Assembly, contrary to section 74 (1) and 75 of the Penal Code (Cap. 16. R.E. 2002).
All the accused, on February 16, 2018 along Kawawa Road at Kinondoni Mkwajuni area within Kinondoni District in Dar es Salaam Region, jointly and together, being assembled with intent to carry out a common unlawful purpose, did conduct themselves in such a manner to cause persons in the neighbourhood reasonably to fear that they will commit a breach of the peace.
SECOND COUNT: Rioting after Proclamation; contrary to section 74(3) and 79 both of the Penal Code (Cap. 16. R.E. 2002). All the accused, also on February 16 in the same area, jointly and together with twelve other people not in court, have riotously assembled, in disobedience proclamation to disperse made by Gerald Ngiichi, a police officer at the rank of Senior Superintendent of Police, failed to disperse and continued to take part in the riot thereby breaching peace and terrifying the public, culminating in the death of Akwilina D/O Akwiline Baftaa and injury of H 7856 PC Fikiri and E.6976 CPL Rahim Msangi.
THIRD COUNT: Raising discontent and ill-will for unlawful purpose; contrary to section 63B (1) of the Penal Code (Cap. 16. R.E. 2002) as amended by section 43 of the Written Laws (Miscellaneous Amendments) (No.3) Act, No 10 of 2013. Mbowe, on the same day and place, when addressing residents of Kinondoni district in a public meeting held at the Buibui grounds, did make statements to wit; “…ninapozungumza hapa kiongozi wetu wa kata ya Kinondoni Hananasif yupo mochwari…amekamatwa na makada wa CCM kwa msaada wa vyombo vya ulinzi na usalama…wamenyonga, wamemuua. Halafu sisi tunaona ni jambo la kawaida…tunacheka na polisi, tunacheka na CCM,” that are likely to raise discontent and promote feelings of ill-will amongst the inhabitants of the United Republic of Tanzania.
FOURTH COUNT: Raising discontent and ill-will for unlawful purpose; contrary to section 63B (1) of the penal code,(Cap . 16 R. E 2002) as amended by section 43 of the written Laws (miscellaneous amendments) (No 3)Act, No.10 of 2013. Mbowe, on the same day and same occasion, did make statement to wit – “tumejipa kibali cha kutangulia mbele ya haki … Haiwezekani wazee wazima na akili zetu na wake zetu na watoto wetu tukafanywa ndondocha. Hii ni nchi ya ajabu. Mimi leo nipo hapa kulinda Taifa…kule Africa Kusini juzi, jana aliyekuwa Rais wa Afrika Kusini Jacob Zuma amelazimishwa kujiuzulu… Robert Mugabe wa Zimbabwe kang’olewa, kang’olewa Waziri Mkuu wa Ethiopia…juzi ameondoka kwa people’s power. Magufuli ni mwepesi kama karatasi…” that are likely to raise discontent and promote feelings of ill-will amongst the inhabitants of the United Republic of Tanzania.
FIFTH COUNT: Seditious Offence; contrary to sections 53(1) and (531)(b) of the media service act of 2016. Mbowe, on same day and same occasion, with intent to bring hatred and contempt to United Republic of Tanzania against the unlawful authority of the government, uttered seditious words to wit “nitaongoza mapambano nchi hii kwa sababu tumechoka kuuawa…matokeo ya Watanzania mia watakaokufa watapata haki katika taifa hili. Wangapi wapo tayari kuchukua bei hiyo…” that are seditious.
SIXTH COUNT: Seditious Offence; contrary to section 52 (1) and 53 (1)b of the Media Service Act, No 12 of 2016. Mbowe, on same day and occasion, with intent to bring hatred and contempt to the citizens of the United Republic of Tanzania against the lawful authority of the government of the United Republic of Tanzania, uttered seditious words to wit; “…hii nchi inadharaulika…imejengewa misingi ya woga, kwa maana nyingine wanaume ni kama mademu, si unaowaona hao wanavaa suruali, waoga, bure kabisa…juzi ametekwa kijana wetu, wanasema yupo mochwari, haki ya Mungu ingekuwa nchi nyingine Kinondoni ingekuwa majivu…Lissu amepigwa risasi Machine Gun na vyombo vya dola…watanzania mnarudi nyuma…kuna mwandishi wa habari leo ana siku 86 amebebwa na vyombo vya dola…suluhu ya nchi hii haipo Bungeni. Suluhu ya nchi hii ipo kwa wananchi wenyewe…lakini ili tuipate suluhu hiyo ni lazima tukubali kubeba majeneza…inawezekana leo mnaogopa kufa, ni lazima tuwabebe wachache hata wakiwa 200 waliokufa katika ukombozi ili hatimaye nchi hii ikasimame kama nchi ya wanaume wengine katika dunia
hii…, that are seditious.
SEVENTH COUNT: Inciting the commission of offense: contrary to sections 390 and 35 both of the penal code, (Cap.16. R E. 2002). Mbowe, on same date at the Buibui grounds in Kinondoni, jointly and together with other persons who are not in court, incited the residents of Kinondoni district to commit an offense, namely unlawful assembly.
EIGHTH COUNT: Inciting the commission of offense, contrary to sections 390 and 35 of the both penal code, (CAP .16 R.E. 2002). Peter Msigwa, on same day at the Buibui grounds, incited residents of Kinondoni district to commit an offense, namely going armed in public.