| 14 April 2024, Sunday |

Tanzanian court charges opposition leader with terrorism-related crimes

Following his arrest while preparing for a conference to discuss recommendations for a new constitution, a Tanzanian court has accused the leader of the largest opposition party with terrorism-related crimes, authorities announced on Monday.

On Wednesday, Freeman Mbowe, the Chadema party’s leader, and ten others were detained in Mwanza, in what the party claimed was proof that President Samia Suluhu Hassan was continuing her late predecessor John Magufuli’s authoritarianism.

Mbowe was charged in Dar es Salaam’s Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s court, according to Jumanne Muliro, Dar es Salaam’s special zone police commander.

He informed Reuters by phone that he was charged in court this afternoon for the charges that were first published by the police in a statement.

Mbowe was arrested for “accusations of organizing terrorist activities, including conspiracy to kill government leaders, where his six comrades have already been charged in court,” according to police spokesperson David Misime.

Mbowe was prosecuted without his lawyer or family members present, according to Chadema’s secretary general, John Mnyika.

“Police have misled lawyers and family members … that he has been sent to hospital. The truth is that he has been sent to Kisutu court … and he has been charged for terrorism. They have sent him to prison,” Mnyika said on Twitter.

However, Muliro said they had prosecuted him according to the law after completing the charge sheet.

The government has long denied opposition accusations of authoritarianism.

Following Magufuli’s leadership, Chadema believes the constitution should be modified to defend democracy.

Hassan, a member of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party, was Magufuli’s vice president before succeeding him when the latter died in March of a heart problem, according to the government.

Magufuli was Africa’s most outspoken COVID-19 skeptic, dismissing the virus as harmless, refusing to impose limitations to halt its spread, and disregarding vaccines.

  • Reuters