A PROSECUTION witness, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Bernard Nyambalya, yesterday named Chadema’s National Chairman, Freeman Mbowe, as among senior party officials who participated in demonstrations held in Dar es Salaam a day before the Kinondoni Parliamentary by-election.
Before Principal Resident Magistrate Thomas Simba at the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court, the witness also named Member of Parliament (MP) for Kawe and Kibamba, Halima Mdee and John Mnyika, respectively, as well as the party’s Secretary General, Vicent Mashinji to have attended the protest match.
The eighth prosecution witness was testifying in the seditious trial of nine senior officials of the opposition party when he accounted that on February 16, 2018 in the evening, while at Kinondoni Hananasifu area, he heard some noises with riotous signs.
ASP Bernard told the court that such noises originated from Kawawa Road. As he was contemplating on the matter, the witness said that he received a phone call from his boss, the Kinondoni Regional Crime Officer (RCO).
The RCO, according to him, directed them to move where he was at Kawawa Road where there were people conducting demonstrations.
“Upon reaching the area, I found some people rioting during the demonstrations towards Mkwajuni area,” the witness testified.
Led by Principal State Attorney, Dr Zainab Mango, on behalf of the prosecution’s team, the witness explained that such huge group was in angry mood, armed with stones and sticks and had occupied the whole road, while singing encouraging songs and exchanging angry words with the police.
While at BRT Bus stop at Mkwajuni area, the witness went on, he managed to identify the party leaders who were in the front line of the demonstrations.
He testified that the situation returned to normal later after the police managed to disperse the demonstrators. ASP Bernard told the court that he thereafter made an assessment of the area and was able to identify some key people who witnessed the demonstration and could be competent witnesses and that due to the riots, the areas was littered with stones, water bottles and tables belonging to traders which were turned upside down.
Other members of the team prosecuting the case, who attended yesterday’s proceedings, include Principal State Attorney Faraja Nchimbi, Senior State Attorney Wankyo Simon and State Attorneys Jacqueline Nyantori and Salim Msemo Apart from Mbowe, Mashinji, Mdee and Mnyika, other accused persons in the trial are Salum Mwalimu, who is the Deputy Secretary General (Zanzibar), Peter Msigwa, the MP for Iringa Urban, John Heche, the MP for Tarime Rural, Ester Bulaya, the MP for Bunda Urban and Tarime Urban MP, Ester Matiko.
They are charged with 11 counts of conspiracy to commit offences, unlawful assembly, rioting after proclamation, raising discontent and ill-will for unlawful purposes, sedition and inciting commission of offences. The charges are alleged to have been committed between February 1 and 16, 2018 in the city.
The prosecution alleges that on February 16, 2018 along Kawawa Road at Mkwajuni area, being assembled with intent to carry out a common purpose, jointly and together, all accused persons conducted themselves in such a manner as to cause a fear of breach of peace.
It is claimed further that on the same day and place, with more than 12 other persons not in court, having riotously assembled, in disobedience of proclamation given by a police officer, the accused persons failed to disperse and continued to take part in the riot.
Thereby, according to the prosecution, the accused persons breached the peace and terrifying the public, culminating in the death of National Institute of Transport (NIT) student, Akwilina Akwiline Baftaa, and injury of two police officers, Police Constable Fikiri and Corporal Rahim Msangi.
According to the prosecution, on the same day at Buibui grounds, while addressing Kinondoni residents at the public meeting, Mbowe, Mdee and Heche made statements likely to raise discontent and promote feelings of ill-will amongst the inhabitants of the United Republic of Tanzania.
The prosecution alleged further that Mbowe, in related offences, made seditious statements with the intention of bringing hatred and contempt to the citizens of the United Republic of Tanzania against the lawful authority of the government.
It is alleged further that on the same day at Buibui grounds, Mbowe, Msigwa and Bulaya with other persons who are not in court, jointly incited the residents of Kinondoni District in the city to commit offences of unlawful assembly, going armed in public and rioting.