Tanzania’s opposition politician Freeman Mbowe to face charges

Wednesday, September 1st, 2021 00:00 | By
Freeman Mbowe, leader of Tanzania’s main opposition party. Photo/Xinhua

Dar es Salaam, Tuesday

Freeman Mbowe, leader of Tanzania’s main opposition party, has appeared in court to face “terrorism” charges, in a case denounced by his supporters as a politically motivated move aimed at crushing dissent.

The 59-year-old chairman of the Chadema party has been behind bars since July 21 when he was arrested along with other senior party officials in a night-time police raid just hours before they were to hold a public forum to demand constitutional reforms.

The trial at the country’s high court in Dar-es-Salaam opened on Tuesday under tight security, with most journalists banned from the courtroom by police.

President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s government, citing Covid-19 regulations and security, had warned foreign diplomats against turning up to the court to follow the case without notifying the foreign ministry.

Representatives from the British and US embassies were present at the hearing, which was also attended by Chadema’s senior leaders.

On Monday, Mbowe had appeared in court to pursue a case against top legal officials, claiming his constitutional rights had been violated during his arrest and when he was charged.

The opposition has denounced the arrests as a throwback to the oppressive rule of Tanzania’s late leader John Magufuli who died suddenly in March. 

There had been hope Hassan would bring about a new era of democracy after the increasingly heavy-handed rule of Magufuli.  - Xinhua

More on News