Planned protests foments tension in Tanzania

Chairman of the opposition Chadema party Freema Mbowe has called for demonstrations against refusal of Constituent Assembly (CA) chairman Samuel Sitta to suspend the assembly meetings following the boycott of four opposition parties of the panel.

Planned protests foments tension in Tanzania

World Bulletin / News Desk

Tension has grown between Tanzania's main opposition party and the police over planned protests against the sittings of a commission tasked with writing the country's new constitution.

Chairman of the opposition Chadema party Freema Mbowe has called for demonstrations against refusal of Constituent Assembly (CA) chairman Samuel Sitta to suspend the assembly meetings following the boycott of four opposition parties of the panel.

"Constituent Assembly Chairman is bulldozing the ongoing process without taking into consideration that billions of taxpayers’ money was being lost while it is already known that the Assembly would not deliver the anticipated Supreme Law," Mbowe said.

Four main opposition parties have boycotted the assembly meetings since April, claiming misconduct from the assembly chairman.

The boycotting parties have formed an alliance with the aim of rallying Tanzanians to reject the constitution-drafting process.

But police have banned the planned protests, threatening to deal perpendicularly with those violating the ban.

Police have also summoned Mbowe for questioning over his plans to hold the demonstrations.

"We just want a dialogue with Mr. Mbowe," Director for Criminal Investigative (DCI) Isaiah Mngulu said, confirming the summoning.

So far, nine Chadema leaders, members and supporters have been arrested, interrogated and sent to court in connection with the planned protests.

"We are communicating to our leaders from various parts of the country to get the exact figures of those who have been arrested, interrogated and charged," Chadema Deputy Secretary-General Jonh Mnyika told Anadolu Agency.

Benson Kigaila, Chadema director for training and organization, called on opposition leaders to pursue with plans to hold the demonstrations despite the arrests.

But police warned that it will deal firmly with whoever violates the ban.

"Who will disobey the police orders won't be safe from the long arms of the law," police spokesperson Advera Senso warned.

The assembly was formed by President Jakaya Kikwete in January and comprises 640 members representing various segments of the Tanzanian society.

Last Mod: 25 Eylül 2014, 10:14
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