A Tanzanian court on Friday ordered the arrest of four members of the main Chadema opposition party for failing to appear at the trial in which they are being prosecuted for an illegal demonstration in February 2018.
Among these four elected representatives is Halima Mdee, the leader of Chadema’s women’s wing and one of the most vocal voices against President John Magufuli’s regime.
Judge Thomas Simba, of the Kisutu Court in Dar es Salaam, ordered that they be wanted and arrested, after finding that they were absent from the trial without any reason being given.
The four MPs are being judged along with five other Chadema leaders, including party chairman and parliamentary opposition leader Freeman Mbowe.
They are being prosecuted for their role in a demonstration on February 16, 2018, in Dar es Salaam, where a 22-year-old student, who was not attending the rally, was killed by a stray bullet during warning shots to clear the public road invaded by supporters of Chadema.
An inquiry was ordered by President Magufuli after the student’s death. Six policemen had been arrested, but then released, with the prosecution claiming that the perpetrators were the organizers of the protest.
On Thursday, another Chadema MP, Godbless Lema, was arrested for having, according to the administrative authorities, held « a secret meeting » in the Kilimanjaro area, to « plan sabotage » of the local elections scheduled for the end of the month and that Chadema decided to boycott.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) denounced at the end of October an unprecedented retreat of fundamental freedoms in Tanzania since the arrival in power at the end of 2015 of Mr Magufuli, whose government has multiplied repressive actions against the media, civil society and civil society. the opposition.