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Activists Bemoan the Ill Treatment of Tanzania’s Opposition Leader

Tanzania’s main opposition party and rights activists are condemning the arrest of CHADEMA party leader Freeman Mbowe, who faces terrorism charges. Mbowe was brought before a court in Dar es Salaam Monday to face charges of economic sabotage. He is accused of funding terrorist activities aimed at assassinating government leaders. There has been no comment from the government. The charges were read out in court, but Mbowe was not allowed to respond. Opposition supporters and human rights activists condemned what they see as a flagrant violation of Mbowe’s rights. Rights activist Merciana Mhagama says the entire incident goes against Tanzanian law. Mhagama says since Mbowe was arrested and taken to court, we have seen a huge abuse of law and principles, but also the incident has gone against freedom of opinion and expression. In a democratic country, we know our constitution allows people to give out their opinion, she says.Another activist, Antele Benjamin, says he is disappointed in seeing Mbowe arrested. Benjamin says CHADEMA decided to use their constitutional right to demand a new constitution but in return to an unusual situation, we have seen its leader is charged with terrorism-related crimes, something which is a sad thing, and in a civilized society it is something that we didn’t expect to happen.