Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here once again with all the big stories that broke in Tanzania on Wednesday, July 21, 2021.
Gloves are off between CHADEMA and police over ban on political rallies
CHADEMA Secretary-General Mr John Mnyika asked President Samia Suluhu Hassan yesterday to order the Tanzania Police Force to release the party’s national chairperson Mr Freeman Mbowe and eleven other party members and supporters who were arrested yesterday ahead of the party’s New Constitution conference that was to take place on Wednesday in Mwanza before the police interrupted it.
According to a statement released by CHADEMA earlier on Wednesday, around 2:30 AM, yesterday police invaded the Kingdom Hotel in Mwanza where Mr Mbowe had lodged and arrested him together with several other CHADEMA senior leaders without saying why or where they were taking them to. Other people who were arrested together with Mr Mbowe who was to be the guest of honour at the conference include CHADEMA Youth Council (BAVICHA) national chairperson John Pambalu and former Tarime Rural MP (CHADEMA) Mr John Heche among others.
“Members of the general public should not perceive this issue as a conflict between CHADEMA and the police force,” Mr Mnyika pointed out during the press conference that took place at the party’s headquarters in Dar es Salaam. “They should instead see [the arrests] as deliberate actions by the Samia Administration aimed at stopping people from exercising their constitutional rights like freedom of assembly.”
Wednesday’s altercation between CHADEMA and the police is the second in a week after the law enforcement agency interrupted the party’s New Constitution conference on Saturday, July 17, 2021, arresting and detaining for hours dozens of CHADEMA leaders and other pro-democracy activists before releasing them. Yesterday’s incident took place against the background of Mwanza regional commissioner Mr Robert Gabriel’s banning of all gatherings in the region under the pretext of fighting against COVID-19, though he pointed out that the ban did not exclusively target CHADEMA.
Images from Mwanza shared on various social media platforms yesterday showed a heavy deployment of armed police officers in various streets of the port city on the shore of Lake Victoria. Police reportedly blocked roads leading to the Tai Five Hotel where the internal meeting was to take place. Videos showing police cordoning off the venue of the conference were also shared online. Members of CHADEMA reported that police in Mwanza were arresting everyone who wore a red t-shirt with the ‘New Constitution’ slogan.
Police also reportedly searched the house of Mr Heche, Mr Pambalu and the one by BAVICHA’s press officer Mr Apollo Boniphace to see if they possessed “equipment for printing and publishing a constitution,” according to reports from people close to the issue. Before his arrest on Wednesday, Mr Mbowe held a press conference in Mwanza where he insisted on his party’s rejection to honour the ban on political rallies. Imposed by the late John Magufuli in early 2016, President Samia has refused to lift the ban, saying political rallies should wait as she is fixing the economy.
Tanzania Constitutional Forum (JUKATA) Executive Director Bob Wangwe condemned the arrest of Mr Mbowe and others, calling the actions “uncivilized” that “put Tanzania’s peace, unity and image in jeopardy.” In a statement, Mr Wangwe said: “Preventing people from discussing the Constitution is to stop them from discussing their country’s future. [JUKATA] is calling on the police to let people exercise their right to assemble and discuss issues that matter for their country’s future.”
By midnight, the police had reportedly brought Mr Mbowe to Dar es Salaam, and went with him to his house in Mikocheni for searching, CHADEMA said in a late night statement. It was not immediately clear what the police were going to search Mr Mbowe’s house for. Mr Mbowe was reportedly sent to Dar’s central police after he had accompanied police to search his house.
Team formed to investigate fire at Kariakoo market has its deadline extended
Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said yesterday that he has given the task force he formed to investigate the fire outbreak at the Kariakoo International Market, in Tanzania’s commercial capital of Dar es Salaam seven more days following a request the team had made to him concerning the extension of a deadline.
Mr Majaliwa formed the committee following the fire outbreak that occurred on July 10, 2021, at the busy market of Kariakoo, affecting dozens of businesses that were conducted around and inside the market.
The committee comprises officers from the Office of the President (State House), the Office of the President (Regional Administration and Local Governments), the Prime Minister’s Office, Security Forces, Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB), the Attorney General, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Tanzania Building Agency (TBA), Tanzania National Electric Supply Company (TANESCO) and the Fire and Rescue Force.
“[The team] has requested for more time to dive into engineering issues [that involve] inspecting the building [of the market] to see if its infrastructure are still strong or the fire had eaten its cement away and thus made it unsafe [for businesses],” the premier said during an address he gave at the Mtoro Masjid in Kariakoo where he had participated in the Eid-al-Adha prayer.
PM Majaliwa added: “So I agreed to give them more time so that by July 25 they should have finalized their investigation. When [the investigation] is completed, we’ll make its findings public, but also the government will issue a new direction for our market.”
Investor seeks Samia’s intervention over petrol station closer
A Tanzanian investor has appealed to President Samia Suluhu Hassan to intervene in the closure of his Victoria Service Station situated along the Morocco-Mwenge section of New Bagamoyo Road in Kinondoni District, Dar es Salaam. Mr Harold Elisamehe made the appeal yesterday at a press conference in Dar es Salaam.
“The contractors have blocked the entrance and exit and we have completely failed to do business,” the government-owned Daily News newspaper quoted Mr Elisamehe as saying. “They have closed my fuel station. As a result, I have laid off about 36 staff because I cannot pay them. We are not doing any business, as the cars cannot come in or go out.”
The road construction project is being undertaken by Nippo – Dai JV Construction Company and will see, upon completion, the 4.3 kilometres road section widened into four lanes to cater for the heavy traffic in the city.
“We think this is sabotage and maybe there are people who are being used without knowing to lock us up deliberately so that others can do business,” Mr Elisamehe charged. “We, therefore, call on the government to intervene to save our investment, jobs and taxes. We have full confidence that our president does not like bias.”
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