Dar es Salaam. The Tanzanian High Court in Dar es Salaam on Thursday dismissed the constitutional case No. 21/2021 that CHADEMA national chairperson Mr Freeman Mbowe had filed, challenging the manner in which he was arrested, alleging the breach of his fundamental human rights, the party has said.
Mr Mbowe sued Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Simon Sirro, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Sylvester Mwakitalu, and Attorney General (AG) Adelardus Kilangi, accusing the trio of violating his fundamental rights during his arrest as well as in the entire proceeding of the case against him.
But the High Court dismissed the case on the grounds that there is already a case that is ongoing at the court’s Corruption and Economic Crimes Division and that all the complaints will be taken care of there.
The case in question is the money laundering case that Mr Mbowe and three others face at the High Court’s Corruption and Economic Crimes Division, where among other things the former Hai MP (CHADEMA) is accused of taking part in conspiracies to blow up fueling stations and other public gatherings as well as funding terrorist acts.
Others in the case No. 16/2021 are Halfan Hassan, Adam Kasekwa and Mohamed Lingwenya.
Police arrested Mr Mbowe and eleven other party members who have since been released on the night of July 21, 2021, in Mwanza ahead of a New Constitution rally to which he was scheduled to be the chief guest. Mr Mbowe alleges that police violated basic procedures guiding their arrest of suspected criminals.
For example, after arresting Mr Mbowe and others police kept them in custody without informing them of their charges. Mr Mbowe was taken to Dar es Salaam, where law enforcement officers searched his home and reportedly seized his laptop and other devices of family members’ gadgets. It also took five days of arrest for police to produce Mr Mbowe and other leaders in court, and not 48 hours as the law requires.
On July 28, 2021, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights put out this statement, noting in part: “The Commission expresses its concern that lack of strict adherence to the right to due process of the law enunciated in Article 7 of the African Charter creates leads to abuse of the right to be free from arbitrary arrest and creates an atmosphere of fear on the part of opposition parties.
“The Commission wishes to remind the Tanzanian authorities the requirement of the African Commission’s Principles and Guidelines on the Right to Fair Trial and Legal Assistance in Africa (2003) that any one arrested ‘shall be informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for his or her arrest and shall be promptly informed, in a language he or she understands, of any charges against him or her’ and ‘be promptly brought to a judicial officer.’”