Dar es Salaam. Police in Manyara temporarily detained a total of 20 CHADEMA leaders after accusing them of holding an illegal assembly on a New Constitutional issue, the party’s director of communications John Mrema said on Wednesday.
Mr Mrema said in a statement that the leaders – which include those from the party’s youth and women wings – were arrested at a coffee hut where they were allegedly discussing the issue of the New Constitution with other people.
“We want the police to release our party members and leaders unconditionally as they have not committed any offence according to Tanzania’s laws,” Mr Mrema said in the statement.
Police issued no statement over the matter but the leaders were all released hours later following a sustained public outcry, especially on social media platforms.
Mr Mrema said that some of the leaders were beaten “badly” while at the hands of the police, something he called “a serious human rights violation.”
CHADEMA youth leaders from Manyara organised a forum on New Constitution on May 24, 2022, a function that was attended by the party’s youth and women leaders from across the country, including the chairperson of the party’s Youth Council (BAVICHA).
The arrest and detention of CHADEMA leaders come a few days after a delegation from the party met and held talks with President Samia Suluhu Hassan and her delegation from the government and the ruling party CCM on May 20, 2022.
CHADEMA secretary-general Mr John Mnyika described the meeting on May 23, 2022, as one in a series of other meetings aimed at reconciling the opposition party with the government and CCM when it comes to the issue of freedom of political parties to do their activities in Tanzania.
Mr Mnyika was forced to issue a clarification of the meeting following some concerns raised by some of the party’s members and followers over the genuineness of President Samia’s gesture.
Some CHADEMA members expressed dissatisfaction with their leaders over their acceptance to sit down with the government and CCM for reconciliation talks, doubting the latter’s commitments to the issue.
Wednesday’s development, therefore, will mean that these people will be vindicated, pushing those willing to proceed with the reconciliation talks to continue further on the sidelines.
CHADEMA parliamentary candidate in the 2020 election Liberatus Mwang’ombe