Dar es Salaam. Opposition party CHADEMA said on Monday that it had filed a habeas corpus at the High Court in Dodoma seeking its detained cadre Twaha Mwaipaya be freed or produced to the court.
Mwaipaya, who works as a mobilisation officer with the party’s youth wing BAVICHA, has been detained since June 30, 2022, when police in Morogoro arrested him, accusing him of unspecified cybercrime offences, CHADEMA said in a statement.
Dodoma regional police commander Martin Otieno confirmed to The Chanzo on Monday that police there were holding Mwaipaya.
“It’s true we are holding him over statements he made online,” Otieno said without specifying the information. “[He’s being held] for investigation. We want to know more about them before we proceed with other steps.”
Mwaipaya was arrested while en route to Dar es Salaam from the capital Dodoma. While police promised to send him back to Dodoma to face the charges, they never did so and they declined to cooperate with CHADEMA-appointed lawyers and family members who were looking for him in Dodoma, Morogoro and Dar es Salaam.
On Sunday, however, armed police officers showed up at Mwaipaya’s house in Mbagala, Dar es Salaam with him where they searched his house before leaving with him without saying where they were taking him to.
On Monday, CHADEMA received information that Mwaipaya is being held at Dodoma central police station, where his fellow members in the region visited there and talked to him.
“We have filed a habeas corpus request at the High Court against Attorney General, Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Dodoma regional police commander and Dodoma district police commander (OCD),” John Mrema, CHADEMA’s Protocol, Communications and Foreign Affairs director said in a statement on Monday.
“We have asked the court to demand the police to produce Mwaipaya in court and explain why they arrested him in the first place,” Mrema added in a statement.
Mrema said that CHADEMA “strongly condemns” the arrest and detention of people in violations of the country’s laws and procedures, saying doing so is tantamount to violations of people’s fundamental rights.
Lukelo Francis is a Dar es Salaam-based The Chanzo’s correspondent. He is available at email@example.com.