Lawyer and activist, Boniface Mwabukusi has been called to the Advocate Committee on the allegation of professional misconduct.
The complainant, in this case, is the Attorney General who claimed that Advocate Mwabukusi has conducted himself unprofessionally with his utterance to the press. In his submission, the Attorney General quoted a statement by Mwabukusi:
“The Speaker and Prime Minister have no clue what they have passed in parliament, even Chief Mangungo knew what he had signed is a contract… the government is lying to the people that it has signed an agreement and not a contract.” One of the five statements by Mwabukusi that the Attorney General says is seditious and aimed at bringing hatred and contempt against the administration of justice in Tanzania.
Mwabukusi who has emerged as a fierce critic of the controversial deal between Tanzania and Dubai DP World is also the lawyer who is leading a case filed at the Mbeya High Court against the agreement. A case by four citizens, Alphonce Lusako, Emmanuel Chengula, Raphael Ngonde, and Frank Nyalus, and the decision for this case is expected to be out on August 7, 2023.
“Mbarawa (Minister of Works and Transport) and his Permanent Secretary should vacate office, they are risking the properties of the Tanganyikans,” another statement mentioned by Attorney General in his complaints against Mwabukusi.
“Parliament decided to forsake its wisdom, its understanding, and integrity to please one person, and they said this is a contract of that person and if anyone opposes this contract, they are the enemy of that person.” Another statement from Mwabukusi that the Attorney General believes is a criminal, unprofessional, and unethical act.
Ready To Pay the Price
On various occasions, lawyer Mwabukusi has equated his opposition to the contract as a special calling in protecting Tanzania’s resources, “I will not keep quiet on this issue, because I know it’s God who has called me for this moment, if I am going to die then let it be it.”
As if he was anticipating what the future has in store for him, in his press on July 12, 2023, lawyer Mwabukusi explained to the media that ‘he is ready to pay the price.’
“I analyzed the situation of what I was doing, I know the cost but I am ready to pay the price.” On July 14, Mwabukusi was called in for questioning by the police on his statements against the Prime Minister and other leaders in the government, but he came out saying the questioning has strengthened his resolve on the issue.
Mwabukusi is required to respond to the allegations raised against him within twenty-one days to the Advocate Committee. The Committee is made up of the High Court Judge, the Attorney General, or the Deputy Attorney General or the Director of Public Prosecutions; and a practicing advocate nominated by the TLS.
However, to form a quorum for disciplinary proceedings only two members of the Committee are required, one of whom shall be the Attorney-General or the Deputy Attorney-General, and the Director of Public Prosecutions. If the hearing goes against Mwabukusi he is risking disbarment.
Are the Port Deal Critics Silenced?
Mwabukusi’s disciplinary call came two weeks after the other fierce critics of the contract, Advocate Pater Madeleka was remanded on July 17. Madeleka who had organized several press conferences with Mwabukusi was remanded following the court’s decision to annul the plea agreement entered between him and the Director of Public Prosecution in the previous unrelated case. Since July 17, 2023, Madeleka has remained in remand.
Another critic of the contract is the former President of the Tanganyika Lawyers Association, Rugemeleza Nshala who had reported on July 6, 2023, that threats have been made against him. Nshala was later called by the Police for questioning and also, his offices were searched by the Police, to date Nshala remains outside the country.
Another critic Bishop Maximilian Machumu claims that he was followed by unknown people after he had left a public rally against the port deal on July 23, 2023. Machumu reported that, on the next day July 24, the fire department came to inspect his church building and he believe it was linked to his opposition to the agreement.
Another critic of the contract Ahobokile Mwaitenda, claims that on July 07, 2023, he was stopped on the way by unknown people who warned him about his involvement in criticizing the port deal on social media, Mwaitenda reported that after he had ran to a Police station the assailant dispersed. Other critics including Deusdedith Soka and Mdude Nyangali have both been arrested in relation to their opposition to the deal.
Responding to claims of receiving threats on July 13, 2023, police released a statement, saying they have noticed several people coming out recently to report that they have received death threats for various reasons, urging anyone who feels that their lives are threatened to report to police