Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Legislator, colleague arrested over uttering of seditious content

Member of Parliament for Mbeya Urban, Mr Joseph

Member of Parliament for Mbeya Urban, Mr Joseph Mbilinyi, 

By Godfrey Kahango @TheCitizenTz

Mbeya. The Member of Parliament for Mbeya Urban, Mr Joseph Mbilinyi, a.k.a Sugu, and the opposition Chadema Secretary for the Southern Highlands zone, Mr Emmanuel Masonga, on Tuesday, January 3, were arrested and later released on bail over allegations of uttering words could sow seeds of discord between the public and the government.

The words were said to have been uttered on December 30, in Mbeya City.

The duo arrived the Mbeya Main Police Station at 10am for questioning by police following a call by Regional Crimes Officer (RCO). They were released at 15:30pm.

Mbeya regional Police commander Mohammed Mpinga said the reasons of holding and questioning Sugu and Masonga were to get the truth and statistics from them over the things they had spoken of because they (police) saw the utterances as sowing hatred between the public and the government.

Mr Mpinga said the two spoke about killings of people, whose bodies were then disposed of in polyethylene bags before they were tossed into the sea.

However, the RPC said the suspects had no evidence and that their utterances aimed at sowing seeds of hatred between the members of the public and the government.

The RPC also said that their utterances aimed at supporting a recent statement made by Bishop Kakobe including mentioning the name of the Mbeya Regional Commissioner, Mr Amos Makalla, that the latter was assisting the Deputy Speaker, Dr Tulia Ackson, in carrying out her political agenda in Mbeya Urban as preparations for her to contest for the parliamentary seat in the 2020 general election.

The RPC said the two were released on bail after questioning and that they would be required to report to his office on Friday.

Speaking, Sugu said their arrest was the continuation of silencing the arguments of the opposition in faulting the Executive, explaining that neither he nor the Opposition would ever keep silent when matters went wrong in the country.

Said he, “I have been questioned over the words they claim to be seditious content. I had said in the meeting that people were being shot at, abducted and made to disappear. President John Magufuli might end up losing respect. Differences of views is a health thing.”

For his part, Mr Masonga said he was surprised to be arrested by police before being questioned for incitement. However, he insisted that what he uttered during the meeting was what he believed in.

“My words were meant to pressure the government to take action and properly investigate these killings and abductions. Of course, government officials do interpret such utterances seditious content,” said Mr Masonga.