Saturday, February 10, 2018

Court grants bail to MP ‘Sugu’ and co-accused

Mbeya Urban MP Joseph Mbilinyi ‘Sugu’ (right)

Mbeya Urban MP Joseph Mbilinyi ‘Sugu’ (right) chats with fellow opposition Chadema officials at Mbeya Resident Magistrate’s Court where he was granted bail yesterday. PHOTO | GODFREY KAHANGO 

By Godfrey Kahango @TheCitzenTz

Mbeya. Opposition legislator Joseph Mbilinyi ‘Sugu’ (Mbeya Urban) and Chadema’s secretary for the Southern Highlands Zone Emmanuel Masonga were yesterday granted bail in a case in which they are being accused of uttering disgraceful statements against President John Magufuli.

The two appeared before Mbeya Resident Magistrate Michael Mteite who adjourned their case to February 26, this year when a ruling will be made.

It is the State’s case that the two committed the offence at Mwenge Primary School grounds in Mbeya city on December 30 last year.

The court has denied them bail in the past.

Testifying yesterday, Mbeya Regional Crimes Officer (RCO) Modestus Chambu told the Resident Magistrate’s Court that he had received information about the hate speech allegedly uttered by the two against President Magufuli.

Defence lawyer Peter Kibatala Kibatala questioned the witness why he had sent his officers to the meeting where the two allegedly uttered the words.

The witness told the court that as the RCO he had the obligation to investigate and follow up on issues related to security in his area of jurisdiction.

After the defendents’ lawyer’s questioning, a state attorney, Mr Joseph Pande, asked also the RCO: “What do the words uttered by the accused mean to you?”

The senior police officer replied: “Without blinking my eyes, these words are disgraceful, and they humiliate the President.”

The fourth witness for the defence team, Ms Grace Malya, who is the wife of the second accused (Masonga), told the court that at the time of the meeting where the words were allegedly uttered her husband was at their Nsalaga home-Uyole in Mbeya Region, and he was taking care of her because she was sick.

A legal battle emerged on Thursday between the state attorney and the defendants’ advocate, Mr Peter Kibatala, a move that forced the magistrate to adjourn the case for consultations in his office.

The defendents’ side wanted to start with their main witness, the Regional Crime Officer (RCO), a move that was objected by the plaintiff.

That left Magistrate Mteite was stuck for a minute.