Mbowe seeks to reassure as Chadema woes persist - The Citizen

Mbowe seeks to reassure as Chadema woes persist

Saturday March 16 2019

Opposition Chadema national chairman Freeman

Opposition Chadema national chairman Freeman Mbowe addresses journalists at a press conference in Dar es Salam yesterday. PHOTO | SAID KHAMIS 

By Khalifa Said @ThatBoyKhalifax ksaid@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. Chadema chairman Freeman Mbowe has sought to reassure his party supporters that the crisis-hit opposition outfit remains vibrant.

Mr Mbowe was speaking at a press conference in Dar es Salaam yesterday, his first public address since he was released from remand last week.

The opposition leader spent three months in remand together with the party’s Women Wing (Bavicha) treasurer Esther Matiko.

They were arrested last November after twice failing to appear in court to face charges of illegal protests.

Since then, their bid for bail has been futile.

It was only last week when the Court of Appeal ruled to have their bail reinstated.

“As a victim of democratic transformation of this country, I would like to assure Tanzanians that there is nothing that can be done against me to change my resolve in what I believe,” he told reporters.

He said he was closely monitoring political development while in remand during the past three months.

Mr Mbowe, who doubles as the Hai MP, also spoke on the decision by former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa to quit Chadema and return to the ruling CCM.

The former PM, who apparently had a strong backing from Mr Mbowe since his shock defection to the opposition in 2015, gave no reason for his decision, apart from saying he was just returning home.

“I was disappointed,” said the opposition leader. “If I told you that I was happy, I would be lying.”

He, however, assured his party supporters that life would go on for the opposition despite the setbacks.

“We will remain resolute in our project to build a democratic Tanzania,” said Mr Mbowe.

He also condemned the actions of the country’s security apparatus saying Tanzania had been turned into a “police state” in which people were living in “constant fear”.

Meanwhile, both Mr Mbowe and Ms Matiko expressed concerns about the situation in prisons. “The situation is a clear testimony of our broken justice system,” he said.