Lissu suerity withdrawal hits a brick wall

Wednesday July 15 2020

Former Singida East MP Tundu Lissu. Courtesy

Former Singida East MP Tundu Lissu. Courtesy Picture 

By Pamela Chilongola

Dar es Salaam. Prosecutors yesterday objected a bid by people who stood surety for former Singida East legislator Tundu Lissu to withdraw from the bond, saying they should continue obeying court orders.

 In February, Mr Robert Katula and Mr Ibrahim Hemed asked the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court to issue an arrest warrant of the firebrand politician, who is in a self-imposed exile in Belgium because they had failed to trace him.

 They also asked the court to with- draw the surety bond for Mr Lissu. However, the prosecution side yesterday submitted a preliminary objection against the request asking the court to throw out the application.

 State attorney Simon Wankyo, who read the statement at the court, said the accused had already violated bail conditions since he was released from hospital and that the sureties knew where Mr Lissu was. He said the sureties should make sure they report to the court in accordance with orders.

 “We need some 14 days to com- municate in writing and go through some previous court orders,” said Mr Simon who demanded time to scan the file of the case. Principal resident magistrate Thomas Simba postponed the case until August 19,2020 when the case will be mentioned.

 Mr Lissu, the main opposition party’s (Chadema) vice chairman, who recently picked up nomination forms for presidency of Tanzania, and three others, were charged with sedition in 2016.

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 The other co-accused are editors of Mawio newspaper, Mr Simon Mkina and Jabir Idrisa and the director of Jamana Printers, Mr Ismael Mehboob.

 It was alleged that between January 12 and 14, 2016 in Dar es Salaam, Mr Idris, Mr Mkina and Mr Lissu published a story with the headline “Violence coming to Zanzibar”, which prosecutors allege fuelled hate among the people of Zanzibar.

 Mr Mehboob is accused of printing the Mawio newspaper on January 13, 2016 at his printing house located in Ilala, which contained seditious material.

Mr Lissu is in Belgium where he was taken for treatment and rehabilitation after he was hit multiple times in a failed assassination attempt in 2017 in the capital Dodoma.

Since then, he has not shown up in court to attend the sedition case he faces.