Police release Sheikh Ponda after nine days in custody

Tuesday July 21 2020

Secretary of the Islamic Communities and

Secretary of the Islamic Communities and Institutions in Tanzania, Sheikh Ponda Issa Ponda 

By Bakari Kiango @TheCitizenTZ bkiango@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. Police yesterday released on bail the secretary of the Islamic Communities and Institutions in Tanzania, Sheikh Ponda Issa Ponda after holding him for about nine days.
Sheikh Ponda was arrested on July 11, this year, at his Bungoni office in Ilala, for allegedly circulating a document containing elements of incitement and breach of peace towards the 2020 general election.
According to the regional police commander, Mr Lazaro Mambosasa, the document appears to have been issued by Sheikh Ponda who is also the secretary of the Council of Imams.
The police released him yesterday afternoon on bail and asked the cleric to report again around 2pm, according to his secretary, Ibrahimu Mkondo who spoke to this newspaper. In a statement to the media, Mr Mkondo said Sheikh Ponda’s health was good after the release.
“Ponda will speak to the media after a short break. The day, time and venue, will be communicated,” Mr Mkondo said in a press statement issued shortly after Sheikh Ponda’s release. Rights activists and opposition parties voiced their concerns over the arrest of Sheikh Ponda and holding him without charging the suspect in court. Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) asked the police to observe the country’s laws including the need to charge suspects within 24 hours of arrest or grant bail.