Vodacom raises an objection against Kabendera’s $10 million lawsuit

Journalist Erick Kabendera is escorted by police officers at the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court in Dar es Salaam on August 19, 2019. PHOTO | COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • The case, currently heard at the High Court in Dar es Salaam, sees Kabendera accusing Vodacom of facilitating his arrest by the police, an incident he describes as abduction

Dar es Salaam. Vodacom Tanzania Plc, a mobile telecommunications service provider, has filed its defense in a case where journalist Erick Kabendera is claiming $10 million (approximately TZS 28 billion).

The case, currently heard at the High Court in Dar es Salaam, sees Kabendera accusing Vodacom of facilitating his arrest by the police, an incident he describes as abduction, which subsequently led to his prosecution for economic sabotage in 2019.

Kabendera was arrested at his home on July 29, 2019, and detained for several days before being formally charged.

In his lawsuit, Kabendera claims to have suffered economic and non-economic damages, including social, mental, and reputational harm, loss of enjoyment of life, personal development, and societal trust.

He is seeking compensation from Vodacom for the claimed amount, along with court-mandated interest from the date of judgment until full payment.

Additionally, he requests compensation for general damages as assessed by the court, legal costs, and any other relief deemed appropriate.

Case number 12799/2024, presided over by Chief Magistrate Salma Maghimbi, was mentioned in court today, Tuesday, July 9, 2024. Both parties were required to appear, with Vodacom expected to submit its defense documents.

During the court session, Lawyer Peter Madeleka, representing Kabendera, informed the court that they had received Vodacom's response to their claims from Lawyer Gaspar Nyika. Madeleka stated their intention to file objections against the case.

"Your Honor, there is a notice of objection; we request a procedure to hear it before the main proceedings proceed, and we request it to be heard in writing," said Lawyer Madeleka.

In response, Lawyer Nyika confirmed to the court that they had submitted their defense response along with preliminary objections.

Regarding Madeleka's request for a written objection hearing, Lawyer Nyika agreed.

In their defense statement seen by The Citizen, Vodacom denies all allegations made by journalist Kabendera regarding their involvement in his arrest, which he refers to as abduction.

Instead, Vodacom challenges Kabendera to substantiate these allegations.

In their objection, the company cites legal grounds against the hearing of this case, arguing lack of jurisdiction due to its filing outside the statutory period. Following this objection, the court is obligated to hear and decide on it before addressing the main case.

Therefore, Judge Maghimbi has ordered the objection to be heard in writing, directing Vodacom to submit its arguments defending its objection by July 23, 2024, and Kabendera to submit responses by August 6, 2024.

Additional responses by Vodacom, if any, are due by August 13, with a ruling scheduled for August 21, 2024.

If the court agrees with Vodacom's objection, the case will be dismissed unless Kabendera appeals to the Court of Appeal.

If the objection is dismissed, the main case will proceed to determine whether Kabendera has proven his claims against the company, followed by appropriate court orders.