Mwanza. The saga involving the Chadema national chairman, Mr Freeman Mbowe, took a new turnyesterday when the police said it was holding the opposition leader for questioning over allegations of terrorism and a plot to kill government leaders.
The police said in its statement yesterday that Mr Mbowe was being held in connection with the allegations that were also made against six other people who have already been arraigned in court in court.
The statement, signed by the police spokesperson, Mr David Misime, said the law enforcers had been compelled to issue a statement on why they were holding Mr Mbowe after realising that his party was releasing misleading statements regarding the reasons behind the arrest of the party’s national chairman.
Chadema had said that Mr Mbowe was being held for interrogations for organising a forum in Mwanza that was meant to deliberate on demands for anew constitution. Police had however aborted the forum that was to be held at a hotel in Mwanza.
Police said yesterday that Mr Mbowe was aware that he was being investigated even before he left Hai in Kilimanjaro for Mwanza where he was later arrested.
In the meanwhile, the management of a tourist hotel that was to host the aborted forum said yesterday that it was counting losses, emanating from the decision by police to temporarily turn the place into a crime zone on Tuesday
On Tuesday, police with guns and tear gas closed entrance and exitto and from the Tourist Hotel inthe Kitangiri area where the Katiba Mpya (new consdtitution) forumorganiszed by Chadema was to take place.
To render the area impenetrable, the entrance to the hotel was also ‘ring-fenced’ with a caution tape (scene barrier) to prevent people from gaining access while the road from Kona ya Bwiru to Kitangiri where hotel is situated was also closed by police vehicles.
The hotel’s manager, Mr Simon Lemamba, told The Citizen yesterday that they had registered a loss amounting to in the region of Sh1.8 million because customers were unable to access the facility for drinks, food and other services on that eventful day.
Chadema only managed to makean advance payment of Sh100,000 out of the agreed Sh600,000 for conferencing at the hotel.
“As we are talking, my employer is asking me if I have received the remaining Sh500,000, but unfortunately, my calls are not being replied to,” said Mr Lemamba.
He said when he met with the national chairman for Chadema’s youth wing (Bavicha), Mr John Pambalu, the agreement was that it would be a mere internal meeting which would be attended by 200 participants.
“Unfortunately, when the day of the meeting arrived (Wednesday), I received a call from a person who identified himself as a government official, informing me that the hotel was surrounded by police because it was hosting a political rally,” said Mr Lemamba.
It has however taken time before the police finally made it open that they were holding Mr Mbowe and 15 party other members, claiming that they were being interrogated over several offences.
Mwanza Regional Police CommanderRamadhani Ngh’anzi said Mr Mbowe and his accomplices were arrested at dawn July 21. The opposition leader was arrested at the Kingdom Hotel located at Ghana street in Mwanza Region.
Commander Ngh’anzi said Mr Mbowe and his associates were being held on allegations of conspiracy to commit crimes and disturbing peace by organiszing a ‘New Constitution’ conference without seeking permission from the law enforcers.
“The Mwanza Regional Commissioner (Robert Gabriel) announced a ban on unnecessary gatherings due to the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“However, Chadema leaders organised the so-called conference to demand a new constitution by mobilising and holding rallies at the Tourist Hotel at Kona ya Bwiru,” said Commander Ngh’anzi.
He said the decided to arrest the leaders after they defied the legitimate order of authorities in Mwanza.
He said the arrest of Mr Mbowe followed intelligence information that he was about to engage himself in a plot to commit crimes and breach of the peace.
“After his arrest, our Dar es Salaam colleagues told us that they were also looking for him for other offences that he is alleged to have committed there,” said Mr Ngh’anzi, noting that this was why how the opposition leader had to be sent to Dar es Salaam.
He said after completion of interrogations with the police in Dar es Salaam, Mr Mbowe would be returned to Mwanza to answer the charges that the police will determine after completing the exercise.