Tanzania arrests senior opposition member

June 6, 2011 12:00 am

, ARUSHA, June 6 – A top member of Tanzania\’s main opposition party was briefly detained for organising an unauthorised meeting, just hours after police arrested his party\’s leader, an opposition spokesman said Sunday.

Zitto Kabwe, the deputy secretary general of Chadema, the main opposition force to President Jakaya Kikwete, was arrested late Saturday in Singida but was released an hour and a half later, party spokesman Erasto Tumbo told AFP.

Kabwe "was holding a meeting with the public…We were told police charged him for organising the meeting beyond the authorised time limit. That\’s all we know for now," he added.

The senior official\’s arrest came just hours after Chadema leader Freeman Mbowe was detained in Dar-es-Salaam following a court order related to his involvement in a protest earlier this year.

Mbowe faces several charges stemming from a January 5 rally in Arusha protesting against electoral fraud in the country\’s October vote.

The government declared the rally illegal, and charged Mbowe and 18 others with conspiracy to commit an offence, unlawful assembly and rioting. Three people were killed in the ensuing crackdown, according to official figures.

The warrant was issued when Mbowe did not attend a court appearance in Arusha on May 27 and failed to send a representative explaining the reasons for his absence.

On Thursday, Judge Charles Magesa urged police to execute the warrant.


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