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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Police ban rallies to congratulate MPs

29th November 2010

The ban on rallies to congratulate new members of parliament applied to all political parties, the Acting Inspector General of Police Commissioner Clodwig Mtweve has clarified.

He gave the clarification after being asked to comment on Chadema’s claim that the move was unconstitutional and an infringement on rights since it had targeted Chadema MPs alone.

The acting IGP said the move restricting all political parties from holding rallies and celebrations was taken to ensure security.

Mtweve said the directive was not meant for Chadema alone but applied to all political parties.

“All political parties are barred from holding such activities in open spaces. Police are busy with other activities and therefore cannot provide security to demonstrating parties,” he said.

He clarified that the force has not restricted public meetings, but banned demonstrations and celebrations in open spaces, because they cannot manage to provide security for them.

The commissioner cited an example last week when CCM authorities in Temeke district requested permission to demonstrate, but police outlawed it.

Mtweve said his office does not see any importance for political parties to carry out demonstrations.

“All political parties should understand this,” insisted the acting IGP, adding that the order has no time limit. “This is an order and it should remain so for all political parties,” the commissioner insisted.

The major opposition party in the country Chadema yesterday voiced strong opposition to the move by the police force to ban demonstrations and ceremonies to welcome its Members of parliament in their constituencies, saying that they will hold such meetings despite the ban.

They claimed that the order violated the autonomy of the parliament and was a criminal offence. Speaking yesterday at a press conference, Chadema Director of Justice, Constitutional Affairs and Human Rights and Chief Whip Tundu Lissu (MP) said the order has violated the constitution which gives the people the rights to assemble.

Lissu said Chadema MPs had received letters from the police restricting them from organising public meetings.

The law, according to Lissu, provides that the main duty of the police was to ensure successful conduct of MPs meetings.

“The MPs have the right to organize meetings and other authorities are supposed to provide necessary support to us by deploying security and police officers to the meetings,” he noted.

“It’s the responsibility of police to provide security instead of banning meetings of MPs. That’s why we are strongly objecting to the police order,” he added.

He said Chadema is contemplating to present a private motion in the Parliament to challenge unlawful and unconstitutional orders frequently issued by security and law enforcement agents.

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