Home Affairs minister Dr Emmanuel Nchimbi has instructed police to interrogate top officials of Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema) in connection with their claims that state intelligence and security agents are out to harm them through poisoning and torture.
The minister made remarks to that effect at a brief news conference he addressed here yesterday after the major opposition party raised concern on Sunday over the lives of some of its leaders, including himself.
Chadema National Chairman Freeman Mbowe told journalists on Sunday that the state agents have been suspiciously stalking party Secretary General Dr Wilbroad Slaa and Information and Publicity Director John Mnyika as well as former Arusha Urban legislator Godbless Lema “throughout the day with the intention of establishing what the party has been doing”.
But Dr Nchimbi said that, in making the allegations, Chadema leaders were creating unwarranted fear and tension in society. He then directed police to get to the bottom of the matter by interrogating all those behind the claims.
The minister wondered why Chadema leaders fell short of alerting police on the issue and instead chose to make the allegations to the media.
“The force (police) is a legal entity which operates independently because it is charged with protecting the citizenry’s lives and property,” he said, appealing to political leaders including Chadema’s to seek help from the law-enforcement agency whenever they feel threatened.
While acknowledging the presence of some problematic police officers, an issue he said the government was addressing, Dr Nchimbi noted that blaming the entire force on the strength of the misdeeds of a few irresponsible elements within its ranks would be rash and unfair.
“Chadema was once associated with the death of former Tarime legislator Chacha Wangwe, but the government has full trust and confidence in the country’s laws and easily let the law take its course,” he pointed out, in illustration.
However, Mbowe said at Sunday’s news briefing that they (Chadema) fully believed that it would serve no useful purpose for them to alert the police
Dr Slaa meanwhile declared that, as a political party, they have “impeccable underground sources within the government system which informed them on the plans (to harm their officials)”.
He said they were ready to be taken to court to testify over the matter since they had enough proof of their utterances.
“Intelligence officers should stop following Chadema officials, instead they should concentrate on their responsibilities. We are always accused and wrongly connected with some issues including doctors’ strikes… This is unfair because the doctors are demanding their rights and we have never asked them to do so,” he noted.
He added Chadema would not refrain from supporting people pressing the government to act in the people’s interest.
Mbowe meanwhile announced that Chadema concurred with religious leaders who have jointly appealed to President Jakaya Kikwete to sit down with doctors, with a view to finding a lasting end to their reservations and therefore forestall the recurrence of strikes over the working conditions of medical personnel.