CUF leader Prof Lipumba held for indoor meetings

27Jan 2020
The Guardian
CUF leader Prof Lipumba held for indoor meetings

AUTHORITIES in Handeni District in Tanga Region are holding the national chairman of the opposition Civic United Front (CUF) for convening indoor political meetings in the district.

Prof Ibrahim Lipumba

Prof Lipumba was arrested by police yesterday at Mbogoni Village in Mgwe Ward while holding an indoor meeting with party members in a house belonging to one of the members.

Handeni District Commissioner Godwin Gondwe confirmed the arrest of the politician, saying that Prof Lipumba was whisked away by officers for holding indoor political meetings, activities which he said are outlawed until later this year during general election campaigns.

Furthermore, Prof Lipumba is not an elected leader in the area therefore he has no reason to conduct political activities in the area, the DC asserted.

"We wanted to remind him that political meetings are not allowed unless you are a ward councillor or member of Parliament," he stated.

He declared that Prof Lipumba is a national leader of a party hence the district authorities need to be aware of his visit so that it prepares his personal police cover for security.

"So we arrested him to remind him what he was supposed to do."

When contacted, the Tanga Regional Police Commander Edward Bukombe did not pick his mobile phone.

The CUF local leader, Misima Ward councilor Masoud Mhina said the arrest was in violation of laws and regulations since as opposed to outdoor rallies, indoor meetings do not need police permits or security cover.

He said presently the party was in the process of bailing out its chairman and after that his lawyer will outline the next steps to take.

He said the police force was not upholding professional ethics, noting that the law enforcers are being used by powerful politicians tied with the ruling party.

He added: “Dr Bashiru (ruling party CCM Secretary General) came here and held public rallies with police protection and wooed eight of our councilors to defect but the police did not take any action. Yet, when we hold indoor meetings and open party branches they come to arrest us.”

He said Tanzania’s democracy is passing through hard times. “It’s on record that on January 27, 2001 there was massive suppression of our party in Zanzibar and now the same is being repeated here in the Mainland.”

Prof Lipumba was on a seven-day visit to Tanga Region where he was scheduled to tour seven districts.  In all the districts he visited he was confronted with police heavy-handedness, the ward councillor underlined.