John Mrema, the party’s director for Protocol, Communications and Foreign Affairs, said in a statement that the party leader was sent to the court without having representation of lawyers from the party or from his family.
“We received information from family members who visited him in remand at the Oysterbay police station that Mbowe was sick, but the police force didn’t send him to hospital,” he said.
Mbowe was arrested in Mwanza a week ago, hours before the start of a conference to agitate for a new constitution, with police force spokesman David Misime saying Mbowe was facing terrorism charges that include an alleged plot to kill national leaders.
“We have instructed our advocates to immediately seek audience with Mbowe at the Oysterbay police station. We also want the police force to take him to hospital because he has the rights to proper medical care in accordance with the country’s laws,” the director affirmed.
When contacted, the Dar es Salaam special police zone commander Jumanne Muliro said as to Mbowe’s illness that “one cannot sit there and say ‘I am sick’ then you want us to take you to the hospital. We have our own medical experts who attend to all detainees.”
Oysterbay police station has a hospital which offers services to detainees and other people around, “so it is not a matter of who should be taken to the hospital, because if all the people in our custody would demand being taken to hospital then you would see them in beds around hospitals in Dar es Salaam saying they are sick,” he asserted.
If confirmed sick, the opposition leader will be taken to hospital as it is the right of everyone, he stated, elaborating that if Mbowe was sick he would have been taken to hospital. “We have taken him to court, he is ok and charges have been read against him. Justice has directed us where to take him,” he further stated.
Last Thursday, Mwanza RPC Ramadhani Ng'anzi told reporters that the party national chairman was taken to Dar es Salaam for interrogation in relation to a separate criminal investigation.
On Friday, two opposition parties NCCR-Mageuzi and ACT-Wazalendo demanded that the police unconditionally release the national chairman and 15 other cadres then being held in custody in Mwanza.
In a joint statement signed by NCCR-Mageuzi national chairman James Mbatia and ACT-Wazalendo party leader Zitto Kabwe said the arrest of Chadema cadres was conducted in contravention of the mother law and legislation on political parties.
Freedom of assembly is guaranteed by article 20 (1) of the 1977 Constitution and section 11 of the Political Parties Act, they stated, asserting that the police force must “immediately and unconditionally release Chadema members and leaders including Mbowe.”
The two leaders appealed to supporters of democracy to condemn the arrest of the leaders which they said “eroded efforts being made to achieve national cohesion,” urging the government and top political leaders to sit with the opposition to discuss best ways of conducting politics without animosity.