Police in Dar halts THRDC meeting

25Jun 2020
By Guardian Reporter
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Police in Dar halts THRDC meeting

​​​​​​​POLICE in Dar es Salaam yesterday stopped a meeting which was organised by Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC) saying they weren’t satisfied with the theme of the meeting.

Onesmo Olengurumwa

The incident occurred yesterday when 33 human rights defenders from 11 zones were getting prepared for the three-day meeting, which was to be held at Millennium Towers building in Dar es Salaam.

Speaking to journalists soon after the incident, coordinator of the coalition, Onesmo Olengurumwa said that police stormed into the meeting and arrested two facilitators of the meeting.

“We cannot proceed our training as police have arrested some THRDC staffs, the arrested staff were responsible for training facilitation,” said Olengurumwa.

According to him, civil society organisations conduct internal meetings to discuss various issues in relation to their operations.

“This was part of our usual internal meetings, may I call upon the police to stop interfering with our activities including internal meetings,” he said.

He claimed that earlier, police told them to stop the meeting since it was dangerous for them to meet in the presence of Covid-19 pandemic.

He wondered as to why the police have stopped them from conducting the meeting since the President has already allowed people to continue with their daily activities including public gatherings.

“We do not understand why the police have stopped us because we also considered social distancing by limiting the number of participants to only 33 out of 55, we did this to prevent the spread of coronavirus,” he said.

Olengurumwa said they have followed up the matter to Kinondoni Regional Commander, but no official was ready to provide them with clear statements.

He said some of the participants were from upcountry regions and were supposed to stay in the city for three days. He said police claims that THRDC did not inform the force on the kind of training it was providing.

“We were to train our members on issues regarding to safety and security, but police said they were the ones entitled to provide such education,” he added.

Kinondoni Regional Commander, Mussa Taibu confirmed the arrest of two THRDC staffs insisting that police had wanted to know the purpose of the meeting.

“We arrested the officials for interrogations; we wanted to know what the exact theme of the meeting was. We are not holding anyone,” Taibu stated.