The Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court in Dar es Salaam yesterday granted bail on opposition lawmaker, Tundu Lissu, when he was arraigned on five counts relating to uttering words intended to wound religious feelings, raise discontent and ill-will for unlawful purposes.
Lissu, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Singida East Constituency under Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema), is alleged to have committed the offences on January 11, this year, during election campaign for Dimani Constituency at Kombeni area in Zanzibar.
Before Principal Resident Magistrate Respicius Mwijage, the party’s Chief Legal Advisor and oppositions’ Chief Whip in Parliament denied the charges, though he admitted to have spoken the words, saying they were the truth, not seditious and could not amount to criminal offence.
The magistrate granted him bail on one condition of securing a reliable surety, who signed a bond of 10m/-. He was, alternatively, required to sign a self-bond of a similar amount in case he could not manage to get a reliable surety.
The lawmaker managed to get a surety who bailed him out. Magistrate Mwijage adjourned the case to April 3, for preliminary hear ing, as investigations into the matter, according to the prosecution, led by Principal State Attorney Faraja Nchimbi and Senior State Attorney Nassoro Katuga, have been completed.
His arraignment comes just a day after he was arrested by the police in Dodoma region on Thursday on claims of failure to report to the Central Police Station in Dar es Salaam, where he was undergoing some interrogations on the charges in question.
Reading the charges against Lissu, the prosecution told the court that the statements given by him were deliberated at wounding religious feelings of the Muslim Community of Zanzibar and likely to promote feelings of ill will between different communities of persons of the United Republic of Tanzania.
This is the forth case Lissu is facing before the same court. In the first case, the legislator is charged alongside two other accused persons with publishing seditious material in Mawio newspaper dated January 14, 2016, relating to rerun of elections in Zanzibar.
The second case related to uttering other seditious statements, while the third one involves three seditious and court contempt charges. He is alleged to have abused the President, Dr John Magufuli and showing disrespect to the court following his alleged conducts of issuing seditious words.