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Tanzanian opposition leader Zitto Kabwe charged with sedition and inciting hatred

Devdiscourse News Desk
Updated: 02-11-2018 21:43 IST

A Tanzanian opposition leader was charged on Friday with sedition and inciting hatred days after he said scores died in clashes between officers and herdsmen in his western home district - a statement dismissed by authorities.

Zitto Kabwe, a regular critic of the government, told a news conference on Sunday that at least 100 people died during clashes in Kigoma in mid-October.

He was detained three days later, then charged in court on Friday and released on a 10 million shilling ($4,400) bond, his Alliance for Change and Transparency-Wazalendo party said.

Kigoma Police Commander Martin Otieno told Reuters that just two herdsmen and two officers had died during an operation to stop the pastoralists keeping livestock illegally on a government-owned ranch.

Friday's charge sheet said Kabwe "with intent to bring hatred to the citizens of ... Tanzania against the lawful authority of the government ... issued a press release to the public with seditious words against the Tanzania police force."

Kabwe pleaded not guilty, his wife Anna Bwana said on WhatsApp.

Kabwe split away from the main opposition CHADEMA movement in 2015 and is now his party's only MP.

The East African country has been one of the continent's most stable, but opposition leaders and rights groups have accused the government of cracking down on dissent - an accusation it dismisses.

Two opposition leaders were sentenced to five months in prison in February for insulting President John Magufuli.

(With inputs from agencies.)

COUNTRY : Tanzania