“A NEW CHAPTER. Suluhu Samia has met and held talks with Freeman Mbowe hours after his release. Mbowe called for political tolerance, mutual party respect, peace, unity and democracy. He assured the President of full support from Chadema on achieving common goals” (The Citizen Tanzania, 04.03.2022).
On the 2nd November 2020 was the time Freeman Mbowe and other leaders of the CHADEMA party was arrested. He and his fellow party associates had planned to blow up petrol-stations. That was what SACP Lazaro Mambosasa said to the press that day.
While Mbowe has been behind bars since 21st July 2021. This means he has had more than 200 days behind bars, which the state suddenly dropped the case or the charges on him. He wasn’t alone to be arrested and other in the same case was released as well. This is a good step of the state. However, Mbowe and the others shouldn’t have been in prison in the first place.
Freeman Mbowe had no reasons to be a felon, a criminal or be a jailbird. Neither should anyone else for their political affiliation or will to want to reform or have a referendum on the Constitution. Which was the main reason for the arrests, charges and total rampage the state served the opposition in the United Republic at one point.
That the charges was dropped today and released hours later. In addition, getting an invitation and talking with the President is something else. He went from being a “terrorist” into a viable political leader, which could talk and have dialogue with the Head of State. That is really showing changes, but also the openness of CHADEMA in Tanzania.
Freeman could have been defiant and reluctant. As the state has targeted him and made him a political prisoner. A prisoner of conscience … and all he tried to do. Was to hold meetings and conferences internally in the CHADEMA party to talk of reforming the Constitution. That was “illegal” and reasons for his now extensive criminal record.
He happens to be the party president of the biggest opposition party. The Presidential Candidate of the Party is still in exile. The President held talks with him Tundu Lissu last month. So, she has now talked to the both of them. Which has given people hope, but also shows signs of moderation from a former hostile government.
To see Mbowe in the State House is positive. It is symbolic … and it is a publicity scoop for the President. While it is hectic to defend a former “terrorist” suddenly in the chambers of power. However, we know the charges and the reasoning for it was bogus. It was charges taken out of thin-air and excuses to hold him captive. Nevertheless, today was a good day. Though I don’t expect much out of it. Peace.