THE Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court in Dar es Salaam on Friday directed sureties of former Singida East Member of Parliament (MP) Tundu Lissu to bring the accused to the court from wherever he is living and ensure he attends his sedition trial he is facing.
Principal Resident Magistrate Thomas Simba gave the directives when the case came up for hearing and insisted that the previous court orders, pinning down the sureties, Ibrahim Ahmed and Robert Katula over Lissu’s absence have not been vacated.
“I understand that there is an application for orders of warrant of arrest to be issued for you to bring the accused. The application will be determined as required, but your duty to ensure he attends the court session still exists. I want Lissu in court in the next hearing session,” the magistrate said.
However, one of the sureties requested the court to take into consideration the application they have filed so that the court could issue a warrant of arrest and that Lissu was hesitating to come back from Belgium where he is currently living for fear of his life.
Prosecuting attorney, Senior State Attorney Wankyo Simon, on the prosecution’s part, requested the court to grant them enough time to prepare their counter affidavit to effectively respond to the application, as they were served late.
Equally, Advocate Rwekama Rweikiza, who held brief of his co-counsel Peter Kibatala, for Lissu, also requested for adjournment of the hearing of the application so that he could get enough time to effectively represent his client on the matter.
The magistrate granted the requests and adjourned the case to March 10, 2020 for hearing of the application in question.
Other accused persons in the matter are two seasoned Journalists Simon Mkina and Jabir Yunus, as well as businessman and Printer Ismail Mehbood.
Charges they are facing include conspiracy to publish a seditious publication, publishing and printing a seditious publication and printing a newspaper without submission of an affidavit.
They are charged with an alternative count of intimidation to the charge of publishing a seditious publication. It is alleged that between January 12 and 14, 2016, at unknown place in the city, Yunus, Mkina and Lissu conspired together to publish a seditious publication.
According to the prosecution, the publication bore tile “Machafuko yaja Zanzibar,” in the newspaper namely Mawio dated January 14, 2016.
The prosecution alleged that the said accused persons published the seditious publication on January 14, 2016, in Dar es Salaam, with intent to excite disaffection to the citizen of Zanzibar against lawful authority of the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar.
On January 13, 2016, at Jamana House area in Ilala District, Mehbood printed the seditious publication contained in the newspaper for similar purposes and that they printed Mawio newspaper without prior submission of an affidavit to the Registrar of Newspapers.
Yunus, Mkina and Lissu were charged with an alternative count of intimidation to that of publishing seditious publication.
The prosecution told the court that the accused persons committed the offence on January 14, 2016.
It is alleged that wrongfully and without legal authority, the trio having published the article in controversy intimidated the people of Tanzania Zanzibar to refrain from the conduct of the re-run of the Zanzibar General Elections, 2016.
The accused persons, according to the prosecution, had indicated in the article that the re-run of the said elections would lead into an outbreak of war and public unrest, resulting into bloodshed.