Africa, News Watch, Side Feature

50 Year Sentence for Terrorism Suspects Denotes Failure of War on Terror Propaganda in Tanzania

On 16/12/2022, the High Court of United Republic of Tanzania, the Corruption and Economic Crimes Division at Songea, South of Tanzania (sub registry) sentenced six Muslims including an elderly of 73 years old to 50 years in prison after “convicting” them of terrorism and plotting to overthrow the government.

According to Judge Yose Mlyambina, the accused enjoyed intimate relationship with other externally jihadist group conspired to disrupt the peace of the country and overthrow the government.

It is very unfortunate that the ‘accused’ Muslims were oppressed with unjust and perversion of legal procedures. They were arrested since July 2020 and detained for two years and five months pending investigation. This means they were arrested first, then the issue of investigation followed later. Furthermore, these Muslims were denied their basic rights such as deprived of legal representation, family visitation, taken to unknown places and forced to sign legal documents.

In this particular sentence it is very unconvincing to believe that a family of six villagers with no weapons can overthrow a militarily equipped government located at Dodoma which is more than 700km, or Dar es Salaam which is more than 900km from Songea where the accused resided. Can the government of Tanzania be overthrown by a group of allegedly six weaponless relatives from a village? We all know this is impossible.

In reality this sentence represents nothing but the evil of Western imposed war on ‘terror’ propaganda in Tanzania. Also, it seemed as catalyst to invigorate terror campaign following the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) measure to drop a number of ‘terrorism’ charges, admitted that they lack cogent evidence to proceed with them.

In all ‘terrorism’ charges, many fundamental questions arise such as: Why are detainees not given a right to trial in reasonable time? Why are detainees who are presumed innocent not released on bail? Why is there an obvious sense of intimidation and harassment in these cases? And even more fundamentally, why are people arrested and detained for years when the prosecution itself admits openly in court that investigations are still ongoing meaning that they do not have the evidence to charge them even after years? What appears is existence of an oppressive agenda in the pretext of combating terrorism and a terrible abuse of the fundamental rights of human beings.

Indeed war on ‘terror’ is a tool used by Western Capitalists to exploit developing countries and intervene in their security system by corrupting their leaders with money under the name of funds for fighting ‘terrorism’. As alleged by then President of United States Donald Trump in 2016 that it was Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton who created the ISIS ‘terror’ group. Time is up for the developing nations including Tanzania to abandon capitalism and abolish its Prevention of Terrorism Act, which has proved not only to be colonial with external agenda but also targets single group of people in the community (Muslims). Instead to focus on supporting alternate ideology of Islam as fair and just ideology for all humankind.

Said Bitomwa
Member of the Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir in Tanzania