Chairman of the Civic United Front (CUF), Ibrahim Lipumba, pleaded not guilty in a Dar es Salaam court on Wednesday, for holding political rallies without a permit. The news led some lawmakers to walk out of parliament in protest.
According to the AFP, police claim CUF supporters “staged a demonstration marking the 14th anniversary since 21 party members were killed by police during protests on Zanzibar over the alleged rigging of the general election in 2000.” Tanzania’s next election is in October.
The National Convention for Construction and Reform leader, James Mbatia, said of the incident: “This is not a small matter, because Lipumba is a party leader with many MPs in the House, and CUF also jointly [run] the national unity government in Zanzibar. He cannot be treated that way.” Lipumba is set to appear in court on February 25.