Managing Editor of the Mwananchi Communications Limited (MCL), Mr Teophil Makunga

Reading the charge, the State Attorney, Ms Elizabeth Kaganda, told the court that on November 30, last year, within Dar es Salaam city, the accused, being an acting executive director of MCL printed a seditious matter titled “Waraka maalum kwa askari wote.” She detailed that the article appeared in Tanzania Daima a daily Swahili tabloid.

Before resident magistrate Warialwande Lema, the state attorney said the accused committed the offence contrary to section 32(1)(c) and 31(1)(a) of the Newspaper Act (2002) of Tanzania.

The plea
Mr Makunga, who is defended by two advocates, Mr Mabere Marando and Mr Frank Mwalongo, pleaded not guilty to the count. The prosecution informed the magistrate that investigations into the case have been concluded and asked the court to set a date for preliminary hearing.

Magistrate Lema told the accused that his bail is open if only he will be able to have two reliable sureties who will sign a TZShs5 million bond, with one of the sureties required to produce and deposit a title deed of immovable property valued at the same amount.

Mr Makunga was also told to hand over his passport to the court while at the same time he was ordered to report to the police station once a month and he was restricted from travelling outside the city without the court’s permission.

Mr Makunga fulfilled the conditions and he was released on bail.
Magistrate Lema has set April 24 this year for preliminary hearing of the case.

On March 8, this year, Mr Makunga was joined in the case which was earlier facing Editors Forum Chairman, Mr Absalom Kibanda, who is also the managing editor of the Tanzania Daima and the Arusha region chairman of the Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo, Mr Samson Mwigamba, the author of the article.

Mwananchi Communications Limited is a subsidiary of the Nation Media Group company spread throughout East Africa.

By Alex Bitekeye, Daily Monitor

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