Lema’s bail bid flops, to miss festive season bash

OPPOSITION Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA)’s Member of Parliament (MP), Godbless Lema, will spend Christmas and Boxing Day in remand following the adjournment of his case to December 30. High Court Judge Monesta Opiyo yesterday directed the Arusha Urban MP defence counsel back to the drawing board and re-file legislator’s appeal for bail and present them before the court within ten days. Following the order, Lema was whisked back to remand prison to wait for the outcome of the bail application on December 30. The ten days of awaiting mean that Lema will celebrate both Christmas and Boxing holidays behind bars. The outspoken legislator who has been in remand since November 2 is facing seditious charges, including insulting the head of state and inciting mutiny. Lema is in Kisongo main prison following his arrest on November 2, 2016 at the Parliament’s premises in Dodoma and arraignment in an Arusha court on November 8, 2016.

On the other hand, Lema’s wife, Neema, is this week appearing before court to answer charges of insulting and threatening the Arusha Regional Commissioner (RC), Mr Mrisho Gambo, using short messages sent from her cellular phone handset.

Last week, during one of the case sessions, the police here had to use tear gas to disperse an irate crowd that thronged the Regional Magistrate Court grounds when the appeal for the release of the lawmaker on bail was heard.

State Attorneys, Hashim Ngole and Matenus Marandu objected to the appeal, arguing that it had breached section 292 (1a) of the Criminal Procedure Act, demanding Lema’s advocates, Sheck Mfinanga and Peter Kibatala to adjust their requests.

The defendant’s advocates, however, stuck to their guns, maintaining that whatever they filed was within the legal requirements for their client’s bail application. Advocate Peter Kibatala, assisted by a team of other lawyers, opposed the state injunction, asking the court to review the application.

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