Court in ‘whether or not’ mode to release Lema on bail today

THE High Court here is today expected to issue a ruling on whether Arusha Urban MP on CHADEMA ticket, Godbless Lema, who is facing sedition charges, should be released on bail or not.

Lema was arrested on November 2 in Dodoma and taken to Arusha before he was charged with issuing an insulting statement against President John Magufuli. Since then, he has remained in remand after his bail application flopped.
His decision to appeal against the decision to deny him bail is what resulted in the ongoing legal tussle between his lawyers and state attorneys.Last week, the High Court threw objections by the state, which contested Lema’s application for an extension of time to appeal a decision to deny him bail.
After hearing the application, Judge Dr Modesta Opiyo said she would give a ruling today. In her ruling on the state objections, she noted that they were not competent enough to be entertained by the court.
However, police were forced to use tear gas to disperse an irate crowd at the Regional Magistrate Court’s grounds when the appeal to have the outspoken MP released on bail was being heard.
It was when hundreds of Lema supporters started getting rowdy when the police realised that something needed to be done to quell the chaos.
State attorneys Hashim Ngole and Matenus Marandu stated that the defendant’s appeal breached Section 292 (1a) of the Criminal Procedure Act, which meant that Lema’s advocates – Mr Sheck Mfinanga and Mr Peter Kibatala -- needed to adjust their request.
The respondent’s advocates they had filed was in line with legal requirements for the requested bail. Advocate Kibatala, assisted by a team of other lawyers, opposed the injunction by the state, asking the court to review the application.