The famous English Merriam-Webster dictionary defines treason as the offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance or to kill or personally injure the sovereign or the sovereign’s family.
Treason is ranked as one of the most serious offenses against a constitutionally established authority and in most countries it’s punishable by death. Google treason today and you will thousands of results all ending with serious legal consequences.
On 10th August 2023, a Tanzania lawyer, Boniface Mwabukusi made astonishing and unusual remakes after losing a court case. Flanked by few activists and local politicians, Mwabukusi declared he will see to it that he does everything possible to unset a constitutionally sworn in, Tanzania’s reformist President Samia Suluhu Hassan. His case, filled in Mbeya (a town in Tanzania’s southern highlands) was to oppose Tanzania – Dubai IGA that the country needed to reform it’s ports. For over 25 years Tanzania’s ports have been under local cartels whose sources suggest have a hand in funding the case.
Tanzania’s police swiftly apprehended Mwambukusi and another local politician Mdude Nyagali, and since then they have been under questioning for treasonous and seditious remarks. Others who have been apprehended are Dr. Wilibrod Slaa, a former key opposition figure who ditched the opposition for a diplomatic post under the late President John Magufuli. To the surprise of many, Dr. Slaa has on several occasions lately made serious seditious remarks urging Tanzanians to oppose the TZ-Dubai IGA by all means necessary including overthrowing the current government.
Tanzania like many other countries have been strict on treasonous acts since her independence. In 1964 the army was disbanded under Nyerere after few rogue officers went hay-way. A former key Nyerere Minister Mr Oscar Kambona fled Tanzania and died in exile also under the same charges leaving behind his compatriots who spent years in jail.
Treason and sedition are the most serious blow to peace and constitutionally established governments. Left unchecked they can push countries into years of conflicts, unrest and loss of lives. As reforming as she is, I hope Tanzania’s President, police and security organs ensures treasonous and seditious threats do not become a norm and destabilize a nation considered as the haven of peace in Africa’s great lakes region.
Tanzania’s security organs should also look beyond as it’s becoming a norm for other countries and internal actors to sponsor such acts aiming at destabilizing other nations for their gains. We have witnessed this in Egypt when Morsi was ousted, in former Zaire when Lumumba was assassinated, in Malawi when foreign money funded elections, and even the ongoing saga in Ethiopia.
Dr Hamza Sadiq