Mbozi. Chadema supporters were in cheerful mood yesterday after a district court ruling, which set free Mbozi Member of Parliament Pascal Haonga and two others.

The lawmaker, together with Mashaka Mwampashu and Wilfredy Mwalusanya, were charged with three counts of allegedly disrupting the election of Mlowo-Mbozi councillor’s assembly, blocking police offers from discharging their duties and refusing arrest order on August 28, last year.

Reading the judgement, the district resident magistrate, Mr Nemes Chami, said the prosecution side had failed to prove beyond doubt all the charges the accused were facing. “All witnesses brought by the prosecution side failed to prove that the trio committed the offences they were charged with,” said the magistrate.

“Therefore the court is setting them free, but the case is still open and the prosecutors can appeal the ruling.” Present at the court were Chadema senior leaders who included secretary general Dr Vicent Mashinji, chairman of Nyasa zone Peter Msigwa who doubles as the Iringa Urban MP and zone secretary Emmanuel Masonga.

Security was tight at the court premises as police officers were deployed to control people who had showed up at the court.

Eight other Chadema top leaders are facing 13 counts at the Kisutu Resident Magistrate Court for allegedly holding an unlawful demonstration in Dar es Salaam in the run-up to the February 16 parliamentary by-election in Kinondoni.

The accused are Chadema national chairman Freeman Mbowe, secretary general Dr Mashinji and his two deputies John Mnyika (Mainland) and Salum Mwalimu (Zanzibar).

Other legislators Mr Msigwa of Iringa Urban, Halima Mdee (Kawe), Ester Matiko (Tarime Urban) John Heche (Tarime Rural) and Ester Bulaya (Bunda).

In February, 2018, the Mbeya Resident Magistrate’s Court sentenced the Mbeya Urban MP, Mr Joseph Mbilinyi, to a five-month jail term for uttering abusive words against President John Magufuli.

Other MP who had served the jail sentence was Peter Lijualikali of Kilombero constituency in Morogoro region who in January last year, was sentenced five months six months after he was found guilty of attacking police men in early 2016.