An additional charge has been added against 25 members of the Maasai community who have been charged with the alleged murder of a police officer following clashes over land demarcation.
This comes after the Arusha Resident Magistrate’s Court yesterday dismissed an objection by lawyers defending the accused and allowed the Republic to alter the charge sheet and add the count of conspiracy to commit murder.
The accused, nine of them councillors from Ngorongoro District Council in Arusha Region, were arrested early this month following clashes between police and dozens of Maasai herders who were opposing government’s move to plant beacons on an area they consider to be their ancestral land.
Charged with them is also CCM’s Ngorongoro District chairman Ndaringo Laizer.
The accused are Molongo Paschal, Albert Selembo, Simeli Parmwati, 19, a student, Lekayoko Parmwati, 21, Sapati Parmwati, 30, Ingoi Olkedenyi Kanjwel, 20, Sangau Morongeti, Morijoi Parmati, 20, Morongeti Meeki, Kambatai Lulu, 40, Moloimet Yohana, 37 Ndirango Senge Laizer, 52 and Joel Clemes Lessonu, 54.
Others are Simon Orosikiria, 59, Damian Rago Laiza, Mathew Eliakimu, 41, Luka Kursas, 49, Taleng’o Leshoko, 37, Kijoolu Kakeya, 56, Shengena Killel, 34, Kelvin Shaso Nairoti, 33, Lekerenga Koyee, 68, Fred Victor, 39, Wilsom Kiling, 32 and James Taki, 28.
When the case was mentioned yesterday, a panel of 14 defence lawyers led by Jeremiah Mtobesya filed a legal challenge, asking the court to reject the request by the Republic to amend the charge sheet to ad an offence. Following the submission, the case was temporarily adjourned. When the court resumed resident magistrate Harrient Mhenga allowed state lawyers to alter the charge sheet, arguing that the requested changes were not fatal to either side of the case.
The Republic was represented by State Attorney Upendo Shemkole while the accused were being defended by Jebra Kambole, Joseph Ole Shangai, Peter Madeleka, Denis Mosses, Adolf Temba, William Ernest, Yonas Masiaya, Nicholous Ole Senteu, Samaito Mollel, Julius Lukumay, Ngeeyan Laizer, Deogratias Njau and John Lairumbe.
Defence lawyers strongly objected to the request, arguing that it was raised pre-maturely.
It was their submission that the charge sheet can only be amended or substituted when the case is at the hearing stage.
“This resident magistrate’s court has no jurisdiction to entertain and determine murder case,” they argued.
The accused now face two counts of conspiracy and murder.
Prosecution has alleged that the accused conspired to murder government and police officers who were deployed at the area to demarcate the land to make way for a game reserve.
In the second count, the accused are alleged to have killed a police officer, Garlus Mwita at Ololosokwan Village, Ngorongoro District. The case was adjourned to July 14.