08.10.2008 @01:39 EAT Police: Chadema has declared war on us By Mussa Juma, Tarime THE CITIZEN Police in Tarime yesterday defended the use of rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse supporters of the opposition Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema), saying they had declared a war against the force. But Chadema condemned the attacks, calling them part of a wider plan by the police and the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi to help the party win this weekend�s parliamentary and civic by-elections in Tarime. The head of police special operations, Mr Venance Tossi, and Mara Regional Police Commander Liberatus Barlow described Monday�s disturbances as �war�, adding that this explained why many people were injured. �What happened yesterday (Monday) was war and in a war anything can happen. Chadema supporters decided to pelt us with stones and attack two of our vehicles. We had to respond accordingly,� Mr Tossi said. Police also arrested top Chadema officials, including the party�s candidate in the parliamentary by-election, Mr Charles Mwera, and the aspirant for the Tarime Ward civic seat, Mr Peter Eche. Others were national youth director John Mnyika and party officials Chacha Kapwani and Werema Mwita. Mr Barlow said the officials, who were among 29 people arrested during the disturbances, had been released on police bond but would be charged with illegal assembly and malicious damage to property. Three Chadema supporters were injured and admitted to Mara Regional Hospital. In Dar es Salaam, Chadema director of legal affairs Tundu Lissu yesterday condemned police �brutality� against Chadema supporters, saying police were engaging in partisan politics ahead of the by-election. �Hundreds of our supporters, particularly youths, have been arrested and are facing trumped up charges. This is part of a campaign of intimidation being carried out by the police on behalf of CCM�they want to scare Chadema supporters into staying away from polling centres on Sunday,� the advocate said. Mr Lissu added that police had devised different sets of rules for supporters of CCM and those of Chadema in the run-up to the election. �CCM officials and supporters have been openly breaking the law, but police have been turning a blind eye. They are only concentrating on Chadema supporters.� He added that CCM was using the death of former area MP Chacha Wangwe to win support, adding that this was threatening peace and worsening tensions. Mr Lissu said police were solely to blame for what was happening in Tarime, and cited the example of the police officer who was caught buying voters� cards but was not prosecuted as required by law. The party�s director of elections and campaigns, Mr Msafiri Mtemelwa, said police were being used by CCM to further the ruling party�s ambitions. �We know that the police are being used by CCM to help it win the election. We want Tanzanians to know that police are the source of violence in Tarime,� he said. At the same time, CCM and the opposition Democratic Party (DP) yesterday commended police for �preserving peace� in Tarime. DP chairman Christopher Mtikila and CCM�s acting director of propaganda, Mr Tambwe Hizza, said on separate occasions that police did a �good job� on Monday. Meanwhile, thousands of Tarime residents yesterday received Chadema chairman Freeman Mbowe when he arrived in the constituency. Mr Mbowe was received at Komaswa Village from where he was escorted to Tarime Town by hundred of chanting supporters. He later addressed a campaign rally which observers said was the biggest since the start of campaigns three weeks ago. Additional reporting by Mkinga Mkinga in Dar es Salaam.