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October 10, 2012

Mwangosi death: The findings

  MCT: Killing was deliberate
Media Council of Tanzania executive secretary Kajubi Mukajanga (C ) and Editors Forum representative Jesse Kwayu display investigative report on the killing of Channel Ten TV journalist Daud Mwangosi by the police at Nyololo village in Mufindi district, Iringa region, which was compiled by a special team formed by MCT and the Editors Forum. The function was held in Dar es Salaam yesterday. (Photo: Selemani Mpochi)
The Media Council of Tanzania yesterday released a report of the probe team on the killing of Channel Ten reporter Daudi Mwangosi which accuses police of deliberately and consciously killing the journalist, who was covering Chadema activities at Nyololo village.
The report which was released by MCT Executive Secretary, Kajubi Mukajanga in Dar es Salaam yesterday indicated that Mwangosi was killed in cold blood at the hands of the police and under the close watch of the Iringa Regional Police Commander (RPC) Michael Kamuhanda.
Mukajanga said the report is abundantly supported by the facts collected from the field as well as by a review of video and other incriminating media output.
He said that the argument of mistaken identity is invalid, because police chased, beat up and harmed working journalists who they knew very well.
“Up to now, official statements over the killing of Mwangosi remain confusing. From the beginning, a massive cover-up was evident” he said.
According to the report, released by MCT, relations between Iringa Regional authorities including the police and journalists based there had been tense and suspicious since the last quarter of 2011, said Mukajanga.
Mukajanga gave an example of ITV Journalist Laurean Mkumbata who was severely beaten up in November, last year and his camera deliberately smashed by the then Iringa Officer Commanding District (OCD) Mohamed Semunyu.
He further said Iringa based journalists had also been maltreated by regional authorities while covering the Vice President’s tour in late February this year, adding that they had to take shelter inside a passenger bus they were travelling in as authorities allegedly ignored providing hotel accommodation.
However the probe team questioned why even before findings by the media and government investigation teams were made public, a police constable was arrested and charged with murder.
The report said picking only the junior police officer when at least six other officers under the close watch and direct command of RPC Kamuhanda are closely associated with the journalist’s harassment, torture and killing, baffles logic.
The report indicates that there were some journalists from Dar es Salaam who covered the skirmishes at Nyololo village pitting Chadema leaders and cadres against police, and in the interviews with the MCT probe team, the journalists wondered aloud why it was only their Iringa colleagues who were targeted.
However, the investigation by the MCT team could not establish if the killing of Mwangosi was pre-meditated.
For his part, the Union of Tanzania Press Club (UTPC), Executive Director, Abubakar Karsan said the country’s record has been marred and it has now joined list of countries which beat, harm and kill journalists.
Karsan added that there have been conflicts between journalist and the police for a long time over the right to have access to information.
“Police think that they are the ones with right to access information without knowing that journalists have the right to seek, have and report the information concerning everything, including the police force” said Karsan.
Reached for comment the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) Executive Director Helen Kijo-Bisimba questioned the logic of the government forming a probe team and at the same time filing a case against the police officer.
Bisimba said there was no need for government to prosecute the police constable while aware that the investigation was underway.
She added that the case could have involved many police officers and not only the junior officer.
The Guardian contacted Attorney General Frederick Werema for comments on the report, but he said he had yet to read the reports.
University of Dar es Salaam Senior Lecturer Professor Abudallah Safari said the media should play its role of informing the public on what has been revealed in the reports.
Safari added that the government through the minister of Home Affairs must come up with genuine findings indicating the source and the person who committed the murder and make them public.
Mwangosi was killed in September 2 this year in skirmishes between police and Chadema followers at Nyololo village in Iringa.


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