- Posted September 3, 2012 by
dar es salaam, Tanzania
TV journalist killed as police, Chadema clash
Iringa. A journalist yesterday become the victim of confrontation between the Police Force and Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo when he was hit by a gas canister.
According to ITV/Radio One journalist, Mr Renatus Mutabuzi, Mr David Mwangosi, a journalist with Channel Ten, died at Nyololo Village in Mufindi South, as police lobbed teargas canisters to disperse a group of Chadema supporters who were witnessing the opening of a party branch office at the village.
According to Radio One broadcasts yesterday evening, before starting the use of force, the police ordered people who were at the area to disperse.
“This was after Chadema earlier launched a branch office in another village. But when they arrived at Nyololo, the police asked people to disperse because rallies and demonstrations had been banned.
“Police started to use teargas canisters, one of which hit the Channel Ten journalist who was about 100 metres from the new Chadema office where people had gathered to witness the launch. His stomach was ripped open and I believe that he died on the spot,” said Mr Mutabuzi when filing the report.
When Radio One contacted the Iringa regional police commander, Mr Michael Kamuhanda, the police boss declined to comment on grounds that he was not in a good position give a statement.
“I am travelling, please call me later... I don’t have enough information,” he said and hung up on the inquisitive journalist.
Mr Mwangosi becomes the second person to be killed in conflicts pitting the Police Force and the opposition party in the space of two weeks. On August 27, one Ally Zona was killed in Morogoro as police dispersed Chadema supporters who were gearing up for a demonstrations.
Earlier in the day, Chadema vowed nothing would stop from conducting political activities despite a police order that such business should wait until the conclusion of the national population and housing census.
But Chadema cried foul, claiming that the police move was in contravention of the agreement reached one week ago to the effect that the party should suspend its rallies to pave the way for the completion of crucial national exercise.
The party said it sent an alert to the international community over what it termed State interference with the opposition party’s right of assembly and freedom to conduct political activities.
But with the police order that no political activity would be carried out until the census, which has been pushed back for a week, is over, Chadema secretary general Willibrod Slaa told reporters here that his party was now fed up with police interference and have vowed to continue with their activities with or without police blessings.
“We are going to conduct our rallies as planned, come what may... if they want to kill us, let them go ahead and kill us,” he said.
Chadema had planned to kick of its Movement for Change (M4C) campaign at Mwembetogwa grounds yesterday after postponing it for five days following a plea by the Inspector General of Police Said Mwema.
However, when the earlier census timetable ended on Saturday, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced an extension of the exercise in order to ensure all Tanzanians are counted.
Iringa regional police commander Michael Kamuhanda announced the ban only few hours before the first Chadema rally was to take place. He warned the party’s supporters against acting against the order, as “police will stop at nothing to ensure that the order is observed, willingly or by force.”
“The police has stopped all political and social public activities in the region... therefore, no rally or demonstration will be allowed until census is completed,” said Mr Kamuhanda.
He said the police made the decision following a request by the national census commissioner.
“This is an order and the police won’t entertain any argument in this issue. We only expect that people obey the order so that we avoid the use of force,” he warned, adding:
“If Chadema disobeys this order, we will definitely use everything within our ability to enforce it. We are well prepared and ready to ensure that the order is observed... it is better for Chadema realise this!”
But speaking after receiving the police order, the M4C operation commander in Chadema, Mr Benson Kigaila, said his party was amazed that the police have been constantly interfering with the party’s activities.
“Let me remind you in case you have forgotten. In Morogoro, the police banned our rallies because of the census. They then outlawed our demonstrations because ostensibly because of the tiny roads in Morogoro. Just imagine, how does Morogoro roads differ with others in the country?” he questioned.
“We planned to begin our meetings in Iringa on August 28 but we were forced to postpone them following a plea from the IGP. We agreed to show our patriotism but today we are being blocked again; when are we going to get the opportunity to practice politics freely?” question Mr Kigaila.
For his part, Dr Slaa said that police have now gone too far in “their bid to frustrate opposition party activities.”
“When I was informed that our meetings in Iringa have also been banned, I phoned IGP Mwema and reminded him of our agreement. He told me that he was in Tanga and I should give him time to consult and he would call back, but he never did. In the evening, I sent him a text message and later he called m and insisted that our activities in Iringa have to stop,” he told reporters.
Dr Slaa said he is certain the police are frustrating Chadema at the behest of some powers elsewhere who are worried of the impact of the party’s Movement for Change.
“One of the obligation of a political party, according to our laws, is to reach out to the masses and increase the number of its followers. If Chadema is curtailed from doing so, do they want it to die?” he asked.
He said through the party’s foreign directorate, it has written to the international community, notifying it on how the State is suppressing democracy and human rights.
“People are being denied their rights. This is against the law... Chadema has tolerated this for too long and we have reached a point where we cannot stand it anymore. We have reached the threshold of our patience... if they want to shoot us let them shoot because Chadema is not the property of Dr Slaa, it is a party belonging to Tanzanians,” he said.