“No more details on the Mwangosi killing will be published because this will interfere with the court proceedings in a case related to the death of the journalist.”
Report ‘fails’ to reveal the truth about the death of Channel Ten reporter Daudi Mwangosi
By Abela Msikula
Home Affairs minister Emmanuel Nchimbi addresses the media in Dar es Salaam yesterday after the presentation of the report compiled by the committee he appointed to investigate last month’s killing of television journalist Daudi Mwangosi in Iringa. With him are committee chairman Steven Ihema (right) and members Theophil Makunga and Pili Mtambalike
Dar es Salaam. The public will have to wait a little longer to find out the truth about the death of Channel Ten reporter Daudi Mwangosi in the hands of police at Nyololo village in Iringa last month. An ongoing court case on the killing of Mwangosi, who was also the chairman of the Iringa Press Club, has put the lid on publishing details of the findings of the committee that was formed by the minister of Home Affairs, Mr Emmanuel Nchimbi, to look into the matter.
The team, which was headed by retired Judge Steven Ihema, unveiled its report yesterday at a press briefing in the city. It says the journalist was killed a result of chaos that ensued after crowds at a rally held by opposition party Chadema failed to disperse according to police orders.
Other members of Judge Ihema’s committee were Pili Mtambalike, Wema Wilson Wekwe, Theophil Makunga and Issaya Juma Mngulu. The Ihema report established that police used excessive force but went on to say that, according to witnesses, this was made necessary by the situation on the ground.
Another report on the killing of Mwangosi, which was conducted jointly by the Media Council of Tanzania and Tanzania Editors Forum and which was also released yesterday, established that the journalist died in the hands of police under the command of Iringa Regional Police Commander Michael Kamuhanda. The joint report also said relations between Iringa-based journalists and the Police Force were not good.
Presenting the findings of the report yesterday, Judge Ihema said the chaos broke out when the crowd violated an order given by RPC Kamuhanda that Chadema’s supporters should leave the meeting place.
“According to our investigations, Chadema’s gatherings in Iringa were restricted due to extension of the national census period from 2 to 8 September this year but the party refused to do so on the grounds that the party’s activities had nothing to do with the census exercise,” Judge Ihema said.
No more details on the Mwangosi killing will be published because this will interfere with the court proceedings in a case related to the death of the journalist.
On 12 September, about nine days before the Ihema committee started its work, Police Constable Cleophase Pasifious Simon (23) was charged with Mwangosi’s murder. This limited what can be published regarding the killing for fear of influencing the judgment in the case.
Responding on one of the terms of reference concerning the illegal gatherings in Iringa, Judge Ihema said: “Prohibition of political activities in Iringa during the census period proved by Justin Leornard Mpotwa, the Mufindi district secretary general, under his letter with reference number CDM/M4/002/Vol.01/2012 of 01 September, 2012; the Operation Order of RPC, Michael Kamuhanda of the same date; official restriction evidenced by the political parties’ registrar in the letter with reference number. DA.112/ 123/ 01/ 34 of 28/08/2010, thus, the committee proved that there were no legal assemblies.”
The report said that, given the events at the rally that led to Mwangosi’s killing, the use of force was fair. This view was reportedly supported by local government, religious and political leaders at village, district and regional levels.
There was also evidence that the meeting was not official and Chadema‘s leaders ignored police requests to leave. The force ordered the arrest of the leaders, and this sparked off stone throwing at the police officers. Some of the officers were reportedly injured, including PC Mgaka, whose left arm was broken.
The committee said that, after the operation to give the police officers an opportunity to get in their cars and leave, a heavy explosion was heard more than 100 metres away from the place where the operation was going on. The explosion, it turned out, led to Mwangosi’s death.
On the allegations of misunderstanding between journalists and the police force, Judge Ihema said that, after the committee spoke with both sides, it appeared that there were no direct complaints about the entire police force but rather individual or personal misunderstandings.
On the issue of laws, principles and procedures that the police force apply to restrict gatherings summoned by political parties and appeals processes when parties are dissatisfied, the committee said:
“Law number 5 of 1992, as amended, and law number 7 of 2009 coordinate work performance relations among the police and political parties. According to this law, the police force is given power to give the written document for gathering approval or restriction, postponement or advice to change the meeting place and put open the reasons behind the order in which any political party should obey.”
The committee suggested that society, including leaders, be educated on the importance of abiding by the law as it had been proved that Mwangosi’s death resulted from a breach of the peace.
Mwangosi died on September 2 this year during skirmishes that pitted law enforcement agencies and Chadema followers in Mufindi distict, Iringa. He was buried in Rungwe district in Mbeya.