U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Officer Jeffery Salaiz (left) presenting travel
documents to Islam at the U.S. Embassy in 2007
Mbaraka Islam, described on the Internet as chief investigative reporter for Media Solutions Limited (a company owned by Reginald Mengi) has published an abusive defamatory attack against British investor Sarah Hermitage designed to incite racial hatred against her. Ms Hermitage has never met Islam neither did he offer her a right of reply in respect of the article
In an article published in the Tanzanian publication Raia Mwema of which Islam is a director, he accuses Miss Hermitage of nothing short of treason with her criticism of the Tanzanian government’s failure to uphold the law in the Silverdale Farm case but extraordinarily mentions nothing of the case.
In 2007 The U.S. Mission in Dar es Salaam sent Islam in his capacity as chief investigative reporter for Media Solutions Limited, publisher of THISDAY and KULIKONI newspapers on a ten-day Foreign Press Centre Programme on Transparency and Good Governance. Sadly, his standards have dropped on the evidence of the article he has written about Ms Hermitage which shows bias and a lack of basic professional ethics where not even a right of reply was sought. Had he sought it, he would have been given quite a different take on his story but then, this clearly was not his intention.
What was his intention then? Well, it is apparent from the reading of the article.
The title of the article loosely Translated is Briton Attacks Tanzania and can be read online at Raia Mwema’s Internet site.http://www.ifex.org/tanzania/2006/03/27/owner_of_new_newspaper_and_journalists/
A TRANSLATION OF THE ARTICLE’S MAIN POINTS FROM KISWAHILI IS AS FOLLOWS:-
BRITON INSULTS TANZANIA AS ITS LEADERS WATCH
The title calls for Tanzania leaders to act against an insulting and humiliation campaign waged against Tanzania by Sarah Hermitage.
The British woman has been closely monitoring Tanzanian media and through her twitter page, has been humiliating national leaders including President Kikwete and Premier Pinda stating that they are corrupt and run a rotten system.
In one account when president Kikwete was quoted in the media asking the director of the anti-corruption ‘watchdog’ (PCCB) not to hesitate in taking action against corrupt ministers, Ms Sarah was reported by the article to have commented on her twitter page that “it is impossible for a thief to stop another thief from stealing”.
Furthermore, when Premier Pinda was quoted by media encouraging investment in agriculture, again Sarah commented that it is impossible to attain agricultural revolution in Tanzania because of “Mugabe style” government seizures of investors’ land, the article reported.
The article reports that Sarah Hermitage has been busy convincing the British government and other western governments to stop giving development aid and grants to Tanzania merely because of her personal grievances.
In her campaign, Sarah has also attacked the Tanzanian judicial system claiming that all the judges have price tags on their foreheads, the article reported.
The article also calls for government leaders and all those responsible in preserving Tanzania national image and sovereignty to emulate the efforts of Kigoma North MP, Zitto Kabwe in acting and defending the nation against all sorts of attacks launched by Sarah Hermitage. Even Kenyans came in defence of their president Kibaki when attacked by foreigners.
The article further quotes Zitto Kabwe as calling for defence of national dignity instead of bowing down to aid with strings attached. People should emulate how our Father of the Nation, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere was defying exploitative conditionalities of big nations, the article added.
The original Kiswahili version is printed below.
Clearly there is much more going on in Islam’s head, than the protection of his national identity. He has never met Ms Hermitage and certainly did not seek from her a comment on his publication and his reference to her as Briton, is obviously incitement to racial hatred in Swahili terms. From which government, is Islam and those that moved him to write the article, seeking to evoke a response? Surely it is open to the Tanzanian government to seek Ms Hermitage’s extradition if they felt they were receiving unjustifiable criticism?
The reader is left to decide what his reasons may have been from the content of the article but the following is perhaps pertinent.
Mr Islam is described on the Internet as an employee of Reginald Mengi: His chief investigative reporter for Media Solutions Ltd, a company owned by Mengi that prints (or did print) Kulikoni and This Day newspapers in Tanzania. He is also a director of Raia Mwema and as such is subject to the Newspaper Act of Tanzania in respect of defamatory publications and Libel.
In January 2010 the Tanzanian government banned the publication of Kulikoni for 90 days for violating national security laws. In 2006, Reginald Mengi and several of his journalists working in his media outlets were slapped with a 100 billion shilling (approx. US$8.6 million) libel suit for allegedly defaming the executive chairperson of the Quality Group Limited, Yusuf Manji. Mbaraka Islam was amongst those sued.
Zitto Kabwe (the Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA) Member of Parliament representing Kigoma North and Shadow Finance Minister of Tanzania) has also previously made his personal feelings on Ms hermitage quite clear again, without even having met her.
A close friend of Reginald Mengi he published, in 2012 an article in the Tanzanian social network forum (similar to Facebook) Jammi Forums (operated by Mbaraka Islam) stating Ms Hermitage was corrupt being paid by Yusuf Manji (a prominent Tanzanian business man and adversary of Reginald Mengi) to damage the reputation of Reginald Mengi. He also made his views on Briton and British aid quite clear stating “UK aid was reparation for colonialism” a view that many UK tax payers would , justifiably find repugnant.
Kabwe does not appear to be adverse to aid for his personal benefit however. He studied International Trade at InWEnt - Capacity Building International, Germany. In WEnt is a non-profit organisation with worldwide operations dedicated to human resource development, advanced training and dialogue: Working towards long-term structural change. I wonder what the organisation would make of Kabwe's racist and unfounded attack on Ms Hermitage under the guise of nationalism?
Mr. Zitto Kabwe, the Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA) Member of Parliament representing Kigoma North and Shadow Finance Minister of Tanzania.
It is less than six months since the London High Court found Reginald Mengi to have been adversely involved in the Silverdale case finding him complicit in corruption involving the use of his media (IPP Media) which was used to defame Ms Hermitage’s husband Stewart Middleton in an attempt to destroy their investment in Tanzania.
Now it seems, his staff and friends are taking up where he left off.
Tanzania yatukanwa na Muingereza, huku wakubwa wakizubaa
20 Feb 2013
KWA takriban miaka mitano sasa, raia mmoja wa Uingereza, Sarah Hermitage amekuwa akiendesha kampeni ya kumchafua Rais Jakaya Kikwete, Serikali ya Tanzania, taasisi muhimu za nchi yetu kama vile mahakama, waandishi wa habari na hata Watanzania ambao wamekua wakimpinga.
Pamoja na kuwa kumekua na mapungufu katika serikali yake na vyombo vyake kama ilivyo kwa serikali nyingine Duniani ikiwamo ya Uingereza, Muingereza huyu amekua akitoa kashfa kwa kila jambo linaloandikwa ama kujadiliwa kuhusiana na viongozi wa Tanzania na taasisi zake na kwa kutumia lugha isiyo na staha.
Watanzania siku zote wakiwamo wanasiasa, waandishi wa habari na wanaharakati, wamekua wakiikosoa na hata kuishambulia serikali na vyombo vyake inapokosea jambo ambalo ni jema na linasaidia kuimarisha utawala bora, lakini kwa staili anayotumia Muingereza huyu ni kupitiliza mipaka na zaidi ya yote ni udhalilishaji usioweza kuvumilika kwa mtu mwenye mapenzi mema na nchi yake.
Dhumuni la Sarah Hermitage na washirika wake wakiwemo baadhi ya Watanzania ni kuzishawishi nchi za Magharibi wakianzia na Uingereza kusitisha misaada na uwekezaji katika Tanzania. Hilo angeweza kulifanya huko kwao kwa kuwasiliana na serikali yake, lakini badala yake amekuwa akitumia mitandao ya kijamii na barua pepe tena kwa kutumia lugha ya kukashifu na kudhalilisha.
Watanzania wote tuna jukumu la kutetea heshima ya nchi yetu, lakini wapo wale ambao tumewapa jukumu la kusimama mstari wa mbele. Jambo la kusikitisha ni kwamba ni watu wachache sana kama Mbunge wa Kigoma Kaskazini Zitto Kabwe ambaye ambaye amekua na ujasiri wa kumkabili Muingereza huyu, kwa kumwambia wazi kwamba kama ni misaada ana haki ya kuishawishi nchi yake kuzuia misaada kwa Tanzania lakini si kwa kudhalilisha Watanzania.
Zitto alienda mbali zaidi kwa kusema kwamba nchi nyingi tajiri duniani ikiwamo Uingereza, zimejengwa kwa kutumia rasilimali walizozipora katika nchi walizozitawala ikiwamo Tanzania na kwamba nchi hizo zinaweza pia kuendesha shughuli zake bila misaada ya dharau. Bahati mbaya sana watendaji wengine wengi ambao wanapaswa kutetea heshima yetu, hili suala limewapita, pengine kutokana na kutokua na taarifa sahihi ama kwa kutowajibika.
Jambo la kujiuliza, wale ambao miongoni mwa majukumu yao ya kila siku ni kutetea na kulinda hadhi na heshima ya nchi yetu wanafanya kazi gani? Sasa tunawalipa mishahara mikubwa na marupurupu ya nini kama hawawezi kututetea tunapodhalilishwa ama kutukanwa?
Hali hii inatufanya tukumbuke ujasiri wa Baba wa Taifa, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, ambaye mara kadhaa aliwatunishia misuli viongozi wa mataifa makubwa walipotaka kuidhalilisha nchi yetu, sembuse raia mmoja ambaye amekua akitumia matatizo yake binafsi kutaka kuidhalilisha Tanzania na kutaka kuishinikiza serikali yake na nyingine kuichukia Tanzania.
Jinsi anavyotumia mtandao wa twitter kuchafua Tanzania
Sarah Hermitage amekua akitafuta katika taarifa za vyombo vya habari vya ndani na nje ya Tanzania vinavyoandika taarifa zozote kuhusu Tanzania na kuziongezea maneno ya kukashifu na kejeli.
Kwa mfano amekua amechukua taarifa inayomunukuu Raia Jakaya Kikwete akiitaka Taasisi ya Kuzuia na Kupambana na Rushwa (TAKUKURU) kupambana na rushwa hadi ndani ya Baraza la Mawaaziri, na yeye kuongezea maneno akisema, “kundi moja la majambazi linaliambia kundi lingine la majambazi kukamata mwizi”.
Akachukua taarifa iliyochapishwa katika vyombo vya habari ikimnukuu Waziri Mkuu, Mizengo Pinda akikaribisha wawekezaji katika kilimo na yeye kuongeza maneno akisema, “Mheshimiwa Pinda kitakachoendelea kukandamizi uwekezaji katika kilimo cha Tanzania ni uporaji wa ardhi ya wawekezaji katika mtindo wa Mugabe (Rais wa Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe).”
Amekua akidiriki kukashifu hadi majaji wote wa Tanzania kwamba wana bei akisema, “sina hakika kama unaweza kupata jaji ambaye si mla rushwa. Wote wana bei,” kauli ambayo hata Watanzania wanakua wakiitoa kwa uangalifu maana hata kama kuna majaji ambao si waadilifu, haiwezekani wakawa ni wote, kama ilivyo katika taasisi nyingine.
Raia mmoja wa Kenya anayeishi Tanzania, aliyejitambulisha kwa jina la Marigi Patrick aliandika katika mtandao kwa kusema;
“Sisi Wakenya tuna matatizo yetu na tumekua na tofauti kubwa sana za wazi wazi, lakini anapotokea raia wa kigeni kumshambulia kiongozi wetu tena kama Rais wa nchi, tunaungana na kumshughulikia. Kuna wakati Wazungu walimshambulia Rais Mwai Kibaki, sote tukisaidiwa na wabunge wetu na vyombo vya habari tulimshambulia hadi akakoma kutudharau.”
Marigi ambaye anajihusisha na biashara ya bima, anasema Watanzania bado ni wachanga katika demokrasia, ama wanadharau kila kitu bila kujua madhara yake katika hadhi na heshima ya Taifa, na ndio maana wanashindwa kutofautisha kati ya demokrasia na udhalilishaji unaofanywa na raia wa nchi nyingine kama alivyo Sarah Hermitage.