By Mwanakijiji Detroit, Michigan
Another incident where Tanzanian police are accused for using excessive force against unarmed citizens. This time however - a week after similar incident in another region - a prominent Journalist Mr. David Mwangosi was killed in close range following a confrontation with the police.
In less than a week the Tanzanian Police Force is under immense pressure to reform after another incident where a journalist was killed in what analysts consider to be a blatant use of force against unarmed individuals. Last week during a political rally staged by Tanzania’s main opposition party CHADEMA (Democracy and Development Party) a newspapers street vendor was killed by what is suspected to be a tear bomb.
The young man was killed instantly as he tried to run away from the police who were trying to disperse a crown of CHADEMA supporter who were matching towards the grounds where they were to hold a political rally. The rally was held in Morogoro about 250 miles from Dar-es-Salaam the commercial capital of the East African nation.
The political rally in Morogoro was held at the end of a weeklong civil and political rights campaign conducted by CHADEMA’s top brass including the Chairman Mr. Freeman Mbowe and former Presidential Candidate Dr. Wilbrod Slaa the party’s Secretary General. After the incident the police cancelled all political rallies in the country.
After Morogoro the political rallies were moving to the Southern regions including Iringa. Today's gathering at Nyololo was part of the preparation for the coming week rallies in Mufindi district. Members and supporters of CHADEMA were gathered at the local office of their party in Nyololo village, Mufindi in Iringa region. The police citing the ongoing national census exercise directed all political parties not to hold any political rally until the Registrar of political parties in the country direct otherwise. While obeying the directive the local party gathered at their local office which triggered the police to act to disperse the small crowd that was gathered outside.
It is not yet known what let to the killing of David Mwangosi a prominent journalist with Channel 10 TV station and who the Chairman of Iringa Press Club was also.
It was reported by a number of sources present at the office that Mr. Mwangosi approached a group of riot police officers who were detaining another journalist Mr. Godfrey Mushi who works for Nipashe an independent newspaper. Instead of reasoning with Mr. Mwangosi the police took it as a challenge of their authority and they tried to put him under arrest leading to a scuffle between the police and Mr. Mwangosi.
One picture taken by another journalist present shows a Mr. Mwangosi in the middle of about five riot police officers, falling behind while one of the officers had his weapon – probably a tear gas gun- trained on Mwangosi stomach. He was killed instantly after the photo was taken. Another police officer was injured too at the scene and was taken to a nearby hospital.
In the past year or so there have been almost seven incidents where the police have used excessive force against unarmed men. All this has happened whenever CHADEMA has tried to conduct a peaceful march or a political rally.
No police officer has been held accountable in any way. Tanzania’s Attorney General Office has been silent and the national Human Rights Commission has not issued any statement of concern with the growing use of force by the police against unarmed individuals. Efforts to reach Iringa regional Police Commander Mr. Michael Kamuhanda proved to be futile. It was Mr. Kamuhanda who was Ruvuma Regional Police Commander when in February this year four people were killed by police.
CHADEMA’s leadership was not available immediately for their reaction of today’s incident.