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Reports say police played key role in Tanzanian journalist's death

(MISA/IFEX) - 12 OCTOBER 2012 - Tanzanian police may be responsible for the eventual death of journalist Daudi Mwangosi, who died on 2 September 2012 after a confrontation with members of the Field Force Unit (FFU), a quasi-military wing of the police force.

Until his death, Mwangosi was a correspondent for Channel Ten - a television station - and also served as the Chairperson of the Iringa Press Club. His is the only recorded case of a journalist to die in the line of duty in Tanzania.

Information gathered from two investigations into Mwangosi's death, one from the Commission on Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRGG) and the other from the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) highlights the police's actions in handling gathering members of the opposition political party, Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA), as contributing significantly to the eventual death of the journalist.

CHRGG, chaired by the eminent retired Justice, Judge Amir Manento, has found that the CHADEMA gathering was not illegal and that in deeming it illegal, the Regional Police Commander (RPC), Assistant Commissioner of Police, Michael Kamuhanda himself acted illegally.

"The order given by him (Kamuhanda) was illegal for it was given by a person not authorized to issue such an order. This is a colossal abuse of power and a contravention of principles of good governance," Justice Manento has been quoted as saying. The retired Judge read a summary of his commission's findings to the media on Wednesday, 10 October 2012.

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) has welcomed the findings from both CHRGG and MCT. MISA's Programme Specialist for Media Freedom Monitoring and Research, Levi Kabwato, has described the release of the findings as "a necessary first step that demands even stricter follow-ups."

"We would like to commend both the Commission and the MCT for taking such an urgent interest in this matter and for not being hesitant in communicating their findings. We are hopeful that these findings and the recommendations given will urge also, the government of Tanzania to act both decisively and swiftly in ensuring that justice is delivered and impunity is not given any chance," Kabwato said.

Read a more detailed report of the findings.

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