TV journalist died after seeking to free colleague

Late Mwangosi
As Tanzanians try to come to terms with the killing on Sunday of Mr Daudi Mwangosi, a Channel Ten journalist based in Iringa, eyewitness accounts are painting a disturbing picture of what transpired moments before he died.

Reports from Nyololo Village in Mufindi District in Iringa Region indicate that moments before his stomach was ripped open by a teargas canister, Mr Mwangosi was seen pleading for mercy with police officers who were beating him.

Mrs Mwangosi mourning
As his situation seemed to worsen, it was noticeable that he was trying to convince one of the officers to ask his colleagues to stop beating him having done nothing wrong to deserve the  brutal treatment.

Moments later, a blast was heard and after the gas from the canister settled, the law enforcers were seen assisting an injured colleague but were totally unconcerned with the dismembered remains of another person nearby.

Shortly later, journalists and other people could not believe that the remains were of none other than Mr Mwangosi, who moments earlier was seen in hands of police officers, kicking for his freedom.

It all started at around 11am when a group of about eight journalists from different media organs, along with some senior Chadema officials, started the journey to Mufindi District where the party was scheduled to hold meetings and open new party branches.

The party had decided to shelve its plan to hold rallies following a police ban meant to pave the way for the completion of the national population and housing census, which has been pushed back for a week.

Upon arrival at Nyololo Village, the team met villagers in groups, eagerly waiting for the Chadema leaders. Some of them were seen holding miniature party flags.

But their joy was short lived for soon a contingent of fully armed police officers arrived and started to patrol the village.

At around 4pm Chadema leaders and supporters arrived at the party branch offices in the village where a meeting was scheduled. Non-members were not allowed near the office.But minutes later police officers arrived at the scene and ordered all the people to leave, an order which Chadema’s leaders rejected. They argued that the police were unduly interfering since theirs wasn’t a public but an internal party meeting.

Soon the police and Chadema officials were locked in arguments with the politicians saying they had the right to assemble as party members, while the police insisted everybody should leave.

Chadema members finished their work at the branch and before they left for an event at another branch in the same village, Regional Police Commander Michael Kamuhanda arrived and that changed the entire scenario.

Another argument ensued between Chadema and the law enforcers after Mr Kamuhanda ordered them to stop their activities forthwith. Chadema leaders objected to the order.

Journalists who were present had a brief interview with the police boss, and their questions revolved around the issue of why other political parties like CCM were free to conduct internal meetings and not Chadema.

In defiance of RPC Kamuhanda directives, Chadema leaders left the area and headed for another branch where they were followed by the police.

After their arrival, police repeated their order to the effect that people should disperse because the gathering was illegal. The order was contested by Chadema leaders and their supporters who maintained that what has been outlawed was rallies and not internal party meetings.

Moments later the RPC arrived and reiterated the order and told his boys to disperse the swelling crowd.

Before the police started to implement their boss’s order, Chadema leaders ordered their members to sit down and put their hands on their heads to demonstrate they were not a threat to peace.

All Chadema members except leaders sat on the ground with their hands up. However, this did not seem to impress Mr Kamuhanda who ordered policemen to arrest all the Chadema leaders for “incitement”.

But when the police started to implement the order, party supporters who had hitherto been seated protested and rose to block officers’ move to arrest their leaders.

This sparked violence and police started to lob teargas canisters towards the crowd.  Mr Mwangosi and other journalists were busy recording the events.

But when Mr Mwangosi saw a journalist from IPP Media being seized by some officers, he rushed to them and asked why his colleague was being arrested and it seems that was his fatal mistake.

Police turned on him and started to beat him. Seeing that his life is in danger Mr Mwangosi started to struggle, apparently seeking to disentangle himself from the grips of the law enforcers.

Efforts by some journalists and policemen to plead with Mr Kamuhanda who was in his Toyota Land Cruiser to stop his boys from manhandling the journalist fell on deaf ears. He drove off from the area.

Shortly after the RPC’s car left, one unidentified police officer fired a teargas canister at Mr Mwangosi, ripping off his stomach and injuring another policeman who was standing nearby.

After seeing Mr Mwangosi’s dismembered body, people started to scamper for their lives.

Meanwhile, the police in Iringa said they were still investigating the actual cause of Mr Mwangosi’s death and they will thereafter issue a statement.

Narrated by Clement Sanga, The Citizen correspondent in Iringa Region who was among media personnel including late Mr Mwangosi, who went to cover Chandema activities at Nyololo Village.
Source: The Citizen, http://www.thecitizen.co.tz


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