DEATH OF MUSA MEMBAR

Amnesty International issued a statement on June 10th 1991 from which the following two paragraphs are extracted:

‘Musa Membar, the leader of the clandestine opposition ‘Tanzania Youth Democratic Movement’ died in Muhimbili Medical Centre in Dar es Salaam on 15th May 1991 after being held in administrative detention without charge or trial in Ukonga Prison since he entered Tanzania from Kenya, apparently returning to the country voluntarily on 14th September 1990. According to reports, he was brought to the Medical Centre in an unconscious state on May 21st 1991. After he regained consciousness he was informed that his detention order was rescinded….. instead he was served with a deportation order to leave the country with in seven days, apparently on the grounds that he had entered Tanzania on foreign travel documents…. The Director of Administration at the Medical Centre indicated that Musa Membar died of a “known disease’ but there had been no official or unofficial information on the cause of his death….

He later claimed that he had returned to participate in Tanzania’s political process and elections. In 1982 he had hijacked a plane flying from Tanzania to London, for which he was arrested and served an eight- year jail term in the UK. He initially applied for asylum in the United Kingdom after he had served this sentence but then travelled to Kenya to return to Tanzania. Amnesty International has been investigating the reasons for his detention which appeared to be politically motivated.’

In Dar es Salaam the weekly ‘Business Times’ presented the event as its main news item in two successive issues under such headings as ‘Ukonga Accused of Ill-Treating Membar’ and ‘Brother (in London) Declares We Will Import Violence’ (‘as all peaceful means of establishing political democracy in Tanzania have been abortive’), In an interview just before he died Mr Membar revealed that he had entered Tanzania on a British passport ‘because his Tanzanian passport had been seized’. In a front page article the ‘Family Mirror’ quoted a spokesman of the British High Commission in Dar es Salaam as saying that Membar had been allowed to stay in Britain as an asylum seeker.

1 Comment »

  1. Tanzanian Affairs » 36 YEARS OF TANZANIAN AFFAIRS – PART 1 said,

    September 1, 2011 at 1:00 am

    […] Issue 15 covers the story of the hijacking of a Tanzanian aircraft and the subsequent arrest of the hijackers in Britain. A tragic sequel to this event is the death of Musa Membar after being held in administrative detention on his return to Tanzania (Issue 40). […]

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