TANZANIA TAKES PRECAUTIONS

Director of Criminal Investigations Adadi Rajabu was quoted in the East African on December 2 as saying that security had been heightened at all airports, border crossings, around the Zanzibar Isles, at hotels and major installations following the terrorist attack on the Paradise Hotel in Mombasa on November 28. The Director called on Tanzanians to report to the police any ‘suspicious looking’ people who might threaten the security of the country.

In Zanzibar, the police have assured foreign visitors and tourists of protection from terrorist threats by providing 24-hour police and security forces protection.

These measures have been taken in view of what happened in August 1998 when the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam were bombed by al Qaeda terrorists resulting in the deaths of over 250 people. The majority of tourists to Tanzania come via Kenya.

Police sources in Dar es Salaam were quoted as saying that the porosity ofthe borders in East Africa, the unguarded coastline and the cultural ties between people in Kenya, Tanzania and the Gulf States, made East Africa a soft target for terrorists.

Zanzibar Commissioner of Police, Khalid Iddi, was quoted in the same article as saying that police had mounted night patrols along the coastal areas of Zanzibar, Mafia Island and Mtwara using Zanzibar’s Kikosi Maalumu cha Kuzuia Magendo (KMKM -anti-smuggling unit). “We’re working around the clock” he said. Mr Iddi said police and security personnel had been instructed to search every person entering Zanzibar.

The police have also stepped up their search for Mohammed Ghailan, a Zanzibari national with Iranian connections, who is suspected to have financed the 1998 bombing in Dar es Salaam. He is listed by the US government as one of its 10 most wanted terrorists.

President Benjamin Mkapa was among the first heads of state to send his condolences to the people of Kenya and to President Arap Moi after the bombing in Mombasa.

NEW ANTI-TERRORISM BILL
A ‘Protection Against Terrorism Bill’ presented to the National Assembly on November 4th attracted considerable criticism from MP’s. The Government stressed that a terrorist network had manifested itself with the August 7, 1998 blowing up of the American embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi. A Tanzanian, Khalfan Khamis Mohamed, had been sentenced to life imprisonment in the US and another Tanzanian, was on the wanted list.

Shadow Minister for Home Affairs, Dr. Wilbroad Slaa (CHADEMA Party), was quoted in the Guardian as urging the Government to listen to concerns about the Bill and warned Tanzania against enacting legislation because of pressure from the United States. Dr. Slaa wondered how people could be arrested prior to investigations. Suspected terrorists should not have to bear the burden of proof; the prosecution should prove such persons guilty. The Bill was contrary to laws operating in the Commonwealth and would suppress civil liberties.

MP Ireneus Ngwatura (CCM) said the Bill did not define terrorism. Prof. Daimon Mwaga (CCM) said terrorism should not be associated with any religion and whoever associated Islam and Christianity with terrorism should not be allowed to derail the good intentions of the Bill.

Prof. Juma Mikidadi (CCM) also expressed reservations on what terrorism meant and asked for a definition of the word terrorism and how it differed from freedom fighting. Was it fair, he asked, to call Palestinians fighting for their rights, terrorists.

Ambassador Ahmed Diria (CCM) said nobody would be safe unless every country abided by UN Security Council resolutions against terrorism. According to him, there was state terrorism and individual terrorism, but each nation defined terrorism according to its own national interests. Other MPs protested about the provision which [sic].

At the end of the debate in Parliament a vote was taken. The Deputy Speaker of the House announced that there had been more ‘yes’ voices than ‘no’ voices and declared the Bill passed. At this point all opposition MPs marched out in protest.

Muslims in Morogoro had issued a statement at the end of October condemning the Bill and calling on MP’s not to pass it. They said that poor countries were being bulldozed by the USA and its allies. CUF Chairman Professor Ibrahim Lipumba had been quoted earlier as saying that the Bill would deprive citizens of what they considered to be their rights; it allowed the government to control civil society; it contravened the constitution and did not give a specific definition of terrorism. Police would be given the power to arrest people even without an inspection warrant.

President Mkapa in a radio address on 30th November said the Bill was aimed at combating crime and was not aimed at any religion or political party. He said that Tanzania could not take terrorism for granted or let the country be a place in which terrorists could hide.

TANZANITE
One year after September 11 and allegations that Tanzanite gem miners were involved with the financing of Al Qaeda, a slight improvement in the Tanzanian Tanzanite trade has come about. American dealers Zale and Tiffany’s have begun to purchase Tanzanite again after consultations with a US-based ‘Tanzanite Task Force’ which was set up after the signing of the Tucson protocol by the two governments in February 2002. This largely ended speculation about al Qaeda involvement in the Tanzanite industry.

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