CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

Crime continues in Tanzania as it does everywhere else. But the single incident attracting most interest during recent months has been the fatal shooting on November 4 last year of a commuter bus conductor, Hassan Mbonde, at a road junction in Dar es Salaam by the former Tabora Regional Commissioner Ukiwaona Ditopile Mzuzuri. He was originally charged with murder but this was then changed to manslaughter. Outside the court three journalists were hurt in violent clashes with scores of people believed to be relatives of the accused who were apparently celebrating his release from remand custody and unhappy with the way the media had been covering the case. Delivering his ruling on Ditopile’s bail application, Judge Augustine Mwarija said manslaughter was a bailable offence and the court had found no grounds not to grant the application. The accused was further ordered not to leave the city without permission from the court – the Guardian.

There were two serious incidents of armed attacks in Northern Tanzania in March. Gangsters shot and injured two tourists out of a party of four Americans and one Briton plus a tour guide. In the other incident, thugs dressed in police uniforms placed a false roadblock along the Arusha- Dodoma Highway. Car passengers were forced to lie on the ground and were then robbed of their belongings including phone handsets, wrist watches, gold chains, necklaces and money. The government immediately launched a special operation involving the army to hunt down suspects who were thought to be Somalis. “We will be tougher this time” said President Kikwete. “We will leave no stone unturned in seeking the criminals responsible.”

The Police have destroyed over 2,000 illegal firearms at the Lake Tanganyika Stadium in Kigoma. The Regional Commissioner lit the bonfire in the presence of five provincial governors from neighbouring Burundi. “The proliferation and movement of these firearms within and across the borders have left a trail of agony and destruction among our people” he said.

On January 17 the police published the names of 20 suspected drug dealers allegedly selling heroin, bhang and other illicit drugs. The suspects were sent to court.

Meanwhile, at the Dar International Airport a businessman from Mozambique was arrested carrying drugs. He said he had planned to sell the drugs within Tanzania but had failed to do so because, he said, the government had stiffened its war against drug dealers. He had swallowed some rolls as he was about to leave Tanzania for Israel through Dubai – Guardian.

The National Assembly has passed a ‘Money-Laundering Act’ which it is hoped will boost the effectiveness of the task force formed by the government to contain drug dealers and their syndicates in the country. The task force was said to be investigating 17 people suspected to be drug dealers. It had destroyed over 1,000 farms growing bhang in various parts of the country and also seized several tonnes of khat – Guardian.

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