Prominent Channel Ten TV reporter Daudi Mwangosi (40) was killed on 2nd September while a demonstration he was covering in Nyololo Village in Iringa region was being dispersed by police, attracting widespread concern and international condemnation.
A joint committee formed by the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) and Tanzania Editors Forum (TEF) to probe the circumstances that led to his death released its findings on October 8. At the press conference, MCT Secretary General Kajubi Mukajanga said evidence proved beyond reasonable doubt that the police had deliberately and consciously intimidated Iringa-based journalists covering Chadema activities at Nyololo Village.
“The investigation was independent and was not meant as a police inquiry or judicial inquest, but as an honest documentation of the state of affairs surrounding the first ever killing of a Tanzanian journalist on duty,” Mr Mukajanga said, “Generally, this committee – based on the evidence collected in the region – concludes that there was a tense and suspicious relationship between the two sides. Mwangosi was killed in cold blood in the hands of the police”. The committee made field visits and conducted interviews with journalists based in Iringa, Chadema officials and eye witnesses. Evidence collected included video clips, still pictures and publications, and broadcast materials from media organisations.
To support the allegations of the “tense and suspicious” relationship Mukajanga noted that, in November 2011, Iringa-based ITV reporter Laurean Mkumbata was brutally beaten and his working equipment destroyed in front of the Iringa Officer Commanding the District. “In similar incidents, the committee has learnt that towards the end of February 2011, Iringa-based journalists were mistreated during the official visit of Vice President Mohamed Gharib Bilal.” Mukajanga said that, Iringa journalists were denied accommodation in hotels, a situation that forced them to sleep in a bus they were travelling in.
Meanwhile, a Special Committee was set up by Minister for Home Affairs Dr Emmanuel Nchimbi, under Judge Stephen Ihema, which also reported in early October. The committee established that there was excessive use of force by police, but ruled this out as the cause of the death of Daudi Mwangosi. The committee was, however, unable to reveal what caused the death of the journalist as the case was already pending in a court of law.
A ‘Daudi Mwangosi Fund’, aimed at taking care of journalists in trouble due to their working environment, is being set up.