Dar es Salaam. The East African Right to Information and Investigative Journalists Coalition (EARTIJC) has condemned the disappearance of Mwananchi Communications Limited freelancer Azory Gwanda since November 21, this year and presses for investigation progress.
A press statement released on Thursday, December 14, by EARTIJC Tanzania coordinator Edwin Soko says the EARTIJC demands intensive investigation by the Tanzanian authorities.
“It is indeed unfortunate that three weeks since the commencement of investigation into Mr Gwanda’s whereabouts have elapsed without any information about him. We call upon the Tanzanian authorities to provide information on his whereabouts and the progress of investigation,” reads part of the statement, adding: “Although we can’t at this moment speculate his whereabouts, we understand that it is the duty of the state to protect its citizens. Therefore, we emphasise that provided Mr Gwanda is a Tanzanian citizen, he has the right to be protected by the state.”
According to the statement, whose copy was availed to The Citizen, the EARTIJC is optimistic that Mr Gwanda is alive and healthy and the state authorities’ efforts to find and bring him back are going on.
“We journalists in Eastern Africa stand together in solidarity with our colleague, hoping that whatever reasons may be associated with his disappearance and profession will have nothing to do with his mysterious missing. If that is the case, Mr Gwanda should be brought to court in order for justice to prevail,” reads the statement.
EARTIJC is formed by journalists from Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Malawi, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia specialised in the right to information and investigative journalism in Eastern Africa.
EAITIJC joins statements made by the Tanzania media fraternity, including the Organisation of Journalists Against Drugs in Tanzania (Ojadact), the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) and the Union of Tanzania Press Clubs (UTPC) in condemning the incident.
Others media institutions that condemned Mr Gwanda’s missing are the Media Institute of Southern Africa- Tanzania Chapter (Misa-Tan), the Tanzania Editors Forum (TEF), the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC), the Tanzania Media Women’s Association (Tamwa), Mwananchi Communications Limited (MCL) and many other stakeholders.
According to his wife Anna Pinoni, Mr Gwanda went missing on November 21, this year, on what he referred to as an emergency trip, but he never returned home. He was accompanied by four people in a white Land Cruiser car.