‘Congolese’ woman dies in Tanzania leaving neighbours and village residents in confusion

Sunday May 26 2019


By Hawa Mathias @TheCitizenTZ news@thecitizen.co.tz

Mbeya. Residents of Itiji Ward in Mbeya Region have been left in confusion after a woman identified as a citizen of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ms Banzi Maloba, 34, died, leaving behind a five-year-old child in the hands of her neighbours.

The body of the deceased has been preserved at Mbeya Zonal Referral Hospital for over one month now.

People who knew the deceased have been struggling but in vain to establish communication with her relatives for body identification and burial arrangements in the DRC.

Getrude Mwaiteleke, the deceased’s neighbour, is currently taking care of the five-year-old child, Emmanuel Ibrahim, who was left behind.

Ms Mwaiteleke, says Maloba suddenly fell sick and was rushed to Mbeya Zonal Referral Hospital for medical attention on April 28 before she died on May 1, 2019.

She had known Maloba since October 2018  when she (Maloba) came to live in the area and that the latter used to tell them that during  her life-time she had lived in various regions of the country particularly in Dar es Salaam, Arusha and Mbeya Regions, after arriving in the country from the neighboring DR Congo.

According to Mwaiteleke, Maloba also told them that in her country of origin she had left a family with two children, whom she mentioned with single names as Nicra and Chriss.

It is said that her husband died and she was forced to leave her country in pursuit of opportunities to feed her family and survival.

Despite the hospital’s administration being reluctant to speak about the matter, the Immigration Department Assistant Inspector for Mbeya Region, who doubles as a lawyer, Ally Mwotela, admitted to the occurrence of the death of the Congolese national.

He said her body had been preserved at the hospital’s mortuary over one month now because of lack of communication with her relatives.

"We got information from the leadership of zonal referral hospital that a certain woman had died. She is thought to be a national of the neighbouring DR Congo.

“We went to the hospital to satisfy ourselves, although there was no concrete evidence to prove that she was indeed a citizen of DRC," said Mwotela.

He said further that efforts were being made to communicate with relatives in DRC, although it had proved difficult to establish the communication until this reporter filed this report.

Mwotela, said the Mbeya City Council has been instructed to start plans for possible burial arrangements.

He said, “The city could conduct her funeral, although we don’t know when her relatives will come here. But if it happens they come, then they will be shown the place, where their relative   has been laid to rest and if they decide to dig out the grave to take the body, it is upon them.”

Mwotela said they were communicating with the Social Welfare Department in Mbeya to see how the child could be taken care of while awaiting the deceased’s relatives to come and collect him. But, he insisted, legal procedures would have to be followed.

 A resident of the area and neighbour of the deceased, Rehema Mwanjonde described Maloba as a person, who was earning a living through hair-plaiting and that very often she was seen to be sad and cried every time and now, wanting to return to her country of origin because of life hardships she was going through.

"Every time we met with the deceased she was crying and she even asked for help from the Immigration Department to take her back to her country of Congo.”

“However, surprisingly she fell sick suddenly for consecutively three days and died at Mbeya Zonal Referral Hospital, where she was receiving treatment," said Mwanjonde.