Arusha. This year’s Daudi Mwangozi Prize awarding ceremony held here was full of emotions as one speaker after another painted the challenging environment in which media practitioners currently operate.
As the name of this year’s winner of the prize was announced, some participants failed to hold back their tears.
The winner was no other but Mr Azory Gwanda, a reporter with Mwananchi Communications Limited (MCL). The reality of his disappearance hit participants hard like a heat wave as walking up to receive the prize was not Mr Gwanda but his wife Anna Pinoni.
It has been slightly over nine months since Mr Gwanda went missing last November.
Announcing the winner of the Sh10 million prize, the chairman of the panel of judges, Mr Ndimara Tegambwage, said Mr Gwanda demonstrated a high degree of courage by reporting about killings that for months rocked Rufiji, Kibiti and Mkuranga districts in Coast Region. “It was around this time of insecurity in the three districts that he went missing and until now, no one knows of his whereabouts and whether he is still alive or not,” he said.
The Daudi Mwangosi Prize is an annual event organised by the Union of Tanzania Press Clubs (UTPC). It was established in memory of Channel Ten journalist Daudi Mwangosi, who was killed while on duty by police in Iringa in 2012.
It is aimed at awakening the government to take action against incidents threatening lives of journalists. Earlier, UTPC executive director Abubakari Karsan said the award has so far been won by three. “In 2016 the winner was Mr Absalom Kibanda, in 2017 it went to Clouds TV, and in this year it is Mr Gwanda,” he said.
Anna thanked media stakeholders including MCL for taking care of her family from the time her husband went missing.
For his part, the MCL head of Content Generation, Mr Frank Sanga, said all efforts by the company on searching for the missing journalist have proved futile, asking the government to continue looking for him.