Yesterday marked a full month since Azory Gwanda – a Mwananchi Communications Limited (MCL) journalist stationed in Kibiti District, Coast Region – went missing under suspicious circumstances. The 42-year-old disappeared on November 21, in the company of four ‘unknown persons’ in an unmarked Toyota Land Cruiser.’ Gwanda is yet to be found, seen or heard from. It’s 32 days now – his mobile phones are off the air.
We remain hopeful that he will be found. And we will hope against hope that he will be reunited with his family and colleagues at work – and that the long arm of the law will sooner or later catch up with those responsible for the heinous acts.
Tragically, this ugly scenario is becoming commonplace, with a goodly number of otherwise innocent people ‘disappearing’ here, there and over there countrywide.
Another equally-exasperating ‘disappearance’ readily coming to mind is that of Ben Saanane, a special aide to the national chairman of opposition Chadema, Freeman Mbowe. Mr Saanane mysteriously ‘disappeared’ on November 18, 2016 – and is also yet to be found (dead or alive), seen or heard from for more than a year later!
We welcome the response from the security and law-enforcement institutions – including the latest from the Criminal Investigations Directorate – that ‘the matters are under investigation.’
However, sad to say, the seemingly-endless investigations are yet to bear fruit – and, although the mysterious disappearances continue, the relevant authorities play down calls for international investigative organs to step into the breach.
As revealed in our sister Mwananchi paper on March 12, 2017, even the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Commission offered intervention by its experts in the Saanane case – to no avail. What’s heartening, though, is that powerful organs – including the Media Council of Tanzania, Tanzania Editors Forum, Dr Kijo-Bisimba’s LHRC and other doers-of-good – have rallied to urge expeditious investigations of the cases.
We will keep urging. Tanzanians demand something more tangible on these investigations.