THE Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRGG) has alleged authorities of massive abuse of power during the recent fracas in Iringa region that led to the death of a journalist.
It has established in its inquisition that the police force and the office of the registrar of political parties are driven by emotions in their decisions thus making ridiculous pronouncements.
CHRGG Chairman, Judge Amiri Manento, told reporters that the Iringa Regional Police Commander (RPC), Mr Michael Kamuhanda unlawfully used his powers by banning rallies by the opposition Chama Cha Demokrasia (Chadema) that were given the go ahead by the Mufindi Officer Commanding District (OCD).
He said that despite the RPC being in charge of the region, it was not his duty to interfere in the matter thus sending signals that his decision was driven by ulterior motives to favour one side and suppress another. "The RPC was not the officer in charge of the area thus the directive he gave to outlaw Chadema's rallies was illegitimate, this is abuse of power and violation of good governance," Judge Manento said.
He said that in a multiparty democracy like Tanzania, banning political rallies and demonstrations only goes to show that the government does not respect the constitutional rights of people and the political parties' acts. In the report, it was found that the police force used excessive force to deny the public and journalists their right of acquiring information as provided in the Tanzanian constitution.
The commission warned that the police should see the need to execute their duties judiciously without prejudices and that multiparty politics should not be viewed as a menace to the ruling party. The report also expressed disappointment with the Registrar of Political Parties, Mr John Tendwa, whom it blames for unnecessary interventions and making statements his authority.
He said that Mr Tendwa's letter to political parties directing them to stop all their activities including planned rallies and demos during the housing and population census was contrary to the country's Statistics Act No. 1 of 2002. The act that empowers the National Bureau of Statistics to collect specific data about the population also allows every Tanzanian to continue with his or her normal social, political and economic activities as usual.
A surprised Judge Manento also wondered how the registrar of political parties could issue directives that are first beyond his authority and secondly contrary to the laws of the land. "Mr Tendwa's letter to political parties directing them to stop all their activities during the census exercise was unwelcome but if at all it was imperative then it should have been the Commissioner of Census who should have issued such a directive," he said.
To make matters worse, while Tendwa was issuing the directing, the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) was launching its campaign in Zanzibar but no action was taken by the same authorities that saw it fit to ban Chadema's rally in Iringa on grounds of the same directive.
Judge Manento added that his commission was convinced beyond reasonable doubt that all events that led to the death of the journalist in Iringa, Mr Daudi Mwangosi, were a results of massive violation of human rights and good governance.