16 January 2013

Tanzania: Drama in Dar As Popular Pub Is Pulled Down

THERE was mid-morning drama in downtown Dar es Salaam on Tuesday as the owner of a house along Ohio Street rushed to the State House to seek the president's intervention on the eviction order and subsequent demolition of the structure that had for a number of years accommodated a pub and an eating joint.

The effort proved futile however as customers of the popular pub watched in disbelief while an auctioneer-hired bulldozer was pulling down the structure belonging to Captain Felix Kilewo, a former pilot with the Tanzania Government Flight Agency, also attracting the attention of scores of city residents.

According to reliable sources, the Tanzania Investment Bank (TIB) had entered into a public-private partnership agreement with the Tanzania Building Agency (TBA) to develop the plot, including the construction of the headquarters for the first Tanzania Agriculture Development Bank (TADB).

Capt Kilewo has protested against the order to demolish his house, claiming that there were some heavyweights behind the move. "This is not justice at all. The State House has promised to act and will give a statement on the issue," he told the 'Daily News' over the phone on his way back from the Seat of Power.

"We are also filing a case before Ilala District Court to oppose the move," he added. As Captain Kilewo was struggling to seek both presidential and court intervention on the matter, the eviction exercise proceeded as planned under the supervision of the Director of Rhino Auction Mart Court Brokers, Mr Joshua Mwaituka, acting on instructions of the counsel for TIB, Mr Sylvester Shayo.

A woman believed to be a close relative of Mr Kilewo claimed that the forceful eviction has caused them to suffer heavy loss, saying that immediately after the court broker had entered the site, youths loitering in the vicinity invaded the compound and started serving themselves to soups and other refreshments from the pub and restaurant without paying.

Court documents show that Mr Kilewo had been living at the place for several years as tenant before applying to purchase the house under the previous government policy of selling the houses to civil servants. But the government never responded to his application letter dated October 2, 1997.

Instead, in its notice of February 22, 2011, the TBA gave him an alternative house to live, Flat Number 2, Block D, Ex-NMC Mbezi Beach. It is alleged that Captain Kilewo remained defiant. Before the TBA serving the notice in question, one Rasilimali Limited had sued MIC Tanzania Limited over legal possession of the house in dispute. But the TBA and Mr Kilewo applied to be joined in the case as third party and intervener, respectively.

Mr Kilewo raised a counter-claim into the proceedings, claiming some damages. But in course of the hearing, Rasilimali Limited withdrew its case against MIC Company. On August 6, 2012, High Court Judge Augustine Shangwa dismissed the counter-claim by Mr Kilewo because he had no course of action.

After losing the case, Mr Kilewo filed another suit at the High Court's Land Division, demanding orders for specific performance on the government regarding the agreement to develop the plot. He also filed applied for "status quo" to be maintained pending determination of his suit. But on November 7, 2012, Judge Aghaton Nchimbi rejected his request.

It was at that point when the TIB wrote to TBA and Advocate Shayo on January 2 and 8, 2013, respectively, expressing its concern on the position by Mr Kilewo to continue occupying the house illegally despite being offered an alternative house at Mbezi Beach.

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