PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete has visited in hospital the chairman of Tanzania Editors' Forum (TEF) and Managing Editor of New Habari (2006) Corporation, Mr Absalom Kibanda (47), who is admitted to one South African hospital undergoing treatment after sustaining injuries from unknown assailants.
The president who was in South Africa on official duties took time to visit Mr Kibanda who sustained injuries when unidentified assailants attacked him a few metres from his residence at Mbezi Beach in Dar es Salaam last Tuesday night. He was flown to South Africa for further treatment.
The police in Dar es Salaam have formed a nine-man probe committee to investigate on the incident and launched manhunt for the attackers who seriously wounded the journalist. Briefing journalists at the Muhimbili Orthopaedic Institute (MOI) where Mr Kibanda was initially undergoing treatment, a member of TEF, Mr Theophil Makunga, said Kibanda had some of his teeth and nails plucked off and his left eye.
"He suffered multiple injuries on his head following beating from the assailants," Mr Makunga emotionally explained. Executive Secretary of TEF, Mr Neville Meena announced in Dar es Salaam on Friday that the editors' forum has also formed a probe team to work closely with concerned authorities to dig deep to the matter. He suspected that it was an act of vengeance as the attackers pulled him out of the vehicle while waiting at the gate and started beating him but nothing was stolen from the car.
The editors' forum pledges serious probe into the matter which stands as a threat to the media, editors and journalists as a whole. Meena likened the incident to a similar inhuman act against the Leader of the Interim Committee of Doctors, Dr Stephen Ulimboka, who was abducted, beaten up and dumped in the Mabwepande forest on the outskirt of Dar es Salaam.
Thanks to advanced medical treatment as a panel of four medical doctors attending to Mr Kibanda in South Africa were quoted yesterday as saying that he was recuperating steadily and responding well to the treatment for quick recovery.
Meanwhile, latest development from South Africa includes successful completion of five and a half hours operation conducted by three medical experts who strived to restore sight to the sounded left eye. The editors' forum General Secreatry, Neville Meena said according to information gathered from the CEO of New Habari (2006) Ltd, Hussein Bashe, doctors had to remove the left eye which was seriously injured by the attackers.
"Three medical doctors, two cranium specialists and an optician completed the five hour surgical operation. They managed to restore in position some of the dislocated facial bones but decided to remove the left eye which had already lost sight. An artificial plastic eye will be placed. We continue praying for his quick recovery. A comprehensive report will be issued on Sunday," reads part of the statement.