9 July 2018

Tanzania: Lugola - Police Still Probing Disappearances of People

Dar es Salaam — Home Affairs minister Kangi Lugola yesterday said law enforcers were still investigating mysterious disappearances of people in the country.

He noted that investigation files related to the vanishing of Mwananchi Communications Limited (MCL) freelancer Azory Gwanda, Chadema supporter Ben Saanane and Kakonko District Council chairman Simon Kangoye were yet to be closed.

Mr Lugola was clarifying his recent statement that police were not involved in the disappearance of people as some go missing because of life hardships.

He was speaking at Mwananchi Communications Limited (MCL) headquarters, the publisher of The Citizen, Mwananchi and Mwanaspoti newspapers at Tabata Relini, in his first visit after assuming his new role.

Speaking during an exclusive interview with MCL Digital, Mr Lugola said people should not conclude that the missing people were kidnapped or killed by the state machinery because investigations were still going on. "Let us abide by investigation ethics and procedures. What will happen if we conclude that these people are dead and tomorrow we see them alive? People will question credibility of statements issued by the police," he said.

He reiterated that the disappearances of people can not be directly linked with incidents of crime amid reports that men are increasingly abandoning their families because they find it hard to make ends meet.

Mr Lugola said people should stop misleading Tanzanians that the missing people must have been kidnapped or killed, stressing that investigations were going on.

"I met some people considered dead by their families when I visited different mining firms when serving in the capacity of deputy minister for State in the Vice President's Office (Environment and Union Affairs)," he said. "Some relatives had already concluded that their beloved ones were dead. However, the fact that I am the minister of the docket, I won't allow such lies to prevail because we will be tarnishing the image of our country." He warned some of the academicians for making compelling analysis, noting that the move was plunging the country into crisis.

According to him, the operation organised by the Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner, Mr Paul Makonda, confirmed the extent to which men abandon their wives and families.

"Tanzanians should give us time to investigate the incidents because some of those missing may be abandoning their families to dodge responsibilities. We will give feedback to the public because the ministry is not happy with families missing their beloved ones," he said.

Mr Lugola said the police were investigating their whereabouts and if they were dead they will make statements for the public to know.

According to him, delayed investigation did not mean that the government has bad intention, assuring that investigations must go to the end.

Mr Gwanda went missing on November 21, 2017 from his work station in Kibiti District, Coast Region.

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