11 October 2018

Tanzania: Social Media Anger Over Billionaire Mo Dewji Abduction in Tanzania

Photo: Mo Dewji
Africa's youngest billionaire Mohammed Dewji.

Dar es Salaam — Tanzanians took their anger over abductions to Twitter on Thursday, October 11, 2018 shortly after news broke that Dollar billionaire, Mohammed Dewji (Mo), had been abducted at Colosseum Hotel as he walked into a gym.

The Tanzanians on Twitter (TOT), as they commonly style themselves, expressed both shock and dismay over the news seen to many as a continuation of what had already been taking place in the country in the near past.

The #TOT seized the incident of the abduction of the Africa's youngest billionaire on Forbes' rankings to remind both the public and the State that his abduction is by no means a unique case but rather a tip of a larger iceberg of security crisis looming in the country.

Reacting to news that the Dar es Salaam Special Zone Police was holding three suspects in connection with the incident, the Tanganyika Law Society president Fatma Karume wrote on Twitter: that she was "thankful" that that was the case.

However, the firebrand lawyer expressed discontent that the same was not the case for the suspects who were responsible for bombings of her office, IMMA Advocates, almost a year ago.

Backing this argument on Twitter, the former Executive Secretary of the Tanzania Students' Network Alphonce Lusako blamed the proliferation of the crimes involving abductions and disappearance, calling it "a cancer of impunity [and] Double standard" which "is killing this nation."

Tito Magoti, a lawyer and legal advisor with the Tanzania Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) said the nation needs to be told what had happened to Mr Dewji and who is really behind the "horrendous act."

"We have our brothers [and sisters] who have been the victims of these types of acts. It's important that we are told and necessary actions need to be taken."

Other users on the platform reacted to the twits by the minister for State in the Vice President's Office (Union and Environment), Mr January Makamba with a wave of attacks questioning the reaction of the minister on previous abductions, especially those targeting members of the opposition and journalists including Azory Gwanda.

Mr Makamba was joining the #TOT in expressing his disappointment over the abduction of a person whom he called "a friend" said he believes that the police would release a detailed report on the matter and urged Tanzanians to give information that would help Mo's come back.

A social media fanatic who twitted as @niyonzimazabron, reacted to Makamba's twit saying it was unfortunate that he didn't see the minister being saddened when the news broke regarding the abductions of Ben Saanane (Chadema's national chairman Freeman Mbowe personal assistant) and Azory Gwanda, the missing Mwananchi Communications journalist, among others.

"Can we stop this double-standard?" asked the tweep.

However, The Citizen is aware that Mr Makamba made similar reactions to almost all the abductions and disappearances that have rocked the country during the past few months.

Others called out for patience and calm among citizens and asked security organs to conduct thorough and proper investigations into the matter.

A user, @mwalimu053 21m21, said that: "Mo is a business man with so much business dealings. This incident has to be looked from every angle."

Kigoma Urban MP (ACT-Wazalendo) Zitto Kabwe wrote on the platform that he was "shocked" about the horrifying news and urged his followers on the platform to play their part and share any information they may have on the issue.

"Hope our security establishments have taken some steps," hoped the ACT-Wazalendo party leader.

Nzega Urban MP (CCM) Hussein Bashe reacted to the news on Twitter saying that it was shocking to see crimes of abductions taking root in the country. He prayed that Dewji's safety and urged anyone with relevant information to share them in efforts to save the billionaire.

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