Tanzania’s government has formed a five-member team to investigate the controversial killing of Daudi Mwangosi in Iringa on Sunday.
Home Affairs Minister Emmanuel Nchimbi told reporters in his office that the team headed by retired Court of Appeal Judge Stephen Ihema had a month to hand in its report.
Dr Nchimbi’s move came a day after Inspector General of Police Said Mwema said he would lead another team to investigate the killing of Daudi Mwangosi as police battled opposition party supporters at Nyololo Village in Mufindi District.
Judge Ihema will be joined by Ms Pili Mtambalike (Media Council of Tanzania), Mr Theophil Makunga (Tanzania Editors Forum), Deputy Commissioner of Police Isaiya Mungulu and Colonel Wema Wapo (Tanzania People’s Defence Force).
Mr Makunga also serves as Group Managing Editor for Mwananchi Communications (MCL), the publishers of The Citizen, Mwananchi and MwanaSpoti.
Witnesses said Mwangosi, who was buried in Mbeya Region, died during a confrontation with the police who were dispersing protesters. He was a correspondent for the TV station Channel Ten.
Reports indicate the clashes began after police ordered supporters of the Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema), who had gathered for a rally, to disperse.
But the supporters refused, prompting the police to resort to violence in an effort to break up the gathering, declared illegal.
The death has elicited condemnation from political leaders, human rights activists, the media fraternity and the general public across the country, with calls to prosecute the police who have been blamed for the killing.
In Dar es Salaam, Dr Nchimbi said the team would be required to establish what killed the TV journalist, whether there was hatred between the police and the Iringa-based journalist, and if a group of journalists, including Mr Mwangosi, were a target of the police even before his death.
They will also establish the amount of force used by the police when suppressing opposition supporters of Chadema, who were protesting a ban by the police to open a local office.
“I want to assure every Tanzanian that this team will work very independently to come up with answers for the questions that, not only the public has been asking, but also we as the government wanted answers to,” Dr Nchimbi said.
He added: “If it happens that the probe team wants foreign expertise, then we are ready to find them,” said the minister vowing to prosecute Mwangosi’s killers.
Asked why the police were blocking Chadema rallies, Dr Nchimbi was quick to refute that the police was favouring the ruling party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi. “...as far as I’m concerned, all rallies have been stopped,” he said.
Additional reporting by Fariji Msonsa and Apollo Sylas