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Tanzanian journalist killed in political rally

A police officer points a rifle at a person being held down by other officers
A police officer points a rifle at a person being held down by other officers

MISA Tanzania

A Tanzanian journalist was killed while reporting on a political rally on 2 September 2012. Daudi Mwangosi was a correspondent for the television station Channel Ten and the Chairperson of the Iringa Press Club.

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and ARTICLE 19 report that Mwangosi was attacked during a clash between police forces and supporters of Tanzania's largest political opposition party - Chadema cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA), or the Party for Democracy and Progress.

The clash occurred in front of the CHADEMA offices in Nyololo Village, in the Mafundi district, of Iringa, Tanzania. Supporters of the political party had gathered there in spite of a ban on CHADEMA-led political demonstrations, instilled in November 2011.

According to CPJ, the violence began when police ordered CHADEMA supporters to disband. Upon refusing to do so, police began firing tear gas and beating them.

Eyewitnesses told MISA that Mwangosi was assaulted shortly after he asked police why they had arrested fellow journalist Godfrey Mushi. Observers said that in the preceding confrontation, they heard a blast and then saw Mwangosi lying on the ground next to a police officer. Meanwhile, reports from CPJ and ARTICLE 19 state that police fired a tear gas canister into Mwangosi's stomach at close range.

According to Reuters, police commissioner Paul Chagonja denies police responsibility for the attack. He has, nevertheless, ordered a joint military-police inquiry into the killing.

Levi Kabwato, MISA's Programme Specialist for Media Freedom Monitoring and Research, expressed deep concern over Mwangosi's death in a press release.

"This is very shocking. 2 September isn't a dark day for Tanzanian journalism alone but also for the region and the rest of the world. Violence is never a solution, it solves nothing. We call upon the government of Tanzania to urgently institute an inquiry and bring those responsible for this loss of life to account," said Kabwato.

CPJ says that Mwangosi's death is the first work-related fatality for a journalist that it has recorded in Tanzania since it began keeping detailed records in 1992. It comes on the heels of the death of protester Ally Zona. According to ARTICLE 19, Zona was killed during a CHADEMA demonstration on 27 August.

ARTICLE 19 calls upon Tanzanian authorities to "immediately lift the indefinite ban on rallies and demonstrations," so as to respect its Constitution and international human rights obligations.

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