Tanzania: Minister to Hand Over Makonda Report to JPM

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MINISTER for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports, Mr Nape Nnauye, has pledged to hand over to President John Magufuli the report by a team he formed to investigate allegations against Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner (RC), Mr Paul Makonda, that he invaded Clouds Media Group (CMG).

When receiving the report yesterday after the task force completed gathering information over the matter, Minister Nape (pictured) said the document will serve as a lesson to politicians to respect boundaries of their duties.

“I will take this report to my bosses – Prime Minister, Vice-President and the President, who will act if there will be any advice or any other decision,” Mr Nape said, stressing that President Magufuli loves journalists and protects freedom of expression.

“Basically, every person has his or her own weaknesses. I believe that the world would understand us that any sin committed is a matter of individual’s conduct not the government in general.

“The President has good intentions to ensure that Tanzania remains a good place to live in,” he said. Mr Nape formed the five-member team on Monday after visiting the CMG as a response to the widely circulated information on social m e d i a condemning Mr Makonda for storming the media house and forcing them to broadcast a video footage showing a woman claiming that her son was fathered by Bishop Josephat Gwajima of the Glory of Christ Tanzania Church.

The team was given 24 hours to complete the task and yesterday it submitted the report to Minister Nape in D a r es Salaam. At a press conference where the team handed over the report, the team’s Secretary, Deodatus Balile, said RC Makonda did not cooperate with them in giving his side of the story over the allegations.

“We tried to call him but he didn’t pick the phone. We went to his office and kept waiting outside only to find out that he had left the office using the back door of his office,” he said, adding, “After failing to meet him, we concluded that he had chosen not to use the opportunity of being heard.

” When highlighting the content of the report, Mr Balile said their probe revealed that it was true Mr Makonda stormed the media house while accompanied by armed police officers.

“The Committee satisfied itself that there was intimidation by armed officers to the staff of the CMG to press them to air the video,” he said. The Committee told Mr Nape that Mr Makonda threatened the staff by telling them he was to include them on the list of drug users or dealers suspects.

Mr Balile said that what Mr Makonda did was against freedom of the press as stipulated in the country’s Constitution. With these findings, the Committee recommends that Mr Makonda should apologise to the CMG and the media industry in general for what he did.

It further suggests that the security organs should probe the armed policemen who raided the media house with firearms. Meanwhile, the Tanzania Editors’ Forum (TEF) in collaboration with the Dar es Salaam Press Club (DPC) yesterday condemned the acts by political leaders to violate freedom of the media as they vowed not to cover stories concerning Mr Makonda.

“We announce our intention not to write stories from activities done by Mr Makonda because he has described himself as an enemy of the freedom of press,” said TEF Secretary, Neville Meena.

©Alleastafrica and Daily News

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