Revelations by Tanzanian Foreign Minister Palamagamba Kabudi that journalist Azory Gwanda, who has been missing for nearly two years, is dead have prompted the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) to demand a “detailed public account of the fate” of the freelancer.
Kabudi made the shocking revelation during a BBC interview on Wednesday.
Reacting to the revelation, the CPJ called on the Tanzanian government “to provide a detailed public account” of the fate of Gwanda.
In the interview with the BBC’s “Focus on Africa” program Kabudi said that Gwanda had “disappeared and died” in the country’s eastern Rufiji region.
The minister said that the government has since “been able to contain that kind of extremism” in the region.
Gwanda went missing on 21 November 2017, after investigating mysterious killings and disappearances in his community. The Tanzanian government has never delivered a promised investigation into his case, the CPJ said.
“For a year and a half, Azory Gwanda’s family and the Tanzanian media have pleaded with the government to explain what happened to their loved one and colleague,” said CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney from New York.
“Then suddenly the foreign minister mentions, almost in passing, that the journalist is apparently dead. This is wholly inadequate and distressing. The government must immediately share publicly all information it has about Gwanda’s fate.”
Kabudi told the BBC that the Tanzanian government was not “proud” of the disappearances and killings in Rufiji, which he said also took the lives of police officers and ruling party officials. The foreign minister said the government was taking measures to make sure that citizens and journalists were safe.
However, CPJ said its research into this anomaly shows that “impunity in journalists’ deaths or disappearances contributes to an environment that fosters violence against journalists”.
African News Agency (ANA)