Tanzania

Tanzania hearing for detained journalist postponed

A court in Tanzania's largest city of Dar es Salaam has postponed a hearing in the case against top investigative journalist Erick Kabendera after the prosecution asked for more time to continue its investigation.

Mr Kabendera was arrested on 29 July and has been in custody since.

He is facing charges of money laundering, tax evasion and involvement in organised crime.

The journalist has not yet been asked to enter a plea and the charges are considered too serious for him to be granted bail.

The magistrate ordered that Mr Kabendera be arraigned in court on 30 August.

The manner of his arrest and detention has raised concern about media freedom in Tanzania, both locally and internationally.

Earlier this month, the US and UK condemned the handling of his case.

Mr Kabendera's lawyers say their client say is being targeted because of an article published in The Economist about the nation's president entitled: John Magufuli is bulldozing Tanzania’s freedom.

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'Married men' database suggested to stop cheating

Munira Hussein

BBC Africa

A wedding ring is seen on the finger of a man wearing a suit.
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In Tanzania, the governor of Dar es Salaam has suggested the creation of a database of married men for single women to check as a way of stopping philandering.

"Our main aim is to relieve pain from these women who are suffering from these cheaters - as a governor, I am not happy to lead women who are sad and heartbroken," Paul Makonda said at a press conference on Monday.

He said the idea came to him after meeting many women who say men have cheated on them after he invited single mothers to his office last year.

Mr Makonda gave no details about the stage of the proposal and it isn't clear whether it is legally allowed or even technically possible.

The governor is known for his controversial statements that don't always materialise. In 2018 he said a surveillance squad had been created to hunt down gay people, only for the government to later say that it didn’t represent official policy.

Monument to be built for Tanzania tanker victims

A woman laying a wreath at the site of a grave in Morogoro, Tanzania
BBC
The burial site is going to be fenced off and gravestones erected

Tanzania’s prime minister has said a monument will be built at the burial site for the 71 people who died after a fuel tanker overturned and exploded on Saturday.

Gravestones would also be erected once the remains of the victims had all been identified, Kassim Majaliwa said.

The BBC’s Eagan Salah at the site of the crash in the Morogoro region says burials are continuing, two days after the explosion. Sixty bodies were buried on Sunday after a mass funeral.

Officials say many of the victims were trying to siphon fuel from the tanker after it overturned on a main road in the region, which is about 200km (124 miles) west of the port city of Dar es Salaam.

President John Magufuli said that the government would pay for the medical bills of the more than 65 people injured in the explosion.

There have been calls to prosecute the injured to stop people stealing from the scene of accidents in future - but on a visit to Dar es Salaam’s main referral hospital on Sunday, Mr Magufuli said it was not the time to judge those caught up in the accident.

The head of the fire brigade, Billy Mwakibete, has told BBC Swahili that efforts are being made to provide counselling for those affected by the tragedy.

Tanzania explosion: Tanker burns after deadly blast
Dozens of people were killed after the overturned vehicle exploded west of Dar es Salaam.

Tanzania's justice system criticised by US and UK

BBC
BBC
Tanzanian journalist Erick Kabendera was denied bail in a court in Dar es Salaam on Monday

The US and the UK have strongly criticised Tanzania's justice system, saying they are deeply concerned about the erosion of due process.

In a joint statement they condemn the frequent use of lengthy pre-trial detentions and the common practice of changing the charges.

The two countries singled out the case of top investigative journalist Erick Kabendera, who was charged on Monday with money-laundering, tax evasion and leading organised crime.

He was arrested the previous week initially over concerns about his citizenship.

The statement condemns Mr Kabendera's mistreatment:

We are particularly concerned about a recent case - the irregular handling of the arrest, detention, and indictment of investigative journalist Erick Kabendera, including the fact that he was denied access to a lawyer in the early stages of his detention, contrary to the Criminal Procedures Act."

The joint statement also urges Tanzania's government to guarantee due process to its citizens, "which it has recognised as a basic human right".

Notes on the media in Tanzania and links to Tanzanian broadcasters and newspapers.

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