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The Chanzo’s Morning Briefing – July 6, 2021

In our briefing, today: Zanzibar’s Mwinyi criticized over bail remarks; TZ is exploring new ways to combat armed robberies; Man arrested for rape of seven-year-old stepdaughter; and two dies in Geita after eating poisoned food.

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Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Monday.

Zanzibar’s Mwinyi criticized over bail remarks

President of Zanzibar Dr Hussein Mwinyi yesterday ordered the regional commissioner of the Northern Unguja region to make sure that people accused of drug abuse or violence against women are denied bails as the semi-autonomous archipelago intensifies its war against the two social ills that haunt the isles. President Mwinyi is touring the region and he made the order through a Twitter post on Monday.

“We all have got a role to play in exposing perpetrators of [gender-based] violence,” said Dr Mwinyi in a tweet that many criticized as violating the principles of natural justice as well as the rule of law. “I’m directing the Northern Unguja regional commissioner that anyone arrested in connection to drug abuse or [gender-based] violence should be denied bail.”

Drug abuse and gender-based violence are serious problems in Zanzibar. Recognized as a gateway for drug trafficking, especially heroin, Zanzibar is estimated to have more than 10,000 drug users, many of them young women and men between the age of 15 and 50. In 2017 also, UNICEF described gender-based violence as “a daily reality for significant numbers of women and children in Zanzibar,” with 14 per cent of women in the archipelago experiencing physical violence and almost one in ten women experience sexual violence.

While people have commended Dr Mwinyi for being categorical in his war against drug abuse and gender-based violence in the isles, many of them want the war to be waged in line with the principles of the rule of law.

“There are unfaithful public officials who will arrest people on trumped-up charges just because they know that bails have been stopped,” lawyer and advocate Denis Tumaini told Dr Mwinyi on Twitter. “Besides, the matter of whether the bail should be granted or denied is the responsibility of the court. Do not interfere with it.”

The Zanzibar’s Criminal Procedure Act, 2018, provides that all offences are bailable with the exception of murder, treason, armed robbery, possession of firearms, drug trafficking, an offence relating to large quantity of drugs, rape, unnatural offence, defilement of boy, gang rape or incest. However, the law provides that cases have to be heard within six month or else the accused should be granted bail.

TZ is exploring new ways to combat armed robberies

Home Affairs minister George Simbachawene said yesterday that the government is thinking of coming up with ways that would permanently rid Tanzania’s communities of armed robbers, calling imprisonment “less effective” in deterring people from committing the crime. Simbachawene claimed that in every ten robbers arrested in Tanzania right now, three of them are former inmates, something that necessitates the exploring of alternative ways of punishment.

“[The government] is in the process of doing away with armed robbers for good,” said Mr Simbachawene who doubles as Kibakwe MP (Chama cha Mapinduzi – CCM) during a rally in the constituency to inspect development projects. “When you defend the lives of the righteous, in any means, you commit no sin. So we’ll figure out ways we can be done with armed robbers.”

Mr Simbachawene was speaking about the ongoing national operation to put an end to armed robberies incidents following a directive by President Samia Suluhu Hassan to the Police Force that she does not want to see people complaining about the incidents. President Samia’s directive followed some consistent armed robberies incidents that were reported in major towns of Tanzania including in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam.

“Armed robbers wanted to cause chaos in Dar es Salaam and in some other areas. I hope you have been paying attention lately, right? [You can see] it is quiet. There’s no more trouble,” said Mr Simbachawene. “We dealt [with armed robbers]. We dealt with them excellently. How did we deal with them? Please, do not ask us. But they are quiet.”

Man arrested for rape of seven-year-old stepdaughter

Police in Geita are holding Vicent Said for allegedly raping his seven-year-old stepdaughter, the region’s police commander Henry Mwaibambe told journalists yesterday during a press conference. The incident is said to have taken place on July 2, 2021, after Said, 27, enticed the victim whose name was not revealed using fried dough food, or maandazi as they are known in Kiswahili, and a Sh500 juice.

Mwaibambe told journalists that Said is currently in the police’s hands and he will be brought before the court as soon as the investigation into the alleged crime is completed. Mwaibambe said that the police have noticed a trend of people trying to tamper with the evidence, warning them against continuing with the behaviour because the police will not tolerate it.

Two dies in Geita after eating poisoned food

ITV Tanzania reported yesterday that two children — six-year-old Manyirizi Joseph and five-year-old Berita Mateso — in Mbongwe, Geita died yesterday after eating a poisoned food at a neighbour’s wedding ceremony.

Fifteen other people who had eaten the poisoned food were rushed to a nearby hospital. The victims of the poisoned food told ITV Tanzania that immediately after eating the food they started experiencing vomiting and diarrhoea.

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