Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Friday, April 29, 2022.
Tension rises in Dar over Panya Road as police launch crackdown on the band of marauders
Are Panya Road back in the streets of Dar es Salaam? This is the question that many residents of Tanzania’s commercial capital have been asking themselves recently following reports of a band of marauders wreaking havoc in some parts of Dar es Salaam, attacking people with machetes in order to rob them.
According to reports, the boys aged between 13 and 21 have in the past few days marauded the areas of Chanika and Tabata in the city with the sole aim of robbing people of their properties using traditional weapons of knives and machetes, leaving dozens injured and panicked.
The boys also reportedly raided houses and looted properties, including mobile phones and TV sets, according to police.
Dar es Salaam Special Zone Commander Jumanne Muliro told journalists here on Thursday that law enforcement authorities are holding 10 members of the band during a special operation launched to put the security situation in the city back to normalcy.
“This operation is intense and continuous and it will be carried out in all areas of Dar es Salaam,” Muliro said during a press conference. “[The police] will work closely with citizens and see these criminal gangs are stopped as soon as possible in accordance with the law.”
Among the ten suspects held by the police is one Abdulaziz Abdallah, also known as Hunter, who is thought to be the leader of the marauding group. All of them confessed to having conducted criminal activities in various areas of Dar es Salaam and offered to help the police nail their accomplices, according to Muliro.
News about Panya Road brings Dar es Salaam residents memories of 2014 and 2015 when the marauders wreaked havoc in the city’s streets and almost brought the city to a standstill. Since then, the criminal gang carried out events in 2016, 2017 and 2020 but they were not as significant as the current one.
The issue of Panya Road has been a subject of many discussions and research since it made its first appearance in late 2014, with many researchers and analysts associating the rise of the group with the harsh economic conditions that many Tanzanian youths face, urging long-term approaches to dealing with the problem.
Other reasons given include corruption, fake promises from politicians, education systems, laxity of parental or guardians care and inspiration of children to live a luxurious life.
A 2019 study that looked into the matter warned against the use of force by police and other government authorities in addressing the issue, arguing that such tactics cannot end “societal challenges.”
“Instead, the government should provide an education system, which is skill-oriented to enable young people to employ themselves,” the study’s authors recommended. “In addition, more efforts are needed to fight corruption from low level to high level of [the] government system.”
Edwin Soko is a journalist and the chairperson of the Organization of Journalists Against Drug Abuse and Crime in Tanzania (OJADACT), a local NGO that works towards freeing society from drugs and crimes who made a more or less the same call to authorities regarding the recent resurgence of the criminal groups in the streets of Dar es Salaam.
“The government should conduct a thorough investigation into what exactly leads young people to join criminal groups and find scientific methods that would prevent them from doing so,” Soko said in a statement on Thursday.
Environmental watchdog wants polluters held accountable
The Lawyers’ Environmental Action Team (LEAT), a local pressure group dedicated to environmental preservation on Friday called on authorities to hold to account all those responsible for the ongoing environmental degradation in Tanzania.
In a statement, LEAT Executive Director Dr Rugemeleza Nshala said that recently there have been “saddening and disappointing” incidents in the country that involve environmental pollution in the Dar es Salaam and Mara regions, with authorities appearing unperturbed about the trend.
“A country that does not preserve its own environment is not a progressing country and it is not on a road to progress but catastrophe,” Dr Nshala, who once served as the president of the Tanganyika Law Society (TLS), said in the statement. “Human activities that do not respect environmental preservation will cost the nation by forcing it to deal with the negative effects of [environmental] degradation.”
Dr Nshala gave a number of examples of cases of “serious” environmental pollution in Tanzania that have so far received not the slightest attention from relevant authorities.
These include the oceanic oil spill that took place between April 5 and April 6 at the Ferry area in Dar es Salaam, with Ilala district commissioner Mr Ng’wilabuzu Ludigija attributing the pollution to an “unknown vessel,” something that Dr Nshala thinks “does not make any sense.”
Dr Nshala wants the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) to be held accountable for the pollution for its responsible for which vessel gets into Tanzania and which gets out.
Another case concerns a fire that broke out at Tanzania and Zambia Oil Pipeline Authority’s (Tazama) crude oil storage area in Kigamboni, causing damage and panic among nearby citizens. According to reports, Tazama would be fined Sh300 million for the incident.
Dr Nshala wants all these cases and others that involve environmental pollution to be investigated and all perpetrators to be brought to justice.
“Environmental protection must be stressed and taken as one of the important pillars of the security of Tanzanians,” the lawyer said in the statement. “Ignoring environmental preservation contributes to climate change and diseases outbreak, such as cancer.”
Tanzanian flags fly at half-mast as the nation mourns the passing of Kenya’s Kibaki
President Samia Suluhu on Thursday declared two days of national mourning following the death of the third President of the Republic of Kenya Mwai Kibaki.
Kibaki died on April 22, 2022, aged 90. A requiem mass and state funeral procession will be held on April 29 in Nairobi and he will be buried on April 30 in his village in Othaya, Nyeri County, in central Kenya.
A statement issued by the Director of Presidential Communications Zuhura Yunus late on Thursday stated that the national mourning started Friday and will end today.
“During the two-day national mourning the Tanzanian [national] flags will fly at half-mast across the territory of the country and at all diplomatic missions abroad,” Yunus said in the statement.
She said added that the Head of State was conveying her heartfelt condolences to the people of Kenya, urging Tanzanians to join in solidarity with their neighbours during the difficult period they are going through.
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