Dar es Salaam. Police spokesperson David Misime Thursday played down death threats claims reported by critics of the intergovernmental agreement between Tanzania and Dubai, noting that they have caused “unnecessary panic and questions” among Tanzanians.
In a statement, police said they have noticed several people coming out recently to report that they have received death threats for various reasons, urging anyone who feels that their lives are threatened to report to police.
“Report to the police station if you receive death threats so that law enforcers can investigate the claims and apprehend the suspect,” Misime said. “That’s the legal procedure [when reporting death threats].”
On Wednesday, the former Tanzanian ambassador to Sweden, Willibrod Slaa, became the latest critic of the controversial deal to report receiving death threats, a situation he associated with his criticism of the deal that would see DP World, an Emirati multinational logistics company, to take control of the operations of the Dar es Salaam’s port.
He joined advocates Rugemeleza Nshala and Boniface Mwabukusi, who have also reported receiving death threats. Nshala has been very vocal against the deal, describing it as “treasonist,” while Mwabukusi represents some Tanzanians who have petitioned the High Court against it.
“I’ve also had my life threatened, not just the advocates,” Slaa told a press conference Wednesday. “Some have threatened to revoke my ambassadorial status. I’m telling them, take it. My life doesn’t depend on my ambassadorial status.”
All of those who have reported receiving death reports have vowed not to quit their protest against the deal, which continues to divide the opinions of many Tanzanians between those who support it and oppose it.
In their first public commentary on the reports on Thursday, police urged anyone who feels that their lives are threatened to report to the police, warning those who go against established procedures of consequences.
In their three-paragraphed statement, the police discouraged arbitrary reporting of death threats, pointing out that the behaviour creates unnecessary fear.
Thursday’s commentary by the police came a day after Tanganyika Law Society (TLS), the country’s bar society, condemned the threats directed against its member Nshala, calling on the police to investigate them.
In a public statement on Wednesday, TLS president Harold Sungusia described the alleged death threats reports as “alarming,” urging authorities to ensure the protection of Nshala’s constitutional right to life and protection.
“The threats against [Nshala’s] life are not only unlawful and unconstitutional but also a violation of fundamental rights,” Sungusia, who assumed the bar’s presidency in May this year, said.
He said according to the constitution, every person has the freedom of opinion, expression of ideas, and the freedom to communicate, with protection from undue interference.
“We further implore [law enforcement agencies] to conduct a thorough investigation into this matter and take all appropriate [and] lawful measures against anyone found to be involved in the threats against our esteemed member,” Sungusia added.
Police are also investigating Nshala’s statements he made during a discussion on the social audio app Clubhouse on July 3, 2023, where he described the controversial deal as equivalent to “selling the country off to foreigners,” pointing out that the decision to sign such a deal constituted “betrayal and treason” against Tanzania.