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Police in Lindi Accused of Covering Up Child Sexual Abuse Scandal Involving Its Officer

Madushi Mhogota Ng’wala, who worked at the gender desk of the Liwale District Police Post, reportedly raped the 13-year-old girl and bribed fellow officers who let him escape.

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Lindi. Police here are under pressure to arrest a member of the law enforcement agency who’s accused of raping a 13-year-old girl, with many accusing police of trying to cover the scandal up and shield its officer from accountability.

The officer, identified as Madushi Mhogota Ng’wala, who worked at the gender desk of the Liwale District Police Post, reportedly raped the Standard Six girl from one of Liwale’s public schools, causing panic and anger amongst parents and other community members, who now call for the officer’s arrest.

According to reports, Ng’wala allegedly raped the girl on the evening of February 18, 2024, when she was leaving home for a neighbouring house where she was going to sleep. Ng’wala reportedly snatched the girl, and led her to the bush and forced himself into her.

Her family learned later in the morning after the mother noticed blood dripping from between her daughter’s legs, which led to the girl recounting her last night’s ordeal with the police officer. The mother said it was her daughter who revealed the name of her alleged rapist.

READ MORE: Children’s Rights Most Violated in Tanzania, New Report by LHRC Finds 

Hidaya Chikawe is a legal aid coordinator with the Liwale Women Paralegal Aid and Unity (LIWOPAU) who told The Chanzo that police must apprehend Ng’wala and bring him to justice to express their commitment to ending child abuse in the district. 

“[Ng’wala] is a law enforcer who deliberately broke the laws,” Ms Chikawe said. “He was working at the gender desk where tens of cases such as this one were brought before his attention. Instead of helping to protect these vulnerable girls, Ng’wala decided to contribute to the abuse against them.”

Chikawe strongly condemned the officer’s actions, urging police to do whatever it takes to bring him to justice so that he can answer for his alleged crime.

Lindi regional police commander John Makuri was unavailable for comments after several attempts to reach him through his mobile phone failed to bear any fruit. We also sent him text messages, but as of writing, he hadn’t responded to us.

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Liwale district commissioner Goodluck Mlinga told The Chanzo that his office is following up on the matter to ensure that justice is being served for the defiled young girl, urging police to speed up efforts aimed at finding and apprehending the suspect.

“The suspect is said to have bribed some fellow officers who tried to cover up the issue,” Mr Mlinga said in an interview. “Parents had also transported the girl to an interior village in an attempt to resolve the matter outside judicial systems.”

Mr Mlinga said that after being tipped off by some good samaritans, his team went to the village to find the girl, knocking from door to door until they found her, where she was taken to hospital for treatment.

“Now, we’ve left this matter on the hands of the police, and I hope it’ll be worked on and the suspect will be brought to justice,” Mr Mlinga told The Chanzo. “Because there are bribery charges, [Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau] PCCB are also participating in the investigation.”

READ MORE: Tanzania Investigates Reports That Some Private Schools Teach Students to Commit Sodomy 

Liwale is being reported as having many incidents of child abuse among Lindi’s six districts. This is according to then Liwale district commissioner Zuwena Omary, who gave the assessment during an event to commemorate Sixteen Days of Activism on December 1, 2023.

Ms Omary said that of 360 registered incidents of gender-based violence incidents, which included child abuse,  registered in Lindi between January and November 2023, 102 were reported in Liwale.

In its 2022 Human Rights Report, Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC), a leading human rights and good governance NGO in Tanzania, found that children constitute the majority of victims of human rights violations in Tanzania at 47 per cent, followed by women at 33 per cent and the elderly at ten per cent.

LHRC reported that sexual violence against children accounted for the overwhelming majority of incidents of violence against children in the country in 2022 at 81 per cent, leading the organisation to urge deliberate measures to protect children in the East African nation.

Omari Mikoma reports for The Chanzo from Mtwara. He can be reached at omarmikoma@gmail.com

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