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Journalist Dinna Maningo Still Detained After a Week. Two More Journalists Samweli Mwanga and Constantine Mathias Arrested in Simiyu

Three journalist are now being held in Mwanza, Dinna Maningo, Constatine Mathias and Samweli Mwanga

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Mwanza police have held journalist Dinna Maningo since June 13, 2024, following her arrest in Tarime and transfer to Mwanza. According to her lawyer, Ms.Maningo is detained for allegedly publicizing confidential investigation documents.

Maningo’s arrest is linked to her reporting on her blog, Dima Online, about allegations against the former Simiyu Regional Commissioner, Dr. Yahya Nawanda, who was accused of sodomizing a university student in Mwanza City.

Following her report and subsequent media coverage, the President removed Nawanda from his post on June 11, 2024, and appointed Kenan Laban Kihongosi as the new Regional Commissioner.

However, the discussions online continued calling for accountability, including the online leakage of a document marked ‘confidential’ drafted by the  Mwanza Police to the Director of Criminal Investigation regarding the investigation of the case. Subsequently, on June 13, 2024, the Mwanza police announced the arrest of Dr. Yahya Nawanda.

Maningo was arrested at her home in Tarime district, Mara region, around 8 PM on June 13, 2024. Following her detention, Mwanza Press Club Chairperson Edwin Soko said that the press club had arranged legal representation for Maningo.

“She arrived here tonight, and after receiving information that she is in Mwanza, we prepared a good environment and a lawyer is with her already,” Soko told The Chanzo on June 14, 2024.

A committee of journalists from the press club is handling the matter, reporting that they are still working on securing bail, which has been delayed.

“Dinna Maningo is safe but still under police custody. Our lawyer, Amir Linus, is working on the bail but has been unsuccessful. Dinna has been interrogated many times by the police, and all her working tools are held by the police,” reads part of the statement released on June 16, 2024.

 More Arrests

In another development, the Simiyu Press Club reported the arrests of two more journalists, Samweli Mwanga and Constantine Mathias. Simiyu Press Club Secretary Samirah Yusuph detailed their situation.

“Early this morning, we received information that journalist Constantine Mathias was taken from his home by people identifying themselves as police. After following up at the Bariadi police station and later at the Regional Crime Officer (RCO) office in Simiyu, we were informed that the journalist was arrested last night [June 17, 2024].”

“Later, I received information from the family of journalist Samweli Mwanga that this morning [June 18, 2024], they received police summons to come in as close relatives. We continue to follow up to find out the reason for their detention by the police,” Yusuph added.

“Mwanga was arrested by the police on Sunday [June 16, 2024] and was transferred to Mwanza. He has given his statement today [June 18, 2024]. This series of arrests makes us anxious. We request that the police disclose the reasons for the arrests,” said Yusuph.

The Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) has issued a statement strongly condemning the arrest of Dinna Maningo. “The detention of this journalist goes against the Constitution and the laws of this country, as well as the principles of democracy and freedom of the press,” stated the LHRC report, calling on the police to either bring her to court or release her.

Police are yet to release any official statement regarding the arrest of any of the journalist.

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