When two top opposition politicians recently went public to claim that their lives were being threatened by state agents, the minister responsible for the police immediately ordered his boys to question them to establish the veracity of their claims.
At least one of them said he would not submit to any police questioning/interrogation until the force had acted on earlier complaints by his party concerning physical violence inflicted on yet another pair of the party’s leaders in a couple of places, who had been ambushed, held against their will and given a good hiding by thugs who seemed to attract no police interest even when police officers had arrived on the scene. He mentioned one or two other incidents to demonstrate our police force’s penchant for choosing and picking as to what they will investigate and whom they will question.
There seems to develop another standoff between the police and this particular opposition party, the one that has been especially giving the ruling party more than a run for its money. Of course, in such cases, suspicions are stoked, tensions heightened and trust levels reduced.
The Tanzania political class and the entire body politic and governance architecture have managed to work malediction on themselves in some 20 odd years by transforming themselves from being arguably the most trusted political outfit in the region — drawing grudging admiration even from quarters inimical to the Ujamaa experience — to this ogre of a political werewolf that people do not trust, including many of its members.
Today, it is corruption that oils the wheels of the ruling party and informs most of the decisions taken by the government born of it.
I get this feeling that the ruling party is on its deathbed but that, like a huge tree whose very core has been eaten up by vermin, old age and a bad conscience, it will not go down without crushing with its dead weight the surrounding flora and fauna, like you and me.
Otherwise, tell me somebody, how did the minister then responsible for the police live with those long periods of time during which ruling party bigwigs were accusing each other of plotting murder against each other, even pointing to an alleged poisoning incident? What investigation did the police undertake at that juncture, whom did they question, what were their findings and what action has been taken thus far?
Yes, all this talk about plots to kill people could be empty alarmist talk, little men crying wolf to draw attention to themselves. But we cannot be too dismissive of such claims, for what happened to Dr Steven Ulimboka is strong enough evidence to suggest that there is a werewolf in our midst and that the monster is not feeding on baby food.
Recently, my colleague on the opposite page, Charles Onyango-Obbo, expressed the fear that the “demon seed” may have been planted in Tanzania. His fears are justified, as we seem to have entered uncharted waters. The crew have no idea where they left the compass, and we are adrift in a shark-friendly ocean.
A little advice to the police force wouldn’t be amiss: Get the Ulimboka thing out of your system. Tell the story like it is. Prove Charles wrong by showing that no demon seed has been sown in this country, and that if perchance it was brought in unbeknownst to us, we shall find it and root it out.
I have had the misfortune of hearing idiotic utterances by some ruling party parliamentarians, which have not helped diminish my gut feeling that maybe it is time for a requiem, not for Ulimboka, but for those who had him abducted and half killed him, and those who are still telling sickening jokes in parliament about the whole ghastly and frightening incident.
Do the police not know whom to interview?
THIS ARTICLE HAVE BEEN WRITTEN BY JENERALI ULIMWENGU, CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF THE RAIA MWEMA NEWSPAPER, IS A POLITICAL COMENTATOR AND CIVIL SOCIETY ACTIVIST BASED IN DAR ES SALAAM. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: The East African