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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Images...good and bad, both reflect the country

19th March 2012
Police and Field Force unit arrest a suspect in Songea. It should be an arrested persons human right to expect safety from harm whilst in custody, and the polices duty to provide it. (File photo)

Jambo, and though cheered by readers support, I’m still feeling sombre over last weeks subject, in which I meant to include a recent

press headline. This was “Angry mob invades police station - kills four suspects,” which brings a whole new dimension to the issue.

Despite rescuing victims of such attacks when the need has arisen, we know police have lacked strategies to deal with and retard ‘mob murders’ nationwide, and prevent this shocking aspect of lawlessness.

But if police posts are invaded in an attempt to lynch detained suspects, the methodology to protect them, should be well defined, and effective. Just as you’d expect your money to be safe in a bank, a police station, if necessary, should provide a safe haven for your body, free, or in custody, dead or alive, so it’s a shock to learn it isn’t. As it surely must have been for the four deceased cattle rustlers.

Interesting to know if this crime will result in any prosecutions by police against the killers, or law suits from victim’s families against the police….. unlikely on both counts.

And who’s keeping count of such incidents in the broader sense, as opposed to just another statistic logged as ‘mob justice’, and forgotten.

….one more nail in the coffin of compassion…..for

how long to come, ….any ideas…..government guys….or could our Bagamoyo boss man come up with solutions?.

.…I can just see it, in a social history of the nation………..”Though prevalent in much of Africa, after five decades of independence, Tanzania’s C.C.M had failed to deal with the long standing custom of citizens murdering suspected thieves in public. Some of which ‘executions’ were televised live.

Once described as a ‘rock star President’ by an American film company, out-going leader of the fourth phase government Jakaya Kikwete, finally brought it under control, thereby successfully ending this discreditable practice in the peaceful East African country”.

...Yeah, that sort of thing …….whady’a think Jakaya honey, can you try?!


After atrocities against albinos and elderly women killed as witches being globally reported, the country, despite its abundant natural attractions and friendly people, could also become externally known for brutality.

And switching on the radio last week, I heard a B.B.C. reporter announce, ….. “Well, Tanzania is making headlines around the world, as children with HIV in some schools are made to wear red ribbons to identify their condition, so join the discussion now in ‘World Have Your Say’, comments so far include…..madness…..crazy….downright stupid, ….tell us your thoughts…..”.

Judging by the opinions in the lively debate which followed, the decision in seven schools in Kibaha to label such children for ‘technical reasons’ according to the Minister for Health, mightn’t come under the heading of physical brutality, but nevertheless, if B.B.C. facts are correct, it appears cruel and insensitive.

I remember a tale of an l8th century woman accused of adultery, and forced to spend her days in public penitence, wearing a cap adorned with a large red ‘A’. The story was called the Scarlet letter, and the moral of it was the lack of compassion shown to the sinner.

It was the branding aspect that was morally repugnant, the instant stigmatisation and setting apart, which is what these school children could also have experienced, amongst their unmarked peers.

If there’s a theme to this rather boring piece today, then it that of compassion. My Heinemann dictionary tells me the word means “…..a strong feeling of understanding, pity or sympathy for the sufferings of another”………O.K. that’ll do to describe the residue of last weeks topic, combined with today’s.

Anyway, let’s hope those children in Kibaha, victims of lack of understanding from the no doubt well intentioned policy makers, might be relieved of their forced ‘stigmata’ soon, and replaced by a more considerate method.……..though I won’t feel any compassion if those responsible for the original decision, are also instantly relieved of their posts!


Well, talking of developing countries gaining a bad press, should we be thankful we don’t have a Joseph Kony like Uganda. It was often said their former dictator Idi Amin gave black men a bad image, but strangely, Hitler didn’t seem to do likewise for white men.

Apparently Kony is now on the global agenda, because a well intentioned American made a short film about him and put it on U tube, where it had millions of hits. Surprisingly, Ugandans aren’t pleased with this late entry intervention, saying it gives a negative image of their country.

But the reality seems a ‘quick fix’ solution from the western world, can equal years of policy planning from third world governments. And global coverage of corrupt but colourful leaders or villains can raise the country’s international profile, for good or bad.

Time to close….. but does Tanzania have any such characters or leaders that can do this ? send in your nominations in a sealed envelope!.

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