Given the reports we have been getting from Tabora, Simiyu and Geita regions in recent weeks, how could one expect anyone not to wonder whether Tanzania might not be slowly but surely slipping into a situation where anything could happen at the slightest excuse?
Indeed, this conspiracy of tragic incidents is a deathly scenario that can only help to portray our country as a highly dangerous to live, visit, do business in, etc.
Yes, it had become relatively common up to sometime last year to get reports from various parts of the country of criminals having struck, often leaving behind trails of death and suffering in their wake.
However, following interventions from a wide range of quarters, among them government officials, law-enforcement agencies, religious leaders, village elders, peace lovers and various other men and women of wisdom, calm was restored. It was then generally thought even those behind the terror had finally opted out of their evil ways and decided to support efforts to ensure sustainable harmony and tranquility.
Unfortunately, just as more and more people started believing in earnest that the peace would hold so that individual residents, families and communities across the country enjoyed normal life again without being unsure of how the next day would begin or end, indications are that the wounds we had known for so long have not completely healed.
For just how does one explain, much less defend, a situation where unidentified people sneak into a village under cover of darkness to chop an unarmed and therefore defenceless 95-year-old grandfather to pieces with machetes before mortally wounding his equally helpless seven-year-old albino grandson in much similar fashion and disappearing with the latter’s arm?
The grisly incident also left several other members of the hapless family seriously hurt after being shot, bludgeoned or slashed with machetes.
According to a delegation of Under The Same Sun (UTSS) officials recently at the Tabora village in question, three people are in police custody in connection with the incidents and could be facing court action if there is enough evidence incriminating them. We only hope justice will be done to the victims of the murders and torture.
But there is also this other report, this time from Lamadi Trading Centre in Simiyu Region, of suspected gangsters apparently prompted by superstition storming into a residence with intent to kill a seven-month-old child with albinism. The family is now putting up at a police post for safety reasons!
Additionally, there is the case of faith-based quarrels over abattoir “rights” lately ending in bloody clashes that cost the life of at least one person, a religious leader.
Although efforts to end the simmering crisis are yet to bear fruit, it is heartening that President Jakaya Kikwete has declared that the government will act against all those behind the conflict and the mayhem it had led to.
But while this presidential intervention is definitely welcome, we still feel compelled to ask ourselves: who are these people who are sowing all these seeds of discord, bloodshed and destruction and where do they get the audacity to wreak havoc on innocent people and with such impunity?