Speaking to a media gathering in Dar es Salaam in the afternoon after news of his early morning removal sent shockwaves across the country, Nnauye called on his sympathizers to stay calm and put national interests first, ahead of individuals like himself.
The CCM member of parliament for Mtama constituency told his constituents and others ‘supporters’ not to be bothered by his personal predicament, but that of the nation as a whole.
“Don’t worry about Nape… worry about where our country is heading,” he said.
He also called on wananchi to continue to defend all their freedoms and rights as enshrined in the national constitution. “Stand up for what you believe in,” he said.
Nnauye’s ‘silent’ replacement in the cabinet was conveyed to the public via a brief statement from State House early yesterday, which did not mention his name directly.
According to the statement signed by State House communications director Gerson Msigwa, the information ministry portfolio will now be filled by Dr Harrison Mwakyembe, previously Minister for Constitutional Affairs and Justice.
Cabinet newcomer Prof Palamagamba Kabudi will take over Mwakyembe’s old position, while the statement made no reference whatsoever to Nnauye’s own fate.
He was removed from the cabinet just a day after receiving a report from a five-member committee formed by himself to probe an armed invasion incident involving Dar es Salaam regional commissioner Paul Makonda at the Clouds Media Group (CMG) premises in the city.
The probe team, led by government Information Services (MAELEZO) director Hassan Abbas, found that Makonda unlawfully entered the studios of the private radio and television station in the company of armed people in varying security force uniforms and tried to force the staff on duty to air unbalanced content.
When the staff resisted, the RC is said to have resorted to intimidation by threatening to throw in jail for at least six months without following due judicial process, or alternatively have them arrested as alleged narcotic drug dealers, the probe team said in its report.
Among its recommendations, the committee called on the appointing authority to take appropriate punitive measures against Makonda, including firing him as RC.
Nnauye – then still information minister - said he would submit the report to higher authorities - namely the prime minister, vice president, and the president – for further action if any. He was sacked hardly 24 hours later.
But the now ex-minister told reporters that he did not regret his actions, and he harboured no hard feelings with regard to his removal.
“I thank the president for letting me serve in his cabinet as a full minister for one year,” he said.
Earlier, there was commotion when a group of onlookers who appeared to be security officers tried to forcibly stop Nnauye from alighting from his vehicle to address the gathered media representatives.
One of the supposed security officers is said to have also threatened him with a pistol. The ex-minister reacted with obvious emotion, warning them in raised voice to back off and leave him be.
“Do you know how much I sacrificed for this country and my party (CCM)? Do you know how I spent 28 months in the bush fighting for CCM’s life?” he queried.
According to reports, after the press conference Nnauye went to the Oysterbay police station in the city for interrogation.
Efforts to contact Kinondoni regional police commander (RPC) Suzan Kaganda for further clarification on the reports proved futile as her phone rang without reply.