PUBLIC STATEMENT ON THE ARREST OF WATETEZI TV INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST, JOSEPH GANDYE

The Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC) condemns the arrest of journalist Joseph Gandye, who is the production editor and associate head of Watetezi TV.

Gandye has been arrested today on 22nd August, 2019, after receiving a call from a police officer who identified himself by the name Godfrey Mkude, who wanted the journalist to go to Urafiki police station for an interrogation.

After his statement was taken before Advocate Jones Sendodo, his bail application was rejected on the grounds that his arrest order came from Iringa and that Urafiki police station is just having him under temporary custody until he is transferred to Iringa for further procedures.

On 17th June, 2019 Watetezi TV (an online media) reporters received a report on degrading acts towards suspects at Mafinga police station in Iringa region.

After receiving the report, journalist Joseph Gadye travelled to Iringa to keenly investigate on the matter and on 9th August, 2019, Watetezi TV reported the incident on police brutality at Mafinga police station in Iringa region on its platforms (Facebook, Twitter and You Tube Channel).

In the incident, it is alleged that six young men (confidentiality is observed) residents of Mafinga, were arrested and tortured by police officers and were reportedly battered and forced to commit sodomy against each other while at the police station.

The six suspects were arrested by the police force on 19th May, 2019 and detained for about 10 days at the police station in Mafinga, where allegedly they were beaten and forced to commit sodomy against each other in front of police officers during interrogations.

After Watetezi TV issued its first report on the cruelty on 9th August, 2019, the police force in Iringa via the Regional Police Commander (RPC), ACP Juma Bwire, denied the report and claimed that it is a Sedition that aims at degrading the police force and defame the government in general.

“The Iringa regional police force warns the people who issue false and misleading reports that aim at degrading the Tanzanian police force and the government as a whole. Thus, we warn people with such conducts to stop immediately. Moreover, I have ordered the chief intelligence officer to follow up on people who are misleading and reporting false information. Once they are caught legal action shoud be taken. We continue to track various information aired online. Thus, the one who will be discovered will face strict legal measures”, said RPC Bwire in his press statement on 14th August, 2019.

Today, 22nd August, 2019, Watetezi TV journalist, Joseph Gandye, who published the news was supposed to report at Urafiki police station, Dar es Salaam, for an interrogation.

Gandye who received a phone call at around 11:20a.m reported at the station and waited for more than 2 hours.

Finally the Journalist was interrogated before Advocate Jones Sendodo for sedition contrary to the Cyber Crime, 2015.

Journalist Joseph Gandye has been officially detained at Urafiki police station in Dar es Salaam. The centre’s head said he could not grant bail for he has no jurisdiction as he has been arrested by a police officer from Iringa.

The Iringa Police force is arranging Joseph Gandye’s transfer to Iringa.

It will be recalled that this is the Journalist who reported on the pupil, Hosea Manga, who was punished by a teacher until his vertebrate was broken in Njombe region.

He also reported about the police injustice in Loliondo and through the report at Watetezi TV, the Minister for Home Affairs, Kangi Lugola, was able to follow up the issue and act on it.

Journalist Joseph Gandye is not only among prominent journalists but also a good producer of human rights classes programme aired live every Friday at 16:00hrs from Watetezi TV Studios.

OUR CALL TO POLICE FORCE IN MAFINGA

1. To adhere to all rights accorded to a suspect, not to be tortured or harassed

2. The right to bail should be granted as the offense he is charged with is bailable

3. An investigation should be conducted on humiliation and human rights abuses committed against the suspects at that police station.

4. Letting journalists perform their activities without frequent arrests.

#FreeJosephGandye

Issued by:
Onesmo Olengurumwa,
National Coordinator of the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC)

Dar es Salaam – Tanzania
22nd August, 2019