THE PARLIAMENT OF THE UNITED REPUBLIC OF TANZANIAI have been saddened and embarrassed by the statement released by the National Traffic Commander of the Tanzania Police Force, Commissioner James Kombe, on Monday, May 26, 2009, which was published and broadcast by various media organisations, regarding the road accident that I succumbed to on Thursday, May 21, 2009, at 7:10 am, at Ifunda, in Iringa Region. The Police statement refutes the statements made by myself and my driver regarding the accident and advises me to refrain from making further statements about the accident on the basis that I have no expertise whatsoever on road accidents. I obtained that statement through the “Tanzania Daima” newspaper, published on Tuesday, May 26, 2009, and as the Tanzania Police Force has not disowned it, I consider that statement to be true and correct.
OFFICE OF THE MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT OF KYELA CONSTITUTION
P.O. Box 44, Kyela and P.O. Box 20797, Dar Es Salaam
OFFICE OF THE MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT OF KYELA CONSTITUTION
P.O. Box 44, Kyela and P.O. Box 20797, Dar Es Salaam
Irrespective of the fact that I am convalescing at my residence as advised by my doctors, I have been forced to break my silence and make this brief press statement in order to prevent the deliberate distortion of the facts that is being conducted by the press, in particular, the “Tanzania Daima” newspaper and some Police officers, for reasons best known to themselves on this matter. I would like to express my disappointment regarding this matter regarding the course of action taken by the Police, which is more political in nature, rather than being investigative, which is the normal procedure, as following:
1) In the event that a criminal offence has occurred, it is the duty and responsibility of the Police to investigate and collect evidence related to the offence in order to present all the facts to the relevant judiciary organ, that is, the Court, which has the expertise of examining the evidence presenting, separating lies from the truth and arriving at a conclusion. To that effect, the steps taken by the Police to form a “Special Committee” to examine the statements made by myself and my driver, as well as collecting additional evidence and reaching a conclusion at a later stage (outside of the judiciary process) that the statements made by myself and my driver were not truthful, is a violation of the division of duties and powers of state organs, or, in other words, it is the obstruction of the Judiciary Process, contrary to the Constitution of the Nation. The appropriate course of action that I consider the Police should have taken would have been the presentation of what the Police allege to be additional evidence collected in an official Police investigation, in a Court of Law, not presenting the same at a Press Conference!
2) The decision taken by the Special Committee of arresting and charging my driver, whom the Special Committee has pre-judged as being untruthful and negligent, thus being liable to prosecution in a Court of Law, is not commensurate with Good Governance and our Foundations of Human Rights that are protected by the Constitution, it converts the Court as being the rubber-stamp organ of Police decisions and judgments.
3) Prior to the occurrence of the road accident I was awake. I insist that I witnessed the entire event up to point where I was struct by an object on my head and lost consciousness. However, the Special Committee claims that I was asleep and I had been awake I would have sustained serious injuries. The Committee claims that as I was asleep I received lesser injuries; my seat was found to be in the reclined position, which is their deduction that I was asleep. I would have expected such claims to have been made by a witchdoctor who uses divining tools to make decisions, not the Tanzania Police Force which has the appropriate expertise, for two main reasons: First, my trip started from Makambaku where I had slept, therefore I would not have fallen asleep within only one hour from Makambaku to Ifunda during the cold May season in the early hours of the moning! Second, when the car overturned, my seat came off and covered me in front. I was removed from the vehicle by moving the seat and it became reclined, a fact that the Special Committee claims was their “expert evidence” that attributes that I was asleep during the accident! I declare that the actions of the Police in utilizing the media to disown statements made by the main witnesses in this case, that is, me and my driver, is sufficient evidence of the counterproductive arrogance and senselessness of some of the leaders who have been given vital roles and duties in state organs.
4) Due to the fact that the laws of the country require the quasi-judicial bodies to adhere to the principles of natural justice, what prevented the Special Committee to interview me and my driver in order to satisfy the principles of natural justice and obtain a more clear picture of the accident? Had my and my driver been given the opportunity to be heard, I am certain that the report of the Special Committee would not have been read to the Press for fear of embarrassing the Police for being negligent and not adhering to the standards of professionalism and investigative procedure. In addition, I have serious doubts whether the Inspector General of Police, Said Mwema, who formed the Special Committee, had the opportunity to peruse Commissioner Kombe’s report before it was released to the press!
5) The accident took place at 7:10 am, shortly afterwards the Iringa RPC alleged and was quoted by “The Citizen” newspaper of the following day that the cause of the accident was a road pothole, and that the accident was not the result of any conspiracy or any act of sabotage. The Iringa TANROADS Manager countered the Iringa RPC’s statement that the road pothole was too small to have managed to cause the accident of a vehicle of the type of Toyota Landcruiser, which has large wheels. To this, I have three questions: First, what pressed the Iringa RPC to appear and even prior to interviewing the accident victims, make such a statement that the cause of the accident was the pothole? Second, who told the RPC that the accident was the result of a conspiracy or sabotage, to the extent of him being forced to make a press statement as early as he did? Third, what were the reasons that the Special Committee identified that accounted to the Iringa TANROADS Manager to differ with the Iringa RPC as to the actual cause of the accident?
6) In the “Tanzania Daima” edition of Sunday, May 29, 2009, the driver of the lorry (whom me and my driver mentioned in our written statement taken by the Police) was quote as saying the following: that he did not hit my car; that my driver was driving at high speed and he was negligent; and that the Police were in agreement with the statement made by that driver. To this, I only have three questions: First, what prevented the Special Committee and up to now is preventing the Police from properly interviewing the lorry driver, through the “Tanzania Daima” reporter? Second, apart from taking such steps at a very late stage, why are the Police afraid of detaining the lorry and inspecting it in order to find it whether there are any signs of being involved in an accident in order to find telltale signs of it being involved in hitting my car? Third, why are the Police completely avoiding from mentioning the lorry in their press statements while pedestrian and other witnesses to the accident and one Road Traffic Officer witnessed the lorry as being parallel to my car for quite some time prior to the accident?
7) In the “Tanzania Daima” report, the lorry driver claims to have witnessed the accident occurring in front of him, however, he did not stop to assist, he went on with his trip. What is the interpretation of the experts of the Special Committee regarding the actions taken by the said driver?
8) The report of the Special Committee of the IGP is commensurate in all aspects with the various reports published by the “Tanzania Daima” newspaper since the accident took place, such that the report could have been written (without Commander Kombe and his colleagues being required to burn fuel to travel to Iringa) by using the reports of that newspaper alone. What are the relationships between some of the senior Police officers and this newspaper? What is the relationship between the said lorry and the “Tanzania Daima” newspaper and/or Iringa Police officers?
9) The report of the Special Committee, according to the “Tanzania Daima” newspaper of May 26, 2009, requested me to refrain from making technical reports! I have several questions to ask: First, what technical expertise is required to make an account of an event that one has witnessed? For example, if my house was burnt, according to the mandate of the Special Committee, I will be prohibited by stating that the cause of the fire was a lantern or candle, until after having waited for Kombe and his special team of “experts” to come and conduct their divination, as they did with my accident? Second, we have witnessed many accidents in the country; passengers and drivers have always been an important source of information to the Police in order to discern the cause of the accidents. Why should the procedures be contravened in the accident of Dr. Mwakyembe, exclusively (whereas the main witnesses in the accident are prevented from speaking)? Third, if the real issue here is the comprehension of the relevant governing laws in that juridsdiction, the investigative and prosecution procedures, who among Kombe’s committee members can claim to have a better and broader understanding than myself? [Dr. Mwakyembe is a lawyer and legal expert by profession.]
10) We have experienced several accidents as a Nation, that caused injuries and casualties of citizens and leaders, resulting in a multitude of questions regarding the causes of those accidents, without the Police intervening in the freedom of expression of the victims, or even the formulations of Special Investigative Committees! However, my accident, that with the guardianship and blessings of The Almighty God, did not result in any loss of life, is being surrounded with deliberate controversy and debacle, to the extent of a Special Investigative Committee being formed, with the sole purpose of gagging the mouths of the main victims and others from speaking out. The hype of the Police, to investigate and interfere with every single statement made by me, coming up with countering statements is resulting from what calling, is being promoted by whom and for whose benefit?
Let me conclude by making these three additional statements, briefly: First, any person who is sound of mind cannot defend the negligence of his driver as in so doing he will be digging his own early grave! Likewise, any wise and sage person cannot accept the unjust prosecution of another person, of being labeled as a liar. That is sinful!
Second, our Police Force is a very important organ in the safety and security of the people, which hold the faith and support of all citizens without prejudice. It should never be involved in political machinations, and it should be seen as to observe the enforcement of the law according to the principals of natural justice and the Constitution of our Nation.
Third and last, when the accident took place, my first statement was: This is a normal accident and I leave everything to The Almighty God. However, the machinations of the Police of creating an environment of “plausible deniability” are giving me a sense of great trouble and a belief that the accident was anything but normal. Along with that fear, I still leave everything to The Almighty God who has the Final Decision.
GOD BLESS TANZANIA.
DR. Harrison G. Mwakyembe (MP)
Kunduchi, Dar e s Salaam
Translation from KiSwahili to English done by Aziz Mongi:
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