case study

Senior Tanzanian editor loses eye in brutal assault


n the evening of Tuesday 5 March 2013, Absalom Kibanda, It is believed the attack was a result of Kibanda’s work, as the attackers
Chairperson of the Tanzania Editors Forum (TEF) and Editor-in-Chief did not steal anything or attempt to enter his house.
at New Habari Corporation was attacked by unknown assailants at the
Kibanda had been scheduled to appear before the Kisutu Resident
gate in front of his Dar-es-Salaam home as he returned from work.
Magistrate’s Court on 6 March 2013, facing charges of sedition in relation
Tanzanian media reported that three people wielding guns approached to a feature article that appeared in former newspaper Tanzania Daima
Kibanda saying, “kill him” and dragged him from his car before physically during the time he was Managing Editor of the paper. After the attack,
assaulting him and leaving him unconscious, with his left eye seriously proceedings were adjourned to 26 March 2013.
Sources told MISA the attackers plucked out some of Kibanda’s teeth
and nails and pierced his left eye with a sharp object. He suffered multiple Fighting impunity – bringing the perpetrators to justice
head injuries, apparently from heavy blows. After receiving treatment in
UNESCO reported that worldwide in 2012, less than ten percent of
Tanzania and South Africa, Kibanda ultimately lost his left eye.
cases regarding attacks on journalists led to the conviction of those
who committed the crimes. Impunity – or failure to bring perpetrators of
crimes to justice – allows the cycle of violence against journalists and
other media workers to continue.

We sincerely hope president Kikwete will... devote
considerable time and energy in ensuring that an
environment exists, in his country, that is not hostile to
media freedom and freedom of expression.

Therefore, MISA strongly condemned the attack on Kibanda, while
acknowledging the efforts of police and health officials to mobilise
resources to pursue the attackers and to provide the editor with the best
possible medical care.

Many organisations joined MISA in calling on president Kikwete’s
government to conduct a thorough investigation and a representative
from MISA’s Tanzanian chapter (MISA-Tanzania) joined a five-person
The Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Hussein Mwinyi, described team, appointed by the Tanzanian Editor’s Forum, to conduct an
the attack on the editor as “appalling” and police in Dar-es-Salaam independent investigation.
formed a nine-person team to investigate the assault.


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