Terrorism in Tanzania – tourists scared

TANZANIA (eTN) – As more details about recent terror incidents in northern Tanzania’s tourist city of Arusha are flowing through the media, the United States of America has issued a strongly-worded statement condemning the Saturday bombing at a public rally organized by the opposition Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo political party .

The statement that was issued by the US Department of State and circulated through the US embassy in Tanzania said the bombing at the gathering, during which 3 people died and others were injured, was a cowardly act.

“The United States of America strongly condemns the June 15, 2013 bombing at a public rally organized by the Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema) political party in Arusha, which according to reports killed at least 3 people and injured over 40 victims,” said the statement.

“We offer our deepest condolences to the families of those killed and to those injured by this heinous crime. This cowardly act follows the May 5, 2013 bombing at Saint Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Arusha that reportedly killed 3 people and injured more than 60 victims.

“We call for the arrest, prosecution and conviction of those responsible,” it added.

“Tanzania is a land known for its cultural richness, tolerance, and diversity. Violent actions of this nature, whatever their origin, threaten to tarnish and undermine the peace and security of this majestic land. The United States stands as a committed partner to all Tanzanians and we urge them to continue to denounce violence committed by those who threaten the security of their fellow citizens,” the statement noted.

“Finally, we call on all citizens to build on the values of wisdom, unity, and peace so carefully nurtured by Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere, the Father of the Nation, which are forever enshrined in this nation’s national anthem. Values which are equally cherished and admired by all Tanzanians and their fellow peace-loving peoples around the world,” the US released statement concluded.

The US statement was released ahead of the official visit of American President Barack Obama who is expected to land in Tanzania by end of this month.

During his visit, Mr. Obama will discuss, among other things, good governance and development of democracy in Tanzania and the other 2 African countries he is going to visit.

But, unfortunately, smooth changes from the single-party system to multi-party democracy in this country has been marred by police brutality and killings of innocent people participating in opposition political rallies, while journalists are also a target for torture by the Tanzanian police under orders of the ruling communist-manifestoed Chama Cha Mapinduzi party.

A local television journalist in Tanzania’s southern highlands region of Iringa, Daudi Mwangosi, was brutally bombed and killed by the police last year when covering a rally that was organized by the Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo party (Party for Democracy and Development).

As more details flow in from the northern tourist city of Arusha about the recent bombing that targeted to kill the National Chairman of Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo party, Mr. Freeman Mbowe, and the Member of Parliament for the area, Mr. Godbless Lema, it has been learned that the bomb in question was manufactured in China for military use.

Mr. Mbowe blamed the police for colluding with terrorists to kill him and undermine democracy in Tanzania. A section of Tanzanians blamed the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party for organizing terror acts to scare the opposition camp.

The opposition camp had last month listed a top executive officer of the ruling party among key figures in ivory trade. Killing of elephants has been a serious issue which the opposition camp under Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo party had addressed in the Tanzanian parliament last month.

With the onset of terror incidents in Arusha, tourists visiting northern Tanzania remained fully alerted, while some diverted to other places outside the Arusha city.

Reports say many tourists who used to take drinks and enjoy music in many recreational places, including open bars outside big hotels, were forced to stay and relax in their booked hotels.

Photo by: Selemani Mpochi