Intelligence Insights: What Happened to #AzoryGwanda, a Tanzanian Journalist who "Disappered" in November 2017 While Investagating "MKIRU Killings"?
Analysis by Evarist Chahali
Mr Gwanda, a Tanzanian correspondent with Mwananchi Communications Limited (MCL), publishers of local papers Mwananchi, The Citizen and MwanaSpoti, when he disappeared, is believed to have been taken away by unknown people at the height of a mop-up operation in Kibiti District four years ago where killings were taking place.
He had been reporting cases of unexplained killings in Kibiti in the months leading up to his disappearance.
What did authorities say by then?
The Tanzanian government has claimed time and again that it was investigating his case and that of other reported missing individuals, but there have not been any substantive updates.
“There is no report which is separately prepared on Azory Gwanda,” government chief spokesman Gerson Msigwa was quoted as telling journalists on October 18, 2021.
Is Azory Dead?
In an interview with the BBC’s ‘Focus on Africa’ on July 10, 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Palamagamba Kabudi said that Gwanda had “disappeared and died” in the eastern area of Rufiji, adding that the government has since “been able to contain that kind of extremism” in the region.
This prompted the CPJ to call on the government to provide a detailed public account of Gwanda’s fate. Prof Kabudi later retracted his statement by saying that it was misinterpreted and that what he meant was that what happened in the region was painful experiences which led to several people disappearing and others dying.
To understand what could have happened to Mr Gwanda requires to look into what he was investigating when he "disappeared." Fortunately, a Tanzanian intelligence analyst, Evarist Chahali, wrote an indepth intelligence report on the MKIRU KILLINGS.
Unfortunately, the report is still in Swahili although efforts are being made to translate it into English
For the world to get to the truth not just about what actually happened at MKIRU, and to Mr Gwanda, and to "unknown numbers of the dissapered under the brutal Magufuli regime," there must be genuine interest among Tanzanians, particularly in the media. However, unfortunately, that is unlikely to happen.
Previous efforts to demand the truth went hugely unsupported and caught little attention from the public.
It is therefore nearly unimaginable to think of President Samia Suluhu Hassan's government forming an independent commission of inquiry to investigate, among other things, the disappearances, including Mr Azory's, and other alleged injustices which occured during the Magufuli 5-year and 3-month tenure.