Daudi Mwangosi’s death anniversary took place at UTPC’s premises in Mwanza on 2nd September for the fifth year in a row with a call to the journalism practitioners in the country to display solidarity particularly in the face of an emerging harsh working conditions.
Reporters finding it difficult to manage on their lower monthly salaries, freelancers’ inadequate wages neither not paid on time nor increased for a while or not paid at all, are some of the demoralizing factors, compounded by the current slowdown in economic activity in the country, UTPC Executive Director, Mr. Abubakar Karsan has said.
With a sombre expression on his face, he made the remarks when reflecting on the late Mwangosi’s good professional cause for which he firmly stood during his lifetime, in front of a handful of local journalists based in Mwanza, invited to the brief, yet emotional death anniversary.
Notwithstanding the aforesaid hostile working environment, compounded further by a recently – enacted Media Services Act, 2016, rising wave of cruelty (especially on reporters with critical, divergent opinions), irksome advertisement restrictions imposed on private media outlets and government’s censorship bid, he urged the journalists to continue fulfilling their noble obligations in solidarity lest the press backslide from its current vibrant performance.
The late Mwangosi, formerly Iringa Press Club Chairperson and Channel Ten correspondent was brutally killed by the police at Mufindi District’s Nyololo village, where he and other fellow reporters went to cover a function fulfilled by a certain political party, the first ever episode from the country’s time immemorial.
Making a brief account of what exactly has been done, following Mwangosi’s murder, Mr Karsan explained that, on behalf of the media fraternity at large and UTPC in particular, he had an audience with the former Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Saidi Mwema during which the two parties agreed, in principle to lovely restore mutual working relations to their past glory, after Mwangosi’s sudden demise.
The Executive Director described an arraignment of a subordinate police officer on a charge of the late Mwangosi’s murder and his subsequent conviction for the crime, as absolutely gratifying as far as the latter’s family is concerned but,he said, a lot still remained to be done, in terms of seeking compensation from the central government itself.
To that end, he hinted, efforts to gather all necessary facts required for going to the court are well under way and that a lawyer engaged by UTPC for that purpose by the name of Jebra Kambole is expected to brief a Members General Meeting (MGM), to be held mid this month, on the matter.
As a gesture of showing its deep concern about Mwangosi’s loss, UTPC contributed a token amount of money as condolences, besides generosity displayed by both Professor Mark Mwandosya and former CHADEMA Party Secretary General, Dr. Wibroad Slaa, both of whom, Mr. Karsan said, have shouldered responsibility of taking care of two of the deceased person’s children.
In addition, according to him, UTPC has established a special fund, Daudi Mwangosi Support & Development Fund, solely intended to support reporters either injured or accused of sedition charges while on duty, besides introducing an award called Daudi Mwangosi Heroic Journalism Servanthood Excellence Award, normally presented to an exceptionally dutiful reporter/ correspondent.
New Habari Corporation Managing Editor, Mr. Absalom Kibanda was presented the aforesaid award in 2013, becoming the first ever winner in the process. According to Mr. Karsan, a panel of judges engaged by UTPC to select a winner for 2017, is to officially pronounce a rightful reporter/ correspondent during this year’s Members General Meeting (MGM), to take place in Tanga.
On the said challenges facing the journalism practitioners at this rather trying time, the UTPC Executive Director hinted that measures taken so far to mitigate them include efforts made to revive a Journalists Media Workers Union (JOMEWU), in place of the defunct Tanzania Union of Journalists (TUJ). The new trade union is to take off the ground towards the end of this September.
In his closing remarks, Mwanza Press Club (MPC) Chairperson, Mr. Ossoro Nyawangah expressed gratitude to Sida, through UTPC, for creating an enabling environment for Press Clubs across the country.
On a popular phrase, “Media is the Fourth Estate’’, he said, always it should, by definition, be able to correlate with journalists’ utmost ability and capacity to translate it into their actual practical agenda or else it doesn’t make any sense.
Echoing Mr. Karsan’s nearly every word, Mr. Ossoro challenged the journalism practitioners to fulfill their noble obligations more boldly than ever before, in terms of holding the government accountable whenever need arises, instead of being reduced to either novices or government mouthpieces (ends).