Muslims urged to remain calm in Sheikh Ponda shooting

By Francis Modeckai and Seif Silavia.

Muslims in Tanzania are urged to stay calm in reaction to Cleric Ponda Issa gun shot incident in Morogoro last week and wait for the official investigation report from police.

This was said by cleric Athuman Mwigima from Mbagala during his interview with a reporter yesterday.

Sheikh Ponda was admitted to Muhimbili National Hospital following a controversial issue that said he was shot by police of Morogoro during his public address to a religious group.

Most of Sheikh Ponda’s supporters are blaming the police for the shooting of their cleric. The Morogoro Regional Police Commandor denies this claim.

“The situation is worse between Sheikh Ponda’s Supporters and Police,” said Sheikh Othman.

Sheikh Ponda Supporters from Morogoro and Dar es Salaam are complaining that what has happened to their cleric has led to a misunderstanding between themselves and the police, and that will not cooperate with them until the final investigation has been conducted.

Police have long been blamed for misunderstanding the Muslim community and for violating human rights of citizens. In February 1998, police officers opened fire on Muslims outside of Mwembechai Mosque. Two people were killed and one other injured.

According to the Tanzania Legal and Human Rights Centre 2012 Report, Police Officers interrupted an event launched by CHADEMA in Iringa Region on account that it was unlawful assembly. The Iringa RPC, Michael Kamuanda ordered the police to suppress the gathering before eventually beating to death Daudi Mwangosi, a Channel Ten correspondent.

In February 2012, citizens in Songea conducted peaceful demonstration towards Regoinal Commissioner offices to register their complaints over unchecked incidents of witchcraft killings in the region. Instead of paying attention and responding to the villagers’ complaints, Police Forces under the order of Ruvuma Regional Police Commander Michael Kamuanda suppressed the demonstration and shot to death three innocent people.

The East African Community treaty of 1999 provides for the respect of fundamental freedoms as it states that police should “develop and consolidate democracy and the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms”

Modeckai is the former Project Director of AIESEC-SAUT and also a former Project Adviser of the Sauti ya Watoto Foundation. He loves working with different projects to explore and develop his potential and knowledge of diverse societal perspectives, especially those concerning the respect of all human rights.

Seif is currently pursuing his studies in Journalism at St. Augustine University of Tanzania and hopes to become a professional journalist who will be capable of addressing the problems of the voiceless in his community.

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