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Monday, September 10, 2007

“Cold Blooded Execution” of 13 Kenyans by Tanzanian Government puts the proposed East African Federation to Test.

Kenyan citizens living in Tanzania are now under close scrutiny and suspicion from police and members of the public following a spate of crimes allegedly committed by Kenyans. The suspicion is so deeply rooted that vehicles bearing Kenyan registration plates are not only stopped at every police roadblock but plain-clothes policemen also trail them. According to Tanzanian police, suspected Kenya criminals have gotten away with at least 5 major bank robberies over the last 6 months alone. This was not to be last week when a record 14 suspected criminals were shot at close range 13 of whom were Kenyans.

All Mystery surrounding the killings in the northern Tanzanian town of Moshi, put to test the fate of the proposed East African Federation. What the Tanzanian police called “a botched criminal attempt” took a diplomatic twist with the Tanzanian government warning, “Kenyan criminals could jeopardize the process towards regional integration”. While Tanzanian police maintain that the suspects were planning to stage a major bank robbery and rescue other Kenyan suspects held at the Karanga prison, detectives investigating the circumstances under which the 13 Kenyans were killed say that they were all killed at close range and it was not clear to conclude that they were actually planning to rob the said bank thus raising more questions as to the real reasons behind execution. Further investigation revealed that the 12 men and one woman had bullet wounds on their chests and heads. Of note is that some of those killed had past criminal records in Kenya.

Tanzania is on record because of its insistence for a stepwise approach to integration with the rest of the region rooting for a speedy integration process. Just last month after the 6th ordinary session of the EAC Heads Of State meeting, Tanzania was categorical that integration would flop due to among other reasons: Tribalism in Kenya and Uganda, an infiltration of crime and competition mainly from Kenya. With this in mind, last week’s execution seemed to put the final death nail to the proposed EAC federation unless Kenya and the rest of the region cleaned house to allay fears raised by Tanzania about the integration process. Tanzania’s minister for Internal Security, Mr Bakari Mwapachu, highlighted this when he said, “we are concerned about the rising criminal activities involving Kenyans………they are carrying weapons here as if we are at war. This will make us rethink the East African Community idea, because our citizens are now living in fear”.

According to the Kilimanjaro Police commander Mr Lucas Ngohboko, the 13 Kenyans killed last week had boarded 3 vehicles which the police had been trailing for a while. This raises questions because only one out of the three vehicles was spotted at the execution scene covered with blood from 14 dead bodies all shot at close range. Two other vehicles with six occupants apparently drove off. Just how would 14 fully-grown individuals comfortably fit in a small Suzuki Vitara designed to carry no more than 7 guys? Did the police give up on the other two vehicles?
The police added that the gang had harbored a house 6 Kilometers from Moshi where their plan was hatched. This too appeared not strong enough, so they added yet another explanation that they had noticed suspicious looking individuals whom they had been trailing for a while but when ordered to surrender, opened fire so naturally the police returned fire killing all of them.

The last reasons creates a rather suspect scenario, picture this: 3 vehicles but only one bullet ridden Suzuki Vitara found while the rest disappear in thin air with 6 occupants on board without a trace. 14 fully armed individuals squeezing into such a small vehicle when they had 3 at their disposal driving in the outskirts of Tanzania planning a robbery and a rescue mission from a prison. A FIERCE GUN battle that leaves all the 14 suspects dead from bullet sustained wounds and not a single police gets a scratch from the battle????
Media frenzy awash with congratulatory messages to the police by Tanzanians as 13 Kenyans are declared dead while a fire spiting Tanzanian minister of security issues warnings that such crime will make his people rethink the proposed East African Federation because they are now living in fear out of crime perpetrated by Kenyans.

We may argue that the suspects should have had their day in court because it is clear that police had overpowered them, but we should not entirely blame Tanzania for the incidence; of course anyone who take advantage of free movement of people and goods within the region to cause crime ought to be dealt with severely. This is especially true of some bad elements from Kenya who willingly go out of their way to reap where they have not sown. As the region progresses towards a more unified federation, we ought to learn from the past. Crime, suspicion and how we deal with either will only but halt all the gains yet to be reaped from one large East African Community

Looking at all the mystery surrounding the executions, do you think that the whole incidence was stage managed to give Tanzania more reasons to delay East African Community future plans?


Kenyanomics said...

The massacre and EAC politics are not connected at all. But vested interests will have us believe otherwise. It was, however, a brutal crime busting affair that could have some political ramifications. Kenyan wakoras have been showing humble Tanzanians some chamtema kuni, but tables are slowly turning around. Revenge from Kenyan wakoras will be a total blow to the federation, of which am not a big fan of.

On other fronts, it’s frustrating to see Uganda and Kenyan stock markets merging without Dar Stock Exchange, yet our southern neighbors are happy with that arrangement. Why? Because, as Dodoma says, Tanzanians will loose-out as Kenyans and Ugandans get all the shares.

That's what too much faith in government can do to a people. Again, solution to EAC poverty will not come from Dodoma, Kampala, Nairobi, Kigali, Bujumbura, or Arusha, but from merging market activities. We have seen it happen with phone companies and now with stock markets.

branded said...

Yes of course they are not connected, but the wierd thing is timing. Timing creates a mystry around the whole EAC love affair. the whole execution issue came at a time when things within the EAc were not as rosy specifically due to Tanzania's stand. By executing the Kenyans (Even though we may argue that they deserved it) it created a different picture all together. Just how would 14 people fit in a Suzuki Vitara designed for 6 guys, then where are the other two cars that the thugs apparently boarded. Why are Kenyan even the innocent ones being treated with such suspicion by TZ police. You probably haven't heard the TZ minister for internal security and one of their police bosses who were categoricall that Crime perpetrated by Kenyans will make them rethink the EAC idea. You highlighted a very important point that the KEnyan and Ugandam markets are merging while our southern brothers still lother in faith for their government.

Kenyanomics said...

I've not been following the massacre news keenly. Whatever the case, TZ is politicizing their crime fighting efforts by criminalizing 35 million Wanjikus. Saying that "Crime perpetrated by Kenyans will make them rethink the EAC idea" is a little nonsensical. It will marginalize Tanzanians from the greater East African market. In the end the better Swahili speakers will surfer, because Kenyans, Rwandans, Burundians and Ugandans will concentrate on market solutions rather than bureaucracy.

BTW: TZ-Tanzania; UG-Uganda; what is Kenya? KE, KY, KA ama nini?

branded said...

I think KEnya is KE though not cast in stone. Anyway I have been following TZ issues on East AFrican Trade for a while especially after it ditched COMESA for SADC. Its main reason was Suspicion and competition especially from Kenya and ever since the country has been coming up with all sorts of reasons to justify its actions. I am not saying that moving to SADC was bad, but it rather put TZ in an awkward position such that anything it does that revolves around East Africa especially KEnya is viewed with alot of suspicion.

Within the same period TZ was ditching COMESA something else was happening in SOUTH AFrica when TUSKER a flagship Kenyan Lager was being denied business opportunities in SA, while back here in Kenya Castle Lager plant was closed down due to "stiff competition" therefore all operations moved to Tanzania. Castle only came back to Kenya the other day after some deals were made between East African Brewery and Castle.

if you have heard the comments being made by the TZ government regarding the massacre, I bellieve you noticed the direction all statements are headed.

Just the other day, Kenyan minister for trade and industry was complaining that some members of the EAC were back stabbing its efforts by leaking impotant information as regards business to the Regions' competitors. No prizes for guessing who that is.

With this in mind, I think TZ is trying to drive the point home that it feels nothing about some intergration that will not serve its interest, which is OK but should be bold enough and to it in not so many words and actions.

Kenyanomics said...

I just read President Kikwete's congratulatory message to Tanzania's Jeshi la Polisi, "kwa ushujaa mkubwa lililoonyesha kwa kupambana na hatimaye kuwaua baadhi ya majambazi waliotaka kuiba katika Benki ya Exim lililopo Maili Sita mkoani Kilimanjaro."

See the flashing message on TZ Gvt homepage

Anonymous said...

As Kenyanomics said, this was purely a crime fighting issue and had little to do with EAC politics. Period. It was quite pathetic to observe the attempts in the Kenyan media to link these two things. I'm so glad the Kenyan Minister of Internal Security came out strongly against this trend, saying his government will not protect trans-national criminals. He categorically said that those thugs had criminal records (unlike good folks like Branded who would like us believe).

It is counterproductive to bash Tanzania at every opportunity simply because it is exercising its sovereign right to decide what kind of regional cooperation it wants! The anti-Tanzania media coverage in Kenya media is reaching insane proportions. It will make Tanzanians wonder whether the Kenyan media really has their interests at heart, or whether it is mad because Tanzanians just refuse to be pushed around to accept things without being clear how they will benefit them. Undestandably, it must annoy the heck out of those Kenyans who stand to benefit from going in Tanzania. So, somehow I can understand this anger.

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