MEMBERS of Parliament yesterday raised grave concern over the rising cases of kidnapping in the country, pressing the government to conduct due investigations and net all people behind the criminal incidents.
The lawmakers claimed that the country was in a deplorable state of insecurity due to the mysterious incidences of abduction and asked the government to act swiftly and strongly against the vices. The MPs’ uproar arose in the wake of last week’s abduction of four artistes, including Ibrahim Musa, alias Roma Mkatoliki.
Nzega MP Hussein Bashe and his Mbeya Urban counterpart Joseph Mbilinyi, speaking after the question and answer session, lamented that the escalating incidents were getting out of control.
The duo sought the speaker’s guidance, demanding that other activities be postponed for the house to discuss the matter and issue directives to government.
The Nzega legislator recalled some kidnapping incidents, including one that involved himself, Geita MP Joseph Musukuma, former cabinet minister Adam Malima ahead of the CCM general assembly in Dodoma and the disappearance of Chadema cadre Ben Saanane.
Mr Bashe further alleged that there is a clandestine organisation that orchestrates the kidnappings, saying he had information that 11 MPs including himself are the target.
“Some people informed me that 11 MPs are on the wanted list, they warned me that we should be watchful in our movements because we are the target and can get lost whenever caught up on the roads,” Mr Bashe alleged.
The MP, whose request to treat the rising abduction cases as an urgency matter hit the snag, urged the authorities to show the seriousness in dealing with the crime by acting more firmly and decisively against the abductors.
Mr Bashe’s sentiments were echoed by Mbilinyi who said the ongoing events have left the nation in a state of uncertainty.
He condemned the acts of aggression and called on the government to conduct thorough investigations and apprehend those masterminding the abductions.He said the kidnappings were designed to instill fear in the society, challenging the security organs to robustly address the problem.
The MPs suggested the Home Affairs Minister to step down should he find it difficult to tackle the problem.
Giving her guidance, the Deputy Speaker, Dr Tulia Ackson rejected the motion, saying the house should leave the matter to other state organs, which have been mandated to work on security issues.
Contributing to Prime Minister’s budget, Konde legislator, Khatibu Said Haji (CUF) also raised concerns over kidnapping incidents and asked the government to take appropriate measures to address the vice.
Mr Haji described what is happening as a fear creating phenomenon designed to generate unrest among citizens. He challenged the government to reveal and take to task those involved in the cruelty.
“Bashe’s claims that 11 MPs are on the targeted list add fear and panic, how safe we are...I am scared that my name could also be in the list, May God protect us from this evil deeds,” complained Haji. CUF lawmaker Riziki Ngwali condemned what she described as acts of aggression against young people, requesting all women to join forces and demand the security organs to establish the whereabouts of Saanane.
Meanwhile, Information, Culture, Arts and Sports Minister Harrison Mwakyembe yesterday promised speedy and thorough investigations on the kidnapping of the four artistes in Dar es Salaam last week.
Dr Mwakyembe, Roma Mkatoliki and three other artistes addressed a joint news conference in the city, narrating their abduction by unknown people last Wednesday until they were dumped on Friday night on the outskirts of the city. Looking frail, the performers showed to journalists bruises inflicted on their bodies through beatings by the captors, saying they were still fearing for their lives following the incident.
At the occasion, Minister Mwakyembe assured the artistes and members of the public that he will closely follow up on the investigations to find out the people behind the crime. “Artistes are entitled to freedom of expression just like anyone else, it is not usual in this country to witness such acts of abduction,” Dr Mwakyembe explained.
Narrating the ordeal, the artistes said they were taken hostage by armed people last Wednesday as they were working in a recording studio, bundled into a car, blindfolded and driven to unknown place.
“We were then subjected to questioning and beatings from these people but I cannot reveal that at the moment since investigations are still going on,” Mkatoliki explained. Last Friday night, according to the entertainer, the captors blindfolded and tied their hands and feet with ropes after which they drove them to unknown location and dumped them.
“It was area near the beach and after walking for some distance we saw a signpost indicating that we were at Ununio area. We had to walk for a long distance under pain and with my clothes soaked in blood,” he explained. They then reached an area near Kunduchi where they boarded ‘bodaboda’ to their home in Mbezi where they found the house empty.
“At that time, we had no option but to break the door; we had to change our clothes and make calls to our producer who together with some friends advised us to head to Oysterbay Police Station where our case had been recorded,” Mkatoliki explained.
He reached out to the government and prayed for protection, stating that even after the incident they still fear for their lives. “It was not something we expected and it can happen to anyone; the area we were abducted from is known to be safe and it hosts many retired public leaders,” he stated.
Mkatoliki was however irked that some people have been claiming that the whole event was staged for publicity while others think he is being used for political interests.