Kabendera release will depend on his cooperation, says Immigration

Kabendera release will depend on his cooperation, says Immigration

THE Immigration Department is suspecting freelance journalist, Erick Kabendera (picture) is a non-citizen, and his nationality status will be known after completion of investigations into the matter.

Passport and Citizenship Division Commissioner, Gerald Kihinga told a news conference in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the Department was holding the investigative journalist for further questioning.

He could not disclose the nation Kabendera is suspected to come from for fear of interfering with investigations.

“ We have already taken his statement and directed him to bring to us other essential documents which we think may help in the investigation which is still pending,” Commissioner Kihinga said.

He was quick to add, however, that the speed relating to completion of investigations into the matter will depend on how the journalist cooperates with the officers involved.

“ The journalist’s case may take a shorter time depending on how he cooperates with us. The more he offers cooperation, the speedier the investigations. The matter will take longer if he will continue with his resistance,” he warned.

Giving backgrounds of the saga, Commissioner Kihinga explained that the Immigration Department as a body tasked with administering and enforcing the Tanzanian Citizenship Act, has power to investigate and verify citizenship of any person after receiving information from various sources.

Such responsibility for the recognition of citizenship, he said, has been exercised to any person in law enforcement regardless of the religion, race, ethnicity or position of the individual in the community.

According to him, the Immigration Department received some information from good Samaritans on the controversy regarding the citizenship of Mr Kabendera and, thereafter, started working on it.

However, he said, Mr Kabendera himself had never been interviewed in connection with his citizenship, as he had not reported to their office despite numerous requests to appear for interrogation.

“ That is why the Immigration Department in collaboration with the police force has been able to locate and arrest him so that he can be interviewed to complete our investigation related to his citizenship.

When the investigation is complete, the results of our investigations will be released,” he said. Commissioner Kihinga pointed out that it should be noted that investigation on controversies of citizenship has on numerous occasions’ involved different people, including prominent figures in the community. “ You will be surprised indeed if we mention them here.

We have been interrogating such people quietly. So this issue has raised concern maybe because the concerned person is a journalist and has always been defying our calls whenever we need him,” he said.

He said further that the department has been cooperating with various security agencies in carrying out its responsibilities, and that is why Kabendera was arrested by police in conjunction with immigration officials, and that it was not a new thing.

The Dar es Salaam Special Zone Police Commander, Lazaro Mambosasa is on record confirming before a press conference over the arrest of the journalist by law enforcers, thus refuting claims circulating in various social media that Kabendera was kidnapped by unknown people.

Mr Kabendera, a freelance journalist who writes for various local and international publications, was whisked away from his home at Mbweni area in Dar es Salaam by six men in plain clothes, who identified themselves as police officers.

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THE National Bureau of ...


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