Tanzanian newspaper suspended for pointing finger at ex-presidents

2017-06-16 21:00


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Nairobi - Tanzanian weekly, Mawio, has been ordered to suspend publication for two years after pointing the finger at two former presidents in connection with huge revenue losses, the country's interior ministry said on Friday.

The weekly, regularly critical of the government, was suspended after it published front page pictures of former presidents Jakaya Kikwete (2005-2015) and Benjamin Mkapa (1995-2005) on Thursday, linking them with dubious mining contracts.

On Wednesday, President John Magufuli had threatened "severe measures" against any media that suggested Kikwete and Mkapa might be involved in signing contracts that were disadvantage to the state.

Justice Minister Palamagamba Kabudi pointed out that the former heads of state enjoyed immunity from prosecution over events occurring during their mandates.

Mawio went on to report comments by opposition MP Tundi Lissu, who told parliament that Kikwete and Mkapa were mainly responsible for the controversial contracts and that both should be summoned before an enquiry commission.

A commission of enquiry set up by President John Magufuli on Monday estimated that $84 billion had been lost in tax evasion arising from mining operations since 1998.

Political crisis 

The panel found that the losses were primarily due to the failure of foreign companies operating in Africa's fourth largest gold producer to declare earnings. It blamed flawed contracts unfavourable to the state.

The information ministry said that Mawio had made the accusations against the former leaders when neither of two commissions set up by Magufuli to probe the affair had blamed them for anything.

The weekly was ordered to suspend publication of both its print edition and the internet edition for 24 months from the date of notification.

Following publication of reports on the mining sector, Magufuli ordered the revision of laws on the allocation of mining contracts and asked prosecutors to question - and even charge - ministers of mining and of justice found to have signed contracts harmful to state interests in recent years.

Magufuli accused Canadian mining giant Barrick Gold of "stealing from us" in a live televised address this week, but welcomed discussions when the firm's CEO John Thornton flew to Tanzania on Wednesday.

Mawio has already faced a government ban for its coverage of a political crisis after elections late in December 2015 in the semi-autonomous Zanzibar islands. That ban was lifted by the courts.

Tanzania has rich stocks of minerals. Apart from gold, the country exports copper, nickel, silver, diamonds and other precious stones such as tanzanite.

Read more on:    jakaya kikwete  |  john magufuli  |  tanzania  |  east africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.