News Brief

#FreeErickKabendera Speaks Volumes about Tanzania's Approach to Political Dissidents

The investigative journalist is among many government critics to disappear.

Since assuming power back in 2015, Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli and his government appeared to be putting other African leaders to shame with their attempts to "clean up" office. However, over the past few years, Magufuli's rule has become more restrictive and laden with heavy crack downs on any form of dissent be it from citizens and opposition parties in general.

Erick Kabendera, an investigative journalist and freelance reporter in Tanzania, is reportedly the latest target of the Tanzanian government.

Yesterday, Kabendera was forcibly taken from his home in Dar es Salaam by unidentified men claiming to be policemen taking the journalist to the Oysterbay Police Station, according to the BBC. However, the men were not dressed in any official uniform and also refused to identify themselves.

The men also confiscated mobile phones used to record the incident by Kabendera's wife as well as his neighbors, IOL reports. The journalist's whereabouts remain unknown and a social media storm in the form of #FreeErickKabendera has resulted where people are demanding that the government disclose Kabendera's location and provide reasons for his alleged prosecution.

Muthoki Mumo, the Sub-Saharan Africa Representative from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) commented on the matter saying, "The manner in which this journalist was taken, by men claiming to be police, is very ominous and further evidence that the press is not safe in President John Magufuli's Tanzania." He added that, "Authorities must immediately disclose if they are holding Erick Kabendera, and for what reason, and ensure the journalist is returned safely to his family."

It's been speculated that an article that Kabendera wrote for The East African last week, where he criticized the current government and their approach to any political dissent, may have been the reason for his abduction.

Back in November of 2017, investigative journalist Azory Gwanda, also went missing after he covered the killings that were happening in the district of Kibiti. He has never been found. While there have been global efforts to raise awareness around his disappearance, the Tanzanian government recently hinted that the journalist may be dead.

Read more about the disappearances of other media personnel under Magufuli's rule here.


11 Rwandan Artists You Should Be Listening To

Musicians like Bushali, Kivumbi King, Rita Ange Kagaju, and Alyn Sano have been putting their mark on the ever-changing Rwandan soundscape.

The current landscape of modern Rwandan music is more dynamic than ever before, from updated versions of traditional folk sounds to the recent 'KinyaTrap' phenomenon that has permeated playlists across the country. For decades, Rwandan airwaves have been dominated by international hits — and by a handful of established Rwandan superstars — but now, as the country continues to develop and diversify, so does its musical setting, with new and different sounds ascending from the hills. The past five years have seen the emergence of an army of young artists eager to reclaim their languages (Rwanda has four official languages) and identity, interlacing their music with influences that stretch far and wide.

Here are 11 artists that have emerged in the past five years to put their mark on the ever-changing Rwandan soundscape.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox


Watch YoungstaCPT's New Music Video for 'Kleurling'

YoungstaCPT explores, with great profundity, the complexity of Coloured identity and culture in his latest music video for 'Kleurling'.