Monday, February 1, 2010

The flimsy arrest of an intrepid reporter...

We all have favorites. When Jerry Muro was just a fresh-faced newbie on the ITV evening news, it was apparent that he had a energy and confidence (even impishness) that put him a cut above the other field reporters. His Bunge coverage was particularly fun as he and his cameraman pursued any politician of the day who could be cowed or cajoled into a live interview. Like Ze Comedy, he was coralled into the 'greener pastures' of TBC where he seems to be thriving as an investigative reporter and host of the evening news magazine program.

So naturally he got himself arrested over the weekend. According to The Citizen*, Jerry (unnamed in the article) was caught doing a little blackmailing of an unnamed businessman at Sea Cliff Hotel. According to the government paper Habari Leo, Jerry (who was named) was accused of blackmailing Karol Wage (former Bagamoyo District Treasurer before Mizengo Pinda fired her last year for loss of public monies and incompetence). This happened at the City Garden Restaurant in center city. As long as we are playing Cluedo, maybe Jerry was caught by Colonel Mustard about to do in Ms. Wage in the Library with a Candlestick.

The most cynical interpretation is that Jerry is quite guilty of blackmailing Miss Wage/Unnamed Businessman with exposure on his show. I think you'd have to be a stupid investigative reporter to solicit such paltry, easily-confiscated amounts of cash in a place like Sea Cliff or City Garden when there are plenty of dimly-lit neighborhood bars scattered throughout the city. Jerry doesn't seem that stupid, but you just never know.

I'm putting my money on simple intimidation. Plain-clothes policemen+investigative journalist+dubious charges= banana republic behavior. Mwananchi's piece offers a nice, if brief, run-down of other journalists who have recently suffered similar difficulties. I guess gone are the days when the establishment would 'discover' that its least-favorite journalists were in fact nefarious Rwandese/Congolese/Arab/Whatever working in Tanzania to destabilize the government, that old chestnut.

*The Clueless, sorry, The Citizen didn't bother putting this story up on their website so you have to catch today's digital edition for an online look.


  1. you didn't mention the handcuffs.....

    Seriously, this story is a great example of how poor much reporting in Tanzania is. None of the papers can agree on even the basic facts of the case.

    The sad thing is, both scenarios are likely. Who in TZ would be surprised by a journalist taking some payments? Who in TZ would be surprised by the cops stitching somebody up?

  2. Right, the handcuffs. Keeping track of the alleged victim (Karol, or is it Michael Wage, former Accountant/Treasurer for Bagamoyo and/or hapless businessman/minion of evil) across several papers pretty much exhausted me. Tanzania Daima says that the victim's glasses and handcuffs (!) were found in the backseat of Mr. Muro's car along with a loaded gun. The gun is apparently Jerry's but what are Karol/Michael's glasses and handcuffs (!) doing in Jerry's car? I need a drink.

  3. Handcuffs (with a receipt, no less), loaded guns, corrupt Bagamoyo officials, shady detectives arranging night time rendevouz's in city bars, hyper-confident investigative journo in a public spat with brash police chief, who seems to be breaking with normal legal procedure.

    Sounds like a case for Joram Kiango. I'm sure hayati Ben Mtobwa would have made a much better job of this story than the TZ press have done so far...

  4. my two cents... maybe it has nothing to do with corrupt officials as much as slighted or scorned handcuffs and glasses. hmm wonder who was with whom in this day of lives type soapie


No biting, spitting, trolling or ugly insults- only pretty ones allowed.

A little birdie told me...

Follow MikocheniReport on Twitter