Zanzibar Roman Catholic Priest suspect killer nabbed

Police in Zanzibar yesterday named a person suspected to have killed the Roman Catholic priest in Zanzibar, Evaristus Mushi (51).

The late Evaristus Mushi

The priest was gunned down on February 17, this year, while driving to the church to conduct Sunday mass at Mtoni area in the outskirts of Zanzibar town. Zanzibar Commissioner of Police, Mr Mussa Ali Mussa, named the suspect as Omar Mussa Makame (35), a resident of Mwanakwerekwe in Zanzibar. “He was arrested after publication of his image which was displayed in several places in Zanzibar. Someone managed to identify him.

The police force will reward the person with 10m/- as it was promised before,” Commander Mussa said in Zanzibar yesterday. The suspect who is in custody at the moment was arrested on March 17, this year, at Kariakoo area. He was linked to the assassination of Priest Mushi after eyewitnesses identified him during an identification parade.

“We have already filed a case against the suspect, the file has been forwarded to the office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) as required by law for prosecution,” the police chief said. He said that although the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) helped to come with the suspect’s photo, the whole process of investigations and arrest was done by the police in Zanzibar.

“We thank the people and ask for more cooperation to identify other criminals,” he said. The suspect (Makame) is a well-known carpenter, a souvenir dealer and a politician who vied for Raha-Leo constituency seat in 2010 general elections on the opposition Civic United Front (CUF) ticket but failed.

The police commander called for patience as investigation continues to make sure that all suspects behind the killing of Priest Mushi and an attack on another priest during Christmas day last year and the pouring of acid to a Muslim cleric were brought to justice. Last Wednesday the Archbishop of Dar es Salaam, Polycarp Cardinal Pengo questioned the seemingly sluggish pace in the investigation leading to the arrest of the killers of Priest Mushi.

On Thursday, senior police officers responded to Cardinal Pengo’s charges, saying that the police was very serious on the matter and were careful to make sure that justice prevailed. Addressing the nation during end-of-month routine national address last month, President Jakaya Kikwete spoke strongly against bad elements sowing seeds of hatred under the pretext of religious differences.

He said for many years Tanzanians have lived, worked, intermarried without religious restrictions and therefore disunity would have no room. “All suspects inciting hatred must face justice,” Mr Kikwete said. Towards the end of last year until early February, this year, the country recorded unusual chaotic events under the pretext of religious differences. Apart from targeting clerics, some of the churches in Mbagala and Zanzibar were set ablaze.

By ISSA YUSSUF, Tanzania Daily News

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