RE: DEFAMATORY PUBLICATION AGAINST OUR CLIENT HON. BERNARD MEMBE (MP); MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION.
0.0 Kindly refer to the heading above.
1.0 We are advocates for Hon. Bernard Membe, who has availed us of the information and instruction in relation to the subject in caption.
We have noted that, in your issue No. 03853, ISSN 0856-7573 published on Wednesday the 12th of January, 2011, on the front page you elegantly published an article titled Membe: Polisi walikiuka maadili mauaji Arusha. (Mabalozi waibana serikali, wahoji Polisi kutumia risasi za moto). In the said article, you boldly alleged that our client blamed the Police Force for mishandling the demonstrations carried out by CHADEMA members and followers in Arusha, thus causing deaths of three people and 20 others left injured. You further alleged that, members of Diplomatic corps whom our client was addressing, condemned the Police Force’s of Tanzania and demanded a statement from the government. The relevant parts of the publication states as follows:
“Waziri wa Mambo ya Nje na Ushirikiano wa Kimataifa, Bernard Membe amesema Jeshi la Polisi lilikiuka maadili ya kazi yao lilipokuwa likikabiliana na raia waliokuwa wakiandamana kupinga suala la uteuzi wa Meya wa Arusha…. Jeshi la Polisi linatakiwa kufanya kazi kwa mipaka ili kuhakikisha kuwa linadumisha amani nchini, alisema Membe, akieleza kuwa ni maoni yake binafsi kuhusiana na tukio hilo linaloelekea kuiweka doa Tanzania ambayo inajulikana kuwa ni kisiwa cha amani….Membe alisema kuwa Mabalozi wa Nchi mbalimbali hapa nchini walimbana wakitaka serikali iweke wazi suala la mauaji hayo ili dunia ifahamu ukweli badala ya tetesi…. Nimewajibu kwamba ndani ya wiki hii serikali itatoa tamko kwa kuwa nayo haijafurahia mauaji hayo, alisema Membe”.
2.0 Our client totally denies to have uttered any of the above statements neither in content nor context. The truth of the matter is that, our client had convened a normal briefing session with all Ambassadors representing their countries in Tanzania and addressed them on several important international issues. Our client states that no Ambassador or any member or attendee in the said session asked, inquired or raised any concern whatsoever about the alleged Arusha issue. Instead, it was our client, who out of courtesy, at the end of the session remarked that he was personally sorry about the deaths in Arusha and urged the members to be patient and wait for the official government statement on the issue. Our client repeated the same statement when addressing the press at Karimjee grounds after the said session.
3.0 The statement published by you was, therefore, published carelessly and without any scintilla of truth, and in fact, without any efforts of finding the truth because both sessions, namely, one with the Ambassadors and the other one with the press are fully recorded and none of them contains any of what has been published by you. Our client takes this not only as carelessly published but also maliciously published because the truth was there but you opted to deliberately leave it and fabricated lies.
4.0 The contents of your publication in their very plain meaning tells the public and international community that our client, both as a person and as a government minister, has no confidence with the Police Force and the entire government machinery entrusted with peace and security of the country and also that as a minister responsible for foreign affairs he failed his duty to address the government position on the Arusha issue to the international community until compelled by the Ambassadors. Due to your publication, our client’s good working relations with the Police Force and his reputation in the government and members of diplomatic corps has been seriously injured. As a result of your publication, our client’s reputation has been harmed, and lowered, and you have exposed him to hatred, contempt and ridicule in the eyes of the right thinking members of the society.
5.0 In view of the foregoing, we, Trustmark Attorneys, a law firm duly registered and practicing in Tanzania, upon written instructions from our said client do hereby make formal demand upon you, that you should formally make a written apology on the front page of your next publication, using the same font size in the leading story, unequivocally and without any ambiguity whatsoever, retracting the said misleading story with sufficient details, that our client neither said any of what was written in your publication nor was there any pressure from any of the Ambassadors demanding the government’s statement on the Arusha issue and that you regret for basing your story on misinformed sources.
6.0 Our further instructions are to point out that should you fail to heed to the demand herein, within 48hours of receipt of this notice, our client shall lodge formal complaints with the Courts and regulatory authorities seeking statutory remedies against you at your own risk as to costs and consequential damages, without further notice. Please note that, should you necessitate such action, our client shall, in additional to claiming compensation for the damage and injury occasioned to him, also seek exemplary damages and other punitive sanctions against you.
Please treat this matter seriously and respond accordingly.
C.C: 1. The Inspector General of Police,
Dar es Salaam. – for information
2. The Dean of Diplomatic Corps
Dar es Salaam. – for information
3. The Director of Information,
Ministry of Information Culture Youth and Sports
Dar es Salaam.
4. Hon. Bernard K. Membe (MP)
Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation,
Dar es Salaam.
Source: Michuzi blog