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Kapteni Maganga hatunaye tena!

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Siasa' started by Chief Isike, Sep 29, 2010.

  1. Chief Isike

    Chief Isike JF-Expert Member

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    Kwa wale waliokuwa wakimwelewa vizuri hususani lile tukio la kutaka kumwondoa Mwalimu madarakani, watupatie dataz za huyu bwana, bila shaka ataendelea kukumbukwa! Whether kwa mazuri au mabya, that is something else. R.I.P
  2. Lole Gwakisa

    Lole Gwakisa JF-Expert Member

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    Mkuu 2MINE, this Capt. Maganga was basicaly an adventurous outlaw who gambled and lost, guy will never be missed , he was neither a thinker nor ideological.All the same RIP
  3. Dark City

    Dark City JF-Expert Member

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    Poor Maganga,

    Aliandika story ya kesi yao ya uhaini kwenye Rai kabla halijauzwa kwa RA. Kwa upande wangu aliiandika vizuri kwa sababu alisimulia kila kitu kuanzia maandalizi ya mapinduzi, jinsi walivyokamatwa, kilichotokea wakati wako mahabusu, kesi yao na hadi kuhukumiwa na kufungwa. Ilikuwa hadithi nzuri sana kuifuatilia.

    RIP Maganga.
  4. Tusker Bariiiidi

    Tusker Bariiiidi JF-Expert Member

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    RIP Maganga...
  5. N

    Nyaturu Member

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    January 9, 1982 A Coup that Never Was and Its Aftermath


    As a writer, this blog is meant to host most of my jornalistic works, published and unpublished, for other people beyond the reach of a publication i work for to read. The posted stories will be a combination of both short stories and features stories that i have written since i started professional writing some years ago.

    Friday, December 22, 2006

    Jan 9, 1982. A coup that never was. And its aftermath

    By Erick Kabendera

    At Butimba Maximum Security Prison, inmate Eugene Maganga's routine for the two years he had been to wake up late on weekends. For some reason however, on that Saturday morning October 22, 1995, he had woken up early and when he switched on his small radio he was just in time to catch a brief news item saying that President Ali Hassan Mwinyi had granted him and several others clemency for their crime.

    This is a moment that the group of eight had been waiting for, for the ten years that they been behind bars serving a life sentence for treason. They had never lost hope.

    "Prisoners in different cells who also heard the news started cheering," narrates Maganga, 50. "Surprisingly I did not cheer because I had waited for a long time for this day to come. It was always terrifying to imagine I could spend my entire life in prison."
    Maganga and the other seven – Suleiman Kamando, Zakaria Aspopo, Vitalis Mapunda, Mbogolo, Kajaji Badru, Hatty MacGhee and Christopher Kadego – were convicted in 1985 for a botched plan two years earlier to overthrow the government of the country's first President, Julius Nyerere. The ninth person, Mohamed Tamimu had been killed in an exchange with the police at the time of their arrest.

    On Monday October 24, 1995, two days after the news had come on radio, Maganga was declared a free man. He clearly remembers that day when he crossed the prison gates to freedom. The time was one p.m.

    "My joyous relatives and those of my fellow prisoner Hatty MacGhee welcomed us outside the prison. Emotions ran high and the feeling then is very hard to explain even now," says Maganga.

    Six of the other treason convicts were released two days later from Ukonga Prison in Dar es Salaam.

    By the time of their release, Maganga had been shuffled through several prisons including Ukonga in Dar es Salaam and his last post at Butimba in Mwanza.

    Despite the hardships they endured in prison, Maganga says none of them has ever regretted for attempting to overthrow the government. "We only regret failing the coup mission but we don't regret planning the coup."

    Before they came up with the idea of overthrowing the government, Maganga and Kadego worked in the army with the Tank Battalion. Maganga was a Lieutenant while Kadego was a captain. Maganga was 26 years old and had just returned from London where he spent four months brushing up his military skills before he was summoned to go and fight in the war with Uganda in 1978.
    As one of the soldiers on the frontline, Maganga believes Tanzania won the war because Uganda had a weak army. But he is unforgiving of the general premise on which the war was built. "President Nyerere misused the country's resources to fight for the interests of his closest friend Milton Obote so he could return him to power."

    If the misunderstandings that led to the war were genuine, Maganga says diplomacy would have helped solve the problem amicably. Instead they had favoured a military campaign.

    Soon after this war, in May 1980, Maganga joined the University of Dar es Salaam to study International Relations and Public Administration. He was never happy with the kind of life that Tanzanians were living – he says they were poor and were being forced into Ujamaa villages.

    The group contended that the war between the two countries was unnecessary and had only resulted in the misuse of public funds. "The war wasn't between the two countries rather it was between Nyerere and Idi Amin."

    Maganga further says they also took issue with the conditions in the army which had particularly deteriorated after Major General Mrisho Sarakikya, the first Chief of Defence Forces (1964-1974) and his team had stepped down. The coup plotters also felt that the president lacked trust in the people from the north because they been educated outside the country and he feared that they would attempt to overthrow him. "People who were less educated took over the positions and that is where things went wrong," says Maganga. Soldiers were not commissioned on merit as the president was keener on creating an army consisting of men who couldn't pose any challenge against him. He says some officers were promoted twice in a single week. "We wanted to bring changes but the type of people we wanted to work with were not ready to sacrifice. Nevertheless, we didn't give up on our intention to bring about change."

    As Maganga and his colleagues were still discussing the ways to go about their plans, they met with the late Pius Rugangira (Uncle Tom) who was an established Tanzanian businessman in Kenya. Rugangira's father was not on good terms with President Nyerere, according to Maganga, and he had gone to live and work in Uganda. And because of having his father in Uganda, Rugangira was accused of being a Ugandan spy – accusations that led to his fallout with the government. Generally, he too felt that Tanzanians were unnecessarily paying the price of an ill-conceived war and that is why he gave audience to the coup plotters.
    With Rugangira volunteering to finance their mission, Maganga and other army officers who had already agreed to work together were now optimistic. "We were all young and we did not trust any high ranking officer in the army because they were satisfied with the way things were."

    Though quite forthcoming with just about everything on their coup plans, Maganga is hesitant to reveal exactly how they had had planned to carry it out. He will only say it is still their "top secret" though they expected to exploit the general negligence in the army to achieve their goals.

    Another plotter who was in Maganga's company at the time of the interview but preferred not to be named, says most people believe the group was given a lot of money to carry out the coup but in fact the little money that they received from Rugangira was only meant to take care of small emergencies. He insists it was not compensation for carrying out the coup. "If we were paid money, none of us would have been poor today," he says.

    The former soldier adds that they wanted to build a multiparty democracy in which people could freely express their opinions and choose their own president. "We had proposed that Rugangira would become the Prime Minister but on condition that he would not contest as a presidential candidate in the election that would be held five years later."

    Three days before the planned coup was to take place, Rugangira reportedly asked them the positions they wanted to be given in the new government but they had replied they wanted nothing.

    When all arrangements were in place, they waited for the president who was on a state visit abroad to return. According to Maganga, the president came back in January 1982 after spending two months away and went to his home village in Butiama.

    "The reason we wanted to overthrow the government while he was in the country is that we intended to assassinate him," Maganga says. It was Rugangira who opposed the assassination plan in favour of arresting the president.

    Nyerere unexpectedly spent more time in Butiama and had still not returned to Dar es Salaam two days before the day when the coup was to take place on Monday January 9, 1982.

    The Friday before that – on January 6 – they had planned to meet for the last time before the coup was carried out but some of their colleagues did not turn up for the meeting.

    Mohamed Tamimu was among those who didn't come. "We were worried and we decided to send one of us to Kinondoni Mkwajuni to enquire but we were shocked to find that the police had raided his house and killed him," says Maganga.

    At that point, they all knew their identities and plans were secret no more. Tamimu, according to his colleagues, had a culture of keeping records of the meetings and the names of collaborators. It was only a matter of time before they were arrested.
    They had guessed right.

    The police were all over looking for the group. Kadego and Maganga decided to escape through Tanga and Mombasa to Nairobi where they stayed for ten months as political refugees. "We don't know what happened to the others whom we left in Dar es Salaam but we had not given up when we arrived in Nairobi. We wanted to re-organise ourselves and come back to overthrow the government," says Maganga.

    They never blamed each other for failing to carry out the coup successfully though Maganga believes their luck ran out because MacGhee was a civilian and didn't know how to keep secrets. He suspects MacGhee had leaked the information to almost all of the people he knew before even the mission was a halfway. Maganga also suspects that Tamimu knew that MacGhee was not a former American soldier as he had claimed but did not tell them. "We realised later that his real name was Hatibu Hassan Gandhi and he was a Tanzanian pilot. "

    In Nairobi, they had no jobs and they were surviving under the support of United Nations Commission for Refugees. Maganga says they had some contacts with the America embassy in Nairobi whom they requested for sponsorship to start a base in Nairobi from where they would reorganise and plan for another coup.

    "They said they had so many similar activities to support and could not afford sponsoring ours," he says.

    A few days later as Maganga and Kadego loitered in the streets of Nairobi, they suddenly ran into their co-plotters Uncle Tom and MacGhee whom they had left in Dar es Salaam. The two had escaped from Keko Prison in Dar es Salaam where they had been taken upon their arrest.

    Though they were comfortable with their life in Nairobi Rugangira decided to travel to London to look at ways to move them to Malawi. He was worried that the government in Nairobi would conspire with Dar es Salaam and arrest them. All eight of them had somehow managed to escape to Nairobi.

    Indeed, before Rugangira returned from London, the group was arrested by the authorities in Nairobi and exchanged with Senior Lance Corporal Ochuka and Sergeant Pancras Oteyo who had also made attempts to overthrow the government of then President Daniel arap Moi in 1982 and fled to Tanzania.

    "We were heavily handcuffed and blindfolded and taken to Isaka Maximum Security Prison in Dodoma where we stayed from November 1983 to October 1984," says Maganga.

    On arrival there, they found the walls of the prison cells they were assigned were smeared with faeces. They were chained to the ground, and spent three days without taking a shower. The head of the prison had directed the prison warders not to talk to the captives or even get near them fearing that the captives would try to influence the law enforcers to join hands with them.

    Maganga says however that the people who were guarding them were not all that bad and at one time they helped the prisoners smuggle a letter out to the American Embassy. They had wanted the world to know that they were in jail because nobody was aware of this at the time.

    The letter they had written, Maganga says, prompted a UN Commissioner for Refugees to visit Tanzania and pressured government to forward the case to court.

    The trial started in January 1985 and in December of that year they were sentenced to life imprisonment.

    They insist that in principle they have no regrets about plotting the coup, but Maganga says his only disappointments are in the way their lives turned out.

    After being set free, they found that some friends and relatives had turned hostile towards them and did not want to be seen near or with them.

    Both Kadego and Maganga have never married and Maganga says the hardest part was probably not the ten years they spent in jail but starting all over again when they owned nothing. "The government made sure that we don't get employed anywhere and some of us have remained unemployed to this day," he says.

    Some of them whose families were better off managed to make a breakthrough in businesses. "Kadego and I live hand to mouth. In fact Kadego is a machinga," Maganga says.

    MacGhee died a week after their release while a couple of them tried to join the opposition parties but decided to quit. They felt the parties were disorganised and the people who led them seemed self-seeking.

    "In the last year's elections, I contested for a parliamentary seat in Tabora constituency but I lost. I don't want to involve myself in politics again," Maganga says.

    Maganga has two children from different mothers and he says nobody bothered to send them to good schools while he was in jail. He still hopes to provide them with a good education but with no income, his plans are beginning to seem like wishful thinking.
    He had himself enrolled at the Open University of Tanzania to study Law in 1999 but dropped out in his second year due to lack of fees. "Not all my friends care about my problems. Some try to reach me when they have something to give me," he says.
    With the way things are going for him right now, he is just about ready to do any job that is offered to him.

    Still, his personal life doesn't bother him quite as much as what he calls ‘the mindset of Tanzanians'. "They complain of almost everything but none of them has ever taken any action. They blame us for trying to overthrow the government while most of them would not even dare," he says.

    He told me he was going to bed that night without any food but that didn't bother him; it would not be the first time. It is when he says, "This country… Nyerere corrupted the mindset of the people. Very few people can think and take action," that he wears the mask of disappointment.

    A dog's life

    The time in prison had been very harrowing even for political prisoners like themselves. They were not allowed some of the privileges they were entitled to, and they got to witness several vices that thrived under the very noses of prison authorities.

    Maganga recalls witnessing juvenile prisoners being sodomised. There were same sex couples, drug peddlers and some notorious inmates even organised ‘beauty pageants' where men strutted their stuff.

    "Prisoners who supervised others slept with those who won the beauty contests and gave them little favours in return, for instance, excusing them from hard work and allowing them the luxury of bathing with soap. It was a nasty and disgusting experience that still lingers in my mind," says Maganga.

    Before he was sent into prison, Maganga says he thought that jailhouses were managed by welfare officers but to his surprise there weren't any in the prisons in which he served his sentence.

    Moreover, prisons officers facilitated drug trafficking in jails and even participated in selling juvenile prisoners to other prisoners. These wardens also looked on as weaker prisoners were raped without trying to intervene in any way.

    Maganga is however happy for the small changes him and his colleagues were able to bring in all the prisons they served in. With James Christopher Kadego his closest ally, they had been instrumental in strengthening sporting activities and defending the rights of other prisoners in Ukonga. "We never tolerated anyone who tried to violate the rights of others."

    Because of their efforts to defend them, some of their fellow prisoners did not celebrate their release, for they would now be left to fend for themselves.

    Posted by Mwafrika at 8:33 AM


    Mija Shija Sayi said...

    Kazi nzuri.

    March 13, 2007 1:42:00 PM PDT

    Post a Comment
  6. M

    Mbopo JF-Expert Member

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    Please rest in peace comrade.
  7. PhD

    PhD JF-Expert Member

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    maganga alikuwa machachari sana huyu, klichowashinda ni strong intelligency service ya enzi za mwalimu ilikuwa inanusa balaa.
  8. W

    WildCard JF-Expert Member

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    Wakati ule vyombo vya DOLA vilikuwa ndio vyenyewe hasa. UwT walikuwa ndio wenyewe; Mahakama zetu zilikuwa ndio zenyewe; Rais tulikuwa naye; Watanzania tulifanana kwa kila hali.
  9. MwanajamiiOne

    MwanajamiiOne Platinum Member

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    RIP Captain.
  10. Pape

    Pape JF-Expert Member

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    Poor Maganga! R.I.P
  11. Rutashubanyuma

    Rutashubanyuma JF-Expert Member

    Sep 30, 2010
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    Despite the hardships they endured in prison, Maganga says none of them has ever regretted for attempting to overthrow the government. “We only regret failing the coup mission but we don’t regret planning the coup.”

    No doubt he walked alone but I have come not to mourn Maganga's death but to bury him.
  12. Lole Gwakisa

    Lole Gwakisa JF-Expert Member

    Sep 30, 2010
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    As I mentioned before, this gentleman Capt Maganga was an adventurous outlaw.
    I knew him at the UDSM whe he came for his 1st degree in 1980.Then, his stature and airs
    of of his own percieved importance made him stand out notably from other students.
    By then UDSM was bristling to the brim with many UWT guys.
    It thus did not come as a surprise when we heard that Capt Maganga was involved in the coup attempt.

    What makes Capt Maganga somehow dangerously adventurous is their(plotters) amateurish plan o kill Mwalimu.One just stands to be flabbergasted to the mind, resolve and planning to that effect.
    Did they stand chance?
    Given all the different organs in the field?
    I cant imagine the bloodshed that would have ensued on killing Mwalimu by the then young Turks.
    And that is why I say his guy will never be missed.
  13. S

    Son of Alaska JF-Expert Member

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    hivi? Analytical looking at the Tanzanian scenario situationwise-has it ever been possible to overthrow the Government-looking at past history all attempts have been amatuerish in nature,and i just dont see how our armed forces could support any coup-de-tat-to the forces the motto better the devil you know reigns supreme
  14. J

    Jasusi JF-Expert Member

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    Son of Alaska,
    I think after the 1964 revolt by the army Mwalimu had a quick lesson on how to control the military and not let the military control the government. That is why the 1967, 1971 and the subsequent 1982 attempts failed. Before 1964, as it happened in many African countries, all the army had to do was take over the radio station and a few government buildings and it would be over. In Tanzania it would have been difficult to coordinate the army at all its various bases to support a coup.
  15. N

    Nyaturu Member

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    Here is someone who would have been proud had they succeeded not only in overthrowing the government but also in assassinating President Nyerere.

    They should have been left to rot in prison.
  16. J

    Jasusi JF-Expert Member

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    It was Mwinyi who pardoned them. Go figure!
  17. Mtazamaji

    Mtazamaji JF-Expert Member

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    kwa nini haya mambo hayafundishswi au kusimuliwa au kuongelewa kwenye masomo ya uraia na historia.? Wanafunzi wanatakiwa wapewe nafasi ya kujadilina mambo kama haya .
    Hatuwezi kujua mazuri au mabaya gani yangefuata baada ya zoezi kushindwa.

    RIP maganga .