Detained journalist Eric Kabendera has now appealed to his family members to give his late mother a befitting burial.
Verdiana Mjwahuzi died on Tuesday morning at the age of 80.
By Wednesday, the family was unsure if Tanzanian authorities will allow the freelancer to attend Mjwahuzi’s burial set for late this week.
“Most of us know the sadness of losing a mother but to Kabendera it was too difficult because he wasn’t by her bedside and isn’t sure if he could attend her funeral,” a family member said.
Speaking to the media, Kabendera’s lawyer Jebra Kambole stated that his client wished that his late mother be given a befitting burial as he would have done if he was not incarcerated.
He stated that Kabendera, who is detained at Segerea prison, was shocked after receiving the sad news.
“He was in apparent shock and somewhat panicked when we broke the sad news to him. He remained silent for a long time and did not utter a word, ” said Kambole.
“It was both a tough moment for us and for him as well. He changed immediately and was not the usual Kabendera. It was our turn to console him in that moment of reflection.”
Mjwahuzi had been ailing before her son was arrested and detained in July.
Kabendera, according to the late mother was the sole breadwinner and caregiver.
In a video that went viral a fortnight ago, the mother pleaded with President John Pombe Magufuli to release her son, but the pleas fell on deaf ears.
Kabendera was arrested in July last year over what the state termed as questionable citizenship status, money laundering, tax evasion and leading organised crime, which are not bailable offences in Tanzania.
Several states including the United States, United Kingdom and Canada and human right groups have condemned irregular arrest, detention and indictment of Kabendera by Tanzanian authorities.
He’s facing three counts of economic crimes including assisting an organised crime racket, money laundering, and failing to pay millions of dollars in tax, all between January 2015 and July 2019.
The groups now want the state to drop trumped-up charges against Kabendera and have him freed unconditionally.
The case has been adjourned over four times and its hearing is set for January 2, 2020.