MOHAMMED HERSI: The kidnap of Tanzania’s Mohammed Dewji

Mohammed Hersi. Courtesy Photo

This Friday (October 19, 2018) allow me to wade into a more emotional matter across our border. I am now choosing to wear my hat as an East African.

Seven (7) days ago we got the breaking news about the kidnap of Mohammed Dewji a successful young businessman in Tanzania. As much as I may not have been known to Mo as he was popularly known we shared a name but importantly we followed each other on Twitter and he was one of the most sensible intelligent young businessman in our region . Mo was a mentor, inspiring millions across East Africa. Mo was a known philanthropist through his Mohammed Dewji Foundation.

Mohammed Dewji aka Mo

Folks Mo was not just an ordinary Tanzanian, he was a former Member Of Parliament , a man who grew his family business and at one time graced the cover of respected Africa’s Forbes Magazine.

Within a few hours of the reported kidnap information was shared that Mo has been found and released. Days later and now 7 days down the line he is still missing and a quick Google search will reveal that there is indeed very little that is happening to locate him.

Tanzania our Southern neighbours have always packaged themselves as the sane good neighbour where rule of law is respected and I am happy for them. They are known to be peaceful and even jokes have been made how a Tanzanian thug will politely request to steal from you of course that is not true.

On the other hand Kenya, we have always been hard on ourselves that ours is a man eat man society and many unsouvery things. Some true while most are exaggerated.

When I saw missing Mo’s family come out to address a press conference on their own and even offer financial reward to find him that indeed was turning point and my perception of Tanzania started to change. Where is the police on all this ? MO was a public figure besides a local Tanzanian who has made Tanzania proud where the likes of Bloomberg made him a point of reference.

This development and the inertia shown by the state in Tanzania is certainly not a good thing and that is bound to affect their excellent positive image as a safe place where all can live happy and peaceful and more importantly do business.

Trust me in our so called confused Kenya that where we hardly appreciate ourselves, the likes of DCI Kinoti and IG Boinnet and of course Kenyans on social media would all have been firing on all systems to make efforts to trace a missing Kenyan let alone say a Chandaria or a Kirubi.

In Kenya our police have in the past gone the extra mile to locate many ordinary Kenyans who are reported to have been kidnapped etc within hours and at most 48 hours.

This Friday morning join me to say a prayer for Mohammed Dewji for his safe return, a prayer for his family to remain strong. As an East African I would urge the Tanzania government to even seek external help, its clear they need help. In a Kidnap case every single minute counts and I am afraid 7 days is a very long time hence time is now of the essence.


Mohammed Hersi, is the Chairman – Kenya Tourism Federation

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