Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Short update on permits etc.

Kitty had an exciting afternoon helping her school give a swimming display, but Mama was there and is enjoying a lazy evening with a book now, whilst I had fun at the lawers offices trying to work out what happens now. So a number of people have asked me about things and I thought an update was due. Essentially, despite everything I've been told, nothing has changed for a long time now. The 60 day period for the possible trespass charge has passed and the police, national security and army are all now finished with things - I've not got an official letter, but that is not needed because the time limit has passed. All that remains is clearing up the immigration issue, which should be a technicality. However, immigration have considerable powers (as I discovered when they locked me up on a whim) and, if they want to, they can revoke my resident's permit. There has to be reason for this - but it doesn't have to stand up in court or anything, so a suspicion is enough. So even though there are no criminal charges against me, there's still perhaps enough to go on that they could reasonably exercise their powers if they so desired. And we all know what power tends to do. In practice, up to now they've not actually done this - they tried to get my research permit revoked without leaving any paper trail, but failed. So they could formally remove my resident's permit themselves, but their only reason would be on some suspicion of spying - which it's fair to say would provoke some response from the British High Commission, which they're plainly not all that comfortable to do when they really know there's no reason. So today I went to the lawyers offices because Mr Mawalla, who has been personally handling the case up to now, is rather ill and has had to delegate. So I've been filling his associate in on the details so he can carry on fighting. He seems confident it can be resolved without lasting effects, but suspects that unlike the police there might need to be some official censure - a fine, or a temporary departure from Tanzania before it can be finalised. We will see... In summary, it looks like everything will be resolved with immigration and there's definitely no chance of me being prosecuted on criminal charges. So, good news I guess, but it would be nice if it was all over!


  1. Better than bad news I guess...

  2. Sorry to hear your immigration hassles are still dragging on, Colin. and happy Birthday Emma! Nice spirographs - I saw a talk by Jordi Bascompte at the meeting in Texas last week, and he had some very impressive sprigrpahs, including 3D ones too! Plus he can do some impressive card tricks!