Saturday, May 11, 2013

Legislators calls for reform in the police force

IN what is likely to be described as increasing workers’ accountability in the government sector, legislators in Parliament this week have called for the urgent reform of the police force in order to upkeep its personnel in the country whom they said are extremely working under hardship condition. Contributing to the just ended 2013/2014 budget for the ministry of Home Affairs which sailed through on Tuesday this week, legislators of both the ruling party and the opposition camp have jointly appreciated the hard work under which the policemen are toiling in a move to maintain peace and tranquility in the country.  As a result of their hard work, they have called for the need of the government to take care of their welfare in order to make them increase their working morale. Coupled with that, the law makers have also strongly put an insistence calling upon the government to look for the ways on how they would help to ease various challenges the police force encounters in their daily operational activities. The call by the legislators comes about when the nation is still feeling the pangs of the Arusha bomb blast which occurred unexpectedly on the eve of a day the Ministry’s budget was tabled for discussion in Parliament. Following the incident, the legislators have thanked the police for the role it has played to net the suspected culprits. The Parliament took much time to discuss the importance of the police force and its roles it plays for the nation building bearing in mind the sensitivity of the sector to the people and the nature of their work in general. However with their common stand, the law makers have asked the government to think of an increase of the police workers’ basic salaries and other allowances deserved and noted that, poor remuneration package is a source which drives many of them in the force to engage in various criminal activities. “If our soldiers are paid handsomely, then they could be performing their duties more perfectly”, said the Kahama Member of Parliament (CCM) and chairman of the Parliamentary Accounts Committee on Natural Resources and Tourism James Lembeli. Lembeli who spoke also of the misconduct of the wildlife soldiers taking protection of the wildlife animals in national parks in the country, noted that corruption among soldiers is a normal thing which is being practiced in the country and if the government will not take appropriate action, there would be increased acts of violence in the country. Lembeli is on the view of the fact that, to remove corrupt malpractices among soldiers in the country and make them work with honesty is to give them extra payments for the work they contend with for their daily operations. However, he has thrown blame to the government which he said does not value the welfare of the workers especially those in the sensitive sectors such as the police and the immigration department. He said that, the police force in the country are still faced by a myriad of problems while executing their duties and cited lack of other incentives such as fuel is an exacerbating factor which hinders their operational activities causing their movements to become so difficult while in their operations.  He cited as an example in his constituency whereby he said that, policemen have sometimes to walk on foot for long distance to accomplish their mission. However, he said adding that it’s due to insufficient allocation of fuel litres coupled by lack of vehicles in the area to make smooth operation and movement, an aspect he said some have to use bicycles in these missions. John Shibuda (Chadema) a legislator for Maswa contributed the debate citing poor operations of the fire brigade unit which he said up to now lacks sophisticated equipment to smoothen operation, and in view of this he has asked the government to solve the existing problems when it comes to rescue operations in fire disasters. He has however called on the government also to have a tendency of paying allowances to policemen after having been sent to various operational activities. He has also blamed the government for failure of taking drastic measures in order to solve such problems despite of several reminders in past budget sessions. Kombo Hamisi Kombo (CUF) legislator contributed his views and was amazed to realize that there are newly recruited graduates in prisons department who up to now earns the minimum salary equivalent to Sh. 270,000 per month which he said is a shame for the prisons department and the government as a whole. He has therefore asked the government to review their salary increments and give priority to educated youths who have joined the prison force. Diana Chilolo, an MP for Ikungi (CCM special seats) noted that, the current payments for the police allowances has to be increased so as they might go alongside with the current economic situation as per the value of money. She said and wondered that soldiers’ allowances has become a subject of debate in the past budget sessions without a success and the government seems to have turned a blind eye for the issue as the government has done nothing in this area. A renowned Member of Parliament (CCM special seat) Annna Abdalah spoke of the rescue fire equipment which she said were scarce and the few available are not efficient while in operations. In view of this, she has called on the fire brigade department to rectify the situation. Iddi Azam an MP for Kinondoni (CCM) constituency spoke of the police houses located in his area which are dilapidated and unfit for occupation. However, he also talked about the recruitment of soldiers in his constituency noting that, Kinondoni district has over 2 million residents and to a great dismay there are 1,200 policemen who serve in the area, an aspect he said are not enough to curb with the increased crimes in the area. On the other hand has criticized the police to have recruited soldiers who neither are not committed enough nor qualified properly and instead, he has however asked the force to look at the youths who have completed the national service training in the country. Meanwhile, Tanzania has seen a rise in sectarian violence between Christians and Muslims. Recently police in Sengerema used teargas to disperse about 200 Christian rioters attempting to torch a mosque over an animal slaughtering conflict. In February, a Catholic priest was shot dead on the largely Muslim island of Zanzibar. In another incident, a church belonging to Lutheran Church of Tanzania was stormed and torched by people believed to be irate Muslim believers in Mbagala on the outskirts of the Dar es Salaam city after a Christian child aged 12 years old urinated on a book of Quran in a controversial childish joke.

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