THE national emblem, which is Tanzania’s leading symbol, as it is for other nations, shot into the limelight recently, thanks to the short-lived limelight into which Mzee Francis Maige shot.
Many people were endeared to the elderly man who has since died, because he had been the emblem’s presumed designer. Up to when he died while being treated at Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam late last month, confusion reigned over who was entitled to get credit for the design.
The confusion points to the need for proper record keeping on important historical issues. Yet, on emblems, specifically, the thrust should be on the spirit each embodies, the artwork being incidental. That’s the backdrop against which the recent directive by President John Pombe Magufuli (JPM) to the Police Force to clean up its act, should be perceived.
Its motto, Usalama wa Raia (civilians’ safety) is one of the highlights of its emblem. Relatively few people may know that such an emblem exists, but certainly, many are aware that the major role of personnel of that force is to protect civilians, as well as their property.
Those speculations or assumptions are justified as they relate to civilians, but they are irrelevant as far as police officers are concerned. Irrelevant, we say– and may as well capitalize IRRELEVANT for emphasis – because no member of the outfit should be reminded of one’s critical role in society.
Singly, and collectively, they are enjoined to discharge their obligations in maximum enforcement of the very loud and clear message relayed by the emblem, and which is verily their driving spirit. The reality on the ground, though, is that enforcement isn’t entirely satisfactory.
This is sad and tragic, and is what has apparently prompted President Magufuli to order the Force to clean up its act. That was the thread that run through the address he gave to high-ranking police officers in Dar es Salaam last Friday. He demanded firmer action in tackling crime, alarming manifestations of which include the killing of civilians, armed robberies and drug abuse.
A preamble for success, obviously, is to fix anomalies that compromise efficiency and effectiveness, and which have bedeviled the Force for quite a long time.
They include corruption, abuse of office, and loopholes in the recruitment process. We believe the directives of the President, who is also the Commander- in-Chief of the Armed Forces, will yield positive results, to render the message in the Police Force emblem relevant, rather than empty or merely juicy. For, his administration is anchored on hard work, scrupulous adherence to ethics, intolerance to ineptness, and swiftness at sanctioning those who go against the grain.