PRESIDENT Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan has stressed on the need for officials from the criminal justice institutions to change their mindsets when discharging their responsibilities for justice to be served among the people in the country.
The President issued the call at the Magogoni State House in Dar es Salaam, yesterday moments after receiving what she termed as a ‘detailed and comprehensive report’ from her eleven – man Commission to investigate the performance of criminal justice institutions in the country.
In February this year, Dr Samia tasked the Commission to investigate the performance of the Police Force, National Prosecution Services (NPS), Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB), Tanzania Prisons Service and Drug Control and Enforcement Authority (DCEA) due to what she described as disruption of criminal justice system.
According to the Head of State, the problem results from taking for granted ethical principles governing the operations of the institutions among others.
“I support the suggestion of the Chairman of the Commission, retired Judge Mohamed Othman Chande and Chief Justice Prof Ibrahim Juma that our institutions demand a change of individual mindsets before we embark on reforms in the technical and administration areas whose operations require a budget,” said President Samia.
As the Commission discovers massive flaws in the entire process of instituting criminal justices from detection of crimes and prevention, carrying out arrests, investigation to issuing of verdicts, President Samia called for major reforms, noting that it is crucial that the focus be on deterrence and not on delivering judgements.
The President ordered for thorough scrutiny in the entire system and processes, noting that some systems both in the Mainland and Zanzibar offer room for bribery, citing the criminal investigation area.
According to the President, there was a need to strengthen the institutional capacities of the institutions to promote professionalism and integrity among its officials.
“There is this issue of misuse of powers…sometimes genuine cases are suspended through orders, making the weakness to continue. Those who commit crimes are being excluded from punishment on the basis of money and power,” she said, indicating that change of mindset was crucial and thought on the enactment of a law to address the issue so as to set clear boundaries.
She underscored the need for the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Camillus Wambura to critically assess the structure of the Police Force, including issues of training, welfare, pension formula and among other aspects for it to function well.
President Samia added: “There is a big problem within the Police Force…. the IGP should go and have a fresh look on this…I do not intend you to restructure the Force.”
Among other areas that the President called for attention include integration of criminal justice information and communication systems for easy tracking of cases in their various stages from arrest, lodging cases, investigation and other procedures.
She revealed that the Judiciary has managed by 60 per cent to address the problem, directing other institutions to also follow suit.
Based on the discoveries, the President was forced to retain the Commission, directing the Chief Secretary Mr Moses Kusiluka to work on the recommendations.
She observed that the Commission is going to be broken down into smaller team that will work on specific issues so as to push for their implementation.
“The situation cannot be left unaddressed, I want the recommendations to be effectively implemented collaboratively, both for union and non-union matters. We are going to look for a budget…if others succeed, we will also succeed,” she said.
She added: “Let’s write a proposal and a concept paper with an accompanied budget on the improvement of democracy, good governance and criminal justice and engage our development partners to support us on the course.
She equally directed the Director General of the State Broadcasting Corporation Dr Ayub Rioba and other media outlets to conduct various programmes focusing on raising awareness on the report among members of the public.
For his part, Chief Justice Prof Juma observed that the report will bring about major transformation in the delivery of justice in the country due to the simple fact members of the public who gave their views now have a sense of ownership of the report.
He noted that the report poses a challenge for implementers to assess themselves, saying it was time for them to change their mindsets and stick to the law.
“Some people who are responsible for implementing the law have tended to take things for granted but in reality, they are acting contrary to the law, something which is not good,” said Prof Juma.
He called upon Tanzanians to individually read the report before getting opinions from others.
Former Prime Minister, retired Judge Warioba said the report will help implementers to carry out their duties, pledging to read the entire report and give his views.