Samia earns kudos for standing up for justice

HUMAN rights and good governance experts have welcomed President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s directives for administration of justice and police reform.

It comes after President Samia recently criticised the actions of some unscrupulous police officers and prosecutors who violate human rights.

Opening a working session for senior police officers on Tuesday at Tanzania Police School (TPS) in Kilimanjaro Region, the president poked holes on the performance of the Police Force, and persistent misuse of funds.

She then stressed the need for reforms within the force and in the overall administration of justice in the country.

Speaking to the ‘Daily News’, the Legal and Human Rights Centre’s (LHRC) Executive Director, Anna Henga welcomed the president’s directives and emphasised the necessity of amending the Criminal Procedure Act to narrow the loopholes for such behaviour.

“The President spoke a lot of positive things, but one thing that is a long-term issue is that of suspects being detained before the investigation is finished. This violates not only human rights but also places an additional burden on the government,” she said.

She said that among the LHRC’s recommendations on the Criminal Procedure Act amendments are putting limits to investigations and reducing offences without bail.

On Tuesday, President Samia also instructed the Director of Criminal Investigations, Ramadhan Kingai, to make sure thorough investigations are conducted and sufficient evidence is gathered before arresting an accused person.

She stated that cases involving 1,840 suspects had to be withdrawn due to a lack of evidence. President Samia argued that by detaining them, the government wasted money.

Vice Chairperson of the Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRAGG), Mr Mohamed Hamad, echoed the president’s concerns, saying some suspects spent up to six years in custody, hence expediting the investigation is critical.

He said that President Samia’s orders to the police to speed up investigations is in line with international standards and will help lessen the burden on the government.

The Executive Director for the Tanzania Women Lawyers Association (TAWLA), Tike Mwambipile added the voice in support of the president’s call, saying that police should seek proof before making an arrest so that the person is sent straight to court after being detained.

“Even if someone is released on bail and the public is aware that they are a suspect, that affects some people psychologically, especially those who have not actually committed the crime,” she said.

ACT-Wazalendo Leader, Zitto Kabwe, commended the Head of State through his Twitter account.

“This is how it is supposed to be. Thank you, President. In order to protect people’s rights, there should be no arrests made until the investigation is complete,” he remarked.

President Samia during the event urged the force to re-examine itself saying that she had commissioned former Chief Justice Mohamed Chande to head the reform committee, its members include former IGP Said Mwema, Ernest Mangu and others.

“I want a total and complete reform with the police force,” she stressed.

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Camillus Wambura said that the force was determined to work on all directives from the president as well as make sure the force reverts to its core business of protecting people and their properties by utilising Information Technology (IT) systems at its disposal.

He noted that to expedite investigations, the police and the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) had agreed to conduct joint inspections at the national, regional, and district levels.

The Police Chief said that they would continue to take action against the dishonest officers, including dismissing any, who will be discovered to have filed false charges against individuals.

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