Members of Parliament have decried lack of government commitment to transform the police force, saying it leads in violation of human dignity.
They took issues with the way the government was working to improve living conditions of the law enforcers, adding that this is the root cause of corruption within the force.
Debating the budget estimates for the Ministry of Home Affairs yesterday, the legislators poked holes on the budget allocated to the ministry, terming it insufficient to effect real changes in the force.
Presenting views of the Opposition camp, shadow minister, Mji Mkongwe MP, Ibrahim Muhammad Sanya (CUF), said efforts by the Inspector General of Police ( IGP) Said Mwema to change the force were being curtailed by inadequate budgetary allocations.
He cited reduction of development expenditure of the ministry by Sh921,163,000 in the 2010/2011 budget estimates as one of the setbacks that faces the police force.
He said most police officers were forced to build mud houses within police quarters at their own costs, saying a good example is at the Dodoma police line.
“How do you expect the police to maintain peace when they live like refugees in their own country? The Opposition camp is asking if this will make our force compete with the technological changes in the world, he remarked.
The opposition leader said corruption was becoming rampant in the force, adding that the problem is right at the police headquarters where millions of shillings were reportedly embezzled.
He said the Controller Audit General (CAG) in his latest report stated that Sh 245,376,758 was forwarded to the headquarters but was not deposited in the chief paymaster’s account, prompting suspicions that some few people benefited from it.
The Mpandae MP, Issa Kassim Issa (CCM) on his part decried the pathetic living conditions of the officers, urging the government to pay them their arrears at once. He urged IGP Mwema to streamline the headquarters, saying a lot of sensitive information of the force constantly leak to the public, possibly because the officers are angered by poor treatment by the government.
The legislator urged the government to ensure that the police were living happily for peace to prevail in the country. He said if the police and other forces would opt for a boycott, every business in the country would come to a standstill.
On his part, Kinondoni MP Idi Azan (CCM) blamed the government for failure to consolidate the police force, and provide safety to the common wananchi. He said robberies were increasing in Dar es Salaam .
The legislator also noted that the increasing number of street children in urban centres was a problem that the government should tackle earnestly.
He told the parliament that some of the children were assigned by robbers as porters to carry weapons like guns.
Azan said petty robbery incidents were becoming the order of the day in the city, wondering why the government could not deploy other forces to reinforce the inadequate police officers.
“ If the country can send forces to keep peace in Darfur, Lebanon and other places, why can’t they deploy special forces to help the outnumbered police officers in the country?” he asked.
The Karatu MP, Wilbrod Slaa (Chadema) concurred with his colleagues that a few government officials tainted the police force, demanding explanations on why the government failed to account for several incidences where the police were linked with chaos.
The deputy opposition leader reminded the House that during the Kiteto by-election in 2007, some Chadema youth supporters were allegedly attacked at the police station by their CCM counterparts who were ferried from Dar es Salaam .
He further alleged that a similar occurrence was in Busanda elections, whereby CCM youths attacked Chadema youths at midnight, adding all the cases were reported to the police but no action was taken by the authority.
Earlier in the day, when moving his ministry speech, minister for Home Affairs, Lawrence Masha, told the House that the country faced an acute shortage of police officers. He said while the international standard police to people ratio was 1.450, the Tanzanian officers were overwhelmed with a ratio of 1.1,300 compared to their Kenyan counterparts whose ratio stood at 1.821.
As a consequence, he explained, crime was rife in parts of the country were police presence was lacking.
Masha said criminal activities recorded in the country between January and December 2009 stood at 567, 288 cases compared to the 506,030, being 12.1 percent increase in cases recorded in the same period in 2008.
He said at least 359,305 traffic offences were reported in the same period compared to 229,451 cases reported in 2008. This was an increase of 129,854 cases, being 56.6 percent increment.
The minister told the House that the ministry did not have enough money to implement all the desired improvements in the police force. He requested the House to approve Sh 446,347,481,000 for his ministry budget for 2010/2011 fiscal year.