Six Hundred criminal suspects were killed by mob justice in 2011, actions the Ministry of Home Affairs says are unacceptable under the rule of law.
The figure was revealed by the Minister of Home Affairs Dr Emmanuel Nchimbi when responding to contributions made by legislators during the debate on the ministry’s 2012/13 estimates.
He said the country cannot keep watching people’s lives being lost without being tried in a court of law.
“I appeal to the media to change the way they term people who kill theft suspects. They term them an angry mob but I suppose they should be termed properly as people abusing the law. This can help in changing the current trend,” he said.
Dr Nchimbi stated that the government has no plan to reduce the size of the police force as doing so would be a disaster to the country.
“International standards on police to citizen ratio is 1 to 450, Tanzania has not reached that standard as the current ratio stands at 1 to1300. Thus there is no way we can reduce the size of the force if we are to ensure public safety,” the minister emphasized.
He also noted that Tanzania had in collaboration with neighbouring countries formed a task force to check illegal immigrants in the region.
He told the National Assembly that the task force would work jointly with countries where illegal immigrants originate.
Dr Nchimbi expressed concern however that some Tanzanians were involved in transporting illegal immigrants through the country.
Tanzania’s porous borders as well as lack of national identity cards made it possible for illegal immigrants to enter the country.
“The task-force would also engage countries where the immigrants are usually destined to. We should however admit that we also have problems of illegal immigrants in our country,” he explained.
A number of illegal immigrants originating from Tanzania, mostly youths have been detained in various countries and deported back home.
“Addressing the problem requires joint cooperation from everyone since most illegal immigrants live among us,” he said.
Voting on the estimates of the Ministry of Home Affairs was suspended at the eleventh-hour towards the end of last month following the sinking of MV Skagit near Chumbe Island.
In another development, the Minister refuted claims by some opposition legislators that the Immigration Department has been used to clamp-down on the opposition by declaring some of their members non-citizens.
“There are also several members of the ruling party (CCM) who have been declared non-citizens and applied for citizenship. It is thus not true that the Immigration Department has been cracking down on the opposition,” he said.
He stated that if one is declared a non-citizen it is the responsibility of that person to prove his/her citizenship.
Dr Nchimbi cited Nyamagana MP, Mr Ezekia Wenje (CHADEMA) and Mr Ally Keissy Mohamed (Nkasi North-CCM) who had been declared non-citizens at one time but proved their citizenship subsequently.
The House passed the estimates for the Ministry of Home Affairs for the 2012/13 fiscal year.