According to the old adage, do note bite the hand that feeds you! When I mention Inspector General of Police (IGP) Saidi Mwema, I want to talk about the security of civilians and their property in the country.
I recall the time, when criminal incidents like killings, thefts and armed robbery were rampant in different parts of the country including Tarime District in Mara Region. It looked as if crime had been accepted and legalised.
When Jakaya Kikwete became President of the United Republic of Tanzania after the General Election in 2005, he faced a big security challenge especially during his early days at the State House. At that time there was inadequate security for civilians and their property because of increased criminal incidents.
I can say the president has done a lot for our nation and in areas which still need improvement it is because he is not an angel. Definitely, Kikwete made the right decision to appoint Said Mwema as IGP.
Mwema has shown considerable skills in dealing with crime and criminals in the country. Some of us are still asking many questions, which I am sure will not get satisfactory answers since you President Kikwete has not talked about it. But one question I may ask is, how did you spot Mwema?
I agree that where there is a weakness or mistake let us point it out and where we see something good happening let us acknowledge it too. What I don’t understand is that some people speak disparagingly of and poking fun at the president.
Is it true that, the president has never done anything good even to ensure the nation peaceful and stable? Does it mean that they don’t see this?
I am sure either because of ignorance or personal reasons some people don’t like to acknowledge it! But it is a fact that the security situation was very bad before Kikwete appointed IGP Mwema to lead the Police Force in Tanzania. We should remember that at the time driving a car alone was risky.
It needed at least two or more people so that if one goes to a shop to buy something, the others should remain guarding the car.
We have come from that situation and now people enjoy the fruits of security because crime has been contained to a great extent.
All this is because of the good leadership of IGP Mwema and one can leave one’s car without any problem unlike it was in the past. In my opinion, to fail to see good things and concentrate only on weaknesses or mistakes is being unfair and we have to fight against this stereotype. At least we shouldn’t fail to encourage the police to protect civilians and their property.
If we can point out weaknesses or mistakes we should also acknowledge achievements, which have been made so far. It is possible that in the area of security not everything is disclosed as some politicians or activists are doing. But is it true that we are unable to acknowledge all positive reforms in the Police Force including community policing?
Of course, some undisciplined police officers are tainting the Police Force’s image but we cannot say all police officers are like that. If we do this, it means we are not fair to ourselves and to the Police Force.
Who doesn’t know how risk it is for the police to escort a bank vehicle carrying millions of shillings, where they can be attacked and killed or when they are on guard or patrolling?
The president did appoint the right IGP to manage the Police Force and have the peace and security we have today although some people do not appreciate this. They are probably happy to hear or see the police going on strike for lack of appreciation and moral support while they sacrifice their lives for the good of the nation and its people.
The habit of just blaming without appreciating the good things done by the police demoralises them and this is not good at all for the peace of our still struggling nation.
There are many good things happening but because of either personal hatred or political reasons or seeking public sympathy, some people are blaming the police even where they should not. Others go further by inciting members of the public to go on strike and stage demonstrations for no good reasons.
We have indeed a friendly police force to the extent that the police and civilians dialogue and discuss various issues without fear. The police nowadays spend their precious time sensitising civilians on their rights and responsibilities through radio and TV programmes, books and brochures.
IGP Mwema is accepted by people from different walks of life and belief systems. This is a blessing for Tanzanians. I say it is blessing because security is the mainstay of development because it makes people live and work with a peaceful mind and certainty.
Therefore, when a bad thing happens, it should not be taken to judge the whole Police Force. Constructive criticisms help the Police Force instead of vicious slander. The latter is demoralising the police.
While opening the annual general meeting of senior police officers at the Police College in Kilimanjaro Region on March 6, this year, President Kikwete said, “I would like to take this opportunity to thank you IGP Mwema, senior officers, inspectors of police and all police officers for the good job you are doing to protect civilians and their property. I congratulate you for working diligently and unswerving loyalty in your work.”
President Kikwete added: “The results of your efforts are seen. We are all witnesses of notable achievements. Let anyone, who has eyes see! Armed robbery incidents are less than they used to be in the past.”
President Kikwete’s statement to the senior police officers is relevant to the present reality. It is true people have eyes but because they don’t want to see, what should we do so that they know the importance of having the police and stop inciting them to mutiny?
Speaking on criminal incidence in the country, Kikwete said: “According to last year’s statistics, criminal offences dropped from 94,390 in 2010 to 76,052 in 2011. This trend is encouraging but you must recognise that you and we still have to make a determined effort to fight against crime in the country,” he said.
On IGP Mwema, he said: “I am indebted to express my joy and heartfelt gratitude to you IGP, commissioners at the police headquarters and commanders at various levels for the achievements from the human resources you have. This shows your leadership capability in collaboration with other Police Force leaders at various levels.”
He noted that he congratulated him especially for initiating community policing, “which is a good example of creativity in using the human resources we have. Please, strengthen and improve this good cause.”
“In every step you are making, we in the government and nation at large will be with you to encourage and support you in your duties.” I believe Kikwete’s statement has come at the right time to respond to his critics.
Those who want to create chaos and incite people so that they can say “the government has failed to provide security to civilians and their property”. President Kikwete you have said it and let those, who have ears hear and those, who have eyes see!