9 January 2013

Tanzania: Kagera Police Lynching Totally Unacceptable

THE decision by the so-called angry mob in Karagwe District to lynch police officers on suspicion that they were involved in illegal dealings is not only shocking but totally unacceptable. The two officers allegedly dealt in elephant tusks.

Two wrongs never make a right. Had wisdom prevailed, the 'angry' mob would have made a citizens' arrest and allowed justice to take its course. Nobody, repeat, nobody, has the right to take the law in own hands.There are several disturbing issues that came to light following the incident. The fact that this is the second time that it is happening to policemen in less than a month is cause for concern.

It only goes to show that the public is losing faith, respect and confidence in the law-enforcing machinery, the police force to be precise. Whatever the case, it does not augur well for such a law-abiding society like ours. The need for the public to show restraint and respect for the country's laws can never be overemphasized. Even when and where one is suspected of doing anything wrong, the public must make the right moral choices and show civility.

It's a matter of time before the truth is established. In the meantime, however, officers of the law are not supposed to even be thought of as capable of breaking the law, let alone doing illegal business. These are gross allegations that must be thoroughly investigated.The incident also came in the wake of reports that two police officers have been arrested in Serengeti for dealing in elephant tusks. They too were from Kagera Region. It might have been a coincidence and that the two incidents are not inter-connected.

In any case, however, it should serve as a red alert.There have also been allegations that police officers made away with millions of shillings after foiling a robbery attempt recently in Dar es Salaam. Accusations of illegal dealings amount to abuse of authority and a sign of lack of integrity. It defeats the purpose to have some dishonest officers among the force's ranks.

The police force needs to get to the bottom of the matter and restore its good public image and faith. The top ranks should start worrying and move fast to keep their house in good order.

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