The Citizen -By Bernard James Sunday, 30 September 2012 Dar es Salaam With nine months left on his contract of service the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Saidi Mwema has supposedly turned down an offer that would have seen him stay on as the chief of police until 2015. The 59 year old is expected to officially retire in July next year when he turns sixty. He has been at the helm of the Tanzania Police Force (TPF) since March 2006. A confidential source told The Citizen on Sunday that Mr Mwema has said no to a contract extension that would have seen him stay on as the IGP until President Jakaya Kikwete's second and final term in office comes to an end, in 2015. Our source revealed that extramural efforts were made to persuade the police boss to stay on as TPF head honcho. Mr Mwema is said to have rebuffed any attempts to keep him at the helm of the law enforcement agency, which has come under fire over a recent spate of civilian killings during political demonstrations. The police chief will neither deny nor confirm these reports. When this reporter asked him for comment Mr Mwema said he has no plans to discuss his personal affairs. "This issue is private, it is personal" he said. "I absolutely have no plans to discuss my retirement (today). I will only do that when the time is right." Asked whether he really said he would not work on contract anymore the IGP stuck to his script, only adding that he has worked tirelessly to instil a sense of professionalism in the police force. "It (the question) does not change what I told you earlier," he said, adding "Whether I continue to serve or not – that is my private business and should be treated as such," said the Inspector General. When reached for comment State House said it was not aware of any of these developments, and officials reiterated that such details will only be known in due course. "I don't have any information about his (Mwema's) retirement plans or whether he is or is not extending his service contract," said the Chief Secretary Ambassador Ombeni Sefue on the phone from New York. "If he retires in July next year (then) he still has months to serve. These things will definitely become known," he said. The soft spoken IGP whose appointment was received with much public applaud is credited for steering the police force through a tumultuous period when public confidence was at an all-time low and when pressure for closer scrutiny of police activity was mounting. President Kikwete offered him the top police job following the 2006 retirement of long-serving administrator Omar Mahita amid growing public frustration over police inefficiencies at a time when violent crime was on the rise in Tanzania. Mwema, who before his appointment worked as the head of Interpol's Sub-Regional Bureau (SRB) in Nairobi, promised to overhaul police services and to work on regaining public trust in the face of increasing lawlessness. He pioneered concepts such as community policing and brought the force to new heights in professionalism and as a model for modern law enforcement. However, his critics say in recent months the IGP has been losing his grip on the boys in uniform and that his plans to turn the police force around have fallen apart due to what they call "political interference." Said an analyst who requested anonymity: "He is the most professional IGP we have ever had (and) he would have done greater reforms had the politicians above him allowed him to do so." The recent wave of civilian deaths at the hands of police officials have cast a particularly dark cloud over Mr Mwema's tenure. The brutal killing of Iringa TV journalist Mr Daudi Mwangosi has particularly tarnished the image of the police services. "The force is rotten. Even if (Mr Mwema) had the urge to continue serving the people circumstances would have forced him to turn down the (job) offer," said our anonymous analyst. Firebrand politician and the MP for Vunjo (TLP) Mr Augustine Mrema told this reporter he believes Mr Mwema's supposed decision to turn down the job offer is the right career move for him. "The sooner Mwema retires, the better it is for his credibility. He will be remembered as the IGP that did a world of good," said the Vunjo representative. He was, however, quick to point out that Mr Mwema's tenure was marred by "the worst violations of human rights and the worst incidences of civilian killings." Mr Mrema, who served as the minister of Home Affairs during Ali Hassan Mwinyi's tenancy in the presidency advises the IGP to cut his losses and move on. "I would advise him to not take (Ikulu's) job offer, those who want him to continue serving under these circumstances do not wish him well," he said, adding that politicians have and will always find a way to outmanoeuvre the police boss when they want to use the force to crack down on civilians. The Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) estimates that around 209 people have been murdered by the police between 2005 and early this month. A United Nations report from October last year ranks Tanzania number 10 in a list of countries with the worst incidences of police killings across the world.