Nahodha summons police Saturday, 15 January 2011 08:13 digg Minister for Home Affairs, Mr Shamsi Vuai Nahodha By The Citizen Reporters Dar es Salaam. The minister for Home Affairs, Mr Shamsi Vuai Nahodha, yesterday summoned senior police officials over the apparent escalation in the use of live bullets against the public, saying the government was concerned with the unfortunate development. The minister held a close-door meeting in Dar es Salaam with several Assistant Commissioners of Police (ACPs) led by Mr Paul Chagonja, who is in charge of training and operations. Mr Nahodha summoned the officers as public concerns mounted over excessive use of force by the police in disbanding protests that have claimed the lives of at least five people in the last two weeks. The meeting came hot in the heels of Thursday's police shooting in Mbarali District, Mbeya Region, killing one person and seriously injuring another, as memory was still fresh of the killing of four people in Arusha on January 5, during a demonstration by opposition party Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema). Yesterday, the minister told The Citizen in an interview shortly after the meeting that the government was concerned with the unfortunate development and he wanted to know what happened. "I am concerned with the use of live bullets that had caused deaths in Mbeya and Arusha. I have demanded to know why they did not use rubber bullets in stead of live ammunition against the innocent," Mr Nahodha said. He said there should be such ‘exchange of fire' whenever police is fighting a group of bandits, but not innocent civilians. The minister said he has ordered the police to buy the appropriate and enough rubber bullets if it was not in stock. "These killings will generate antagonism between the police and the public," he cautioned, adding that on his capacity, he would champion for dialogue to resolve emerging problems in the society for peace and harmony to prevail. Politicians and other commentators have also taken the police into task over their defense on use of bullets, while dismissing Mr Chagonja's stance that police would fairly investigating the Arusha chaos, in which they were heavily involved. In Mbeya, irated villagers at Ubaruku Ward, where the shooting occurred, yesterday demanded the removal of the Mbarali police chief, whom they accused of being behind the problems that led to protests. One person (name withheld) was shot at close range when he argued with a police officer, while the other victim, identified as Hassan Masila, was seriously wounded. Meanwhile, human rights activists, lawyers and academicians yesterday said the police could not run away from the truth over the Arusha skirmishes. They said it was a mockery for the police to claim that they will carry out an independent investigation into the incidence. (kesi ya nyani ukampe....) On Thursday, Mr Chagonja announced that police have launched investigations on possible criminal charges against Chadema leaders, who participated in planning and conducting the demonstrations. But Chadema secretary general Dr Willibrod Slaa proposed for a judicial commission instead, saying they will not recognise the said police probe team. "It is difficult to understand this situation. Police have nothing to do on this because they are accused of killing innocent people," said Dr Slaa. The executive director of Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (TGNP), Ms Usu Malya, said it was wrong for the police to investigate themselves. The same sentiments were echoed by Mr Silvanus Sylivatus, a High Court advocate, who said it was "an insult to the public" for the police to show no remorse. The University of Dodoma lecturer, Mr Paul Loisulie, said police were fruitlessly seeking to legalise a wrongful act and their action was a threat to peace and democracy. In Mbeya, the Mbarali district commissioner, Mr Cosmas Kayombo, and the Mbarali MP, Mr Dickson Kulufi, had a difficult time yesterday at a crisis meeting to calm tension that prevailed following the Thursday fracas. Angry residents said they wanted the closure of the paddy firm, Highland Estate, and arrest of the police officer, who opened fire on them before calm could be ascertained in the area. They claimed that senior government officials were protecting the investor while ignoring their needs. The MP said it was unfortunate that the police had failed to heed his calls not to block commercial vehicles collecting farmers' crop while allowing those of the other investors. He said the clash begun as villagers blocked a fuel tanker, questioning why vehicles with similar weigh capacity were prevented from entering the area on pretext that they could destroy infrastructure. The DC announced that the government will allow all vehicles to enter in the farms and he promised immediate investigation over the shooting. Reported by Mkinga Mkinga and Florence Mugarula, Dar, and Brandy Nelson, Mbeya.