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Corruption in tanzania......

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by shabanimzungu, Jul 16, 2009.

  1. s

    shabanimzungu Senior Member

    Jul 16, 2009
    Joined: Jul 7, 2009
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    Traffic incident gives insight into Corruption and harassment in Tanzania.​
    By: Dr. Mohammed.

    Last week I was driving through a small side street leading to Mafuta House in Dar es salaam’s central business district. Bad move. A typical Dar es Salaam street is dark at night and devoid of any street sign! And so the narrow lane was dimly lit with a tiny, hardly visible NO ENTRY sign fixed just recently I assumed!

    Fortunately I saw it but than I veered to the right to make a U turn which happened to be the pavement – and drove along it for less than 10 yards. As I was about to rejoin the road, two man stepped out on to the pavement. Braking sharply, I managed to stop just in time!

    One of them – a burly gun cladding specimen in khaki dress turned on me. “Do you know what you have done? He shouted.

    He then demanded I hand him the car keys to him and show him my papers. Fumbling slightly and frightened as well, I kindly begged him to leave me as I had accepted my mistake and that I was making a U turn anyway.
    When I refused, he jumped in my car and started making calls on his mobile. Of course I knew I was in the wrong; in fact I was only trying to follow the law by turning back after realizing my mistake; my brief abuse of the pavement would undoubtedly have hardly been a serious crime in my view.

    Unfortunately I had just managed to upset the policeman who was showing his authority, just than soon two burly men that make rounds on a motorbike in the city of Dar es salaam harassing motorists known as “TIGO” arrived with bullet proof vests and brandishing machine guns asked me to get down immediately with my little daughter who seemingly was frightened; these were the infamous anti robbery policeman whose specialty was hunting criminals on the run.

    “We have detained this “Muhindi” who was driving recklessly along a pavement. The policeman on the beat retorted. When I asked this guy to follow me to the police station,” said he, “he turned on his car, pushed me aside, insulted me and tried to drive off, at which stage I called you to come here and to interrogate him”
    “You know perfectly well that it didn’t happen. What’s the point of telling lies?” I asked in an up beat manner.

    In Tanzania members of the police, the judiciary and the security services are, in most cases, considered to be above the law. It appears they can do no wrong and are accountable only to their superiors. A mere apology would not suffice; I was in for a show of power.
    All my polite efforts to plead innocence and also at the same time guilty proved ineffective and as time went by the situation was getting more frightening.
    Minutes later the two policemen got into my car and asked me to follow “tigo’ on their motorbike to the local station for ID checks.

    As I was taken driving on the road the policeman asked me how much money I had on me.
    Frighteningly I told them “siyo nyingi” (not much).
    We reached a very dark area near the IFM just behind the BOT Twin Towers and abruptly the motorbike stopped when the “tigo “ got out and started to frisk me.

    I have heard and witnessed such stories many times that police officers systematically fabricate evidence and use force, torture and blackmail to extort false confessions.
    Now for the first time I was seeing the processes unfold before my eyes. What struck me most was the ease and indifference with which the two policemen twisted a minor traffic violation into a case in which a police officer was now the victim. This was no sudden moment of creative inspiration; rather a talent fine-tuned from years of experience.

    At this moment the “tigos” started to harass me and started mocking verbal abuse by making fun of Asian community calling in derogatory terms.
    I listened to all this submissively and smiled at them, while kindly telling in my fine Kiswahili that we are all humans after all and begged them to allow me to go but in vain.

    “The point is that you’ve been living here for a long time – you know the system,” he told me. “That’s how it works. We are not bad people, but there’s nothing we can do about it.”

    “This is what the superior want” he replied “we need money; whatever you have on you give us and we shall leave you to go. I seemed puzzled by the “tigo’s” overreaction, but orders were orders! The superiors were mere means in a repressive and corrupt system.
    He said he needed money to support himself. Like most of his colleagues, he made up the difference by abusing his power knowingly.

    The only option for me was to ask them to take me to the Central Police station and sort it out there -but that it will not bear any fruit –everyone knows that here in Tanzania.

    Four hours into my “detention” the tormentors finally told me the inevitable.
    If we decide to get there my case would be studied by an officer at Central police station and decide whether to recommend pressing charges. At which stage I’ll have little choice but part with more money or start trying to pull strings – the only way to solve such problem was to empty my pockets and step aside.

    My offence was no grave in my opinion but it had now involved four officers. I knew very well that my statement would not be valid I had to accept the inevitable.

    In a rush the stocky policeman also started to check my pockets and within minutes I was literally man handled like a criminal - this is no Baghdad I kept on murmuring - By this time I had a small sense of how helpless people can feel once they are caught up in this dreadful situation.

    By this time it was nearly 3 hours that we have been fretting over a minor incident! My daughter was in a shock! My mobile phone was ringing in incessantly, though they would not allow me to talk.
    It was a nightmare in itself!

    Four hours after my encounter, I was finally released bruised and shocked minus the mobile phone and 240,000/= that I had in my pocket with a warning to drive straight home or else!
    I was literally robbed at gun point of my hard earned money that was my monthly salary to feed me and my family. Ironically robbed by the people who are there to protect me!

    In my own case, my best bet would have been to pull strings and appeal to someone powerful enough to call the policeman and dress them down. I would have been released at once – but such tactics are part of a subtle and dangerous game that can lead to greater conflicts and long-term moral debts that are best avoided.
    For those with the right connections almost everything is considerably easier to achieve in Tanzania.
    With neither money nor influential links you do not have any rights.

    After this repugnant incident that happened to me I assume I may be over reacting to this incident as being racially motivated but it showed all the signs that of acceptance in me.
    Asian are vulnerable to such harassments day in day out form law enforcers anyway I felt at that time even though many like me have made this our home and are kinder to my fellow African Tanzanians and moreover want to live peacefully.

    But why? I ask myself every time. How safe am I and my property, considering all that have happened to me, to date? The cops, as far as I'm concerned, can't seem to be bothered. It is so futile, in this country, to fight for justice, where there's very little of transparency, ethics and rule of law. And where money plays the most important part rather than integrity and doing one's duty.

    Indeed I just see everyday the same two policemen-one a hugely built and the other the size of Mr Bean- who harassed me on their regular beat near Jamhuri Street on that fateful night and can only assume that they are waiting for another bait to come by every time and make someone poorer.

    Sure, in the last year or so corruption is much in the news. But corruption is too endemic to vanish in one generation, and Tanzanian justice will continue to be a highly selective process for many years to come and has no chance of succeeding.

    Not withstanding the effect this incident has on me till today as I am really wounded psychologically and have no option but to take it in its own stride.
    The simple lesson of course for me is to highlight this incident and more so being on a look out for unexpected signs & scary Cops in Dar es Salaam at night time and avoid the cops on Jamhuri street if I can !

    By narrating this incident I just have one wish that those in the higher echelons of authority by reading this incident will act in the interest of this nation by promptly penalizing these two policeman.


    Dr Ali Mohammed
    P.O.Box 3843
    Dar es salaam.
  2. Dingswayo

    Dingswayo JF-Expert Member

    Jul 16, 2009
    Joined: May 26, 2009
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    Pole sana. People are getting fed up with this. Just read the following posting:

    Kituo cha Polisi Chachomwa Kyela Nsaji Mpoki [​IMG] Today, 04:31 PM
    Taarifa nilizopata kutoka Kyela zinaeleza kuwa vurugu kubwa zimetokea jana na kusababisha kifo cha mtu mmoja aliyepigwa risasi na POLISI. Hasara kubwa kwa mali za Umma na Watu binafsi ikiwemo mahakama ya mwanzo na kituo cha POLISI kimechomwa moto na kuteketea.Taarifa kamili ya chanzo cha vurugu hizo nitawaletea baadaye.