Tuesday, 11 January 2011 22:26
By Rosemary Mirondo
The Citizen Correspondent
Dar es salaam. The minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr Bernard Membe, conceded yesterday that the Police in Arusha had acted against their code of conduct when they used excessive force to stop a demonstration by supporters of the Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema) in Arusha last Wednesday.
At least three people, including a Kenyan, were killed when police used live ammunition to disperse Chadema supporters who were protesting the election of a CCM candidate to the Arusha mayoral seat.
Mr Membe said this when briefing reporters after his meeting with members of the diplomatic corps.
“The Police Force was supposed to use reasonable force when dealing with civilians in order to ensure that it preserves peace and security,” he said in what he termed as personal views on the Arusha incident in which more than 40 people, including top Chadema leaders, were injured.
He said the Arusha incident has tarnished Tanzania’s image abroad and it would take some time for the government to clean the image.
“During the meeting with ambassadors, they had pressed me to give the government’s stand over the killings... I told them that the government statement would be issued within this week that it was dismayed by the killings,” he said.
He described the deaths as affecting the nation because those who were killed were Tanzanians. “I offer my condolences to the families which lost their loved ones. I also pray for quick recovery for those who have been injured,” he said.
He said the recent Arusha killings were among issues which were extensively debated when he met with the ambassadors at Karimjee Hall.
The diplomats suggested that the Police personnel should be trained on how to handle such incidents so as to avoid casualties in the future, advise which the government was going to work on, he said.
Other reports from the meeting said the envoys blamed the Police for using excessive force when dealing with unarmed demonstrators.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda has said there is a need for strengthening of joint committees between Tanzania and development partners to enable the administration of different activities touching on economic activities, education, culture and trade.
The Premier made the call yesterday in Dar es Salaam during his meeting with Mozambique ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Zacarias Amour Kupela, in his office.
In their meeting the two discussed a wide range of issues that included agriculture, fishery, livestock keeping as well as the growing incidents of piracy in the Indian Ocean.
Mr Kupela told the Premier about a Mozambican vessel that was hijacked by pirates in December 27, last year. Mr Kupela said the vessel which has since been seen in Somali waters contained 24 people, 19 of which were Mozambican, three were Indonesian and one from Spain.