The government of Tanzania has reminded Regional Commissioners (RCs) and District Commissioners (DCs) to exercise diligence in executing certain powers conferred on them by the Union Constitution and the Regional Administration Act.
Under Section 15 (2) of the Regional Administration Act 1997, RCs and DCs have the authority to order the putting in custody of people for up to a period of 48 hours without a charge if deemed likely to “disturb the public tranquility.”
By jailing people therefore, there are not going against the law but reports have it that the act has become a common occurrence among RCs and DCs during the past one year or so, sending poor signals to some Members of Parliament (MPs) and other ordinary citizens.
Speaking in Parliament earlier today, Ms Cecilia Paresso (Chadema - Special Seats), asked the government to amend the law that gives RCs and DCs powers of ordering the arrest of certain individuals.
“The law is being misused by some DCs and RCs who can arrest people with no serious charges…This law has become a problem and must be amended,” she said.
Responding to the call however, the Minister of State in the President's Office (Regional Administration and Local Government Authorities), Mr George Simbachawene said called upon all RCs and DCs to use their powers properly and avoid becoming a problem to citizens.
“They are not required to violate these powers because by doing so, they will be interrupting other people’s rights,” he said.
He said the law requires RCs and DCs to only order the arrest of people or a person who is likely or has already committed a criminal offence or causing violence in a certain area. He said there must be legal grounds to compel the RC or the DC to order the arrest of a person