What Lugola has up his sleeves for tricky docket

Wednesday July 11 2018

Home Affairs minister, Mr Kangi Logola

Home Affairs minister, Mr Kangi Logola 

By Louis Kolumbia @TheCitizenTz news@thecitizen.co.tz

Dar es Salaam. He takes charge of a docket that many have come to describe as a political hot seat. Mr Kangi Logola replaces Dr Mwigulu Nchemba, who was sacked last week as Home Affairs minister. He becomes the third minister in a space of two and half years in President John Magufuli’s administration.

The President’s first choice – Charles Kitwanga – was kicked out after he was accused of drunkenness in Parliament. His successor – Dr Mwigulu – had an array of reasons laid out for him as he was shown the door. Dr Magufuli said he was not impressed by the performance of the ministry – citing inaction by the minister in dealing with unending road accidents and rampant corruption.

Granted, the new minister cannot have illusions about what needs to be done. The fact is, he has his duty well laid out for him. In show of readiness to take on the Herculean task, he hit the ground running – travelling upcountry to be at accident scenes a few days after he was sworn in at State House in Dar es Salaam.

Yet, the question remains. Will he be able to please the President? Posterity will judge.

But in an exclusive interview, our reporter, Louis Kolumbia, had a chat with an upbeat Mr Lugola, who talks about his mammoth task, priorities and strategies:

QN: How did you receive the news of your appointment?

ANS: I was in my constituency – Mwibara – in Mara Region, when the news broke. I was happy because promotion is evidence that the Head of State trusts your capabilities as an individual. But, the happiness has its limit because I am supposed to think about how best to execute my duties to meet the President’s expectations.

The Home Affairs ministry is considered tough. What are your plans?

The ministry is very sensitive because of its role in the maintenance of peace and security in the country. It has under it, the Police, the Prisons, Fire and Rescue, Immigration and the National Identification Authority (Nida). It is this ministry that is supposed to provide security to the President and the Presidency.

The ministry is also charged with ensuring that members of the public engage in income-generating activities in a peaceful and secure environment. We currently face the threat of Tanzanians destabilising that peace by uttering seditious statements, and creating panic by issuing falsified economic statistics all in a bid to conflict with government. There are others who are accusing the Police of abductions and killings. These people intend to create the impression that the government is doing nothing, for example, to find the missing people.

I will not allow this to continue.

You received a widespread public backlash last week after the statement you made on the mysterious disappearance of MCL reporter Azory Gwanda, Ben Saanane and Kakonko District Council chairman Simon Kangoye. How do you react to that?

There are people who are misleading the public that the missing people were kidnapped and killed. These are preposterous suggestions because the Police are still investigating the cases. Law enforcement agents cannot conclude that someone is dead without thorough the completion of the investigation progress. What if you pronounce someone dead, and two days later they resurface? There are cases of people who disappear without informing their families – and look for work in mines. In my previous role in the Vice President’s Office (Environment and Union Affairs), I met a person whose family thought he was dead, but he was working on a mine. There are many men abandoning their families.

My ministry is still investigating the cases involving Gwanda (Azory), Saanane and Kangoye. Members of the public should be patient.

What do you say about the so-called ‘unknown people’?

There are conspiracies linking the security organs with these people who are branded “unknown people”, who have allegedly been engaging in various criminal activities across the country. But it stems from the fact that members of the public are not aware of the culprits perpetuating crime. However, linking the security organs with the so-called “unknown people” is an act of sedition. That should immediately end. Police officers are ordered to arrest anyone linking security organs with criminals (unknown people).

These accusations are aimed at creating conflict between members of the public and the government. That will not happen under my leadership. We cannot allow people to go to the extent of branding their government a government of killers.

Therefore, those who spread these lies will be hunted down and arrested everywhere, including bars. And the cybercrime department should do the same for social media.

How many cases of sedition has the government won history?

This is a statistical question that requires thorough preparation, but regardless of the number of cases won by the government, suspected criminals are arrested for questioning.

What do you have to say about allegations that there are rogue elements within the Police who cook up cases against innocent citizens, and drag their feet when it comes to investigations?

It is true. There are a few police officers who are implicated. I have directed the ministry’s Permanent Secretary to prepare a document for the Police Force to report daily incidents. The will enable the headquarters to know, timely, what is happening especially at police stations on the outskirts. This will help us to take appropriate measures on time.

However, members of the public should also learn to lodge their complaints with the complaints desks available at all police stations across the country. In addition, they should follow procedure by reporting to the Officer-In-Charge of the station, Officer Commanding Districts (OCDs), Regional Police Commanders (RPCs) and Inspector General of Police (IGP) – in that order – if no measures are being taken.

Then regarding delayed investigations, many factors should be taken into consideration. In some cases, it could be the need to travel abroad that delays the process. More so, investigations may require the involvement of other government institutions, such as the Office of the Chief Government Chemist.

However, that is not to say we don’t have cases of police officers deliberately delaying investigations. We are hoping that the document that is being prepared will provide the lasting solution to these problems. For you own information, in this new plan, all departments will be required to have top officers at the headquarters to link the ministry with the grassroots level.

You disbanded the National Roads Safety Council soon after assuming office, as a measure against inaction against the unending road accidents. But, what exactly should be done to permanently address the problem?

The council had failed to fulfil its responsibilities. In any case, its term in office had expired after serving for 10 year, instead of three years. We want the council reformed.

Vehicle inspections will be strengthened through increasing the number of stations and inspectors, as well as the participation of the private sector in the process. More so, the government is also going to launch a countrywide verification exercise of all vehicle inspectors. We will remove and deal with dubious characters from the list of inspectors.

Drivers will be tested for alcohol levels at every weighbridge. There will be logbooks where the names of the driver and traffic officers are recorded – and this will be verified at the end of their journey.

We will also take stern measures against traffic officers trying to protect drivers with bad speed records.

In addition, I have since asked the Permanent Secretary to take stern measures against District Traffic Officers (DTOs) or Regional Traffic Officers (RTOs) from the top 10 accident-prone regions.

These areas include Ilala, Kinondoni, Temeke, Ruvuma, Shinyanga, Dodoma, Manyara, Dodoma, Tabora and Tarime-Rorya. Some of the measures are demotion, salary deductions, public parading and where necessary termination of employment.

Do you stand by your decision to order the Prisons Commissioner General, Mr Juma Malewa, out of a meeting room after he came in late? There are some people who feel that wasn’t proper.

Official in departments that are under the Home Affairs ministry need to have the highest degree of discipline. Members of the public shouldn’t look at the position of the person who was kicked out of the meeting; rather, they should consider the importance of discipline.

I cannot, for example, arrive late for a meeting with the President. Therefore, it was the right decision. Otherwise, I wouldn’t deserve to be the Home Affairs minister. My role is to safeguard the status and reputation of the Home Affairs minister.

What are your top five priorities?

My first one is implementing the directives given by President John Magufuli during my swearing in. I will also fight crime, instill discipline and professionalism among the security officers, and ensure peace maintained in the country.

Do you plan to contest for the presidency at some point?

President John Magufuli’s shoes are oversize to me. Therefore, I haven’t thought about it.

Why do you always walk with the CCM manifesto?

President Magufuli gave the document to me in 2015 during the General Election campaigns. I have been using it ever since, as a source of reference, as a reminder of what CCM has directed the Head of State to do. This enables me to properly assist him.

I would like to be buried with the CCM manifesto when I die. This is regardless of whether or not the current manifesto will be the one being used at that time. There is no any other political party with a similar manifesto.

Who is Kangi Lugola outside politics?

Kangi Lugola is a sportsman leading the Kangi Bomba Cup in his constituency.

The Cup pools soccer, netball and choir loving people together. He is a long-time and successful athlete, and footballer who registered an outstanding record in 1982, after finishing first in a 400-metre race. That impressed his coach – Clever Kamanya – who awarded me with a pair of shoes.

Kangi also played for the Nyundo Football Club, in Sengerema. But he is neither a fan of Simba nor Yanga – he kind of supports both teams.

Outside Tanzania, he is a fan of Barcelona and Argentina, which sadly suffered an early exit from the World Cup in Russia.

Who do you think will be crowned champions of the Fifa World Cup 2018?

Croatia will emerge champions. My prediction is that Belgium will defeat France, while Croatia beats England in the semifinals. The finals will pit Croatia against Belgium, and Croatia will surprise the world.

Interesting. And on Bongo Flava – are you for AliKiba or Diamond Platinumz?

None of the above. I am, instead, inspired by Asley and Baker. However, AliKiba is more disciplined than Diamond, who has been accused of arriving late for some shows.