Dar es Salaam. Home Affairs minister George Simbachawene yesterday visited the Immigration Department’s headquarters and warned officials not to use citizenship criteria to victimise people.
During the visit, Mr Simbachawane said there have been some dishonest people who have been denying rights of some people using citizenship criteria.
The minister visited the offices at Kurasini in Temeke District and spoke with immigration department officials as part of his introduction after taking over from his embattled predecessor, Mr Kangi Lugola.
“Citizenship has been used by some dishonest people as a weapon to hurt others for personal gains, which in turn deny the victims some basic rights. I’m asking all those with such habits to change,” he said.
He added: “My colleagues have told me about what some officers do, but we must strive to stem the tide of this vice.”
Mr Simbachawane, who also served as the minister of State, Vice President’s Office (Union and Environment), warned immigration officials against mistreating people.
He further called on the immigration officers to take a closer look at the issue of occupational permits and at various levels demanding that they be released without bureaucratic procedures.
He also cautioned that the department’s operations were being carried out on the street by people who are not the department’s staff.
“Deal with those using the immigration department to earn money, but Tanzanians should also be careful about such people,” the minister said.
He called for the immigration department to address the settlers’ issue, saying it was traumatic for someone who had lived in the country from five to six generations to face challenges when they apply for citizenship. “Foreigners can easily get the Tanzanian citizenship. The issue is legal, but there is a lack of cooperation when processing decision-making information,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the Commissioner General of Immigration, Commissioner of Citizenship and Passport Gerald Kihinga said they will work on Mr Simbachawene’s instructions and pledged to act with integrity.
“He has told us about the issues he wants us to work on and we will surely implement them,” he said.