What you need to know:
- One might argue that the Police Force is overstretched and cannot possibly ensure security in every corner of the city at all times.
Dar es Salaam – which happens to be Tanzania’s largest city, commercial capital and the gateway to eastern, central and southern Africa – is in the grip of a worrying wave of violent crime.
For about three months now, residents of the sprawling metropolis of 6 million people have been living in fear as marauding gangs of armed thugs go on the rampage in residential areas virtually unhindered after nightfall.
The latest incident happened early on Wednesday when about 20 gangsters armed with machetes, clubs, screwdrivers and other crude weapons broke into a house in the city’s Kawe area. The thugs killed one person and seriously wounded several others as they robbed them of cash, smartphones and other valuables.
The incident came hot on the heels of similar occurrences in Tabata and Temeke, where a number of people were wounded after armed gangsters broke into their homes and robbed them.
The Kawe incident is particularly unsettling as it happened in the vicinity of one of Tanzania’s largest military barracks. The area also has a fully-fledged police station. In view of this, the inevitable question that comes to the fore is: is anyone safe in Dar es Salaam?
Dar es Salaam enjoyed some relative peace and quiet in recent years after runaway crime in the mid-2000s made it Tanzania’s veritable crime capital and one of East Africa’s most dangerous cities. This leads to another question: what has changed?
One might argue that the Police Force is overstretched and cannot possibly ensure security in every corner of the city at all times. However, this is the same police force whose members drive around the city in truckloads and raid bars to arrest people found drinking before official opening time and those selling them alcohol. It is just a matter of priorities.
The message that has apparently been sent to perpetrators of violent crime is that the safety and security of Dar es Salaam residents are currently not high on the list of priorities of those whose responsibility is to protect them and their property. This must change.
WHY HUNGER AMID PLENTY?
Self-sufficiency in food is still a huge challenge for many African countries over six decades after attaining independence. This has hampered the continent’s socioeconomic progress because resources that could have gone to cater for other pressing needs are spent on feeding the hungry.
The East African region continues to wallow in the quagmire, unable to exploit its vast potential. As a result, governments have to part with colossal sums of money to import food to keep starvation at bay.
Every now and then, these same countries rely on donors to mitigate the perennial food shortages, flying in emergency supplies, when the situation becomes critical. But, in the process, they perpetuate the ugly reputation of Africans as perennial beggars.
The paradox is that East Africa, like most of the continent, is endowed with fertile land, abundant water resources and a favourable climate that should enable the growing of enough crops to feed the region.