Saturday, 18 May 2013

TANZANIA: Security beefed-up after scare in parliament

Posted  Friday, May 17  2013 at  21:19
Dodoma. The government moved to beef-up security around Parliament yesterday after a security scare on Thursday.
Leading Thursday’s session, Parliamentary Chairman Mussa Azzan Zungu said a raft of security measures had been put in place after terrorist threats to ensure that the legislative arm of government does not fall victim to any attacks.
Members of Parliament are now required to park their vehicles on Parliament grounds and away from the fence along the Dar es Salaam-Dodoma Road.
A notice from Mr Zungu said those who did not want to bring their vehicles into the compound should park them on the other side of the road, which is about 30 metres away from the wall.
Home Affairs Minister Emmanuel Nchimbi told journalists that the government has beefed up security within Parliament and the vicinity and assured the public that the legislative arm of government faces no danger. “My squad is doing its work in a professional manner,” he said. “They are ready to contain any threat.”
According to Dr Nchimbi, the ministry will beef up security in and around parliament in ways never seen before.
True to his word, getting into Parliament and its environs became pretty much like running an obstacle race--with computerised screening at all four main entries to Parliament. Large and fully-backed bags were opened and checked physically.
Photographers’ bags, women handbags and other baggage were screened and later opened for more inspection.And cecurity personnel, accompanied by security dogs, patrolled Parliament grounds and the neighbourhood starting Thursday evening.
MPs, government officials and other wananchi took the security alert seriously and parked their vehicles in the new places they were directed to by the authorities. As of yesterday morning, all parking zones formerly used by MPs and visitors bore no-parking notices.
“The government should swiftly come in to contain the security scare because a collapse of parliament will terrorise the entire government,” said Mr James Mbatia of NCCR-Mageuzi, “including the other two arms (the executive and the judiciary).”
He called upon the government to investigate scare messages that are reportedly circulating through mobile phones.
The security alert comes 11 days after a Catholic church was bombed in Arusha. Three people were killed and more than 60 others were injured.

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