“Part II deals with amendments proposed to various sections. The Act is proposed to be amended generally by removing all the provisions concerning the administration of the Minister responsible for intelligence and security and instead, placing that mandate under the President. The purpose of the amendment is to make the Act conform with the current structure of governance whereby the Security and Intelligence Service is under the direct superintendence of the President and not through the Minister responsible for intelligence and security. The proposed changes take into account the nature of operations of security services across the globe. Following the proposed change of portfolio that places the Intelligence and Security Service under the mandate of the President, the Act is further proposed to be amended in sections 11, 15, 18 and 19(3) by removing the controls of the Minister responsible for Foreign Affairs, the Chief Secretary and the Attorney General of various matters pertaining the administration of intelligence and security. The Act is proposed to be amended in section 4 with a view of conferring to the Service a defense and security status and to placing it under the general superintendence of the President. The amendments are aimed at complementing a duty which the Service currently executes as one of the defense and security organs in Tanzania” (Tanzania Intelligence and Security Service (Amendment), 09.05.2023).
We are living in interesting times, as the supposed reformer and Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu is following the footsteps of her predecessor. She is no difference than what late President Magufuli would have done. This amendment of the TISS ACT is following and copying the style of governance that the late President would have done in a heartbeat.
The Chama Cha Mapundzi (CCM) is continuing their path to consolidate and have all power within its reach. That’s what is happening here and it’s so obvious. This amendment and the articles in it will only benefit the President. The President and the CCM will only get less accountable and have more power. That’s all this is about and it’s not about positive or inclusive reform. No, that would be a lie.
The Tanzanian President would have the oversight and direct control of TISS before any Minister or Attorney General. Meaning the Ministry and the Attorney General will be side-lined and have less of a say. They are not included and not privy to the facts.
In addition, which is also a basis of worry is that the officers in TISS getting a broader scope of immunity. Meaning the officers that his now directly under the Presidency now got less concerned with the law or implications of their activities. That’s a way of securing a police state and ensuring the law enforcement to issue injustice on a large scale.
Seeing the TISS Amendment Bill of 2023 is depressing. The CCM and the President is securing itself with vast powers here. The intelligence agency will be bound by the President and not by the Ministry or the Judiciary through the Attorney General. Therefore, Director General Said Hassan Nassoro will only have to answer to the President and nobody else. That is giving him and the President lots of freedoms. While the officers of the TISS will also easily get off the hook.
People should get worried about this and this will be a dangerous statement from the CCM. The ones believing that the President would reform and for a better society is wrong. This is a way of the CCM and the President to takeover more, and have less oversight. It is a dream for a dictator and a tyrant. That the security and intelligence agency is directed under you and nobody else. It is a fact that this is what the ones hungry for power wants. Because the TISS is now only beholden to one person and there are no laws overlooking it. Meaning the words of the President is the bond and the orders of the day. Therefore, Tanzanian citizens should be worried and concerned about TISS. Peace.