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Historically the role of maintenance of law and order in the then Tanganyika (Tanzania Mainland) was the task of the Army throughout the period of Germany Colonial rule (1884 – 1919). In the year 1916 German Colony initiated the first Western Modern Policing System in the country by bringing a contingent of 31 officers, Non Commissioned Officers and troopers of the South African Mounted Riffles for civil Police duties.


In 1919 during the British occupation the German System was replaced by a properly Constituted Police Force –Established under proclamation Order No. 3 of 1919 Published in official Gazette Vol. I Number 121 of 1919 of Tanganyika Ordinance and subsidiary legislation. The Force was known as Tanganyika Police Force and Prison.


The nucleus of the Ministry of Home Affairs was the Police and Prisons organs which came into being when the British Colonial rulers replaced the Germans. The two entities ran as combined services for maintenance of law and order until 1931 when they were formally separated to form two different departments.


It was in 1924 during the British era, when various pieces of legislations were enacted to regulate matters pertaining to Immigration. The first Immigration legislation was known as Immigration Ordinance (Cap. 37) of 1924. This Ordinance was replaced by (The Emergency Laws Transitional Provisions) Ordinance of 1946.

The Emergency Laws Transitional Provisions Ordinance 1946 was repealed and replaced by the Immigration Control Ordinance, 1948. This law had some changes inter-alia, the exclusion of the Somali from African race. In all legislations and their subsequent amendments, powers to appoint the head of the department were vested in the Governor, who was the head of the Tanganyika Territory, representing the British Monarchy. The Immigration Control Ordinance of 1948 was later replaced by the Immigration ordinance 1958, the same being replaced by the Immigration (Exemption and Amendment) and Alien’s Ordinance 1961. Citizenship matters were governed by the British Nationality Act 1948, which regulated Citizenship in British colonies.



During independence in 1961, the Immigration Services were introduced alongside those of the Police and Prisons which formed the nucleus of the post independents Ministry’s initial functions. Other departments were established later which included Refugees, Fire and Rescue Services and Inter-Ministerial Anti-Drug Commission that has now been transferred to the Prime Minister’s Office.



After the attainment of independence, Tanganyika adopted the existing British laws and regulations. Immigration services were determined by the Immigration Ordinance 1961. In 1963, the Parliament of Tanganyika enacted the Immigration Act No. 41 of 1963. This was made to regulate immigration matters within an independent Tanganyika and remained in force until its repeal and replacement by the 1972 legislation. Citizenship issues were regulated under the Citizenship Act No.3 1961. Unlike the mainland, Zanzibar used The Zanzibar Nationality Decree of 1952. These laws were amended in 1964 to accommodate citizenship issues in the newly born United Republic of Tanzania.



The history of Police in Zanzibar goes as far back as 1885 when the Island of Zanzibar was under the British Protectorate through the Sultan of Zanzibar Said Barghash. In 1873 Governor Kirk who represented the British Government persuaded the Sultan of Zanzibar to establish some sort of a force with duties of border patrol to prevent and control the outlawed slave trade practices in Zanzibar. In 1877 the British appointed Navy Commander Lt Lloyd who trained and formed a force with duties and tasks which included coast guard and patrols on the outlawed slave trade practice in and around Zanzibar Island.


In 1891 General Lloyd was appointed first Minister in charge of Administration in Barghash’s Government and he managed to influence Barghash to establish Port Police with duties and function of maintaining security along the port.


After establishment of districts courts in Zanzibar under ‘Kadhi’ and ‘Walii’ Police also participated in helping administration of justice in terms of security in courts.

In 1906 Police and Army officers went on strike due to low pay and poor working conditions. The strike caused Sultan Barghash to disband the force and established another one with young officers trained on use of arms. The newly formed force in 1907 included the residents of neighbouring Tanganyika and Malawi and saved also as reserve force in time of war.


In 1920 Police Force and Prison Service regulation came into operation and in 1922 Police Force Decree in Zanzibar came into force. In January 1964 through the Zanzibar Revolution, the Sultanate was overthrown and the first African Commissioner of the Police Force in Zanzibar was appointed.



Political changes which brought the union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar (26/04/1964) made Police one of the union matters pursuant to article 85 of the interim Constitution of Tanzania (Act no 43 of 1965) where the rank of an Inspector General of Police was created, and Police Zanzibar was headed by a Commissioner of Police. Since 1964 todate the Police Force had been led by Inspector General of Police being under the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Issues of citizenship were partly unified by amending Citizenship Act No. 3 1961, and passing the Zanzibar Decree No. 5 of 1964, Immigration matters continued to be regulated by two laws Emigration Control Decree of Zanzibar 1964 and Immigration Act 1963, which was repealed by the Tanzania Immigration Act 1972. In spite of the union, Immigration and Citizenship laws were not harmonized until 1995, with the coming into force of the Immigration Act No. 7 of 1995 and the Tanzania Citizenship No. 6 of 1995 and their subsequent Regulations. .



Following the General Election held on Dec.14th 2005 the fourth phase Government established the Ministry of Public Safety and Security in which the Police Force was the major department. This Ministry emerged from Ministry of Home Affairs after the fourth President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Honourable Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete decided to split the Ministry of Home Affairs into two Ministries. However, the two Ministries were again merged in February, 2008 to form the new Ministry of Home Affairs.


Currently, the Ministry of Home Affairs is comprised of five line departments of Police Force, Prisons Service, Fire and Rescue Services, Immigration and Refugees, five supportive divisions of Administration and Human Resources Management, Policy and Planning, Probation and Community Services Complaints Handling and Legal Services, one Authority -National Identification (NIDA) and five units of Finance and Accounts, Internal Audit, Procurement Management, Information Education and Communication and Management Information System.



The issue of fire fighting and life saving has existed in Tanzanian society since the traditional era. When a disaster occurred within the society an alarm alerted the people and they gathered together and gave each other responsibilities on how to deal with disaster until it was solved, using the fire fighting methodology such as fire beating. Traditional methods of fire fighting and life saving are still applicable in most rural areas of Tanzania, but they lack adequate backing from research and development activities for their improvement.


Today’s fire fighting and rescue services worldwide are different from the traditional methods in the sense that they have a set policy to guide their work and relation with other institutions, use of fire fighting trucks, medicines, chemicals and other equipment, have special training on how to prevent and protect society from fire and other calamities to save lives and property.


History shows that scientific fire fighting and life saving in Tanzania began in Zanzibar in early 1930 and on the mainland it was after the World War II in 1945 that a regularised fire fighting system was put in place. In both places, the activities of this body were placed under the Police Force.



Having recognized the importance of fire fighting and life saving activities, the Government resolved to continue to have a department for this service after independence. One of the developments that took place immediately after independence was the placement of the Fire Fighting and Rescue Unit at Airports under the Ministry of Works, Communication and Transport in 1961. However, the activities of fire fighting and rescue servicers continued to work without being governed by a specific law until the Government conducted a study and recognized the various shortfalls in 1970’s. The following were the outcome of the study:-

i) There was no main governing body that supervised the activities of Fire and Rescue Services in the country. This meant that it was unclear to whom the department was answerable to and no one was directly responsible to fight for the cause of the firemen and women i the country as a whole.


ii) Fire fighting services at Airports that was being run by the Ministry of Works, Communication and Transport was not up to standard in terms of equipment and workers welfare was uncertain.


iii) Ministry of Works, Communication and Transport did not have clear strategic plans for the development of fire fighting services at airports.


iv) Discipline among fire fighters was not up to standard as their working principles were civilian based as opposed to those guiding uniformed officers.



After these findings, in 1982, the business of fire fighting and rescue was transferred to the Ministry of Home Affairs with the following responsibilities:-

i) To formulate policies, supervise, investigate and monitor all fire and rescue service activities of all Fire Brigades in the country.


ii) To carry out research and training in all fire fighting and related fields and ensure the coordination of the international aspects of such research and training including international standards/practices and recommendations.


iii) To facilitate and strengthen the capacity of the Fire Fighting and Rescue Stations.


Other groups continued to work under other authorities such as the Harbour, Local Government, Airport, Parastatal and Private Institutions. However, Act No. 3 of 1985 had in 2003 been repealed in the process of Government Reforms and has been replaced by the Fire and Rescue Force Act No. 14 of 2007.


The President issued a notice on assignment of Ministerial responsibility (instrument) vide Government Notice No.494 published on 17/12/2010. This assignment of responsibilities and functions is a creation of the second Cabinet in the fourth Phase Government.

The Ministry of Home Affairs of the United Republic of Tanzania is one of the strategic ministries of the government whose core functions are to maintain Law and Order and protect life and property. The Ministry is serving a population of about 35 million people, according to 2002 population census, scattered on an area of about 945.087 square kilometres.