Protests against police brutality in Nigeria – especially against the Special Anti-Robber Squad or Sars - have seen scores injured and lose lives. The protests highlight the rising concerns over mounting brutality by armed officers in Africa. Sars have been accused of several unjust arrests, discriminatory profiling, extortion and torture. In most cases, perpetrators get away without appropriate sanctions, dealing a blow to the relationship between law enforcement and the public.
African police forces need to be reoriented to protect and serve the citizenry. They should be freed from the colonial mentality that propped them up to maintain control over the local population, and the neocolonial mentality of regime protection and representation rather than serving the public.
It is ironic that uniformed officers should turn against a people who contribute towards their pay. A policing model that promotes trust and collaboration with the community is the way to go instead of acrimony.
On the other hand, as Tanzania goes to the ballot, Africa wishes the country well. May all parties demonstrate fairness and tolerance knowing that they have one Tanzania to nurture.