Kissing Tanzanian police officers fired after photograph goes viral

Three officers were fired for breaking the local force's code of conduct after the couple and photographer were held accountable

Three Tanzanian police officers have been fired after a photograph of two kissing went viral.

Asumba Mwasumbi and Veronic Mdeme were sacked on the grounds of gross misconduct in the course of duty, according to Tanzanian newspaper The Post.

A third officer, Fadhiri Linga, was also dismissed for photographing the amorous couple.

Regional commander of the police Henry Mwaibambe said to Habarileo the image went against the moral principles of the army.

The initial image went viral but after news circulated the couple – and photographer – had been fired, many Tanzanians unfavourably compared the heavy-handed response to the reaction of the security force of accusations of corruption.

Last year Tanzania’s police force was ranked the most corrupt in the east African community, according to the East Africa Bribery Index (EABI).

However, Masoud George, a lawyer at the Tanzania Legal and Human Rights Centre said from a legal point of view the decision was fair.

Speaking to the BBC, he claimed as severe as the punishment seems, the decision is unlikely to be illegal. "It is according to their code of conduct, so from a legal point of view we can't say their dismissal was unfair."

It also appears the photograph may have been taken back in 2012, but was only recently posted on social media.

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