Thursday, September 27, 2007

Slaa's Bombshell

Firstly let me once agaoin apologize to all my readers for the long delay between posts. Hopefully from this point on the frequency of posts will become more regular.

Getting straight into the story, on the 15th September, 2007 the Group-of-Four opposition in Tanzania released a public report highlighting the most corrupt officials in the country. This list was intended to show how the misuse of public funds is the reason why millions of Tanzanians today still live in abject poverty.

Obviously, one can put into question the real motives behind these political heavyweights, especially former Catholic Priest, Dr. Wilbrod Slaa (Secretary-General of CHADEMA)however, what is more important and relevant is the reaction to these claims.

On this list was The President, Mr. JK himself, as well as prominent lawyer Nimrod Mkono, and other high-ranking public officials. These claims are supposedly corroborated by from reports of the Government Controller & Auditor-General, and the Business Registration & Licensing Agency.

For the first few days after these allegations were made there was complete silence, and then suddenly, rather then remedying this negative attention, the government and its cronies exacerbated the problem through public mud-slinging and political expressions of brawn.

Minister of Good Governance in the President's office Phillip Marmo said that there were some leaders that had amassed wealth through dubious methods and a "list of malefactors will be submitted to the President soon". Yes another ominous list. It seems like our current phase government is always making lists- we must have a lot of dirty laundry to air out.

Mkono's reaction to the accusations was less subtle, and he made a public press conference refuting the claims and ridiculing the opposition. A note to mention, for a high-ranking, influentual lawayer he didn't speak to confidently or eloquently. Nerves I presume?

So, that is the break-down of Slaa's bombshell, and its immediate repurcussions. I would love to hear your views on the matter and what you think about the state of graft in the country. Feel free to leave a list.


wayne said...

As to whether or not these accusations come to any point of resolution or not, I think it is good that there is open and free dialog among wananchi about all of this. Normally, these types of accusations have some basis in fact, although it needs to be recognized that sometimes statements like the one issued from the Group of 4 can be a not so subtle way of deflecting attention to someone else, or even just simple mud slinging. HOWEVER, I think most will recognize that Tanzania has been living with a pandemic of graft and corruption at ALL levels for a long, long time. Rais WBM promised over 10 years ago to tackle the issue, but most international organizations (such as Transparency International) that look at such issues are asserting that Tanzania has not only not really addressed the issue, but,in fact, the problem has gotten worse (or perhaps the amount of money stolen has gotten larger). Rais M was guilty of no more and no less than his predecessors and those to follow - lots of rhetoric and smoke & mirrors, but no real action.
If Rais JK wants to show that he is serious about dealing with corruption he should immediately remove the Anti-Corruption Bureau from under the presidents office and give it independence and autonomy to do its job. Failing this, perhaps Wabunge could do same through legislation. Leadership starts at the top and it starts with action, not more rhetoric & empty words.
Tanzania is in danger of going down the same road as Kenya and Uganda in terms of levels of entrenched corruption - a few more steps in the wrong direction will cause damage that will take a long, long time to repair - if it ever can be done. The press has a HUGE roll to play in this - a free, open and transparent press is the greatest friend of a democracy that seeks the greatest good for ALL people. We can only hope that the press in Tanzania is up to the task and is willing to stay the course for the long haul. I have my doubts.

Black Shepherd said...

the pervasiveness of corruption is on a far lower level than in the 'developed west'. they just haven't bothered hiding it. the sheer amount of money involved in US defense and oil contracts and the way they are acquired dwarfs African corruption. Corruption is not just an African issue, hell we have two organizations DEDICATED to corruption. points go to the first person to guess what they are...

Lapa said...

The Arithmethic table of the Time

hj said...

Don't know if you mean African based organizations, but I do know of Transparency International.

Lapa said...

Nice blog, this of yours.

Mine is abaut a Great portuguese writer: Cristóvão de Aguiar.

Black Shepherd said...

actually i was trying to be dramatic. i was talking about the IMF and the world bank.

pkb said...

well i guess the distribution of power (or lack thereof) is one of the factors leading to he lack of action towards these so-called corrupt politicians.

what do you expect jk to do when he gets a list of corrupt officials with his name(or member of his clique) on the list .

also, not too many people are bold enough to actually do something. somehow to make a stand you have to be in power (or have some sort of influence - unfortunately we have adopted the capitalistic model - no $$$ = no voice). in our social/political/business climate, i believe its almost impossible to have power (/influence) without close relations and dependence on these so called corrupt officials.

i do agree with black shepherd that corruption is in the west. corruption is an element in every countries political system (i believe). and this arises from the fact that - theres always strings attached. this by no means justifies corruption. also, comparing the west and us in this matter is somewhat premature - not to sound harsh - but the west has established a system that meets their people goals (yes we may go on all day about how democracy aint no democracy - but some achievements in the west are unquestionable).

the western politician doesn't exercise corruption by pocketing money intended to build 5 hospitals. instead he may exercise it by making sure his brothers engineering firm become the projects chief engineers. the job still gets done.

kifimbocheza said...

@black shepherd, sure, corruption exists everywhere, just like most things. But in the west, it is not a pervasive rot throughout society, which it is here in Tanzania, I'm very sad to say. Ask anyone you know with a driving licence in Tanzania if they passed the driving test. Corruption here kills every day.

I'd also argue that when it happens (usually at the level of grand/political corruption, not basic transactions) it is actually more hidden in the west than it is here. I can assure that the culture of 10 percent does not dominate transactions in Europe as it does in Tanzania, where it is completely open. Corruption is a norm in Tanzania. Which is not to say that all tanzanians are corrupt, just that it is a pervasive practice.