Dr Slaa attacks Makamba By The Citizen Team An opposition politician yesterday accused Chama Cha Mapinduzi Secretary-General Yusuf Makamba of attempting to shield corrupt leaders. Dr Willibrod Slaa, the deputy leader of opposition in Parliament, was reacting to recent remarks by Mr Makamba, which, he said, could only have aimed at protecting corrupt top CCM politicians. But speaking to The Citizen by telephone last evening, Mr Makamba denied having asked the people to stop discussing corruption. What I said is that CCM should not be smeared in the corruption campaigns because the party cannot take the cross on behalf of some people, said Mr Makamba. I will continue to insist that individuals must be judged for their own actions. If you are a Christian and you sinned, would the church or cardinal be blamed for that? he asked. On Wednesday, Mr Makamba was quoted as having urged the public to shun the raging national corruption debate and concentrate "on development matters that are beneficial to the country". Speaking in Morogoro, Mr Makamba defended CCM against criticism over corruption, arguing that individual members of the party be held accountable for their actions and failures. The top party leader then accused the opposition of using corruption to besmirch CCM. But yesterday, Dr Slaa, the Chadema MP for Karatu, accused Mr Makamba of being "on a mission to divert attention from serious involvement by government leaders in the mega corruption scandals, mostly within the Bank of Tanzania (BoT)". And entering the fray, a University of Dar es Salaam lecturer, Dr Azaveli Lwaitama, also alleged "deliberate efforts to divert the public's attention from core corruption issues that affect not individuals, but the society, in general". Dr Lwaitama said Mr Makamba's insistence that individuals be held accountable for corruption would go only as far if the same individuals do not turn benefactors to political parties after squandering state resources. We should be careful not to mix the two issues and lose focus. It's true that individuals should be held accountable for their sins, but it is totally different when the said individuals have helped themselves to State resources like in the BoT's EPA scandal and use the same to fund parties or elections. This stops being an individual case and becomes a thorny issue for society to debate, he said. Dr Lwaitama said that even in the case of Chadema chairman Freeman Mbowe, who is accused of not paying a longstanding debt owed to the NSSF, the matter is private but could internally be hurting his party's image. Early in the week, Mr Mbowe defended himself over the NSSF debt, saying it was a loan to his business, which had been cleared though there was a dispute over the interest charged. In a statement emailed to newsrooms yesterday, Dr Slaa accused Mr Makamba of trying to protect his party by urging the public to shun debate on corruption. Makamba, as a senior leader in the ruling party, is distorting the truth and misleading the public. We are not going to spare him for attempting to shield tainted leaders, said Dr Slaa. He accused CCM leaders of being behind the loss of billions of shillings through several suspect projects funded through BoT. He said such leaders could not be said to have acted individually as CCM had failed to take any action against them or state where the billions of shillings went. Mr Makamba said earlier in the week that the ruling party was concerned because its officials were being tormented in public for no good reason. Anyone in a CCM uniform is now called corrupt, that is what I will not entertain, said Mr Makamba. But in his statement, Dr Slaa told Mr Makamba "to be ready to be confronted over the vice". In the EPA scandal, BoT lost Sh133 billion in illegal payments to dubious companies. A Government team investigating the scandal says that up to Sh60 billion has since been returned by the beneficiaries. Another mega scandal through which the Government lost billions of shillings is the Richmond Development Company contract to generate emergency electricity during a severe national power shortage in 2006. A parliamentary select committee found out that the briefcase US firm awarded the $172 million contract had no capacity to do the job. Mr Edward Lowassa resigned as Prime Minister together with two Cabinet ministers, Mr Nazir Kramagi (Energy) and Dr Ibrahim Msabaha (EAC), after being implicated in the suspect deal. Their resignations saw President Jakaya Kikwete dissolve the Cabinet and name a new one, with Mr Mizengo Pinda becoming the new PM.