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EDITORIAL: The war against corruption in Tanzania losing steam fast?

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Siasa' started by BAK, Oct 9, 2008.

  1. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

    Oct 9, 2008
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    EDITORIAL: The war against corruption in Tanzania losing steam fast?


    THE corruption cankerworm tearing our country’s social fabric apart has reached such grave proportions that failure to put a stop to it is becoming more and more likely to ultimately cause irreparable damage to any hopes of real economic progress this country may have ever had.

    The situation is now so bad that if the current government continues to do nothing about bringing to justice the many corrupt elements in our midst � especially the more high-profile ones � it (the government) is in danger of being dismissed as a farce, both within and outside the country.

    Suffice to say that the brazen thieving of public monies going on at practically all levels of government now even qualifies for a national state of emergency to be declared.

    The Richmond power generation contract scandal which at one point seemed to have the potential of derailing the fourth phase government has almost been forgotten. The external payment arrears account (EPA) embezzlement scandal also seems to be gradually fading into oblivion. Need we say more?

    Apart from a few resignations here and a few Bank of Tanzania sackings (suspensions?) there, nobody of any note has as yet been brought to book in either of these two most recently proven cases of monumental grand corruption. And despite everything, it may still well be asked: What kind of real assurances do we have that this state of affairs will indeed change anytime in the near future?

    For example, the identities of those who participated in the EPA scam have yet to be revealed...even though it is not beyond the capacity of our government � provided of course that the political will to do so is there - to do just that for the greater good of economic progress as a nation (and not as individuals).

    It is instructive to note that in truly-developed societies where the rule of law is properly practiced, no violator of such laws as those designed to prevent corruption is allowed to get away with it without any form of punishment or accountability. Sadly, this is not quite so in our country. And it is a reality that can only be sending the wrong kind of signals to the outside world that, here in Tanzania, bribery and corruption are a way of life and we are not serious about the rule of law.

    The national economy has lost billions upon billions of shillings through such endemic corruption. And as a result - against the logic of its rich endowment in natural resources and its high developmental potential � this country has remained one of the most underdeveloped countries in the world, with three quarters of its population afflicted by grinding poverty and living on less than a dollar a day.

    As a result of various policy failures that are largely attributable to corruption in the process of implementation, the majority of Tanzanians still to this day have little or no access to electricity or water - or even two good meals a day. This has become a nation where a minority of individuals with direct access to its abundant natural resources appear to have commandeered its collective wealth and are now holding the rest of the citizenry to ransom (to put it in a more polite language).

    During his 2005 campaign to win the State House ticket, President Jakaya Kikwete cited the war against corruption as one of his key priorities. But now, many observers - especially those who are the direct victims of official, high-level corruption - fear that this war is losing steam fast.

    The greatest hurdle to this country’s development remains corruption, and unless and until this cancerous disease gets the right cure, the majority of Tanzanians � and ultimately the nation as a whole - will continue to languish in poverty in the midst of plenty.