JK aides on the spot over speech blunder Wednesday, 09 March 2011 23:02 By Bernard Lugongo The Citizen Reporter Dar es Salaam. Political analysts and activists have criticised President Jakaya Kikwetes advisers over misleading or outdated information provided to the Head of State.The President has apparently been relying on such information in drafting his speeches. According to knowledgeable sources, part of President Kikwetes address to the nation last month was based on a document about the status of the Kiwira coal mine that the Energy and Minerals ministry prepared over a year ago. The Citizen revealed on Monday that the ministry made available to the President information that there was a plan to seek a loan of about $400 million for the revival of the mine, whereas, in fact, the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) has already applied for the acquisition of the mine for power production. In separate interviews with The Citizen, a number of commentators said inaccurate information contained in the speech was the result of negligence, lack of seriousness and inefficiency on the part of the Presidents aides. The trend, they said, eroded peoples trust in President Kikwete and his government.However, contacted yesterday, State House Director of Communications Salva Rweyemamu declined to comment.Dr Benson Bana of the University of Dar as Salaam (UDSM) said President Kikwete was blameless, and that it was his advisers who were at fault. This is a weakness on the part of his advisers they dont consult or even cross-check information before passing it on to the President, said Dr Bana, who is also the co-chair of the Research on Education and Democracy in Tanzania (Redet). He said many people were knowledgeable nowadays and there was no way they would easily swallow untruths from the government regarding what was going on in the country. Therefore, as a result of such outdated or misleading information, the people could lose trust in the government, he said.Agenda Participation 2000 Executive Director Moses Kulaba accused the Presidents aides of lacking seriousness. I think they dont see the importance of according the presidency the respect it deserves, he added. He said it was unacceptable and a shame for the Energy and Minerals ministry not to have up to date information about the ownership and development of the Kiwira coal mine, which is under its domain. The public was likely to lose trust in the presidency as an institution and the President himself if the trend continued, he warned. Mr Kulaba said President Kikwete should make his advisers accountable for misleading him as way of maintaining the credibility of his office. UDSM lecturer Ayub Rioba said the Presidents advisers should be taken to task because such mistakes kept recurring. Tanzania will not be the first country to make Presidents advisers accountable. It has happened elsewhere...we will only be following suit, he said.He said the public expected a sensitive institution like the presidency to be efficient and devoid of avoidable mistakes, and attributed such problems to having unqualified people in sensitive positions.In our country, people are given plum jobs after it is taken into consideration, for instance, how effectively one participated in election campaigns. We need to have best brains in various positions, otherwise we should prepare for a continuation of these blunders, Mr Rioba said.For his part, Mr Deus Kibamba, Executive Director of the Tanzania Citizens Information Bureau (TCIB), said all avenues should be exhausted in cross-checking information before it is provided to the President. Even ministers should be consulted if that is what it takes for information contained in the Presidents speeches to be accurate. I have noticed that the Presidents aides rush in preparing his speeches this is dangerous, he said. Mr Mwawiya Zuberi, political commentator based in Tanga, said seriousness was lacking among the Presidents aides. If the President appointed them on merit, I fail to understand why they are not able to provide him with accurate and up to date information, he said.He echoed other commentators views that this could erode the publics trust in the presidency and the government as a whole.