Richmond imerudi! Makala hii hapa chini kwa Kiingereza niliiandika na kuchapishwa kwenye ThisDay tarehe 20 Oktoba 2007 hata kabla ya kuundwa Tume ya Mwakyembe kuchunguza kashfa ya Richmond. Katika Makala hiyo niliandika kwamba Richmond ni kama harufu mbaya ya Kikwapa ambayo kuitoa lazima mtu ufanye kazi ya ziada. Bwana Hosea wa Takukuru alitumiwa kama mganga wa Kikwapa lakini tume ya Mwakyembe katika Ripoti yake ikamshukia. Wakati huo nilishauri Mhe Lowassa atuombe msamaha yaishe. Mengine sasa ni historia. Ebu tusome Makala hii tena na pengine tutafakari hapo chini. GUESS WHAT? MR. LOWASSA HAS A TASTE FOR RAP MUSIC! I dont know how many people in this country who do not belong to Generation X (kizazi kipya) can remember a song popularly known as It wasnt me! This song by a Maestro rapper Shaggy or Mr. Lover topped the song charts in the early 2000s. Prime Minister (PM) Edward Lowasa is not a man of yesteryears as far as the music is concerned. He is very up to date, so to speak. I was caught between tears and laughter when I read the headline in ThisDay Newspaper of Monday 15th October 2007. The front page headline read as I wasnt involved, says PM Lowassa. With the controversial Richmond deal back on the front pages in the mainstream print media, Mr. Lowassa has once again broken silence over the issue. This time round the PM is coming out with a it wasnt me rap mantra! Who would like bet that Mr. Lowassa doesnt know one or two things about rap music? The above story makes a depressing reading when the whole Prime Minister gives out a press release through his Press Secretary saying The prime minister was never involved in the Richmond negotiations. All he did was to assume a general, overseeing role in governments efforts to ensure the power shortage problems afflicting the country at the time were URGENTLY (emphasis is mine) addressed. Ooh, lala! (to use a French exclamation) Really? For gods sake this is exactly what the prime ministers job description is all about! The role of overseeing government matters. In particular, issues which are urgent in nature require direct overseeing, direction and if need be prudent intervention by the prime minister. Is the prime minister, for example, telling us that it is the first time is learning that TANESCO was pushed aside and short changed during the emergency power supply tendering process? Is the Right Honorable PM announcing to the world that he learnt about this through corridors and the press as a commoner just like me? Had the Richmond deal come through nicely Mr. Lowassa would have been the first one to go to parliament, chest thumping and with great bravado declaring that this was possible because of his wise leadership and foresightedness. Meanwhile, his speech would be interrupted by CCM Oyee, Lowassa Juu from the over excited CCM law makers! But with the Richmond contract gone sour, the PM is pitifully trying to keep a very long distance. Talk of double posturing! What is so amusing about the prime ministers response is that the Richmond repudiation has now become a song and dance for the prime minister but the saga has stuck like super glue. The appalling scandal has simply refused to go away just like a bad arm pit odor (kikwapa)! Even the best beauticians in town have failed to suppress the stench which has been lingering since 2006. Mr. Lowassa should not grill ThisDay for reviving the issue of corruption related to the Richmond transaction. I am certain the PM is well informed about the lecture on corruption by a distinguished former civil servant, Mzee Joseph Butiku. Mr. Butiku intimated to the public on Sunday 14th October 2007 that corruption can not simply go away because it is unfinished business. However, the PM seems to think otherwise. But how can Richmond saga die a natural death when up to now the country has never received even an iota of thermo power from a project generally overseen by Mr. Lowassa? To add insult to an injury the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) (a proficient beautician?) was brought into the picture to soothe public anger over the Richmond circus. Quite frankly I do not envy Mr. Edward Hosea in his current plumy job. The PCCB Czar did not know that he was being used as a doormat when he promptly and without any sense of shame cleared the Government of wrongdoing by giving a clean bill of health stating that the Richmond deal was corruption-free! Eti, (according to PCCB) although the tendering procedures were not followed to the letter, the deal was therefore devoid of graft because the Government did not part with a single coin! How can you envy a man who is being asked to defend the indefensible and cover the un-coverable? In doing so, the PCCB chief did not only undermine the credibility of the anti-graft watchdog but also turned himself into a comic. In theatrical parlance Bwana Hosea was playing the most dubious and awkward part of announcing to the gallery that all those who did not see the emperors new and majestic attire were sinners! Where will Mr. Hosea hide is face now that a young mischievous child in the name of Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) has embarrassingly come out and pronounced that after all the emperor is naked! This act has now sent the whole prime minister scampering for cover, declaring it wasnt me! Who was it, sir? Mr. Lowossa should do himself a favour by spilling the beans now to save his public standing or else this indignity will haunt him for long while. This will be good fodder for Mr. Lowassas foes in 2015. I am not a lawyer but the little I know about law is that even an intention to commit a crime is illegal under Tanzania laws. Why did a smart lawyer like Edward turn himself into a butt of jokes by turning a blind eye on the most glaring anomalies in the deal that have subsequently been unearthed by PPRA? Had the Richmond fiasco happened in the mature democracies, Mr. Lowassa would have hanged his prime ministers gloves long time ago. He would be tending his cows in Monduli and possibly writing the last chapter of his memoirs. By publicly and implicitly acknowledging that he somehow kept his eye off the ball during the emergency power procurement process, Hon. Lowassa does not merit good grades on the leadership scoreboard. The prime minister has also dismally and abysmally failed to shake off the notion that he was not above board when dealing with the emergency power project. But Tanzania is still a kindergarten democracy so Mr. Lowassa is going to stick around for a while. Mr. Lowassa does not have many options to maneuver on the Richmond deal. As a head of government he should come to terms with the fact that the emergency power project was bungled under his watch. He should take political responsibility, put to task his subordinates who might havemisled him, swallow his pride and offer public apology so that we can put this scandal behind us. Akubali yaishe in Kiswahili. If the above prescription proves a bitter pill to swallow, Mr. Lowassa can opt for all night long prayers in the hope that come 2015 the likes of ThisDay Newspaper will not be around to invoke the Richmond ghosts. These ghosts will jog the publics memory to ensure the Richmond tale is still pending, unfinished business. 2015 will not be the time for the it wasnt me antics. Byase Luteke E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Majuzi katika Bunge Serikali kupitia kwa NaibuWaziri Adam Malima imetoa Ripoti ya kuwatakasa Mhe. Lowassa na wengine( Hosea na Mwanyika) katika sakata la Richmond. Je Utakaso huu unatosha kurudisha heshima ya kisiasa ya Mhe. Lowassa mbele ya umma au inabidi afanye jambo la ziada kama kuomba msamaha wa wazi (public apology) kwa kutosimamia kwa makini zoezi la Richmond kama Waziri Mkuu?