Wadau: Ujumbe (in red) katika makala hii safi sana imenilazimu kumkumbusha Dr Benson Bana na Taasisi yake ya Synovate. Nampa changamoto kwamba haoni iwapo wakati huu ni muafaka kufanya kura ya maoni (opinion poll) ili aone serikali yake anayoipigia debe kila mara inakubalika kwa kiasi gani sasa hivi na wananchi? Mimi nadhani hawezi kufanya kura hiyo ya maoni kwa sababu CCM itaumbuka. Hakika kama anavyodokeza mwandishi, opinion poll za Synovate wakati wa kampeni za uchaguzi huwa zina masilahi, na huenda kutokana na maagizo ya wanasiasa (wa CCM) kwa lengo fulani. Mimi nadiriki kusema kwamba lengo hilo ni maandalizi kwa Tume ya uchaguzi kuvihujumu vyama vya upinzani -- kwa kuonyesha awali CCM itashinda kwa kishindo. Kwako Dr Bana. Fanya kura ya maoni sasa -- ambapo uongozi wa juu wa CCM unashikamana, wakati huko chini kwenye mashina kunapukutika. ________________________ NATION'S CURRENT PREDICAMENT: It's all to do with govt made up of cronies BY HILAL K. SUED I sometimes wonder why our pollsters are only active during election time, and not any other time -- such as this time when the government is being pummelled left right and centre. It's fitting time to gauge the feeling of the general public on the performance of their government they voted into power over six years ago. Don't tell me opinion polls are for progressive societies only – such as the US, where AP, Gallup or Newsweek keep on telling Barack Obama that he and his countrymen are a world apart in the handling of both the economy and the Afghanistan war, or that he's trailing behind Mitt Romney in popularity – i.e. he would be defeated by the Republican if the election is held now. If Tanzanians can be polled to know which party they will choose during election time, why can't they later be polled to know whether or not they made the right choice? It gives the impression that our pollsters have vested interest in elections – who wins, or correctly, who ought to win and not caring to know if there isn't any love lost between the rulers and the ruled at any given time. Very few will deny that our nation has reached its lowest point in the trough of a very drab milestone in its history. Perhaps we now need some prayers, as mere sitting back and do some soul searching has failed, if ever this was attempted, with any seriousness. But the trouble with praying is that we often do it as a means of last resort. Over one hundred years ago Oswald Chambers, Scottish writer said "When a man is at his wits' end it is not a cowardly thing to pray, it is the only way he can get in touch with reality." If anything, prayers are an attempt to communicate with God (or other spirits) for the purpose of worshipping, requesting guidance, assistance, confessing sins, etc, and it always remains that – attempt – with absolutely no guarantee that that it will be answered. So there is the need to move from merely asking God to take care of the things that are breaking our hearts, to praying about the things that are breaking His heart. I cannot recall any previous Bunge session when Parliamentarians ditched partisan politics and ferociously engaged the government over its poor management of the country's finances. And they went for the jugular – as they say in the local jargon, "wameikamata serikali mahala pabaya."! But this notwithstanding MPs options could be limited and for the first time this was pointed in the august House this week when one MP lamented how helpless they – as representatives of the people -- in holding the government to account. That was one. Again for the first time in our Bunge's history, an MP (from the government side) charged that all government ministers were nothing but a bunch of thieves, through and through. Deo Filinkunjombe (Ludewa-CCM) appeared so unapologetic when he said so. Another one said why not change our penal system that would see condemned thieves of state funds and the corrupt summarily shot by firing squad as they do in China? He said in as much as we import many fake Chinese products – why not also import their penal system? Is it because that is not fake? And there was this other MP whose suggestion initially drew my immediate support. He said we should emulate what Ugandans do – when their Bunge panels (that oversee government finances i.e. equivalent to our PAC, LAAC and POAC) visit a government department or institution to examine their books, they go with policemen armed with handcuffs. When they spot any instance of theft, embezzlement or act of corruption, they depart with the culprits in handcuffs. Later it dwelt into my mind that this cannot be possible here. Yes, the culprits can be arrested, but our DPP and the PCCB bosses have totally different ideas about such people, especially if they happen to be big fish. The outrageous situation has more to do with the government's own doing, or undoing -- its determined complacency that has given room to the general blithe among those at the top of the officialdom – specifically the ministers and their top lieutenants. In other words one pillar of state (Legislature) has succeeded to push another pillar (Executive) into a corner. And all this has to do with the gravy train that is sitting at the station taking in passengers. For those already embarked, the jostling is to gain the most vantage points from where they can savour the provided delicacies. For those still embarking, they find the doors small with many getting hurt in the ensuing scramble. However, those hurt in the end are the general population, the poor people who can do nothing but watch in total incomprehension, apprehension and rage, but also wondering whether the participants in this extravaganza have any inkling of the actual destination of the train. A careful examination of the passengers would no doubt reveal that they all suffer from one disease -- poor sight and refusing to wear glasses. They see only as far as the end of their noses. I sometimes wonder from where this nation's predicament came from and why it came. No one hates living like paupers but this should be from legal incomes. But a handful in our midst have a penchant for gratuitous consumption lifestyles for themselves and those of their immediate families and hangers on, while the lives of the poor majority mean nothing to them. They preside over a system of power that makes our poor people ‘hewers of wood and drawers of water' while the riches of the nation continue to be siphoned off by foreigners in cahoots with the local officials. And worse still they have put in place institutions that at the snap of fingers, they come out to clear any stench that may be enveloping them. It explains a lot on why our country still remains at the bottom of the pile on most indices of human progress, to which they don't give a damn because they seem to be sleep-walking through all that. It's all the outcome of the government made by up cronies– cronycracy or cronyism – contrary in practice and principle to meritocracy. Basically, cronyism is partiality to long-standing friends, especially by appointing them to positions of authority, regardless of their qualifications. This was clear right from the time President Kikwete announced his gargantuan 60-plus member Cabinet over six years ago – when he laboriously accomplished the task of rewarding as many buddies of his as possible. Cronyism exists when the appointer and the beneficiary are in social contact – often in a situation where the appointer is inadequate to hold his own job or position of authority, and therefore appoints individuals who will not try to weaken him, or express views contrary to those of the appointer. Even though many democratic governments are urged to practice administrative transparency in accounting and contracting, there is often no clear delineation of when an appointment to government office is "cronyism" or not. It is also quite normal for a politician to surround himself with highly-qualified subordinates, and to develop social, business, or political friendships leading to the appointment to office of friends, as well as in granting government contracts. It all works this way: A group of cronies and demagogues has only one interest in mind – self interest. The business and corporate sectors know that the economy is ticking, and are doing everything in their power to maintain success during the consolidation period. And there's one candidate they know who will not expose their operations, and who will continue the status quo -- the raping of the land. It is more or less similar to this country's current situation. Staffing the government with cronies is dangerous to everybody, including the cronies themselves. It can also be said that Kikwete has been unlucky on the crony front. Not because his cronies let him down, which had to be expected, but because his cronies were good enough to let him down. In fact they have let all Tanzanians down. They have been solely responsible in the burgeoning in this country of a commodity that this world is already in oversupply – the outrageous. Never in its post-independence history, has the nation witnessed solid, undivided disapproval by the people on the establishment. Source: The African on Saturday.