EDITORIAL COMMENT: The 'List of Shame' is the price for democratic politics THIS DAY WE are living in extraordinary times. Tanzanians and non-Tanzanians alike continue to watch - on the one hand, with great fascination and, on the other, with an enormous sense of trepidation - the endless and frightening corruption allegations and revelations which now permeate our nation's landscape. Much of this has been going on, via the Internet and elsewhere, with seemingly less attention, until about two weeks ago. In a move that went beyond the realms of audacity, the so-called 'List of Shame' emerged. As we struggle to recover from the anger and disappointment of the inclusion of our president in the 'List of Shame', one thing needs to be pointed out very loudly and clearly: In much of what is being said, or not said, there is a critical lesson for the nation that should not be missed. Nobody seems to be raising the crucial point that corruption has always existed in our society; only that in the past such revelations have tended to be whispered behind closed doors. But today, at this point in our nation's history, we are seeing such revelations not just being made on public platforms and through the print and electronic media, but also being openly discussed by the ordinary people in the streets, in the markets, in the daladalas, in broad daylight. Why? President Kikwete said at the beginning of his presidency that his mission was to build on the foundation laid by his predecessors. In terms of the democratic dimension of the 'foundation' that he found, we say the president has expanded it at such a lightning speed as to truly make these latest corruption revelations possible. Which is why, the vicious attack on him personally must be viewed as no less than the price that must be paid for his success in delivering this nation into a new era of democratic politics. In all fairness, even by the accounts of 'whistle-blowers', President Kikwete inherited much of what is currently a subject of corruption scandals. We at THISDAY and KULIKONI have always stood for the principles of good governance of which corruption is its worst enemy. And we will always do so. So we are not about to condemn people who reveal the names and actions of the corrupt in our midst, who to put it bluntly are not just stealing the better future of our people but also destroying our nation's social fabric. Indeed, we cannot and should not - as some have done - wholesomely oppose the latest corruption allegations that have been leveled against many public figureheads in this country. However, it would be a tragic twist of reality if we should now proceed to attack the very person - the president, that is - who has been championing the fight against corruption in our country. Needless to say, those who are working under him and tarnishing the good image of the fourth phase government would make President Kikwete's leadership more successful if they would just resign! The fact that they are still in their offices only reflects selfishness and a lack of professional integrity or political maturity - or all of these things put together. Suffice to add a word of caution to the public that some of those on the 'List of Shame' probably find it advantageous that the president is included. We know that Tanzania remains a truly unique African country, and the pride of our politically-conscious people and our democratic achievements are envied by many in and outside the continent. As a sovereign nation, we have overcome many major challenges through our own efforts. The problem of corruption is one such challenge that still faces the country. However, there is always a watershed moment in a fight against corruption within a society. That moment has clearly come for Tanzania. But as we intensify this fight, we at THISDAY and KULIKONI see President Kikwete as the crucial fulcrum upon which the struggle against corruption in Tanzania must revolve.