JK Akwama Kwenye Daraja la Mkapa


Jan 10, 2008
ThisDay, May 7th, 2008

ANALYSIS: JK stuck at Mkapa’s bridge?

Dar es Salaam

TANZANIANS have stumbled upon stunning revelations on a sealed chapter of history that was never meant for everyone to read. These accidental revelations have introduced, in true colours, one of our own, former head of state, formerly nicknamed, ’’Mr Clean’’ to his fellow Tanzanians. These revelations have also given a true picture of what was behind the scenes of his leadership and whether or not the current administration is capable of taking this nation to the next chapter.

Apparently our government was to face major challenges right from the start. With only 28 months in power, this government is being shaken by colossal blunders that have completely marred its integrity and have suddenly set-out anti-government sentiments.

Unfortunately these challenges are chiefly a compilation of misconducts and unaccountability of the past administrations. Jakaya Kikwete’s government just happens to be in the right place at a wrong time. Yet, this administration cannot escape its share of the blame for the current situation.

The general public is now watching and waiting for what is next. The truth is: There is not so much to expect from an administration that might, itself, have catalyzed what is presently haunting the nation.

Within the short time in reference here, Tanzanians have witnessed, for the first time, a prime minister ever to resign in the history of this nation; dissolution of an exceptionally gigantic cabinet; a number of cabinet ministers falling from grace recurrently; the dismissal and subsequent mysterious disappearance of the governor of the Central Bank, and dozens of dubious government dealings. These are not trivial matters, especially not for the Kikwete’s government that indicated from the beginning that it was not intending to touch key players of the game.

Two attributes highly characterize this administration: The never-ending investigation of corruption scandals, in some cases double-investigation: Same thing investigated more than once and resignation of leaders. But these are not solving our problems!

The problems faced by innocent Tanzanians who have no part in the dirty games are real; and have serious and painful consequences. There should be real and practical solutions to these issues. The political games should now be over.

The delayed tactic employed in these investigations shall not bring us to a very pleasant ending, and I should hope our leaders are keen enough to realize that the current style of leadership does not work. Our nation is in a storm. The tide is high; and destructive winds are blowing from either side. The captain and his crew members need to quickly shift to a more efficient fashion of governing.

I suspect this administration forgets that it is operating in a 21st century of information technology. We are no longer in 1970s and 80s. Some of these political games were only possible then, but are not possible in this era.

On the other hand, let’s take a look at a silver lining on this cloud. I believe this administration can still do better. Mr Kikwete does still have a good chance to turn things around, perform well and go down the history books as a successful Tanzanian president and perhaps one of African heroes.

But heroes are over comers. They overcome hurdles. Mr Kikwete has to get out of his comfort zone and overcome the challenges before he becomes successful. Here is how:

The first biggest favour Mr President can do to Tanzanians is to renounce his own words that Mr Mkapa should be left alone. This was, and still is, a very undemocratic phrase. A democratically elected administration should never move a finger to protect a small group of people within a corrupt system regardless of their status. So this administration should remove the protective coat it has vowed to put over Mr Mkapa.

Kikwete’s administration is now marking time at a juncture of protecting a corrupt system and running a better system of administration. There is no way JK can cross over this narrow bridge without touching Mr Mkapa. It is just not possible to leave Mkapa alone and still lead this nation successfully.

It looks like Mr Mkapa is dubiously connected with every institution. If JK has to proceed successfully, he has to cross this bridge by handling Mkapa’s allegations justly.

One of the greatest revolutionists, Dr M. L King, Jr. once said ’’Injustice anywhere is a threat to peace everywhere’’. Justice should be exercised in these issues. We need peace. We need our national unity. We need a fully functional government.

That being said, I think we also need to stimulate the other branches of our country’s leadership to take their role more effectively than it has been the case for the past decades. While our parliament has been working as rubber stamp for the government and our judiciary receiving directives from the executive branch, the executive branch itself remains unchecked within a broken checks-and-balance system. This needs an overhaul.

The second thing for Mr President to do will be to allow transparency and honesty in the investigation of these scandals that have stigmatized his administration.

JK has to bring back in the country the former BoT governor (if he’s not here yet). Nothing less is going to restore trust to his government. The way this matter has been handled offers good evidence that we�re yet to be serious. And if this were a school test, Kikwete’s government has scored an ’F’ in the subject of the former governor.

What is actually being done is to systematically and subtly divert the attention of the general public from the person who is the source of investigations and who in turn has been denied his legal right to offer his side of the story for fear of exposing the ’wakubwa’ but whom everybody finds pleasure in assassinating his character and insulting his name, and this is nothing less than a betrayal.

This administration definitely owes an explanation to Tanzanians. The smartest thing for Mr President to do now would be to come out clean so as none else will hide behind him.

Mr President understands as much as I do that there are times in life when carrying other people’s burdens is just not possible. It is precisely in such moments, when everybody should carry his/her own burden. Mkapa too should have his own burdens to carry.

Presidents are expected to make tough decisions regularly. The direction of our nation now depends so much on Mr Kikwete’s decision-making. It is very clear that those alleged are swearing to reveal the untold part of the story that may implicate even the ’protected’. Mr President should face this reality. He should not let fear be used as a resource by these corrupt guys.

He has a support of 86% of Tanzanians. He has to act. But there is no way to make an omelet without breaking an egg.

For this administration to succeed, it has to cross the Mkapa Bridge. Good luck!

Birmingham, AL
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