20 March 2011 How many are aware that the iconic founder of Tanzanian nationalism, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere (1922-99) resigned the Presidency in 1985? My colleague at the next workstation tells me he hadn't thought of it that way! Despite his burning desire to see his people's living conditions improved, Mwalimu finally appreciated the message writ large on the Wall of Intellect - and resigned, ending his 24-year Reich in 1985. In his infinite wisdom, Nyerere handpicked Ally Hassan Mwinyi as his successor, and the presidential tenure thenceforth statutorily guillotined into two five-year terms.Humble Mwinyi did his bit dutifully, serving during the most difficult times for Tanzania, chaperoning it from a socialist-oriented state-controlled Economy into a private sector-driven regime. The job was made that much more difficult by Mwalimu who was looking over Mwinyi's shoulder and breathing down his neck. This was particularly the case as retired President Nyerere continued in the nation's most powerful position at the time - national chairman of the sole ruling party CcM - until 1990! It should be remembered Mwalimu still thought of the international donor/creditor community (including the IMF and the WB Group) as busybodies who were up to no good regarding weaker nation-states aspiring to become socialist and self-reliant!In the event, Mwinyi stoically went about the business of turning quasi-socialist Tanzania into a struggling mixed economy of sorts. It was the Mwinyi Administration that laid the foundations for institutions like the Tanzania Revenue Authority that's so lauded today for boosting monthly tax revenue collections from Sh26billion in those dark days to around Sh500bn today! Most unfortunately, however, that phenomenal rise in public revenues hasn't been matched by stringent good governance... Much of the funds still go to waste through embezzlement and related grand u-Fisadi. But that's another story... It was also most unfortunate that Mwalimu didn't let Mwinyi select his successor. He forcefully put his oar in - and came out with another president to succeed his earlier choice. If Nyerere didn't make a mistake in his first choice, it cannot be said with a straight face that his second choice was what 'Dr. Good Governance' had ordered. But, again, that's a tale fit to be told another day... The story here today's about top leaders taking responsibility, albeit vicarious, for the wrongs perpetrated by their minions while they're on Watch Duty as presidents, prime ministers, ministers, etc.Following the tragic explosions at the Gongo-la-Mboto military camp in Dar es Salaam on February 16, this year, there have been strident calls from different quarters for the resignation of the Defence Minister Hussein Mwinyi and his Chief of the Defence Forces, General Davis Mwamunyange. (The Citizen: Feb 22, 2011). Clearly, the calls haven't been an 'Irresistible Force;' and 'The Two Gentlemen of Verona' (William Shakespeare pardon) have so far proved to be 'Immovable Objects! As the Sisters of Fate would have it, the minister is the son of former President Mwinyi, a most distinguished gentleman in My Book of Things. As Minister for Home Affairs under President Nyerere, Mwinyi pere did resign his appointment following the deaths in dubious circumstances of persons in Shinyanga Region far, far away from Ministerial Headquarters! One would have expected a true-to-nature chip off the old block'd do likewise to honour the family tradition... Especially when the Gongo-la-Mboto tragedy was the second in as many years at two different camps in the Region - both during Mwinyi fil's Watch! In My Book of Things, leaders who refuse to take vicarious responsibility by resigning under such compelling circumstances do so at a greater cost to themselves... They inevitably lose their credibility, dignity and respect which the people had initially invested in them. Cheers!