Sitta, Mwakyembe silenced - analysts



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Sitta, Mwakyembe silenced - analysts

By Joseph Mchekadona

28th November 2010







They have been very vocal against corruption and until now the public perceive them maintaining that same attitude. But fears linger that they may already have been silenced - and forever. The two politicians took an oath of office yesterday.
Former Speaker Samuel Sitta and Dr Harisson Mwakyembe who have been given ministries of East African Cooperation and Energy and Minerals respectively fit this description. Mwakyembe is deputy minister.
Together with CCM MPs like Anne Kilango Malecela, James Lembeli, Chistopher ole Sendeka and Stella Manyanya, they were ‘a thorn in the fresh wound’ for the government whenever graft and various forms of graft were debated in Parliament.
Efforts “to silence” government critics is not entirely new in Tanzania. For example, in early 1990s, MPs like Phillip Marmo, Njelu Kasaka and former Prime Minister John Malecela were tactfully silenced, after supporting three-government structure for Tanzania. Significantly, Malecela was dropped, while Marmo was gifted a ministerial position by the then President Ali Hassan Mwinyi government.
Not only ordinary people share the same feelings regarding anti-corruption crusaders, but also academicians. They describe Sitta’s appointment as a technical demotion while others see it as a strategy of hiding him from the spotlight, as he will be too busy in East Africa Community (EAC) meetings.
Salim Othman Hamed, Head of Political Science and Public Administration at Open University of Tanzania (OUT) said the appointment of anti-corruption crusaders in the cabinet aimed at uniting the party which was on the brink of disintegrating.
“Not only the inclusion of anti-corruption crusaders into the cabinet aims at silencing them, but it also targets to unite the party that was divided,” he said.
The Co-Chair of Research and Education for Democracy in Tanzania (REDET) Dr Benson Bana had the same sentiments. “ It’s not a political promotion; it’s a demotion which aims at silencing Sitta as the former speaker will not be involved in the nation’s day to day activities.”
He said Sitta would not fit into the portfolio as he lacks a background of diplomacy, adding that he would prefer seeing him concentrate on development activities of his Urambo constituency.
“Honouble Sitta is a senior citizen, having served the government since his youth years. Now, I think, it is time he rested,” he added.


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