- Feb 11, 2006
By: Azaveli Feza Lwaitama,
Dr Lwaitama, is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Dar es SalaamTwo influential politicians have dominated news media reports this week and their next moves will demonstrate the extent to which they wish to help the Fourth Phase presidency to enhance its prestige or aggravate of the situation.
Mr Rostam Aziz is reported to have been barred from presenting to Parliament his written statement on the Richmond affair.
It is being alleged that his statement would have damaged the reputation of the Speaker of the Tanzanian Parliament, Mr Samuel Sitta, if he had been allowed to deliver it in the House after he had submitted it to the Speaker. The CCM Parliamentary Group leadership apparently saw it and advised that Mr Aziz be muzzled.
The other senior politician is Infrastructure minister Andrew Chenge. He is reported to have been named in an influential London newspaper as having received some kickback from a British company which sold a radar system to Tanzania during the Third Phase presidency.
He is also alleged to have a cool Sh1 billion stashed away in some overseas off-shore bank account.
Critical thinking would suggest that these two have to tread carefully and critically examine every option they have in defending themselves. If they are not careful they could easily end up causing more trouble for the beleaguered Fourth Phase presidency.
Is it true, for example, as some sections of the media are alleging, that Mr Aziz wished to put on record his alleged claim that the Parliamentary Select Committee on Richmond was, with malice, allowed by Speaker Sitta to continue scripting the report even after they had submitted it to him in the glare of publicity and media razzmatazz?
If it is true that Mr Aziz has been complaining about being denied his constitutional right to defend himself, this would suggest that that he, too, may have had malice in wanting to spill such beans in that manner.
Otherwise let him take a cue from Chadema's Dr Wilbrod Slaa and call a press conference to inform fellow Tanzanians about what is in his embargoed statement that made his CCM parliamentary caucus colleagues and the Speaker want to deny fellow Tanzanians knowledge of it.
If Mr Aziz engaged in palavers behind the back of his supposed friends, his innuendos and insinuations are likely to fuel speculation that there is a lot of former so-called friends of the President, who would not mind if his stature continued to decline.
On the other end, Mr Aziz could call a press conference to announce that he is resigning from all his political offices, including those of MP for Igunga,member of the National Executive Committee of the ruling party, CCM, and ember of the Central Committee.
He could then confess to some involvement, however minor or innocent, in the Richmond misdemeanour, the better to be able to demonstrate his patriotism/matriotism by being ready to save the face of a friend who happens to be the Head of State.
This is what Mr Aziz and former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa ought to have done two weeks or so ago in Butiama at that now infamous CCM National Executive Committee shindig.
It is not yet too late! History will forgive them any sins they may have committed if they rise to the occasion and help the presidency by showing remorse on its behalf.
As for Mr Chenge, it is the expectation of most reasonable people that he will do the decent thing by tendering his resignation from both the Cabinet and the top leadership of CCM, even it happens to be true that he has broken no law or meant to upset no one.
If he continues to occupy those posts, he will be causing some of us to have some doubts as to whether he cares for the country's political stability and he is prepared to assist the presidency reverse its continued slide into ill-repute on account of alleged sleazy commissions and omissions by close friends.