- Published on Sunday, 05 August 2012 02:04
- Written by KILASA MTAMBALIKE
- Hits: 1738
REVELATIONS that members of sensitive parliamentary oversight committees are easily bought for parochial interests are a sign of serious troubled times ahead. It exposes a society infested with endemic corruption and consequently confirms people’s fear that ‘it ain’t no sunshine where we headed’.
An otherwise flight to prosperity has encountered clear-air turbulence; a quick fix would have been in order but it is nowhere in sight so some have suggested the possibility of an emergency landing. But would that remedy the damage? We’ll see.
A quick fix here is for implicated Members of Parliament to bow out gracefully of their own volition. An emergency landing is for the powers that be, to dissolve parliament and call in fresh elections. The latter should be painfully costly, but democracy doesn’t come cheap.
Recent events in the National Assembly give the sense of a house in disarray. It needs cleaning. For varying reasons, some MPs have asked the Speaker, Mama Anna Makinda, to name names. We wonder what’s truly, not ostensibly, stalling her.
While some want all those implicated named set apart from those with some element of integrity, others simply feel insecure. MPs now play the unenviable role of being under scrutiny, a role perhaps they are not too used to playing.
Thanks to the eye-openers too, we are now aware that there is growing mistrust among MPs themselves. Others have questioned the integrity of some of their colleagues in the Parliamentary Privileges, Ethics and Powers Committee tasked with investigating suspect corrupt practices.
It’s never wise to generalise, but those who are certain of their innocence will have to pardon this perspective, the general feeling at the moment is that all people in positions of power and influence are in one way or another guilty of grand larceny.
For the greater part of their lives, it seems, Tanzanians either had misplaced hopes or had their hopes placed in the wrong people. That, however, should not mean that they deserve being in the predicament they are in because of the unsavoury ways of their leaders.
It is a shame that individuals have kept failing us because of constricted self interests. It is even more shameful that this should happen in the land that produced people of the calibre of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, ethical and of unwavering integrity.
Driven by ferocious greed, these individuals brought otherwise robust institutions to their knees or rendered them ineffective to protect their interests and those of their ilk, creating a vicious cycle where efforts to solve a problem give rise to conditions which only aggravate the original problem.
The people are powerless, they can not institute any remedy, they have resigned to their fate which is at the mercy of authorities manned by people who are themselves suspect of having the same agenda as the corrupt elements. But they are losing faith in the country’s leadership.
This in turn raises serious questions about the effectiveness of our institutions. With the benefit of hindsight, it is now easy to critically look into some costly yet avoidable decisions and safely conclude that they were reached to benefit some people at the expense of taxpayers.
There is an ongoing exercise to issue people with national identity cards by the National Identification Authority (NIDA). At the end of August this year there will also be a National Housing and Population Census conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
We understand that the two are independent entities and have different functions and roles. We also understand that they are out to achieve different goals. But would it have hurt anyone had the two institutions seen the need for creating synergy in some areas and reduce operational costs? I doubt that.
NIDA officials went door-to-door to identify and register people for identification. The NBS guys will soon follow suit, all state institutions spending massively in the process for a more or less similar exercise. One could go on, but I digress.
Since we already know that our leaders have a penchant for creating enabling environments for favours, bribes or simply profiting from public service and projects, perennial faults in the execution of projects may be calculated after all and not a result of innocuous oversight on the part of the planners.
At this rate we are on the fringes of becoming a basket case. We are on the verge of crossing the Rubicon and trigger an unfortunate chain of events from which we may never recover but it doesn’t seem to bother any.
And since contrition isn’t among our strongest qualities, taking responsibility for our actions when we have fallen out of character is also never forthcoming. Perhaps it is time we stop recycling the leaders we have, they come in different shapes and forms but are made of the same morally weak fibres.
For starters, we need legislations that force individuals holding public office to automatically vacate their posts once accused or implicated of any wrongdoing. It should be made clear that it is not permissible for a leader to even be thought of as capable of being bad.
And then they should be barred from running for any public office in the future just on the basis of their accusations, regardless if they have been proven guilty or not. That way anyone with ambitions to hold public office for personal gain would be forced to do some serious soul-searching before taking the plunge.