To purge it from amidst the people, a number of elders prevailed on a youthful King to hire the services of an ‘expert’ to administer a ‘truth syrup’ in order to catch the culprit as the disease was blamed on the work of evil hands. However, a small group of seasoned members of the royal court had argued against a demagogic approach but to work quietly and effectively from behind the reins of power.
When the truth syrup was finally administered to “all the people,” caught in the dragnet also were very close members of the royal family itself. That was when the King himself called off the exercise, saying the Palace would handle the matter.
Shortly after, the disease disappeared but as to what had caused it, remains a mystery to this day. And, I believe the epidemic remains a mystery even in the annals of medical records and history anywhere in the world!
As reports finally came out that corruption was deep rooted in the Parliament of the United Republic of Tanzania, my mind went back to the memory of the strange disease among my people then. Apparently, as charges of ‘witchcraft’ ricocheted to the Palace itself, the turn of events became the end of investigating the vice in society. Will failure now to probe effectively the allegations of corruption in parliament be the end of any further investigations against the vice in our society?
If State House is a Holy place, then Parliament is the Holy of Holies. If the institution that enacts the laws governing the land is itself a den of corruption, then gone is the society. If our laws issue out of a corrupt House, what moral force do they carry as the standard for justice in society? I think those are weighty questions that deserve equally weighty consideration by the King and all the MPs who have been implicated in the vice in one way or the other.
The best way for the MPs is to bow out of the august House to pave the way for thorough investigation of the matter if our society is to survive as a respectable society and not as a kraal of pretenders and sinners beyond redemption. Mwalimu Julius Nyerere said it was not necessary for corruption to be proven beyond reasonable doubt. The mere fact that a high official was implicated in corruption, was sometimes enough ground for the person to be put aside as it happened to a Roman Queen who was accused of fornication.
In the end, it was proven that the allegations against her were baseless but the mere fact that the citizens could think of living with an adulterous Queen, dented seriously her image as the mother figure of the empire. All the MPs alleged to be corrupt, even if they are not, are no longer innocent members of the legislature. If they cannot quit on their own, then they should be shovelled out by their parties. If their parties fail to do that, then they too would have shown that they are nothing but burrows of corruption, at which point the people should know what to do with them as well.
To carry the people’s mandate requires extreme purity of trust because it is the only good that principalities, both on earth and in Heaven, are hinged on. Remove that trust and what remains is chaos and anarchy. Woe unto a King who leads his nation into anarchy. Such is the burden of power. It is a double edged sword that can at times require the King to sacrifice even his own son. It matters little that corruption has been an endemic cancer in our society.
It is also irrelevant that nothing was done in the past to demonstrate zero tolerance. What matters is the time, point and moment in the life of a nation when action is taken. More than at any other time in the history of our country, that moment is now. It is not just an intellectual or academic exercise to hate corruption. Corruption obscures justice and wipes out the rights of others, very much similar to the way murderers rob the lives of innocent souls. It is hard to hate murderers but embrace the corrupt.
To do so is to be a nation of hypocrites for which we shall all be held accountable on Judgement Day. Finally, Tanzania will never be a great country if it does not stand up and rise against all ideas, philosophies and actions that go counter to the natural laws that govern cosmic order on earth and the universe. One of the things that accelerate the fall of nations is corruption and all the more so when it is committed by leaders. Mwalimu Nyerere said we should fear corruption the way people cringe against leprosy. If we think the old man was speaking vain words, then God have mercy on our country but that sin shall surely not go unpunished.