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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Do the job...or step down!

23rd April 2012
The calm before the storm:Making his point, Zitto Kabwe, and fellow MP. Deo Filikunjombe, Vice Chairman of the Parastatal Organisation Accounts Committee, in the Bunge two weeks ago.

Helloh, jambo, and thanks to those who commented on last weeks piece re the World Bank presidency, which as expected went to America’s man, and not Africa’s woman, for a post the emerging economies contested for the first time…..hopefully a beginning of the ‘winds of change’.

…..and in view of the dramatic events here, this could also apply to Tanzania…..but with maybe a a political hurricane needed to get them blowing.

Like the World Bank premiership receiving its first time challenge, the attempted motion of no of no confidence in Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda, is also a first in the nation’s history. And the fact that it failed, doesn’t lessen its impact or message in any way.

Zitto Kabwe (Kigoma North Chadema) who’d hoped to table the motion this Monday, has said they’ve no powers over ministers who’ve failed to deliver, as they come under the P.M., but they can hold him to account, and think he should step down.

The motion couldn’t be moved during the current Bunge session, because of time span constraints. It can however, be attempted again at the next ones in June, but even then, without the necessary conditions of allegations or proof that the PM has contravened the Public Leadership Code of Ethics Act, (under section 3 of the Standing Orders) which he hasn’t, it could be difficult.

Perhaps the main issue of interest to the public, is whether there is a provision in any part of that Act, dealing with performance and accountability of the government. I think the Public Leadership Code of Ethics is secondary to the prime objective of effective government performance. Or in other words, how to hold the prime minister accountable for failing to fulfill its core function. If not, it seems like a convenient escape clause.

Because in all working relations, there must be someone with overall responsibility for ensuring the job is done. In this instance, the ministers accused of failure of duty, are answerable to the Prime Minister. He in turn runs the government and is responsible and answerable to the Parliament, hence Mr. Kabwe`s challenge strategy seems an acceptable and logical one.

The failure to understand the culture of responsibility here, is well shown in a statement by Richard Ndassa (Sumve-CCM) who told a local newspaper, “it’s true that some ministers are not working as required, but is that grounds to reprimand or censure the Prime Minister, I think not. You can’t make the Premier accountable for mistakes committed by ministers”.

Is it even worth asking this man…..then who is?...and who can?. And isn’t accountability a form of ethics, a word this government likes to set in print, while often rendering it meaningless in action?.

There’s an expression “if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen”. Meaning if you can’t take the rigours of the situation, or job…..leave it. Given the resultant malfunction of so much under the command of the five censured ministers, cynics could rightfully ask…..”have they even used the cooker”?!.

A simple test could be to ask what currently works in Tanzania?. …and you’d probably have to think about it. But if you ask what doesn’t work……..then you’d need some time to list all the answers!.

Just like the effects of corruption, the impact of failed leadership in the west, is usually less catastrophic than in developing nations. And those at fault more likely to resign.

How puzzled Mr. Ndassa could be to hear of the British Transport Minister some years ago, who resigned because of a major train crash. It might need to be explained to him very slowly, “No, you see the minister wasn’t personally responsible for this tragedy, and no of course not, he wasn’t driving the train, but he shoulders the blame, as the chain of command starts from the very bottom, aaaaaall the way, right up to the top……which is himself you see!”.

The Citizen newspaper pointed out that since l976, when the then Home Affairs minister Alhaj Ali Hassan Mwinyi stepped down over the deaths of prisoners on remand in Shinyanga, there’s been few others to follow suit. Indeed so unusual is this, that any doing so, could well be remembered for the nobility of the action, as opposed to the possible shameful lapse of duty or behaviour that led to it!.

Memorable among them perhaps, was handsome Monduli M.P. Edward Lowassa, who resigned under pressure in 2008 as Prime Minister following his dodgy connections to the Richmond scandal.

But it wasn’t so bad for Eddy, who as we know is doing fine now, and should maybe go on a walkabout, or more likely a Land Cruiser, cruiseabout, and preach to those in government who need to know, that relinquishing the reins of power at whatever level, can be quite liberating.

Then you can eventually return to public life, invigorated, totally redeemed…….and with your pension intact, start all over again....which could mean another pension! And of course if you continued this practice, (I’m sure it’s allowed, as are most things that don’t benefit the public) you’d build up a veritable pension portfolio…….Edward?!

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