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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Ballali surfaces on `Twitter`

26th February 2012
Former Bank of Tanzania Governor, Daudi Ballali

Nearly four years since it was controversially announced that he had died in the United States, the former Bank of Tanzania Governor, Daudi Ballali has a ‘ghost’ emerging on twitter, strongly refuting the news that he is dead.

Taking advantage of the illness surrounding and finally the purported death of the former Governor, a man calling himself Daudi Ballali has been twittering for three months now, attracting about 236 tweets (postings), 808 following and 1,151 followers.

He first emerged on twitter on December 6, 2011 with just a few words’ “It’s time to go home”, before he wrote that the news about his death was a total lie aimed at silencing him on what he knew about various corruption scandals that rocked the Bank of Tanzania about six years ago.

He termed the news about his death an international racket to silence him, indicating that if these claims are accurate then Dar es Salaam didn’t act alone.

He has promised to drop a bombshell that would shock the government in a few months, adding that it’s time to tell the truth about what really is happening.

The Twitter Balali comments indicate that he is a bitter man who has been denied the right to put the record straight by telling the truth, and wherever he is he regrets to have moved from Tanzania in the circumstances he did. Writing first on December 6, 2011, the Twitter Balali remarks, “I didn’t die, I’m not dead.”

Later he wrote, “I miss home. The Big Six and the Architect said I died.” He insisted that there was no way he could have gone against the norms of his profession and betrayed the country which he deeply loves.

Commenting on what could possibly be the motive for his coming out from the cold now, the Twitter Balali says, “They ripped me off.” Referring to the culprits as ‘they,’ he says they have the wherewithal to make a president, to secure funds and to declare people as dead.

The Twitter Balali claims that should he die now before fulfilling his objective, the secret he harbours will still be known to the people. It is believed that there are very few people whom Balali approached and gave part of the confidential report he has on condition that they should keep it and only divulge if he fails to get back home in the period he has set for himself.

The Twitter Balali claims that those who engineered his disappearance from the country believed that he would be completely harmless to them, and that they know he is alive although they don’t know precisely where he is. In his comments he accuses the media of complicity in embezzlement and thievery from the very bottom to the highest level.

The Twitter Balali claims that he has got a grand plan in store to lay bare secrets which are yet to be known by the people. He has pledged to reveal the actual cost of the BoT Twin Towers, how the central bank operates, EPA, the actual central bank ‘governors,’ the radar contract and a few other matters.

“I have a grand plan laid out and which I must follow. I don’t have to be rushed into doing anything; I’ll decide myself when to do what and how,” claims the Twitter Balali, thereby sending a number of the culprits into panic, especially if it should turn out that the writer is indeed the former BoT governor.

In an apparent move to implement his grand plan, the Twitter Balali started a count-down of days to go before he embarks on its fulfillment. On December 9, 2011 (Independence Day) he said there were 308 days to go before a certain incident was to happen.

It is not known for sure whether it is the day he would appear in public or the day sensitive documents in his possession would be laid bare. The 308 days from December 9, 2011 falls on October 12, 2012.

However one looks at it, the idea that the Balali affair did not reach a well-defined target finality leaves plenty of room for people with various schemes and designs to emerge and put them in motion in cognizance of the vacuum created by the government after its being seen to have failed to know what to do with Ballali. But what is even more scaring is the inevitable question: “What if this man is truly Balali?”

Last week he gave the wake up call to Tanzanians saying they should stand firm to stop the plunder of the country’s natural resources, which was being done by international companies with assistance of some local officials.

A preliminary survey conducted by the Guardian on Sunday has established that the man calling himself Daudi Ballali is indeed tweeting from United States because his IP address uses the America country code.

However, many of his followers online are puzzled, believing that the former central bank governor didn’t die as claimed by the government while a minority doesn’t believe him at all until given tell-tale evidence.

On 9th of December 2011, the day Tanzania marked its 50th year of independence, the ‘new’ Ballali wrote on his tweeter page saying there were still 308 remaining days before something big happens in the country.

In calculation it means October 12, 2012 will be the deadline or the date set for the so called ‘something big’ that he promised will happen in Tanzania.

So far no statement has been issued by the government to refute the claims made by the man calling himself the late Ballali.

On June 7, 2009 The Guardian on Sunday reported exclusively about a row which is simmering between Daudi Ballali’s widow and the Bank of Tanzania (BoT), whom Mrs Ballali said should foot $37,000 (Sh49.9m) in unsettled bills for the late central bank governor’s medical treatment.

According to sources within Ballali’s family, during his treatment in the United States between October 2007 and May 2008, Ballali’s total medical bill totaled around $85,000.

Although the main portion of the bill - which was predominantly incurred when Ballali was admitted to a Boston hospital for a haphazardly explained illness - had already been paid by the family’s health insurance policy and the remaining $37,000 was outstanding bill.

The $37,000 covered nursing services provided by the hospital after Ballali was discharged but was still kept under special care at his home.

Ballali remained under home nursing care for about three months before passing away on May 16, 2008.

Ballali’s widow, Anna Mganda Ballali, sent the medical invoices to BoT management in March, 2009 year, but the bank has so far declined to pay the bills.

Confusion reigned in the country when reports surfaced in May, 2008 that the former BoT boss had passed away in the US. Even close family members kept his death a secret before the government made an official announcement a week later.

Ballali’s remains were buried in Washington, D.C. on May 23, 2008 at a private funeral arrangement supervised by the De Vol Funeral Home after his body was cremated.

Mourners from different parts of the world sent in condolence messages through a guestbook posted on the funeral home’s website.

However no Tanzanian diplomat attended the funeral let alone viewing the body, a move that cast doubt about the reports on Ballali’s death. Some people questioned why the death of a high profile civil servant like Ballali was treated as a state secret, leaving the issue ensnared in controversy.

According to government reports Ballali, who was fired as central bank governor in January 2008 amid a spate of revelations on how massive amounts of cash were paid out from the External Payments Arrears (EPA) account, died on May 16, in a Boston, Massachusetts hospital.

The former BoT chief left the country late 2007 for medical treatment but neither official information on his ailment nor the hospital where he was being treated were released.

His departure to the US coincided with the start of a special, government-ordered BoT audit that uncovered the EPA scandal and triggered a sequence of events that culminated in his sacking by President Jakaya Kikwete.

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