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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

After Kikwete`s political spring clearout...will `house` be clean?

14th May 2012

Jambo for a week that takes us nearly halfway through the merry month of May.   So called in Britain perhaps, because as a heralder of springtime and re-birth, rural communities used to welcome it in by dancing in the village square. 
May Day celebrations in some countries serve to showcase their military hardware, marching skills, and worker solidarity, and the `arab spring`  description of the turbulent uprisings in the middle east, reflect the new beginnings this time of year evokes.

In Tanzania, with citizens discontent towards the government at an all time high, will the replacement of six cabinet ministers on May 4th, signal a ‘mini spring’ of change and improvement, or will the status quo be maintained with a new face?.    

Prof. Mwesiga Baregu says, “the cabinet re-shuffle is mainly cosmetic, and cosmetics tend to be temporary, delivering short lived gratification, but leaving no lasting effects”.  As one who feels gratified when applying the ‘paint’, and horribly let down when removing it, I know what he means.

Freeman Mbowe says “The administrative system of this country is rotten from the lower level to the top most level, and needs an overhaul”, and perhaps few would argue with that.
Since I last met him, Mwesiga has effected a transformation himself.  Slim faced with a ‘goatee’ beard, he was nice looking, but now facially plumper, and with a fashionably closer-cropped beard…he looks great!   A successful prescription for the country…as in close-cropping the bloated civil service, (and cabinet) and costly organisations that serve no purpose, while fiscally strengthening those that do.

……just remembered, since committees are not cost free, why are there three similar sounding House standing committees. Namely the Public Organisations Accounts Committee, (POAC) the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and the Local Authority Accounts Committee (LAAT) There could be a valid reason, but I’m asking anyway.    Because, if you question everything….you might learn a little something…as opposed to nothing if you don’t!.

In an annual blitz of scouring and decorating, housewives in England at this time of year, used to do what was called a ‘spring clean’ of their homes, and dust and cobwebs that lax housekeeping had omitted to tackle over months, was swept away.

Sticking with the springtime analogy, we could say, that the CCM government, has a long term backlog of neglected domestic tasks that have lurked in the political background for decades, ignored and  gathering cobwebs.

Like the Controller and Auditor General`s reports.   This lengthy litany of plunder and fiscal crimes they annually reveal, has never elicited state action or response, other than verbal promises.     And few juxta-positionings, can be more inappropriate than the word ‘controller’, when allied to the daily haemorrhage of the country’s economic life blood they reveal.  Given the excellent work the likable Mr. Utouh does, his title should simply be Auditor General, as the first part of the job description, has long been an ironic mockery!.     
But wait,…… perhaps no cobwebs will be gathering on the latest reports, as I’ve just read they’ll be dealt with immediately…done and dusted!.....and those implicated, sacked and taken to court……can it be true?.

It would certainly be historic, if the latest CAG’s reports bore fruitful retribution towards the economic saboteurs concerned.

Vice-President Dr. Mohamed Bilal made this pledge recently, when addressing leaders at a local authority conference.    As we know, local government officials have been stealing billions through ghost workers’ salaries, and procurement of goods and services fraud.  (and presumably anything else they can turn their thieving talents too).

……..the V.P. said “the government had already ordered its administrative machineries to undertake appropriate action in the process of handling  the issue, to take to court suspected culprits”……..that means nothing really, just more of the usual blah blah… no, it’s not true…no action…let the dust start settling!. 

Even more amazing is the fact that he said the government were shocked by the C.A.G. report, which showed poor performance in financial management.   ‘Poor performance’…..’shocked’ where has he been for the last 20 years of fiscal plunder in Tanzania?   Every annual report has been the same, it’s just the amounts that differ.

Perhaps he exhibits various degrees of shock, depending on the sums of money involved.   But since we’ve ‘progressed’ from millions stolen/missing/embezzled/unaccounted for, to billions, Dr. Bilal should no doubt prepare for a massive, heart attack kind of shock in future…..when it becomes trillions!. 
Anyway, while the pillage goes on, all you citizens must remain patriotic!.
I was amused by a heading last month of “Government mulls strategy to revive patriotism”.

Assistant Director in the Ethics Promotion Department in the Presidents Office, Lambert Chiallo, said they plan to promote ethics and patriotism amongst Tanzanians.
What hypocrisy, given the fact that the CAG report, has exposed at all levels of government, that the body politic, is entirely devoid of ethics and patriotism.   If that word means caring for your country and its welfare.      So this is a case of ‘physician heal thyself.

Mr. Chiallo also says there’ll be a training manual for Civil Society Organisations (CSO’s)    For heavens sake…. are these one step up from  common  NGO’s, and will those running them receive a better class of perks and foreign trip benefits!...... since they’ve been around for some time,  new O’s  are surely coming to access donor money, for the cash hungry opportunists.

Anyway, the whole idea from the Presidents office, is to promote ethical standards and moral values in society, with a manual for public officials, and a proposed one for ‘commoners’.   (Really, I didn’t make that up!).

……….but it would have been wonderfully ironic, if the exhortations urging the ‘wananchi’ to embrace moral values and ethics,  had appeared in the press at the same time as the CAG audit results…….revealing that the leaders certainly hadn’t!.

P.S.……I heard comments on the B.B.C. about “a morally bankrupt incompetent political class”….. it turned out to be directed at the  architects of the European Union......hope springs eternal…..why was I pleased it wasn’t Tanzania!

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