Members of Parliament yesterday demanded that the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau and the State Intelligence Services invest more efforts in strategies aimed at helping the nation achieve its pro-poor development goals.
They talked of indications that the two state agencies were yet to put their immense power and potential to full use in supporting strategies aimed at fast-tracking the nation’s social and economic development.
“Millions of Tanzanians are languishing under difficult socio-economic conditions chiefly owing to pervasive corruption, lack of good governance and gross violations of human rights by state organs,” Iringa Urban legislator Rev Peter Msigwa submitted when contributing to debate on the 2011/2012 Budget estimates tabled in the House on Monday by Hawa Ghasia, Minister of State in the President’s Office (Civil Service Management).
He charged that PCCB was under-performing, “as evidenced by its clear failure to contain the rising wave of grand and petty corruption across the country”.
He also recalled that PCCB Director General Dr Edward Hoseah once confessed at a seminar for MPs held in Dar es Salaam that grand corruption involved high-profile figures in government circles who could hardly ever be touched.
“There are untouchable corrupt elements in the government machinery, so what is the logic of having PCCB? If PCCB cannot touch particular corrupt officials in the government, its boss should step down; he has to resign,” said Msigwa.
“It does not make any sense for the PCCB chief to continue holding a position where he has full powers to execute his duties effectively and efficiently for the public interest but does not do so. He must deliver to the expectations of Tanzanians and not few people in the government – or throw in the towel,” he added.
The opposition legislator also talked of “signs of the State Intelligence Service becoming increasingly bent on supporting the ruling party checking the movements and activities of opposition parties instead of seeking to safeguard national security”.
Michael Laizer (Longido) meanwhile said corruption and related anti-social practices were rampant in district councils and municipalities across the country but PCCB was doing little to keep the vice in check.
Citing examples, he said corruption and other malpractices were rife at the country’s border points, in procurement processes in local government authorities, in the education sector and in all manner of development projects.
“Millions upon millions of shillings dished out through the Tanzania Social Action Trust Fund (TASAF) to facilitate the implementation of community-based projects are swindled, yet PCCB is not doing anything to arrest the tide,” submitted a visibly concerned Laizer.
He said PCCB was concentrating more on corruption associated with politics while leaving many corruption-prone zones unchecked, adding: “The bureau’s presence is nowhere to be felt in many areas. For many people, it is something of a ghost.”
For her part, Magdalena Sakaya (Special Seats) faulted the government for what she described as failure to help good governance and the rule of law flourish and failure to rein in violations of people’s rights by law-enforcement agencies”.
“Our security and good governance systems are not working at all. In short, we have neither good governance nor rule of law in this country,” she argued.
Ubungo legislator John Mnyika appealed to the State Intelligence Services and PCCB to investigate reports relating to grand corruption scandals “and help the government in designing results-oriented development strategies in order to bail out the millions of Tanzanians languishing in poverty”.
He talked of the government having paid a 3bn/- in controversial circumstances, with a second instalment of 4.5bn/- lined up, asking the two state agencies “to chip in and investigate dubious and controversial payments of this nature”.
“The two state organs should borrow a leaf from similar ones in other countries on strategies employed to stimulate economic growth and development instead of staying practically idle, just monitoring the movements of opposition parties,” noted the MP.
Most of the MPs who contributed to the debate said it was wrong and improper for the government to fall short of saying if it had reviewed the minimum wage in the public service, noting that the suspense would serve as a disincentive to public servants.