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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Cabinet reshuffle should culminate in court trials

29th April 2012

The decision by Chama Cha Mapinduzi’s Central Committee to endorse President Jakaya Kikwete’s inention to make a surgical reshuffle of the cabinet is a long-awaited move which should have been taken a long time ago.

It may serve to restore some confidence in the government, but much depends on whether the reshuffle net will be cast wide enough to ensnare all those mentioned by CAG and if the dismissals will be accompanied by serious and expeditious prosecutions, trials and convictions where applicable.

Otherwise we may end up witnessing symbolic show trials, as is the case with the EPA and other corruption cases now in court. I am informed that investigations of nearly 80 percent of these by PCCB have been completed but the prosecutions are blocked by the powers that be. The move therefore may not yield much political mileage for CCM.

In the long-term, however, this is a matter that should receive due attention in the constitution-making process by setting out clear and legally actionable standards of ethics in the public service.

At the moment, for example, we have the embarrassing and deplorable situation where some MPs, while arraigned in court on corruption charges, are still in Parliament participating in making laws of the land. At the very least, in recognition and affirmation of the sanctity of the House, they should have stayed out until their cases were decided.

Prof Baregu (pictured) is a seasoned academician in political science and public administration currently lecturing at Saint Augustine University of Tanzania (SAUT).

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