President Jakaya Kikwete has underscored the need for anti-graft agencies in developing countries to acquire modern technology and hire personnel skilled, competent, diligent and committed enough to outwit corrupt elements in society.
He made remarks to that effect when opening an International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities (IAACA) executive committee meeting here yesterday.
The president said the massive advances made in the development of technology pose as much a daunting challenge to national agencies charged with preventing and combating corruption as it does to institutions responsible for fighting other forms of crime.
The circumstances make it necessary for the institutions concerned “to acquire the appropriate technology and hire the best brains capable of responding effectively to the advances in technology used by corrupt elements in the society”, he pointed out.
President Kikwete explained that building effective legal frameworks, establishing credible institutional mechanisms and hiring competent personnel were crucial in guaranteeing success in the war on corruption.
“Many developing countries are constrained with financial, technical, technological and human resources. As a result, the mechanisms and institutions so established are not fully capable of enforcing the law and judicial dispensation of corruption cases,” he said.
He noted that Tanzania has registered modest successes Tanzania in scaling down grand corruption, but there is still a lot of ground to cover and a lot of hard work to do before the war on the vice is conclusively won.
“There is no reason for celebration or complacency. We have not yet reached the comfort level in this fight,” said the president, adding: “This means, therefore, that we have to redouble our efforts and sharpen our skills as we roll out Phase Three of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy and Action Plan.”
An upbeat President Kikwete noted that it was fortunate that the government was seriously committed to ensuring that Tanzania is reborn as corruption-free zone, if the people are adequately sensitised on the havoc corruption can cause and thereafter fully involved in efforts to combat it.
He cited the media, civil society organisations and Tanzania’s development partners as among key players in the war on corruption, saying the media were especially crucial in creating public awareness on the vice and crime generally.
“Through investigative journalism, the media can expose the misconduct and corrupt practices of public and corporate officials. By naming and shaming corrupt officials, the media can serve as a watchdog to limit corruption and prevent it from becoming endemic,” explained President Kikwete.
He said civil society bodies can serve an equally important role in reigning in the vice through advocacy seeking to sensitise the public on the importance of joining the struggle and intensifying the fight.
The war also requires the support of bilateral and multilateral partners “because the problem can assume a trans-boundary character”, he added, noting that corruption leads to the loss of many lives and shatters the future of many people, especially the poor.
“Corruption remains a major obstacle to achieving much-needed growth and development in developing countries. The meagre resources required for development to improve the well-being of the nation and its people are diverted into the pockets of a few corrupt public officials for their personal gains,” he stated.
Mathias Chikawe, Minister of State in the President’s Office (Good Governance, meanwhile elaborated on the impact of corruption on decision-making and policy-making and thus impeding social and economic development.
“Corruption is seen as the most serious obstacle to democracy and sustainable development,” he said, adding: “It is an international problem that respects no national frontiers; it saps society’s moral fibre; it throttles economic development of states; and it tarnishes the political legitimacy of governments.”
Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau director general Dr Edward Hosea chipped in, describing IAACA as one of the international initiatives addressing corruption across the globe “taking into account that individual countries can’t win the war”.