Our leaders have said all that there is to say about corruption fight.
They have also been very clear about actions that need to be taken in order to rid the nation of the scourge which is inimical to justice, democracy and development generally.
But if anything, corruption has remained deeply entrenched, its fibre hardening, infiltrating into the ranks of those supposed to be in the forefront of the fight against the vice. One of the most deadly cancers eating our society now is corruption.
The acts of vote buying during the recent elections of the CCM women’s and youth wings, were a further eye-opener of the dangers we face as a nation, since we expected the members of those two groups to show the way in the fight against the vice.
Some of the members are accused of having been ensnared in the trap of buying votes, so as to gain leadership positions.
President Jakaya Kikwete issued a strong condemnation of the acts of corruption when addressing the members in Dodoma and directed watchdog institutions to seriously investigate such misdemenours.
At the risk of being seen to repeat the obvious, we would like to offer a reminder on why fighting corruption is such a crucial national assignment.
First and foremost corruption takes away resources that are intended to help promote the larger public good, channeling them instead into the hands of a few elements out to grab power and more resources.
A vicious cycle develops where corruption fuels poor governance which in turn worsens the corruption.
As a UN official observed recently: “…[corruption] corrodes the ability of rule of law institutions to promote human rights, maintain law and order, ensure the integrity of public institutions, support economic growth and deliver services. Corruption siphons away money that should be used for better public services, getting children into school, helping mothers to survive childbirth and expanding access to water, health care and food – and places it in the undeserving hands of criminals. The poorest are hardest-hit.”
We are further told that corruption costs the average developing country more than a quarter of a billion dollars per year, enough to make the annual ‘bowl in hand’ begging for aid be abandoned.
Given the above scenario, it is worrying that the nation is yet to give the campaign against corruption its undivided attention.
That is why it was comforting to hear a strong recommendation from members of CCM’s special region for higher learning institutions of
barring from office all leaders elected in voting marred by corruption, pending decisions from relevant watchdog bodies.
The members who were meeting in Dodoma last week said corruption allegations made against some of the party cadres violated CCM election regulations, adding: “We must stand firm in the fight against corruption, if we want to become keen and exemplary leaders,” said Special region Secretary General, Christopher Ngubiagai.
With such determined voices coming up at such gatherings, there is still hope that we will be able to marshal the needed foot soldiers to intensify the campaign against corruption.