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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

How serious are those behind the Swiss money scandals?

11th November 2012

Understandably, a private motion by Kigoma North Member of Parliament, Hon. Zitto Zuberi Kabwe (Chadema) in the House in Dodoma last week raised a lot of temper both inside and outside parliament.

Through the private motion, Mr Kabwe argued that all those monies stashed away – illegally -- in foreign banks be reclaimed and brought home. He also called for the prosecution of those involved in the scam.

The motion raised tempers because for many, especially following the live show from outside the House, there was some semblance of possible action being taken against the culprits.

What convinced the people that their representatives were this time very serious was the full participation of members of parliament from the ruling party, CCM. The CCM Member of Parliament for Simanjiro, Mr Francis Ole Sendeka said it was time MPs for once ignored their respective party affiliations and rallied behind Mr Kabwe to rid the nation of thieves.

He warned that if they did not act as once, such money would eventually be used (read corruptly) to vote them out of their respective seats come the General Election in 2015. In fact, nothing convinced Tanzanians that the MPs were very serious with what they were talking about than Mr Sendeke’s reference to the nation’s failure to deal appropriately with past scandals that included, among others, the infamous Richmond and the External Payment Accounts briefly referred to as EPA.

He said only ‘small EPA fishes’ had been arrested and prosecuted, leaving the big ones free to enjoy their loot. But as the debate on Mr Kabwe’s private motion lasted in the country’s theoretical capital city, rumours were also set aflame.

According to the rumours doing the rounds now, what we see today is linked to the 2015 General Election; that its genesis lies in the recently concluded CCM elections which saw the ruling party’s three major wings, UVCCM, UWT and WAZAZI (parents) being snatched by one political faction that is vying for Dar’s ‘White House’ come 2015.

They said after one of the big factions was soundly beaten in the recent party elections, it had now resolved to deal with the victorious faction whose leading members are believed to belong to the “Group of 13” that is accused of stashing illegally acquired money into Swiss and other foreign banks.

“In fact, that explains it,” one of the mongers told Whisperer. “One of the MPs had gone on to challenge Foreign Minister, Mr Bernard Membe who has gone on record as saying ‘he knew’ those behind the scandal to stand up and name names to prove that he can handle the biggest post on the land if it is handed to him.”

Many who watched the live drama on TBC television can recall how Mr Membe timidly bowed in the House -- repeatedly each time the MP challenged him to stand up and be counted.

“The trounced faction fears that if it does not stop leading members of the winning faction now, it will not be able to handle the race for the 2015 presidency… the winning faction has to be stopped now, and because some of its leading members are linked to the money scandal that provides the losers with the golden opportunity of derailing them, legally,” says the rumour monger.

The argument is that once those involved in the scandal are exposed, they will be expelled from the ruling party and barred from fielding their presidential candidate for the 2015 General Election.

What the rumours mongers appear to be certain is that like the Richmond and part of the what has come to be referred to as the EPA scandal, no one will be brought before the court.

They are also certain that like the Radar Scandal, money would eventually be returned and handed over to the government but those behind it will not be touched once they are out of the 2015 presidential race.

They further argue that no one in the losing faction is audacious enough to prosecute those linked to the Swiss money scandal because they are equally not clean themselves!

“You see,” says one of the mongers, “these people are all living in glass houses … so they know what it means to throw stones in the house they live in … they cannot do that because they would also be equally affected … hence their decision to confine this race to the 2015 presidency.

“What these people are doing is not different from what some leading members of what came to be known as the Mtandao (network) which eventually put Mr Jakaya Kikwete into power,” another rumour monger told the Whisperer. He said before the 2005 presidential election, the former spy master, Dr Hassy Kitine was subjected to public ridicule when they linked him up to alleged misuse of public funds by his wife, an accusation that was eventually not lodged in a court of law.

The fear was that as a PhD holder, an economist and former spy master he stood the best chance in the race for president, especially when they realized that he was somewhat close to the third phase President Benjamin Mkapa. So the trick was to destroy his image, and ensure he doesn’t make any attempt for the 2005 presidency.

And once they had succeeded to keeping the former spymaster out of the race, his alleged scandal was thrown out of the window!

“The pre-2005 script is now being replayed … only time will tell. But what is unfortunate for the majority of Tanzanians is that they believe other people are fighting real battles on their behalf,” adds another rumour monger.

But who are members of this victorious faction in the ruling party? Most of them come from those who have alleged “mothered” numerous scandals, those briefly referred to as the “mafisadi.” And most of those ‘do-gooders’ come from those who claim to be “clean” and belong to the “defeated group” which has been losing one election after another from individual to wing levels.

For to appreciate the veracity of this story one ought to simply take a close look at all those who stood up in the House, firing one salvo after another against the so-called mafisadi.

Individually, those people don’t see eye to eye with members of the other group. However, in order to disguise the battle for the presidency, a willing member of the opposition had to be used!

But how serious is this? Perhaps we need not get that far … these are mere whispers! But that is what Dar es Salaam is all about, a city described by the Father of the Nation, Mwlaimu Julius Nyerere in 1965 as the ‘Rumourville.’

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