The thin line between mafisadi and those touted as ‘clean men’
When the East African Bribery Index indicated, in its latest report issued mid this year, that Tanzania had overtaken both Kenya and Uganda, as far as corruption is concerned, some of us doubted the authenticity of that report.
But looking around at what has been going on, again as far as corruption is concerned, one realizes how professional the institution has been in arriving at such conclusion.
Take, for instance, this rumour that has lately been making the rounds in Dar es Salaam about this Indian owned hotel on the outskirts of the city which is reported to be a centre of corruption deals.
Of course, the owners of the hotel have absolutely nothing to do with the vice. Perhaps the only blame that can be directed at them, and even then, just as a way of enhancing discussions on these rumours, is for providing a centrally located place which is ideal for all kinds of business.
Now the all-important rumour revolves around plans by some foreign owned private company which manufactures transformers to sell its products in this country. According to rumour mongers, which as we all know are not in short supply in this country, officials of the foreign owned company recently passed over a fat envelope of US dollar bills, under a table, to a senior official from a power utility company.
The source said he saw the white envelope changing hands, of course, surreptitiously as other patrons continued with whatever they were doing completely oblivious of what was afoot.
And come to think of it, how could they when they were busy with their ‘somethings’ who had accompanied them -- what with the weekend just around the corner. According to our source, this was not the end of the drama; a few minutes later, a vehicle belonging to somebody who works for an organization which is entrusted with the task of allowing foreigners in the country drove in, in a top-of-the-range car.
But instead of getting out to do justice to his stomach after hours of hard work in his office, he remained seated inside the vehicle. But as we all know about Tanzanians who have made a profession out finding out what others are doing, immediately went to work and within no time they came out with what they described as an impeccable report!
That the busy official had been busy, signing documents inside the vehicle which were later handed over to a guy who disappeared into oblivion. Now what apparently beat our source is the decision by the senior official to turn his private car into an institution for handling such sensitive documents.
His argument was that such documents should have been signed by the man in his own office in the city and not, Heavens’ sake, outside a restaurant! And now what I have just narrated above are two incidents which happened in one day.
One wonders what goes on in other equally well-placed hotels in the city centre, especially at night when most indigenous Dar es Salamites have left the city for what they call their sweet homes in the ooutskirts of the city.
And talking about indigenous Dar es Salaamites, “do you know,” and that is how the source started, “that most of these people who are either civil servants or have been in the past, each own over five houses?,”
According to this man, and I don’t know how to categorize his statement, this development is part of how grand ‘ufisadi’ started in this country. He is positive it all started with the second phase government of President Ali Hassan Mwinyi which spearheaded both the death and burial of the leadership code that had been enshrined in the Arusha Declaration.
With the leadership code relegated to the dustbin of history, the man went on, the third phase government led by President Benjamin Mkapa decided to sell government houses to the civil servants as if they had done any wonders for the nation.
Now that was the start of ufisadi in this country and, as soon as Tanzanians start classifying those behind the move as leaders of ufisadi in this country, we will have started on the right path towards the removal of this monster called corruption.
The man told the Whisperer that distribution of government houses between and among civil servants was nothing but an act of thuggery that needed to be dealt with as such.
The rumour monger said it was wrong to crucify some people for their creation of Richmond and leave those behind the government houses racket scot free. What was more serious about this problem, the man went on, is when those behind the racket start being considered as being fit to lead this nation come the year 2015!
The other rumour monger had a completely different argument.
He said claims by some officials in the present and past governments that they had built new roads was not correct!
He said most of what passes to be new roads, were there since the colonial era.
But what our governments have done, he said, was to transform such roads into tarmac roads.
In the words of the rumour monger, a new road involves establishing a road where hitherto there had been nothing except virgin forest land.
Therefore Mr Pombe Magufuli will certainly have to revise what he describes as the successes of the third and fourth phase governments!
But if we agree with our rumour monger that what his description of what a new road is supposed to be, now what about the quality of the roads which have been built by the two phase governments!
And this is what he had to say: “forget about that…how can you describe such roads as well done when vehicles continue to share two lanes demarcated in one road instead of separating the two lanes for going and coming vehicles so as to avoid on-head collisions?
He said if the Father of the Nation, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere built four lanes-the Nelson Mandela Express road in 1970s why do we continue to build the same four lanes in the 21st century?
Do we really have vision or the opposite of this important word? Again I leave the question to none other than the man who has the ability to cram the country’s kilometers in his head, his excellency, Mr John Pombe Magufuli.