Yes, PCCB must fight corruption diligently, not selectively

16Jan 2020
The Guardian
Yes, PCCB must fight corruption diligently, not selectively

WHILE most of us were already beginning to forget some trouble shooting points of the past year, those who are charged with ensuring good governance are better placed to emphasize on continuity.

In that spirit Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa has reminded the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) to as soon as possible complete investigations on claims of embezzlement during the 2019 Uhuru Torch Race. It’s one such issue.

In the speech that was given as he opened a PCCB building in his Ruangwa home district, the premier also referred to the need to complete investigations on thefts in Agricultural Marketing Cooperative Societies (AMCOS). He cited the case of cashew nuts and sesame crops focusing on his home district, as it is among his audience that the matter was directed. The bureau will have to act.

The premier wasn’t making the point just in relation to the 2019 race and crop frauds but also made a wider note on the need to energise efforts to rein in corrupt officials. A specific point in that regard was his affirmation that in addition to PCCB conducting day to day activities, it should also implement various directives given to them by President John Magufuli at different times. It means they have a clear list of those directives, when they were given and have a work plan in that regard, as if is lacking, they will have to draw up one.

The premier in no way belittled the work the bureau is conducting, but as it is usually the case, making efforts to do a good job is one thing, and exerting oneself to the utmost is another. Routinely we are usually satisfied with having made efforts, but the wider public is unlikely to be satisfied with those efforts unless each public official actually strives for the horizon of performance. That isn’t easy as the body enjoys rest rather than effort, and is easily satisfied with what is mediocre, and at times pushing for efficiency is offensive, intrusive, etc. Still what is what senior public officials need to ensure is done.

For instance, the premier noted that recent research by stakeholders in the fight against corruption including Transparency International (TI), the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and Afrobarometer show that for three consecutive years Tanzania has been doing well in the war against corruption, seeking to attain good governance. But that doesn’t mean this will continue indefinitely is top officials sit in their laurels, as this is how a corruption fighting government slowly turns into indifference, if such reminders are not given, and also enforced.

There was also an idea that there is need to establish anti-corruption clubs in schools so that students understand and report on corrupt incidences they may come across. That is an input in terms of education but the wider atmosphere is more important, as behavior follows the line of least resistance, and unless top leaders are widely awake, no amount of education eliminates tendencies of corruption. Living off the sweat of others or cheating to gain is part of nature. It is something that the whole of society knows is bad but as private interest are more formidable to sentiments than public interests, despite that knowledge they will do the opposite unless they are pointedly hindered from trespassing on cardinal rules of their offices.

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