Stakeholders call for tougher leadership ethics law

06Mar 2016
Felister Peter
Guardian On Sunday
Stakeholders call for tougher leadership ethics law

ANALYSTS and legal experts have recommended a review of the Public Leadership Code of Ethics Act to give the Ethics secretariat teeth to bite and be able to verify the wealth of retired officials for enhanced integrity and accountability.

Dr Azaveli Lwaitama

They however criticized the way such information is handled by the Ethics secretariat as the register of leaders’ wealth is not available to the public.

Hussein Sengu, a former government watch programme officer at the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC), said the core objective of the leaders’ wealth declaration was to make them public, but the process to access the information was difficult.

He said there is controversy over the law that established the secretariat and that it does not scrutinize them in the public interest.

“There is a need to examine retired officials for increased integrity and to enhance accountability,” said Sengu.

Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRAGG) chairman Bahame Nyanduga said for the country to have good leadership there must be transparency.

According to Nyanduga, absence of a specific law on access of information is a barrier to the public to access the register and use the information. He suggested for immediate tabling of the Access to Information Bill in the National Assembly.

University of Dar es Salaam former lecturer Dr Azaveli Lwaitama said it was useless to prepare the leaders wealth register and give it to the President as wananchi should be the top beneficiaries. He said taking such information to citizens can help shape the leaders and control corruption.

He suggested a democratic system where the National Assembly is given mandate to go through the leaders documents.

He called upon top government officials including President John Magufuli to publicly declare their wealth as it was during Julius Nyerere’s tenure.

“Nyerere’s salary and wealth were open to the public. Citizens deserve access to the register as they are the immediate supervisors of the leaders”, he said.

Commenting, Ethics Secretariat Lawyer, Hassan Manula said that wealth declaration forms are only made public when there are complains submitted over specific leaders.

He said the Public Leadership Code of Ethics Act No 13 of 1995 and Section 16 (2) of the Constitution restricts the ethics secretariat from giving such information to anyone.

He said for one to access the leaders wealth declaration forms he/she must submit a complaint and pay a fee of 1,000/-.

Last week, the leader of the opposition ACT- Maendeleo party, Zitto Kabwe called on President John Magufuli to publicly disclose the details of his personal income, assets and liabilities as part of measures to promote accountability and transparency among public officials in the country.

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