Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

17 November 2012

Tanzania: I Always Turn the Other Cheek - Kikwete

Arusha — PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete has said that civil servants and government officials will always be judged by their performance and noble service and not based on public sentiment.

The president also noted that he prefers to "turn the other cheek" whenever he is attacked by some quarters over real or imaginary claims based on individual perception of his character. Speaking to religious leaders from both Christian and Muslim faiths in Arusha region, Mr Kikwete opined that it is not possible to please and be supported by everyone but he keeps no grudges against people who oppose him.

"The best thing to do is for everyone to undertake their responsibilities, this government does not operate on sentiments but we hire people on the basis of their merit and qualifications," said Mr Kikwete shortly after arriving at Kilimanjaro International Airport on Thursday evening.

Mr Kikwete urged the clergy not to pay attention to people who claim that he appoints close friends and associates to senior government and public positions. "There are procedures for hiring people to serve in public office, the state machinery always considers integrity, capability, creativity and dedication to the particular task," said the president.

He said people with qualifications are hard to find and because of that the government cannot afford to leave out potential candidates under any circumstance. "That is why even when one does not like Mr Kikwete, but so long as he delivers, we give him the job.

Besides, by nature I am always the kind of person who turns the other cheek even when people attack or speak against me," he stated. The clerics had turned up at the airport to both welcome Mr Kikwete and congratulate him for being re-elected as the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) National Chairman for another five-year term.

The religious leaders pledged their support to the president in ensuring a stable and prosperous country.

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