29 January 2013

Tanzania: Anti-Graft War Must Be Stepped Up

LAST week, Tanzania presented its report to the African Union (AU) governance assessment body, the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. President Jakaya Kikwete reiterated his government's commitment to its policy of zero-tolerance on corruption.

Mr Kikwete told members of APRM that the government will continue strengthening institutions dealing with corruption such as the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB).

The president rightly told the APRM members that since taking office in 2005, the government has taken to task many corrupt elements. The anti-graft campaign in the country has evidently spared no one because even senior government officials have landed in court. Those prosecuted included ministers, permanent secretaries, ambassadors and other government executives.

Corruption can generally be described as moral impurity or deviation from ideals. The vice has many shades and may consist of many activities including bribery and embezzlement. In government or politics, corruption occurs when an officeholder or other employee acts in an official capacity for his or her own personal gain.

It is not a secret that corruption has taken root in the country and bad elements, despite being few, are widespread featuring in many sectors including the police, hospitals, judiciary and education. In the Police Force, there are stories of foul play where criminals collude with officers before committing crimes and other extort money from motorists.

There are allegations that people land in court charged with fabricated offences for failure to provide what is described as "cooperation" to corrupt officers. In public hospitals, there are allegations that nurses and medics often fail to deliver their best to patients who do not loosen their purses.

In such a situation the war against corruption must be intensified and should involve everyone to make Tanzania a better place to live. It is hoped that all government officials, politicians, clerics and the ordinary 'wananchi' will vigilantly and jointly work together in tackling corruption.

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