This wickedness apparently protected and nursed by stalwart government officials and people who matter in the corridors of power could topple the nation’s stability if protective steps are not taken soon.
Critics of the powers that be trace the origin of the bold spate of the present iniquity to Arusha Declaration in 1967.
The government therefore needs to begin a new chapter to substantially reduce corruption if not to completely eradicate the nation’s chief evil altogether to reassure the people.
An engineer working with the Ministry of Works Joshwa Raya says that corruption and not ignorance purported by Arusha Declaration as one of the three biggest enemies of the nation, is now the main problem in the country and a stubborn stumbling block to national development.
According to the engineer, the most worrying thing is the fact that corruption has gone out of control, defying all measures to check it. The declaration of ignorance decades ago in Arusha as one of the three big enemies of the people was a fallacy because that reflected assumption that all Tanzanians came from the subsistence sector and that all people in the sector were ignorant, Raya alleges.
Raya justifies his comments by saying that the function of leadership and management require the application of technical and administrative skills. It also requires the application of human relations skill and ability to deal with and relate to people.
“However, looking back on the number of decisions, Tanzania started with very few experts in the area of human relations and organizational behavior and the Arusha meeting lacked the expertise when conducting the discussion and deliberations,” Raya explains.
In fact, according to Raya, it was Arusha Declaration that triggered the monster of corruption as we see it in the country today. “Nyerere’s corruption idea started with Arusha Declaration where government officials were restricted to only one source of income,” the engineer says and further explains that: “Fixing salaried income, by Arusha Declaration, pronounced the existence and prevalence of corruption.”
By Raya’s account, the law that denies people to have variable incomes as a principle if somebody gets more income than the fixed amount is actually a thief. If everybody in the community is ordered and allowed by the government to keep only two cows - and actually all are keeping two cows – a person who keeps more than two cows is a thief.
The establishment of the Preventive and Control of Corruption Bureau (PCCB), an anti-corruption body many see as a toothless dog, appears as a state’s organised method to protect the elite and the big fish in a government riddled with corruption. “The anticorruption body in most cases ends up apprehending the poor subsistence sector and people who decide to protest against the government activities and programmes,” Raya says.
Raya’s criticism of the PCCB as a weak arm of the government is not baseless. In his opinion, the PCCB appears to have rubbed up the public the wrong way by its scheme of operation. In a debate organized by the PCCB in Dar es Salaam sometime last year for political parties on Leadership, Responsibilities and Good Governance, the anti-corruption state body was criticized for having a bad and questionable image.
“PCCB, your smell among the people is not good,” said Nape Nnauye, Secretary General of the ruling CCM’s National Executive Committee. In its day to day the PCCB appeared to operate in an environment of corruption, said Nape. “At times you seem to exonerate suspects. You will eventually become a burden to the people whose taxes are used to pay your salaries.”
All this tallies well with Raya’s opinion that the government is pulling its punches against corruption for he says PCCB is just a tool for the powers that be to determine whether the income taken from the government and export sectors matches with the possible income that can be given by the old operating socio-economic system.
The engineer insinuates that the anti-corruption body is not for the public’s good because the manner it operates and its inclination to protect the high and mighty will not liberate the majority from subsistence life. On the contrary, its mode of operation will justify and condemn the poor to their misery for eternity.
Such ugly scenes as recently appeared on TV where residents of various parts of the country have been, more often than not, seen in a fight with some foreign, merely strengthens Raya’s criticisms of the government as an authority not for the people. The land wrangles between the Canadian mineral investor in Nyamongo and Tarime natives only lends more credence to his criticisms.
“If people have no right to their land and only foreigners get huge chunks of it for investment that gives the foreign investor huge profits they transfer abroad to their mother country, how can the native people develop the land for their growth?” he asks. “Such a state will only perpetuate poverty of the people.”
The nation has always said that it has three chief enemies, namely ignorance, disease and poverty. Such natural tragedies like floods have hit hard people, mostly the poor. Raya, however, disputes the idea that poverty is the cause of underdevelopment.
He does not accept the idea that diseases too are a cause of underdevelopment either. He also does not agree with the proclamation that ignorance also causes underdevelopment. The majority of Tanzanians find themselves victims of these vices because of the inherited colonial political system most of which the government inherited.
This system, argues Raya, affords education opportunity to a minority, leaving out the masses whose taxes fund national operations and the wellbeing of the elite. “Diseases reduce life expectancy of the people by causing premature deaths within the subsistence sector,” he explains.
By his account, the colonial system improved the health system of the export and the government sector only. The native adoption of poor health services increased birth rates, propagation of large families including polygamies. “The idea to fight deceases without proper plan finally led to undesired population growth that competes for the meager income in the subsistence sector, subjecting more people to starvation,” Raya explains.