Speaking at the opening of the International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities (IAACA) Executive Committee meeting in Arusha over the weekend, President Jakaya Kikwete called for more efforts in fighting and getting rid of the scourge.
The president told the meeting that corruption remains a major obstacle to achieve the much-needed economic growth and development in developing countries. This is so because the meagre resources required for development to improve the well-being of the nation and its people are diverted into the pockets of a few greedy public officials.
There are cases where contracts are awarded in dubious ways and, as a result, they are not implemented to the letter while the spirit of the deal and value for money is not realised. There are many examples where roads or bridges survive for only a couple of years after their construction.
In some cases, people are forced to bribe public officials to access services they are supposed to get for free or at a lower cost.
Mr Kikwete noted that the burden of corruption falls more heavily on the poor as they cannot afford to pay bribes to get the services including education for their children, proper health care and many others.
Since 2007, Tanzania stepped up the anti-corruption drive by enacting the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Act. The legislation was more comprehensive and provided for establishment of a stronger institution to deal more effectively with new and emerging challenges associated with fighting corruption.
The law facilitated involvement of various stakeholders in the sociality such as public servants, the private sector, civil society, faith based organisations, students and the general public in the war against corruption. The government and PCCB conducted extensive sensitisation in the media and campaigns against graft.
However, the anti-corruption efforts in Tanzania and other developing countries need the support of developed countries and multilateral partners. The development partners should assist developing countries in capacity building to prevent and fight corruption. They can also help developing countries in Africa to recover their assets that have been corruptly taken from them and stashed in the banks abroad.