ZANZIBAR: ZANZIBAR President Dr Hussein Mwinyi has warned public leaders against the abuse of power, corruption and violation of human rights.
Speaking on Tuesday on the occasion of commemorating the International Anti-Corruption Day and Human Rights Day in Zanzibar, Dr Mwinyi that his administration will not hesitate to take action against offenders.
Dr Mwinyi noted with concern that different reports show that 75 per cent of complaints against some public leaders have been directed to the Ministry of State-Office of the President (Regional Administrations, Local Governments and Special Departments).
The complaints were about senior officers in ministries, departments and government institutions misusing their powers.
“Violating the rights of others just because you hold a higher position is unacceptable in a country that observes the rule of law and respects human rights. Public leaders should assess themselves in the implementation of their daily duties with regard to human rights,” President Mwinyi said.
While International Anti-Corruption Day is marked on December 9, Human Rights Day is commemorated on December 10 every year.
However, Zanzibar decided to push forward to pave the way for the celebrations of Tanzania Independence Day. Dr Mwinyi emphasised the rule of law and the implementation of duties or dealing with issues according to existing laws, regulations and policies to avoid conflicts with the people they serve.
“The government is doing all that it can to maintain its integrity and make Zanzibar a corruption-free country,” he affirmed. However, the President commended the Zanzibar Anti-Corruption and Economic Crime Authority (ZAECA) and the Zanzibar Public Leaders’ Ethics Commission (ZPLEC) for acting tough against unethical leaders.
“I thank ZAECA for successfully saving about 2.3bn/- stolen or conned by dishonest people, out of which 97.9m/- has been returned to the people and the rest of the money to the government after confiscating it by the authorities,” said Dr Mwinyi.
He informed the gathering at the Sheikh Idriss Abdulwakili Hall that the institutions should remain vigilant to stop all unethical conduct.
“Because the government, with support from development partners, injects a lot of funds for development projects. We do not want to lose a single cent.” ZAECA successfully monitored 49 development projects implemented in Unguja and Pemba with an approximate value of more than 652.9bn/-.
President Mwinyi said that in continuing efforts to strengthen good governance in the country, the government has taken steps to set guidelines and create an enabling environment for ministries, departments, government and private institutions, as well as civil organisations, to be able to implement the principles of good governance to achieve the intended goals.
He said that among the measures are the strengthening of Oversight Institutions, including the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), ZAECA, ZPLEC, Public Service Commission, the Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRGG), the Judiciary system, and the media.
President Mwinyi said the celebrations give an opportunity to discuss the future of the country, remind and reflect on the best way to strengthen good governance and its foundations, including the rule of law, accountability, transparency, integrity, human rights, and the fight against corruption.
He said that it was fundamental for all government institutions, private sectors, civil society, religious organisations, and every citizen in their position to ensure the principles of good governance are implemented for the benefit of the country’s development.
Dr Mwinyi also reminded the leaders about complying with the laws and regulations that require each public leader to fill in the annual personal ‘wealth and debt’ declaration form and submit it to the ZPLEC office before the December 31st deadline.
“Disciplinary action will be taken against leaders who do not comply. Last year, most of the leaders returned the forms on time, and only eleven were late. But according to the ethics commission, for this year, many leaders have not submitted their forms as we celebrate today (December 19, 2023).” Dr Mwinyi also raised concerns over the information provided in the declaration forms, including incomplete information.
“I urge you to complete the procedures with reliable information for proper records.” The Minister of State-Office of the President (Constitution, Legal Affairs, Public Service, and Good Governance), Mr Haroun Ali Suleiman, commended the institutions for promoting accountability and fighting against corruption.
The Chairperson of the ZPLEC, Mr Asaa Ahmad Rashid, said the celebrations provide an opportunity for public leaders to sit together and reflect on their roles because they are the ones who have the responsibility to plan or manage how to achieve the government’s goals. He reminded his fellow leaders to make sure they fill in and submit their property/wealth and debts declaration forms to the commission.
As of December 18, only a total of 922 leaders, equivalent to 36 per cent, had filled out their forms. Mr Rashid also raised his voice against some leaders who try to threaten officers responsible for following up on public leaders’ ethics, mainly accusations and clarifications of the information filled in the forms.