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CAG has done his work, Everybody is watching!

THE ‘Rats’ still loom large in government cycles despite President JPM’s effort to clean the house. The CAG report that was presented at Bunge mid this week reveals that there are many ‘corruption miles’ that need to be covered. Most Tanzanians had thought ‘ghost’ stuff has been a thing of the past but CAG’s report proves otherwise. Interestingly, CAG report comes at a time when the law making organ is at loggerheads with him.

Unquestionably, the report puts Bunge administration at a crossroad especially the Speaker of the house who declared vehemently that Bunge will not work with CAG following his widely reported comment that Bunge is weak in as far as checks and balances is concerned. Bunge MP’s especially those coming from the ruling party are not happy with CAG and are all up in arms to ensure that CAG pays for it. According to them he had undermined Bunge’s jurisdiction as a law making and an independent organ.

The CAG report which has been reported in all mainstream media and the social media has raised heated debates amongst members of the society including academicians, political analysts, activists, media pundits as well as politicians. In the social media such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp there has been lots of threads highlighting major aspects on CAG’s report focusing mainly on grand corruption alias ‘upigaji wa nguvu’ which involves big ‘sharks’ in government as well as political parties.

A mindboggling question that kept coming from all discussants was ‘how could all these ‘madudu’s’ happen’ at a time when JPM’s government is working pretty hard at all fronts to curb corruption and prick out all the boils? Fraudulent elements still persists and the hardcore ‘thieves’ are still doing their thing.

In the report they have categorically demonstrated that they are neither afraid of JPM nor his government! To understand how painful and disturbing it is when reading such a report picture this! A video clip is displayed of a teacher who lives and works in a harsh environment! She closes her patchy-looking-house and proceeds to school. Squeezing herself past a crowded class with most pupils sitting on the ground.

A few- those who have the muscle- are struggling for a space over a wrecked desk! Despite all the odds, she is determined to impart knowledge to the poor souls. She tries to calm her pupils but the teaching environment is unbearable for both the pupils and herself. The desk finally breaks up and the pupils tumble on the ground! Distressingly, the highlighted gloomy picture is a reflection of the situation in many public schools in Tanzania especially in the rural areas.

The schools face many challenges ranging from lack of desks, classrooms, books, toilets, teachers to mention but a few. You may also recall the other clip on toilets and the conditions they were in! Certainly, none of us would wish his/her children or relatives to be subjected to such surroundings. And so when ordinary citizens who work so hard with much effort in the farms using the hand hoe read such a report they become devastated and lose trust on their government and their representatives at Bunge.

They usually ask themselves a lot of questions that remain unanswered even during election campaigns. Sadly, khanga, T-shirts, caps, drinks and ubwabwa usually blind them during election times. During a gender symposium held at New Africa Hotel last week and organised by TGNP-Mtandao, discussants pondered on a national budget that is “Gender Responsive Budgeting: Promoting a National Budget that is inclusive and responds to the concerns of the marginalized.”

The highlights from the CAG report does not give any hope to the marginalized communities because resources that were meant to improve their livelihoods are always ‘eaten by hardcore rats’. Discussants posed the following questions during the said discussion: What entails a budget with a gender perspective? Can we have a budget which takes into consideration the needs and aspirations of various groups in our communities? Can we have a budget which is participatory and respects the opinions and/or views of all the people in the community? How do national resources impact on the lives of people in the communities?

How do we perceive the whole idea of national budget against individual budget (Does it ring a bell in Tanzania?), what about income vis-à-vis expenditure? Does allocated resources reach out to different groups? How and in what modality? Other crucial issues were: Do people receive that which has been budgeted for? How and in what manner? Is the budget sufficient? Does it address their concerns and aspirations? Do the citizens contribute to the national cake (Do they pay taxes and other dues? If they don’t pay, why?), How does the government empower marginalized groups in the society?

Can the government achieve vision 2025 without taking into consideration issues of gender mainstreaming? Where do women stand in the industrialization drive? Are they involved? How can Tanzania attain middle income economy without taking into consideration gender mainstreaming? How does economic empowerment strategies help marginalized communities? Can Tanzania achieve SDG’s without taking on board the concerns of the marginalized communities? What is the contribution of the private sector in attaining gender equality and improving the livelihoods of marginalized communities?

How does 2019/20 national budget look like? Is there anything new? Is there a ray of hope at the end of the tunnel? Does it address the highlighted issues? Was the budgeting process transparent and participatory? Going by what has been revealed in the CAG report you don’t have to go to school to understand where the national cake goes. It’s not a secret that the sharks are everywhere. Ostensibly, they are well circulated in all areas where the budget has been set.

In the end, the monies that were meant for health, education, water and sanitation, infrastructure and energy, empowerment for the poor and the likes are diverted and spent by these sharks and their cronies. Thus the poor farmer in Kyerwa, Kyengia, Bariadi and elsewhere in the country will only hear about it on radio. It’s now time for JPM throw his weight into uprooting all corrupt elements in government and a wider society must support this war at a speed of a gazelle. I am anxiously waiting for his reaction, everyone is watching!

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Author: By JACKS MEENA

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