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We just want our loot back

In his own loving way, after punching holes in our juvenile attempts at defence, he ended the lecture on a high note by telling us in Kiswahili, wanangu, nikiwapa kidole msichukue mkono mzima. In English it may roughly translate into “my children, when I offer you a finger do not go for the whole arm”.

I shall not divulge details of our mischief here lest I get into trouble with my senior siblings. But the moral of the story is that one should learn to appreciate whatever little is given to them, especially when they have not earned it. Here I am now appreciating
everything I have been blessed with.

I thank the Almighty for just being alive, considering all the things I have had to go through lately. I also thank all those who had shown better character than that of my own and expressed concern for my welfare. After the brief moment of sentimentalities, I cannot help but note that it had been a week of its fair share of twists and turns.

This week president Jakaya Kikwete appointed three Members of Parliament. And just a day later he reshuffled the cabinet. If we deserved it or not, one may never come to know for certain. Still, if my opinion matters, I commend the president for his decision to reshuffle the cabinet. It has been a longer time coming.

Most importantly, I commend the president for driving the point home, that a minister being shown the exit door is only a political statement. From now on technocrats too will be shown the door. One former cabinet minister labelled himself in Parliament a sacrificial goat.

In politics sacrifices are an order of the day. People and names will come and go, the institution will remain, so as I profusely commend the president, we feel sorry for those who had to bite the dust, but I doubt if our hearts as Tanzanians are actually
bleeding for them. In fact, we will get some good night sleep just fine. In all honesty, we are a victim of our own devices.

The sickness that is ruining us is corruption; all other failures are just symptoms. Tanzania has had countless ministers since independence and yet progress is still wanting. Naturally, we have had to make strides since then because that’s what governments are supposed to do for their people.

But it is also evident that individuals have made far major leaps than the nation in questionable fashion. How one can remain contented after amassing wealth while denying her nieces and nephews upcountry decent social services beats me, but we are humans, we are capable of anything.

We should be thankful that God Almighty did not assign a Tanzanian to supply the air that we breathe for free. Those who would have failed to grease the supplier’s hands would certainly have not lived. And we would have coined a new terminology, something like “povercide”, for we certainly would have been decimated due to our poverty. Corruption is so rife that it is not only confined to the public sector.

A change of guard in terms of reshuffling cabinet ministers is no longer a cure. Our illness has metamorphosed into some very chronic disease for aesthetic treatment. There is some kind of systematic patronage that makes it very difficult for people with the best interests at heart for this nation to succeed in transforming our society for the better.

Perhaps we could start with ending that. Academic merit alone should not be looked at as a factor when recruiting civil servants. An individual’s integrity and moral and ethical issues should not be overlooked. How is it that public servants get to have so much wealth and property in so short a time after employment and there are no eyebrows raised? This alone is a manifestation of intractable corruption in our society. You can steal but just don’t get caught, heck, that’s what everyone does.

That’s the attitude. And when the hens come home to roost, they want the public to feel sorry for them. They look so pathetic when dragged to court but that never seem to us justice, we want the loot back. Because after all is said and done, how does any ordinary Tanzanian benefit from any changes if people continue embezzling public funds?

We were eagerly waiting for the changes, and now that they have happened, we still go to bed hungry. But we are not angry; we just want the loot back, please.


LAST week, following the inauguration of the newlyelected ...


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