Thieves in local authorities must be held accountable

LAST week, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa uncovered financial malpractices masterminded by some government officials in Kigoma Region’s councils.

The Leader of Government Business in the National Assembly was forced to order the implicated local officials to step aside to pave the way for thorough investigation by the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB).

It was during his tour of the region last week when the PM smelt a rat in the management of funds allocated since the 2021/ 2022 fiscal year for implementation of various projects, including the construction of the Uvinza District hospital and Rukoma and Sunuka health centres.

The PM also learnt that funds that were allocated for Mgambo and Kajeje dispensaries in the region since 2021/2022 financial year had not been spent for the intended goal.

We have said it times without number that local governments are important actors in economic development. They are more familiar with the local economy than any other level of government.

Local government officials are in close contact with local stakeholders and they are responsible for ensuring that policies are adapted to local conditions, including promoting specific advantages and addressing important bottlenecks.

Experts in local governments believe that national and local governments play complementary roles. National or central governments rely on local governments to implement many national economic development programmes at grassroots level.

The purpose of Local Government Authorities (LGAs) is to transfer authority to the people, power to participate and involve them in the planning and implementation of development programmes within their respective areas. In short, LGAs are supposed to help local communities to achieve economic development.

Even when it comes to projects’ implementation at grassroots level, local government officials are required to play a key role in ensuring the funds allocated for the goals are judiciously spent.

Now, when local government officials, who are trusted to serve the grassroots, become the perpetrators of financial malpractices such as theft, embezzlement and misappropriation, stern measures must be instituted. In other words financial malpractices by these local authorities become a stab in the back against the grassroots.

This is also betrayal against the general public and of course, the appointing authority that trusted these local officials to go and serve wananchi in local councils. Local government official ought to understand that money channeled to various development projects is a public money raised from taxes paid by Tanzanians, meaning that embezzling or stealing it means stealing from Tanzanians.

It would be recalled that President Samia Suluhu Hassan once warned government officials against thievery of public monies, stressing that whoever attempts to do so will be seeking to see her true colour.

He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

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