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Sunday, April 3, 2016

Kudos to anti-corruption drive for walking the talk


2nd April 2016.
President John Magufuli has put a smile on the majority of members of the public as he walked the talk of sending three members of Parliament to court over corruption charges amounting to Sh30m.

Yesterday another MP, Richard Ndassa, was arraigned in court for an alleged attempt to solicit a staggering amount from a Tanesco top executive.
Certainly, more trials involving MPs are set to follow, subject to completion of investigations by the country’s anti-corruption watchdog, the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB).

This development comes barely a week after the resignation of some members of the parliamentary committee on social services. Explaining their resignation, the MPs - Zitto Kabwe (Kigoma Urban), Hussein Bashe (Nzega) and Sixtus Mapunda (Mbinga Urban) petitioned the Speaker, Job Ndugai to launch a thorough investigation into reports that certain lawmakers solicited bribes from state-run enterprises. 
In response to the charges, the Speaker relieved from their roles three parliamentary committee chairpersons and two vice-chairpersons on the day that reports emerged. Investigations had been launched into reports that members of the affected committees had solicited for bribes from state parastatals.
Following those allegations, a section of the public were of the view that, if proven to be true, this would otherwise undermine ongoing efforts by President Magufuli to combat corruption in public institutions, in line with what the then CCM candidate promised in the general elections.
However, there is a feeling that a sense of patriotism amongst some MPs is vivid. Likewise, swift actions which were taken by the Speaker, to relieve from their duties MPs suspected of soliciting bribes for a thorough investigation to take place, should as well be applauded.  
This platform strongly commends the prowess and guts of PCCB for taking the war against corruption an extra mile, as in the past such scenarios were not given the weight they deserve. The reason was that MPs seemed to be untouchable, members of an elite class. 
By taking the MPs to book, it gives confidence to ordinary people that nobody is above the law. But as we cherish the government’s political will as well as speedy actions by the state anti-corruption watchdog, there are a number of observations needing to be adhered to. 
 PCCB is right in its determination to restore the value of duty in the public service, particularly accountability by public office holders.   PCCB must therefore seek an upright investigation with regard to the matters in question. 
We pray that the process should be anchored in transparency and by strict observance of the tenets of the rule of law. This will set a standard for other public office holders to be walking the talk. Parastatals that have not unearthed malpractices in dealings with the law makers should studiously avoid this pitfall in their work.

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