Sunday, November 30, 2014

#TegetaEscrow: "Dear Mr President, this is your last tango dance"

For the past four days, Tanzanians has been glued to their radios, TVs, newspapers and social media tools completely captivated by Parliament’s proceedings in Dodoma over the alleged fraudulent payments of $120 million taken from the Tegeta Escow account held at Central Bank. There is deep public anger and dismay towards government officials who authorized the tax-free withdrawals and expropriated money belonging to taxpayers. 

I came across a series of tweets by Ms. Natasha Issa addressed to President Jakaya Kikwete, in which she respectfully conveys her opinion as a citizen over the issue. She tells the Head of State that she wrote him a letter “after so many conversations we have had in my head" (see above tweet). She advises the President on the appropriate action to take. Earlier today, Parliament reached a compromise vote to compel the President to dismiss senior officials including the Attorney General and Minister of Energy who were involved in the scandal. As we await the President’s response to the vote, here is Ms. Issa’s brilliant letter in full:

Dear Mr. President,

I want to first say I am grateful for all your hard work, although at first I did not understand your policies but you have managed to place our beloved country on the world map as a country to watch out for, discipline in our foreign policies has been at a record high during your administration.
Your dedication to national security is also something that I will gladly commend you for and give you praises.

Mr. President, all your hard work however is dimming in light of the many hiccups (to put it lightly) that we as a country have faced in the past 9 years. Granted some of these are not of your making and you may have inherited them, but no one comes to power and finds a blank canvas, there is always going to be a picture painted already and it is the duty of those taking the paint brush to either bring the picture in focus or paint the canvas white completely and start to paint afresh, but with just 10 years the latter is almost an impossible task and as such no one expected that of you.

However, Mr. President what I did expect from you is to have learnt from our previous mistakes, if we can call them that. To have you, my Commander in Chief be at the forefront campaigning side by side with me and our fellow Tanzanians against corruption and any foul play towards this country we all love so much.

Mr. President, we have had too many financial scandals in our beloved country; EPA where we lost $131 million, Richmond where we lost Tsh 172 billion and now the IPTL saga where this beautiful country of ours and you it's leader has been robbed of over $200 million. I beseech you Mr. President please do not let this slide not when you are so close to the finish line.

I understand your reservations to intervene, I even get it, and quite frankly if I were in your shoes I'd be equally fed up with the hand that has been dealt. But it is your hand Sir, and it is your deck, Sir, and only you can see and know what the cards hold. So do not be afraid to shuffle your deck right now to give the Tanzanians the peace of mind they need until your term ends, do not fall into the ploy that it is better to do nothing right now because 'well my time is almost up anyways'- importantly do not be afraid to be remembered as the President who had numerous cabinet reshuffles and several Prime Ministers. Nyerere never feared it nor was he shy of acting on it for the sanctity and security of the Republic and Party.

This is the last moment to make your mark Mr. President, your last tango dance, please do not sit this one out. We do not want to remember you as the President who stood by and allowed millions of shillings whether (public or government) be robbed from his government, or that the President who damned his party by allowing egotistical maniacs to get away with atrocious misconduct, removing the prestigious name your party has enjoyed, a duration longer in years than the majority of Tanzanians.

The youth are behind you Sir, they still love this country and believe it or not they love CCM but its actions or inactions that make them become indifferent towards the government and the party. Prove to them Sir why they love your party in the 1st place, prove to them by your actions now, why they should reinstate your party come elections next year. Because we all know, the unspeakable actions happening in your government are not actions of your party or a reflection of your morals.

Sir, we liked you and that is why when you came into office you won with a whopping over 80%, your second term that percentage decreased, that was not a reflection on you as a person but leadership, some bad judgments, and serious bad people in your administration. As you are about to hand over the reins to another just think of how badly your party will do if this plot that is going on in Parliament right now continues, if those accountable are going to be spared, if your people continue to deny these allegations and try and sweep everything under the rug pretending to be above the law. We as the citizens may not be able to do anything, because as we all know Tanzanians are very submissive and forgiving in nature and do not have a shred of violence in them, but we may hold our grudge against a political party that in all this is very innocent.

Mr. President, I could go on and on and I'll probably end up repeating myself, which is not cool, but what is cool is this; what former President Mkapa said, “I think the time has come for us to evolve national political ethics that do not depend on the wishes of party or government leaders. We need a code of political conduct that is binding on all political parties and leaders, including those from the ruling party."
You said the following Mr. President when you took office and addressed the parliament, 9 years ago.

"The Fourth Phase Government will fulfil its governance and development responsibilities, and will focus on good governance and accountability; the rule of law and respect for the human rights of all people;"

"...The Fourth Phase Government will strengthen the public service and fight social ills without fear or favour." That is you, Sir, on good governance.

And this is you, Sir, on corruption, "There are two other fronts in the war on corruption we will focus on. The first is in the area of contracts. We have to look again at our systems and processes of contract making, contract enforcement and tendering in the government and other public offices, in order to increase transparency and accountability. Contracts remain a major loophole for corrupt practices, especially those that are called “grand corruption”. The time has come to close these loopholes."

You continued, Sir, "I am not against people getting rich. Indeed, I want everyone to have a better life. What I am against is people using public offices for self- enrichment."

And you could not have said it better, "This is what people find obnoxious, when they see someone with nothing to begin with getting rich almost overnight after being a Member of Parliament, a Minister, a Permanent Secretary, a Director or a Head of Department. When suddenly such people have posh houses, town buses, unregistered taxis, and the like, the people have the right to ask, and the right to get answers. For such dramatic changes in one’s fortunes after getting into public office smacks of corruption. The Fourth Phase Government cannot accept this and everyone in it must help to fight it. I ask the Public Ethics Commission not to shy away from asking each one of us to account for our assets and wealth. The Commission should be proactive. I will help it to build the capacity to do so, if indeed that is the problem."

So Mr. President, (the man I look up to and even have a girl crush on and sometimes calls you my boyfriend) what changed? This was you, valor and gallantry were synonymous with your name...Sir, for one last time, dance to your tune, the old one in your head when you took office, because that is the leader I want to remember you as.

Again, thank you for the continued security that you provide to me and all Tanzanians, thank you for sparing us from hunger, war and all ungodly things that other people suffer from.

Importantly, thank you, Sir, for making Tanzania an envy for her neighbors and a successes story for the rest of the world. I am proud to be Tanzanian, and you gave me that pride.

Mungu aibariki Tanzania, na akubariki wewe Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete na viongozi waliopita.

Kind Regards,

Ms. Issa

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This letter is heart breakingly naive. This woman's hopes are badly misplaced. Everybody knows you can not get relief from abuse by appealing to the very person who is abusing you. She and anyone else in the nation who thinks like her needs to wake up and grow up fast. Representative democracy is a farce everywhere in the world and always will be. We need a new system of direct democracy with each citizen participating in all the decision making activities of their nation by voting on every issue using their phone each and every day. Until that happens, don't complain, don't beg, don't cry if someone runs off with your money. If you live like a child, thinking that someone else will bare all the responsibilities of governing for you, then you will be treated like one forever.