In our yesterday's edition we published a front-page story on the creeping corruption canker-worm. The story quoted results of the corruption perception index released by the global anti-graft watchdog, Transparency International (TI), showing that Tanzania has slipped 24 places in the global corruption ranking, from position 102 last year to 126 this year.
The overall picture shown by TI is that corruption remains a cancerous disease in Tanzania as it has torn the nation's social fabric. Despite the government's campaign against corruption, the virus has continued to increase even among the youths who are the next generation of leaders the nation is grooming.
Corruption has been embraced and communised in our society; it had been given a slug as 'Kitu kidogo'. The poisonous venom has in recent years been the bane of the nation's growth and development.
The fundamental questions today are: How can the fight against corruption be achieved when the people at the institutions of power are corrupt? Is it possible for someone to fight against himself? These questions should be thrown back to some of our so-called leaders whenever they open their lying tongues to hypocritically campaign against corruption.
Tanzanians must demand accountability from public office holders. In doing this, we must recognize that fighting corruption is not an event but a process, and the starting point must be the national Constitution. How can we achieve this if we do not have respect for the law and the Constitution?
What Tanzania needs today are leaders who are visionary not just in mouth or paper but truly at heart and are ready to work no matter the circumstances surrounding them; leaders who can take creative, independent and insightful decisions.
Good leadership is not really in age but in heart. Tanzanians need to open up to fresh hands since the future of this country lies in their hands. The cult of corruption is an attractive assemblage of Tanzania's political and economic elite, and the sole qualification for initiation into this elite cult is wealth, boundless wealth, stolen from the public treasury, and ownership of a couple of exquisite mansions in major towns.
Fighting corruption is one Julius Nyerere legacy that deserves to endure for the foreseeable future. Tanzania cannot make progress toward strong economic growth and reduced poverty without sustained fight against corruption.
We call for a strong emphasis on a coalition approach; particular attention to reducing corrupt practices associated with procurement and party and campaign finance; more speedy trial and punishment of the corrupt and increased constraints on the export of the proceeds of corruption.
In countries that have successfully tackled the problem of corruption, one of the key lessons learned is the need to adopt a coalition approach in the struggle. The government takes the lead but must develop and nurture partnership with anti-corruption groups in the private and voluntary sectors.
The first step in a coalition approach to fighting corruption is a unified anti-corruption commitment from the three arms of government at both the national and sub-national levels: the executive, the legislative and the judicial. This should be at the level of individuals within each arm of government, at the level of each institution and in a joined up manner— executive-legislature-judiciary.