THE head of the European Union delegation to Tanzania, Tim Clarke, has given a damning
assessment of the fight against corruption in the country, saying rampant graft has corroded the
government and undermined its ability to improve the living conditions of the people.
Ambassador Clarke last week announced a 383 million euros (approx. 750bn/-) aid package to
Tanzania -- the largest funding ever committed by the EU to development in the country -- but
warned that donors were growing increasingly impatient with the government's under peformance
in cracking down on corruption.
"Some partners may even consider reducing their commitments and payments, unable to see a
clear trend that the problems are being tackled in an aggressive and coherent way," he told
the Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs, Mustafa Mkullo, in Dar es Salaam.
The EU envoy noted that many people, including Tanzania's development partners and civil
society, may rightly question the EU's "rationale of providing such resources at a time when
the local media is full of corruption scandals, alleged abuses of power, of grotesque wastage
of public resources, of elitism and insufficient attention given to the plight of the poorest
of the poor, of the disabled, of the most vulnerable parts of society."
Clarke remarked that an annual review recently completed by the government rates the
government's performance in various areas as being "moderately satisfactory."
He said key areas such as Public Sector Reform were showing worrying signals of inaction and
"The non-performance of the (Dar es Salaam) port, the railways, the infrastructure needed to
make Tanzania and the EAC region real drivers for regional integration, trade and economic
prosperity remains worryingly stuck in a groove, with vested interests, cumbersome
administrative procedures, a lack of imagination and sheer inertia preventing the sort of
take-off that we would all like," he said.
Clarke criticised the government for "seriously punching below its weight" in its businessmen
environment and development of the private sector, where growth prospects remain as elusive as
He warned that it cannot be business as usual if Tanzania is to move into the fast lane of
economic growth and development.
The ambassador echoed public concerns about governance, the fight against corruption, respect
for human rights, democracy-building, accountability and transparency in Tanzania.
"We too cannot - and will not - turn a blind eye to such matters," he said.
He added: "We too will not blindly approve payments into the central Treasury without the
right guarantees and assurances that the funds will be properly used, and that teachers, and
health care workers in rural areas, will know that all the funds earmarked for their salaries
and resources will trickle down to them, without rent-seeking and corruption removing slices
on the way."
Clarke stressed the importance of building mutual trust between the EU and the government to
ensure tangible reform is implemented so as to overcome poverty.
More than a third of all aid to the country is pegged on budget support - 14 donors jointly
fund 11.4 per cent of the national budget directly, worth $831m this year.
During a recent annual policy review meeting in Dar es Salaam, representatives of donor
countries and civil society groups said the government scored well on health care and
education, as well as the move to make farming a priority through the 'Kilimo Kwanza'
But they noted that the government faltered on dealing with corruption, improving the
overall investment climate, and poverty reduction efforts in general.
Tanzania has stated plans to become a middle-income country by 2025, but has dropped 24 places
in Transparency International's corruption perceptions index, and seven places in the World
Bank's 'Doing Business' rankings, over the past two years.
The national economy, now mainly dependent on tourism and mining sectors, has grown at an
annual average of 7 per cent over 2001-2008, but poverty levels have fallen by just 2 per cent
between 2001 and 2007.
Investors say the government needs to address impediments to business in infrastructure,
power, financing and licensing.
It is estimated that, due to poor infrastructure, each Tanzanian spends an average 36 days a
year collecting their salaries, while companies lose 10 per cent of their value due to power
Reacting to the EU ambassador's statement, the deputy leader of the opposition
in the National Assembly, Wilbroad Slaa, slammed the government for its failure to make any
tangible progress in the fight against graft.
"The government's fight against corruption is just a rhetorical smokescreen unless we see the
main corruption cases prosecuted, particularly the infamous Kagoda Agriculture Company of the
EPA (external payment arrears) scandal," he told THISDAY.
Slaa, who represents Karatu Constituency in the House, said the government lacks political will to fight grand corruption.
“Tanzanians and development partners are being cheated. The government talks about fighting
graft, but in real sense, nothing is being done," he declared.
"We are just being hoodwinked. I will only take the government seriously on its word if
prominent individuals behind Kagoda are taken to court,” he added.
Slaa applauded the EU and other development partners for demanding more action from the government in the fight against graft.
“I am glad that development partners are now showing genuine concern over reports of widespread corruption scandals in the country," he said.
Development partners are now making it abundantly clear to President Jakaya Kikwete's administration that future financial aid to Tanzania hinges on the government's resolve to eliminate corruption.