KYELA MP FAULTS TBC FOR NOT GIVING BUNGE PROBE TEAM THE RIGHT TO BE HEARD AFTER STATE-RUN TV BROADCASTER AIRS SECOND INTERVIEW WITH EX-PM
HARRISON Mwakyembe, the Member of Parliament who chaired a parliamentary probe team that investigated the Richmond power generation contract has blasted former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa for not being honest about the scandal that led to his resignation in February 2008.
"I think the former Prime Minister lacks sincerity in this matter," Mwakyembe told THISDAY in an interview.
In his first public reaction to a special programme aired by state television, TBC, recently in which the ex-PM once again sought to defend himself over the Richmond scandal, Mwakyembe criticised Lowassa for being insincere about the matter.
"He (Lowassa) lacks sincerity for two major reasons -- first of all, he had ample opportunity to defend himself in Parliament -- which he did not do," he said.
"Secondly, the (parliamentary) select committee never pronounced judgment on him."
Mwakyembe insisted that the Bunge probe team that investigated the dubious Richmond contract conducted its work fairly and professionally.
"The report simply stated that he (Lowassa) should personally weigh the findings of the select committee and act accordingly," he explained.
"Lowassa could have arrived at two conclusions – declaring the findings of our committee as outright lies and defending himself before Parliament or admitting wrongdoing and resigning, which is what he opted for."
He criticised the state-run television broadcaster, Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC), which on July 16 aired the second consecutive interview with the former PM in which he once again sought to defend himself against any wrongdoing and tried to dismiss the probe findings.
"TBC is wrong, it is denying us (the parliamentary probe team) the right to be heard. This is the second such interview with the former PM aired without the state-run television broadcaster even bothering to seek our side of the story," Mwakyembe said.
The lengthy TV interview conducted by TBC's director general, Tido Mhando, was broadcast on prime time slots after the recently concluded parliamentary budget session.
The state broadcaster aired the first interview with Lowassa sometime after he resigned in 2008.
There has been widespread criticism from MPs and various other public commentators over the manner in which the state-run TV was being repeatedly used by the former PM in his reported attempt to repair his damaged political reputation and bounce back to a senior government position.
"I would have been much happier if Dr. Mwakyembe was heard in the mainstream media, particularly in the two main TV stations -- ITV (Independent Television) or/and TBC," said a commentator who goes by the name of MchunguZI in the popular web-based JamiiForums.
"I know that this thing (airing Mwakyembe's interview on TBC) is difficult because there are some people who actually believe EL (Edward Lowassa) is our future President. Even Tido (TBC's director general) doesn't have the courage to interview them (Mwakyembe and other members of the Richmond probe team)."
Along with Mwakyembe, other members of the Bunge probe team that investigated the Richmond scandal -- Stella Manyanya, Mohammed Mnyaa, Lucas Selelii and James Mtangi -- have never been interviewed by TBC.