UN pledges support for anti-corruption…

Tanzania`s anti-corruption crusade has impressed United Nations Resident Coordinator Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, who has promised to help it succeed.

He said in an exclusive interview with this paper on Monday that the
stand was based on the need to ensure that the country has “a
governance system in which leaders are accountable to the people for
whatever they say or do“.

“It is a matter of great importance for the country`s governance
system and set-ups to help the people hold their leaders accountable
for their words and actions,“ explained the UN official in the
interview in Dar es Salaam.

Evaluating the impact of the efforts by the government in preventing
and combating corruption, he said encouraging headway had been made
amid many challenges.

He added that, on the whole, Tanzania had a high accountability and governance rating “which is a record worth highlighting“.

“But accountability is two-way traffic and balancing actions between
leaders and their citizens are a must. Leaders are always expected to
be accountable to the people,“noted the envoy.

He cited the recent arrests and prosecutions of prominent
businesspersons and senior public officials, including former cabinet
ministers, suspected of acting irresponsibly, as “some of the
developments sending positive signals to the outside world on the
seriousness of the government`s efforts in fighting corruption“.

The UN official was referring to the corruption scandals so far brought
to light, among them the one revolving around the embezzlement of
133bn/- from the Bank of Tanzania External Payment Arrears (EPA)

Others include the Richmond emergency power generation contract scam,
where key cabinet ministers are alleged to have forced the country into
a pact that controversially cost taxpayers more than 100m/- per day in
capacity charges.

There is also the radar equipment scandal, in which a former cabinet minister is linked to highly inflated illegal payments.

Putting the case of Tanzania in perspective in terms of accountability,
Taranco said there was great compliance with the Africa Peer Review
Mechanism (APRM) “which shows that the government is really committed
to promoting and sustaining good and accountable governance“.

“The active role recently played by the National Assembly, opposition
parties, civil society organisations and the media have also made a
significant contribution to the promotion of accountability in
Tanzania,“ he stated.

He explained that the interventions were gradual and were made over a
long period of time, citing some well known examples like the Public
Sector Reform Programme, Public Financial Management Reform Programme,
Legal Sector Reform Programme, and Local Governance Reform Programme.

All these came in the wake of the 1997 Judge Joseph Warioba Commission
Report, which precipitated the introduction of the on-going
anti-corruption crusade.

According to Taranco, other initiatives worth highlighting are the
National Framework for Good Governance, instituted within the framework
of the country`s Vision 2025, and the two-phase National
Anti-Corruption Strategy and Action plan (NACSAP).

He said the UN would continue to work alongside the government and
other development partners, “with a view to strengthening the
structures and systems of good governance and accountability in

“UN assistance focuses on deepening democratic practice,
anti-corruption, access to justice, law enforcement, human rights and
effective communications for good governance,“ he said.

President Jakaya Kikwete said recently that Africa in general and
Tanzania in particular were facing unprecedented development
challenges, including a shortage of committed, diligent, responsive and
accountable leaders willing to address issues that really matter to the
poor majority.

Meanwhile, the Warioba Commission had noted that it was the failure by
leaders to enforce rules, or the wilful circumvention of the rules, and
the weakness of the institutions set up to deal with corruption that
were impeding efforts being made to fight corruption.

Post published in: Africa News

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