IT is perfectly understandable why faint-hearted compatriots may liken the eradication of corruption as taxing as squeezing juice out of a stone.
The first post-independence Founding President Mwalimu Nyerere government pursued a zero tolerance for corruption stance. Yet, a little over five and a half decades after political independence, independence from corruption remains considerably elusive.
It’s as ridiculous as it is alarming that the public service hosts some salaried service providers who literally sell services that are funded by taxes.
Out of an urgency to be served, and desperation stemming from consistently encountering dead ends whenever they expose bribe seekers, some people succumb to pressure from the criminals.
Corruption thus evolved into a sub-culture, ranging from a low-income person coaxed into paying a grassroots leader 2,000/-to stamp and sign a document for processing an identify card, to a businessman depositing several millions into the bank account of a major player in a multi-million dollar contract.
Come the Dr John Magufuli-led government in late 2015, a silver lining has appeared on the dark horizon.
The more the noose tightens around the necks of the perpetrators of a vice to which Tanzania’s snail-paced economic development is attributed, the more they quake and refrain from the evil.
The Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) and the Police Force are enjoined to play a frontline role in the drive. Paramount, too, is the highly spirited engagement of political leaders (of all parties and at all levels) since they are primarily tasked to be governance role models.
Hence the pertinence of the strong warning issued in Mwanza’s Ilelema District last week, by a senior PCCB official, Ms Doreen Ntongali, against the backdrop of politics, which is essentially a patriotic calling, having been substantially demoted to a commercial sector. Some aspiring and veteran practitioners practice ‘investment-and-return-on-investments’ motives, by bribing nomination process players and voters.
Ms Ntongali warned contestants in CCM’s forthcoming elections against applying corruption as a facilitator for success. The past is replete with messages revolving around the vice. They, coupled with concrete actions, have to be sustained, as diehards don’t surrender easily.
There should be no letup in the anti-corruption drive. For whereas it is impossible to squeeze juice from a stone, eliminating or reducing corruption to very low levels isn’t beyond our means. A Nyerere quote is pertinent: “It can be done; play your part.”