A Tanzanian legislator says President Jakaya Kikwete’s decision to sack only one out of the three cabinet ministers found by Parliament to have embezzled public funds is an affront to all citizens.
Legislator Tundu Lissu says Mr. Kikwete’s failure to fire all of the ministers is a disappointment, which he said sets his government on a possible standoff with parliament.
“The president has had plenty of time to take action, but when it came to doing so the president has been very much wanting. So, people are disappointed, and rightly so. Now that he hasn’t, he is setting his government on a collision course with parliament,” said Lissu. “They can be sure if he doesn’t do anything by the time parliament meets in January, we are going to raise hell with his government in the house.”
He said Mr. Kikwete made a commitment to the public and to the country’s development partners to weed out corruption. But, Lissu said the president has yet to keep his promise.
Analysts say the ruling party will use its numerical strength in parliament to thwart any minority efforts to put pressure on the president. Lissu said the opposition will be boosted next year by Kikwete’s refusal to adhere to the bi-partisan resolution to sack the three cabinet ministers and other government officials.
“If the president doesn’t do anything and members of his party in parliament do nothing, it will basically be a major political question in the forthcoming election. This is a general election year, and Tanzanians who are very much disappointed by his performance are going to take notice,” said Lissu.
The Public Accounts Committee of parliament undertook a thorough investigation after accusing senior government officials and a banking institution of corruption and money laundering. The government officials were found to have misappropriated $122 million in public funds.
Last month, lawmakers voted to pass a binding resolution that demanded President Jakaya Kikwete fire the cabinet ministers involved. The officials have denied the charges.
Deo Filikunjombe, vice chairman of the Public Accounts Committee and a leading member of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), told VOA that the head of state is bound to implement the findings and recommendations of his group.
“For the government, we have categorically stated that the president [should] remove the Minister of Energy and Minerals, the Attorney General, the Permanent Secretary at of the Ministry of Energy and Minerals and the Minister of Lands, Professor [Anna] Tibaijuka, who confessed [to] having received $1 million as proceeds of the money,” said Filikunjombe.