What dif­fer­en­ti­ates Mrema’s or­deal with Kit­wanga’s ex­pul­sion

The African - - POLITICS LOCAL - BY TO­BIAS NSUNGWE

Every­day strange and un­be­liev­able things emerge which re­mind us that moral de­cay is on the rise in our so­ci­ety. Peo­ple cry for jus­tice oth­ers are busy step­ping on the rights of in­no­cent peo­ple; in­clud­ing wi­d­ows and or­phans. The level of moral de­cay is very alarm­ing in our na­tion. We have rapists, thieves, rob­bers, smug­glers, killers, ban­dits and even ter­ror­ists. Gov­ern­ment ex­ec­u­tives are no longer trusted as among them we have wom­an­iz­ers, em­bez­zlers, cor­rupt, hyp­ocrites and slug­gish in­di­vid­u­als.

The Lead­ers Code of Ethics needs to sharpen its teeth as the num­ber of im­moral lead­ers is ris­ing. Dur­ing his pres­i­dency, Mwal­imu Julius Kam­barage Ny­erere re­peat­edly spoke of the need for gov­ern­ment lead­ers to watch their man­ners. He urged in­di­vid­u­als who couldn’t march with the lead­er­ship stan­dards to vol­un­tar­ily va­cate pub­lic of­fices and con­tinue with their im­moral acts else­where.

Now in Tan­za­nia, we can­not af­ford to have lead­ers who fre­quent broth­els and casi­nos be­cause that is not ex­pected of them. The Korogwe MP, Steven Ngonyani alias Pro­fes­sor Maji Marefu (CCM), has re­cently warned leg­is­la­tors who be­lit­tle tra­di­tional heal­ers.

Ac­cord­ing to Ngonyani, most leg­is­la­tors are reg­u­lar vis­i­tors to witchcraft doc­tors—es­pe­cially dur­ing elec­tion cam­paigns. This is a clear tes­ti­mony that even our lead­ers still be­lieve in tra­di­tional magic which is some­times as­so­ci­ated with the killings of peo­ple with al­binism which has tar­nished the im­age of Tan­za­nia abroad.

Killings and mu­ti­la­tion of peo­ple with al­binism is dis­grace to the coun­try es­pe­cially when lead­ers like MPs and coun­cilors are in­volved.

It must be noted from the be­gin­ning that lead­er­ship is a ta­lent not mer­chan­dise for wealthy politi­cians to buy. Ta­lent is not a com­mod­ity that peo­ple can buy. It must come nat­u­rally not in­duced by any­thing. For one to be­come a good, charis­matic and bold leader, it should come as a ta­lent—not in­flu­enced by other things such as bribes.

It is when lead­er­ship be­comes a com­mod­ity for peo­ple to buy through bribes, when even such de­gen­er­ates en­ter the Na­tional Assem­bly or Gov­ern­ment—drag­ging the whole ad­min­is­tra­tion into mud by their acts.

Since the so­ci­ety is largely morally rot­ten, it is not un­ex­pected to have ill man­nered law­mak­ers. As Mwal­imu Ny­erere used to say ‘a weak party forms a weak gov­ern­ment’. We can also say that a de­praved so­ci­ety can beget de­praved leg­is­la­tors.

Last year, John Ndugai, when he was Deputy Speaker of the Na­tional Assem­bly, ac­cused some MPs of en­ter­ing the au­gust House while drunk. He said some of the un­ex­pected be­hav­iors by law­mak­ers in the House, were in­flu­enced by too much al­co­hol in­take. He re­cently stated that some law­mak­ers were al­co­holic and some take drugs. There was no mean­ing­ful proof to sub­stan­ti­ate his claims.

Be­hav­iors of MPs from the live Bunge cov­er­age ban fi­asco to gender bi­as­ness, clearly show that the 11th Par­lia­ment is gripped by mas­sive level of dis­or­der­li­ness. The Min­istry of Home Af­fairs has been one of the key min­istries of any ad­min­is­tra­tion since in­de­pen­dence in 1961.

Sen­si­tive or­gans like the po­lice force, pris­ons and im­mi­gra­tion depart­ments fall un­der this docket. Know­ing the sen­si­tiv­ity of this min­istry as an arm of power by the ex­ec­u­tive, the pres­i­dent is al­ways ex­pected to pick a re­spon­si­ble per­son to lead it.

The min­istry has had sev­eral fa­mous names to lead it since Tan­za­nia at­tained power from colo­nial­ists. Ali Said Natepe held the port­fo­lio in 1980s. Re­mem­ber Natepe was one of the Zanz­ibar ar­chi­tects in the 1964 rev­o­lu­tion.

The for­mer Pres­i­dent Ali Has­sani Mwinyi also served as the Min­is­ter for Home Af­fairs in 1970s. He was com­pelled to re­sign fol­low­ing killings of peo­ple in Shinyanga in 1974. An­other no­table fig­ure is Ali Ameir Mo­hamed who was in charge of the docket in 2000 un­der Pres­i­dent Ben­jamin Mkapa.

Dr Muhamed Seif Khatib, a staunch CCM cadre, also led the min­istry. Per­haps the most fa­mous per­son who led the Home Af­fairs min­istry, is Au­gus­tine Ly­a­tonga Mrema, the im­me­di­ate for­mer Vunjo MP. Mrema made head­lines in 1990s as he ef­fec­tively led the docket. Sat­is­fied by his tremen­dous job to fight crime in the so­ci­ety, then Pres­i­dent Mwinyi ap­pointed him Deputy Prime Min­is­ter.

He was hailed by many Tan­za­ni­ans and even CCM diehards. There was a time that peo­ple thought Mrema would suc­ceed Pres­i­dent Mwinyi leav­ing of­fice in Novem­ber 1995. How­ever, things changed in 1994. Mrema was ac­cused of us­ing his newly in­tro­duced post to med­dle into the af­fairs of other min­is­ters.

In­flu­en­tial lead­ers in both the rul­ing party and gov­ern­ment, kept on com­plain­ing to the Pres­i­dent about Mrema’s be­hav­ior. He was later re­moved from the Min­istry of Home Af­fairs and trans­ferred to the low key min­istry of Labour. Many thought that what cost Mrema was his re­lent­less fight against crime which some­times trapped big­wigs. He even con­fronted his boss John Male­cela, then Prime Min­is­ter.

Barely a year be­fore the 1995 multi-party elec­tion, Mrema was ul­ti­mately sacked. This didn’t come as a sur­prise be­cause the for­mer min­is­ter had breached the rule of col­lec­tive re­spon­si­bil­ity by min­is­ters in Par­lia­ment.

While still a min­is­ter, Mrema blamed the Gov­ern­ment for giv­ing a sisal farm to a con­tro­ver­sial busi­ness­man Chavda who was said to be a fugi­tive. Even CCM stripped him off his mem­ber­ship. He later de­cided to join the then strong NCCR-Mageuzi op­po­si­tion party. He later vied for the pres­i­dency and gave a CCM can­di­date, Mkapa a hard time in­deed. The rest is his­tory. To most Tan­za­ni­ans, Mrema emerged a huge hero, true fighter against fraud­u­lence with­out fear.

The im­me­di­ate for­mer Min­is­ter for Home Af­fairs, Charles Kit­wanga’s re­moval by Pres­i­dent John Magu­fuli, has made a com­pletely dif­fer­ent story from Mrema’s . His boss fired him on al­le­ga­tions that went to Par­lia­ment dur­ing the ques­tion and an­swer ses­sion while drunk.

Mis­ery sur­rounds Kit­wanga’s sack­ing as noth­ing could im­me­di­ately prove that Kit­wanga had wronged any­way. Most peo­ple be­lieve that the de­ci­sion to re­move him was based on gos­sip. Some even con­nect the sack­ing with the deal which links po­lice with the con­tro­ver­sial Lugumi En­ter­prises Com­pany.

Kit­wanga story started when an­swer­ing a ques­tion from Mlimba MP, Su­san Ki­wanga (Chadema). When she stood up to ask a sup­ple­men­tary ques­tion, Ki­wanga jok­ingly said the min­is­ter had replied her ques­tion in a ‘ very ma­jes­tic’ man­ner. Ru­mours started to spread that Kit­wanga was drunk. I be­lieve many MPs also take liquor. How­ever, one must al­ways be care­ful not to take too much.

The for­mer min­is­ter might be the vic­tim of cir­cum­stances. It isn’t ad­vis­able to throw stones on Kit­wanga since we are liv­ing in the same so­ci­ety sur­rounded by hate and an­i­mos­ity. No­body is per­fect!

Kit­wanga served in the min­istry for less than five months, the short­est pe­riod ever. When news of the min­is­ter’s al­leged mis­be­hav­ior in Par­lia­ment started to pour, it was not un­ex­pected for Magu­fuli to swiftly act be­cause he is said to be a no non­sense pres­i­dent. Did he thor­oughly in­ves­ti­gate be­fore tak­ing ac­tion? That is some­thing which we need to be sat­is­fied as we don’t like our pres­i­dent to make de­ci­sions based on gos­sips! Truth must be told, out of over 300 MPs, Kit­wanga doesn’t seem to be the worst dude. He prob­a­bly only en­coun­tered a po­lit­i­cal ac­ci­dent.

Home Af­fairs min­is­ters de­parted the of­fice for dif­fer­ent rea­sons. While Mrema left as a hero be­fore the pub­lic eye, Kit­wanga ex­its be­cause of rather ab­surd al­le­ga­tions—drunk­ard! Min­is­ters stay in of­fice by the plea­sure of the pres­i­dent of the day. Kit­wanga may have lost his min­is­te­rial post, but life goes on. He con­tin­ues to be the Misungwi MP, Mwanza re­gion.

The late Jack­son Mak­weta, one of the long term MPs, once said dur­ing elections, con­tes­tants fight to rep­re­sent con­stituen­cies in Par­lia­ment not to se­cure min­is­te­rial slots.

Charles Kit­wanga

Au­gus­tine Mrema

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