What differentiates Mrema’s ordeal with Kitwanga’s expulsion
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.