When president John Pombe Magufuli ascended to power, he quickly took on graft so as to win accolades locally and internationally. Thence, many countries seem to have underscored the centrality of waging on graft the same way in order to redeem their governments and people. Recently, Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta took a leaf from Magufuli by heroically declaring war on graft. Kenyatta introduced what’s known as lifestyle audit wherein the lifestyles of public office bearers must be scrutinised to see if they correspond with their licit incomes.
Underscoring the true nature of the lifestyle audit; not to mention its practicability and viability, it is time for Magufuli to reciprocate by adopting the method in Tanzania.
In his endeavours to create and salvage his legacy, president Kenyatta shocked friends and foes by creating a funk so as to leave many Kenyans and the world at large wrought up though on tenterhooks. On declaring the war against graft in Kenya, Kenyatta vowed to nab all culprits conscientiously in order to eradicate or box graft in. However, despite such grandstanding and toughtalk, Kenyatta, up until now, hasn’t made his war clear due to the fact that it is not supported by the law. Without any legal backing, Kenyatta’s war on graft is seen as a castle in the sky. Thus, many whippersnappers are making lots of ruckus, rumpus and whoop-de-dos in what’s seen as the war of nerves aiming at dubiously making Kenyatta look good and serious. This is because saying something is one thing; and delivering on it is another, especially when a force behind it is a pol whose president’s been marred by mega graft not to mention being an heir of the mammon made by the same means. Kenyatta was quoted recently as saying that “everyone in the public service will have to explain the source of their wealth and all those found to have plundered public coffers will be put to task to explain the source of their wealth.” The world is still waiting to see. Many are wondering; asking how Kenyatta will put to actions his new medicine to graft while he’s been in bed with corrupt biggies since coming to power. Kenyan anti-graft crusader, John Githongo once called Kenyatta’s war on graft a “theatre of absurd” (Huffington, Nov. 5, 2016).
After Kenyatta professed his war on graft that’s, for a long time, doggedly mudded Kenya, many suspects were up in arms yawping as others are now trying to whirr the whole thing whole-hog as their means of unyokingthemselves from the looming dangers shall Kenyatta make good on his vows. Despite such well-acclaimed proclamation, Kenyatta’s detractors are still cagey thinking his move’s just a mere ruse aimed at stealingthunder if not stealing the show. Kapsabet MP, Oscar Sudi was quoted as saying that “everybody should be audited, including the president, beginning with his late father Jomo (Kenyatta) coming down to him.” All told, will Kenyatta dilly-dally and shilly-shally or cannibalise all corrupt elements in his fold and government?
As for Tanzania, I think; the lifestyle audit resonates with Magufuli’s stance on graft. For, it is doable and feasible to take a leaf from Kenyatta by institutionalising it without necessarily politicising and weaponising or just declaring it without putting practical legal measures in place. For example, there’s a legal requirement for public officers to declare their wealth. Again, does this help while the so-declared wealth’s neither made public to the common binadam nor being publicly corroborated or scrutinised. This has been like whitewash because there are some big fish implicated in mega graft such as EPA, IPTL, Lugumi, Kagoda, Presidential Jet, SUKITA, Richmond, Radar, UDA and many more scandals that have never faced the music.
Tellingly, lifestyle audit’s important and sine qua non because it’ll serve many purposes including: first,doing justice to pauperised people and their country by delivering justice to both culprits and victims. Secondly, knowing the wealths of our people’ll help the government to tax, task and question them on whatever seems illegal. Tanzania’s a legal requirement for public officers to declare their wealth. However, practically, this is but a toothless dog which lifestyle audit’ll give teeth to and put to notice those who still languish in old ways of making wealth. Essentially, this is the panacea western countries did in curbing graft. Thirdly, it’ll send strong signals to all that still think they can get away with murder.
In sum, lifestyle audit’ll restore sanity in public services. Our people know who’s or stole what, when and where everything is stashed. We need to have the society that rewards accountability and hard work but not wrongdoing. It’s become a norm for a person to go to bed a pauper and wake up a tycoon without necessarily explaining how such bang-bang success was attained.
Source: Citizen, July 4, 2018.