Wednesday, March 9, 2016

I will never retard my passion over the war against graft – JPM

President John Magufuli has vowed once again that he would not relent in his war against high-level corruption in the country, saying he had decided to sacrifice himself for the sake of seeing Tanzanians as a people live a better life. Nonetheless, the president admitted that his government was having a hard time in identifying and dealing with all elements of institutionalized grand corruption, although it will continue to persevere in the crusade. “It has not been that easy…there are people who have on a number of occasions tried to pull us (government) back, but we will not give in,” Magufuli asserted during the tape-cutting ceremony for the construction of the new Arusha-Holili/Taveta-Voi road linking Tanzania with Kenya the occasion took place two weeks ago. The president sounded quite bitter about the sheer number of corruption scams he had already come across since taking power in November last year. He said there was no point in being referred to as the president if he was not working for the welfare of Tanzanians as a whole.  “It makes no sense being called the president when a few individuals are illegally amassing wealth while too many Tanzanians are languishing in poverty,” he said. According to Magufuli, the country would stay in a mess if the few powerful individuals remained untouched as they continue to reap what they have not planted. He attributed Tanzania’s failure to get into the regional harmonized roaming system to the 400bn/- corruption scandal that recently hit the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA). “We failed to enter the system because we weren’t clean,” he noted. According to Magufuli, the country was still reeling from the 400bn/- loss. 

President John Pombe Maghufuli cutting a tape to officially open a highway from Arusha to Holili then to Taveta-Voi  in Kenya

Without mincing words, he reiterated his pledge that all public officials implicated in such scams would not only be sacked from their respective posts, but would also face justice for their actions. “All corrupt officials deserve to be in jail to pay for making Tanzanians suffer all this while,” he said. In a move that drew much applause from the watching crowd at the function in Arusha’s Tengeru area, Magufuli called the minister for works, transport and communications Prof Makame Mbarawa to the dais and ordered him to ensure the Arusha dual carriageway and bypass at Tengeru area be completed on time, or fire the construction firm M/S Hanil-Jiangsu Joint Venture of China. Speaking at the occasion, Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta encouraged Tanzanians to freely engage in trade with Kenyans, urging fellow leaders in the East African Community (EAC) bloc to remove unnecessary conditions that had otherwise hindered inter-country business in the region. Kenyatta called on EAC residents to discourage unending importation of various goods and services and instead focus on developing local industries and raw materials for the sake of regional economic progress. “Let us ignore the imaginary borders and other unnecessary hurdles so that our people can freely trade and inter-marry…our ultimate goal is to end poverty among our people,” said the Kenyan leader. The launch of the construction of the 42.3-kilometre, $65 million road marked the end of the EAC Heads of State summit which took place in Arusha on Wednesday. Once the project is completed, it will be Arusha’s first four-lane road.

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