By Hassan Abbas, Addis Ababa – President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania has presented his Country Review Report at the AU governance assessment body-the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) vowing to continue with his policy of zero tolerance.
The President issued the stance when he was responding to the issues raised after submission of the Report here on Saturday evening before a Summit of African Union Heads of State and Government participating in the peer review mechanism.
Highlighting the findings of the Tanzania Report which incorporated views from diverse Tanzanians, the Team Lead for the Review of Tanzania, Barrister Akere Muna mentioned Tanzania’s efforts to fight corruption as commendable but wanted strengthened efforts.
Responding to the issue President welcomed the suggestion of the Report and hinted that his government will continue with its policy of zero tolerance on corruption.
“The government of Tanzania is known for its zero tolerance against corruption. I remember during the era of our first President, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere we were tough; those convicted with corruption received 24 stroke-12 at entry and 12 on completing jail term,” he told a gathering of African Presidents and other top government leaders.
The President said during his tenure, he strengthened anti-corruption war including prosecuting Ministers and other top government officials who were accused of involving in the malady.
“Several top government officials are in court today over corruption allegation. Some of them are my fellow Cabinet Minister when I was a Minister too, ambassadors and senior officials who served under my government.
“The Ethics Secretariats is now vibrant on leaders’ wealth. All senior government leaders have to sign declaration of wealth each year and the Secretariat verify. If the Secretariat finds a public servant’s wealth is suspicious it sends the case to the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) for legal action,” he said.
Regarding Tanzania’s benefits from the mining sector as advised by the APRM Panel, the President said his government has done a lot to review the mining laws, tax and royalty rates after coming into power.
“It is true that in the past our income from the mining sector raised more questions. When I came into power I commissioned a team lead by Justice Mark Bomani which learning from best practices from countries like South Africa and Ghana helped us to review our tax and royalty regime and we scaled them up. “Today what we gain from the mining sector is not different from other countries.
EAC Community fears
The report highlighted that most Tanzanians are wary of benefits from the East African Community. Responding to the fears President Kikwete said his government will increase public aware to its people on integration issues and its and benefits.
He said contrary to the peoples’ fear and perceptions that Tanzania will turn into a market for other country’s good, statistics shows that, the country has been exporting more to the region that what it exports in other regions.
“These are just the fears of the unknown. My government welcomes your observation which informs us of the need for more education to our people. Our exports to EAC region have now risen to above 500 million USD.
“Our exports sometimes exceeded those of Kenya. We are exporting more to the EAC region than we do to some other developing countries. So the EAC gives us more strategic benefits than the perception of some of our people,” he said.
The review of Tanzania was attended by Heads of States and Government and other senior officials from countries of South Africa, Zambia, Tunisia, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Benin, Senegal, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Gabon and Togo.