What transpired in Tanzania on 5th January tells it all. The “Peace-and-tranquillity” mantra that rulers have always sold is no more. It was reported that three people were killed by police when they were quashing a peaceful demonstration orchestrated by Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA) in the northern city of Arusha. Many other people were injured and some property set ablaze in this chaos. Unconfirmed reports have it that one policeman was killed and other three seriously injured.
CHADEMA wanted to demonstrate to force the government of Tanzania to stop paying Tshs 185,000,000,000 to an all-dubious company known as Dowans that is linked to the bigwigs in the regime. Apart from pressurizing the government it sees as nasty and corrupt, CHADEMA too wanted the authorities to divulge the owners of the said company.
The government in Dar es Salaam was not happy with this. Things took a deep plunge into anarchy after CHADEMA secretary General, who too was a presidential candidate, openly alleged that president Jakaya Kikwete and his cabal were behind this scam. This peppered the situation. Prior to staging peaceful demonstration, authorities had given green light to it. But after this formal statement implicating the head of state was out, abruptly, the IGP cancelled the demonstration citing that it would breach peace.
The bone of all these killings and subjugation is stinking corruption surrounding Dowans, the company that sued the Tanzania National Electrical Supply Company (TANESCO) to the International arbitration court, that ordered the government to pay this huge amount thanks to breaching the contract. This company is said to have been formed by influential politicians to act as the conduit by which to siphon money from the public coffers. And mind you, this is not the first mega scandal in the country.
In 2005 shortly before the elections, over Tsh 155,000,000,000 was stolen from the Central Bank under the External Payment Arrears (EPA) account. Thanks to the opposition’s eagle eye, it unearthed the scandal and came out with findings that stunned the nation. The opposition still maintain that the loot was used to finance Kikwete’s campaigns. Neither Kikwete, his government nor his party has ever gainsaid these damning allegations. This for general public was taken as sign of admission of the alleged crime.
Going back to Dowans, this company landed a deal of providing emergency power after another bogus company known as Richmond was booted out. This company brought a lot of problems to the government. For it was unveiled that it was bogus and on top of this, it was favoured by top officials including Kikwete. When CHADEMA brought this scandal to light, the parliament formed a select committee that vindicated the opposition. In its findings, the select committee, thanks to be formed by the parliament controlled by ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi, came out with its verdict. If it were not for technical know who and other manipulation, its was to show the whole government the door. To avoid this, former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa, who also is an ally to Kikwete was sacrificed to save the government of his friend.
Many Tanzanians goofed. They wrongly thought that this would be a lesson to Kikwete and his consgliore. But nay. He needed more money. This, they say, forced him to bring Dowans to take over from such proved-to-be-an-illegal-and-bogus company. Thus, Dowans is Richmond, if not a prolongation of this conspiracy.
The rumour mill in Dar has it that the said amount that the government easily agreed to pay to Dowans goes to top government officials or reimburses those that rendered financial supports to Kikwete during his comeback heated campaigns. Among much trumpeted to be behind all this apart from Kikwete are Rostam Aziz, Edward Lowassa, Peter Noni and Andrew Chenge (former AG). This is the same gang of politicos that is alleged to be behind all mega billions scandal in the country.
Tanzanians used to be cowered whenever they raised their tails. Peace and tranquillity were two wands CCM has always used to fool them. Now that they recently took to the street so as to send the message, what will rulers do?
To add salt to injuries, the same CHADEMA is agitating for the “true new constitution”, even after Kikwete promised the same. They are saying clearly that they don’t want a president or hoity toity made constitution but hoi polloi made one. This is the crossroad Tanzania is currently at as it hangs off the cliff. Will it triumph or go down just like others who tries corruption as means of ruling?
Time will tell.