By Guardian Reporter
The Civic United Front (CUF) said yesterday it viewed with “caution“ the corruption-related cases going on in the courts.
It added that it had grave doubts about the ruling CCM`s willingness and ability to wage a genuine war on high-profile corruption.
Addressing the opening session of the opposition party`s national convention in Dar es Salaam, CUF national chairman Ibrahim Lipumba said they suspected that CCM and its government “are just playing games“ when discussing ways to combat the vice.
Addressing hundreds of CUF members and invited representatives of the government, political parties and foreign diplomatic missions, Prof Lipumba said it would be suicidal for anyone to pay lip-service to the anti-corruption crusade as a ploy to lead Tanzanians and the international community into believing that such a thing was indeed on when it was not true.
“I do not believe that these court cases will reach anywhere.
I suspect that they will be used merely as a political game to deceive Tanzanians and the outside world that the CCM government is taking measures on corruption when nothing will ultimately come out of it,“ he told the audience.
Dar es Salaam regional CCM chairman John Guninita represented his national vice chairman, Pius Msekwa, recently also elected chairman of the Tanzania Centre for Democracy.
The CUF chairman said it was possible that the cases were aimed merely at portraying the CCM government in positive light, adding: “Examples are cases the government has taken to court, including those of the controversial purchase of air traffic control (radar) equipment from the UK’s BAE System and the mysterious disappearance of Bank of Tanzania director of personnel and administration Amatus Liyumba, who is facing charges of abuse of office.“
Commenting on the ruling party`s 2005 election manifesto, Prof Lipumba said the people`s lives were getting tougher and more unbearable, contrary to promises of a better life for every Tanzanian.
“In December 2005, Dar es Salaam residents were buying a kilo of maize flour at 250/- but now it is 800/-, beans were selling at 500/- a kilo but now it is 1,200/-, and sugar was selling at 600/- a kilo but now it is 1,300/-,“ he said.
He explained that hikes in food and fuel prices were an indication that people had a harder time than previously in trying to meet their daily needs.
The economics professor also faulted the government for what he called continued dependency on donor assistance. He added that until now 30 per cent of the government budget was donor-dependent.
“CCM has failed to take measures to reduce dependency on donors when the country is endowed with a lot of natural resources,“ he argued.
Political Parties Registrar John Tendwa, who was chief guest at the function, meanwhile advised CUF leaders to use their wisdom to ensure they went back and rescued the dialogue with CCM on Zanzibar`s political standoff. But CUF fans responded by saying they were not ready to resume talks with the ruling party on the sticky issue.
“We are not ready to resume dialogue,“ they were heard shouting, which prompted the registrar to clarify that he was not giving them advice. “I have said I have trust in your leaders. But the Zanzibar issue is a big one and resolving the deadlock would be of service to the next (2010) general election, particularly in Zanzibar,“ said Tendwa.
The registrar had previously applauded CUF as a mature party but criticised it for not having a single elected Member of Parliament in the mainland.
But Prof Lipumba had earlier described the matter as part of a CCM plot “aimed at making people believe that CUF is meant only for the Isles“.
Other dignitaries at the convention included Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation executive chairman Joseph Butiku and heads of foreign diplomatic missions representing 15 countries.
Others were representatives of political parties, religious institutions and non-governmental organisations.
* SOURCE: Guardian