20 Sept 2010

As a Tanzanian living in the United Kingdom,I am quite appreciative of  the role played by the British people in assisting fellow Tanzanians in form of development aid especially at the time when the UK government is planning to wield the axe on welfare and social spending and prioritise areas that foster the economy's ability to grow.

However,reports that the United Kingdom on Friday announced that it will soon start disbursing 230bn/- contribution as part of its general budget support for this fiscal year following Tanzania’s "impressive expenditure discipline".

On the one hand,the timing of the announcement could be easily perceived as an endorsement of the current Tanzania regime under Jakaya Kikwete as it tries to convince voters to re-elect it for a second term in office.I wouldn't be surprised if Kikwete would "remind" voters that "if those who give their money to support us have strong faith in my government evidenced by the Friday's announcement,why shouldn't you?"

I understand that the announcement might be a mere coincidence.However,the fact that UK said it was also pleased on how funds were spent on agriculture-fertiliser, education, enrolment, health (malaria roll back) and safe drinking water raises suspicion. The visiting Minister for International Development, Mr Stephen O'Brien (MP),was quoted saying his government was contented with mechanisms that Tanzania enforced to get much better information on the value for money of its expenditure and the results it was delivering.No wonder the fight against corruption and economic sabotage in developing world remains an illusion due to such irresponsible analysis of local situation.

The UK government will next month announce spending cuts of up to 25% in many departments as it seeks to erase a budget deficit running at 11% of national output.It therefore goes without saying that such cuts should also encompass restraints in international aid especially to such countries as Tanzania in which the lion's share of such aid is misappropriated by the ruling elite.

Mr Brian's visit to Tanzania, among other things, was to tell Dar that there would be no more aid from UK without revision on how it was spent.So did the UK revise on how previous packages of aid were spent?Seems like they did,and they were "so impressed that they decided to continue offering the aid unconditionally".

It's ironic to hear Mr Brian saying (I quote)"I have taken a keen interest in all things in Tanzania throughout my life.”Did you hear anything about the EPA scandal and the mysterious Kagoda company?What about Tangold,Meremeta,Kiwira,etc?Have you inqured from your Tanzanian friends in the government on how the "economic stimulus package" was spent?Are you impressed with how millions of donor aid offered to Tanzania has consistently failed to improve the standard of living of majority of Tanzanians?

This blog therefore urges the British government to state categorically that its recent aid package to Tanzania is not in anyway whatsoever an endorsement of Kikwete's corrupt regime which seeks re-election in the coming election scheduled for October 31.

Furthemore,Mr O’Brien's statement that the UK would continue to follow events closely in Tanzania and Zanzibar ahead of the elections and wished the country peaceful and orderly elections this October would only be meaningful if he had reflected the importance of free and fair elections in Tanzania.With the the ruling party candidate,incumbent President Kikwete,clearly violating the Election Expenses Act by "bribing voters with numerous pledges-mostly unrealistic and impractical" it is fair to conclude the next five years would another "open season" for "mafisadi" who remain the major beneficiary of the efforts by the United Kingdom and other members of the Tanzania Development Partners Group,which since established in 2004 "has been working with the Government of Tanzania and other domestic stakeholders to strengthen development partnership and effectiveness of development cooperation".


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