Tuesday, April 24, 2007

New anti-corruption bill

The Tanzanian National Assembly has approved a new anti-corruption bill that will become law after approval by President Jakaya Kikwete.

This is a new milestone for the government. I have blogged here and here about how the Tanzanian government has been dragging its feet in addressing corruption. One cost has been the loss of some aid that is tied to milestones that have not been met.

In the recent sitting at Dodoma in central Tanzania, a record number of 57 members of parliament aired their opinion in the debate about the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bill 2007.

The Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bill offers such new measures in the country's anti- corruption campaign as the formation of an anti-corruption board that will comprise the police, the national intelligence service and representatives from the private sector. Some of the powers of the director of public prosecutions will be reduced.

The bill will also spell out regulations for international agencies, companies, and non-governmental organizations operating in the country.

The bill has incorporated the proposed anti-corruption act the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, the African Union Convention on Prevention and Combating Corruption, the Southern African Development Community Protocol Against Corruption and Tanzania's public procurement act.

This is an important step in making governance better. It is vital that assistance to Tanzania comes at both the individual level and the national level. The children who are getting an excellent education at the School of St Jude, need to find work in a country that is well governed.

Tonight, at the book launch event I attended, Gemma spoke a little about corruption in Tanzania. She seems to have it sorted out! She says, “That’s just Africa”, and gets on with achieving her goals while protecting the school from blatant rorts.

Gemma Sisa at book launch in Sydney

For example, she described the 30 acres of land she has bought at Usa River. This was part of 130 acres. She asked the Government surveyor to measure off her 30 acres, and got a work team started on building security walls around her portion. She asked them to leave two ends of the walls unfinished till the survey was completed.

Then she asked a second surveyor to confirm the survey. Guess what? The Government surveyor had measured only 28 acres. The owners said her second survey was wrong. So she got a third survey – 28 acres. Still the owners argued. At this point she was glad that her father-in-law is a local man of some weight. They convened a meeting with the owners and the three surveyors and her father-in-law helped them all work through the issues.

The true 30 acres was agreed, the security walls were extended by 24 feet and the school has the amount of land they paid for.

“That’s Africa,” says Gemma Sisia, and gets on with building schools and educating kids.

Are you a supporter of the school? Have you visited the school? Met Gemma? Know someone who is helping at the school? Why not use the comment section to introduce yourself... We'd love to hear about you.

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