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The East African : Nov 28th 2015
22 The EastAfrican OPINION NOVEMBER 28 - DECEMBER 4, 2015 LAST WORD Pa≥ty-poope≥ Magufuli ≥ains on pa≥liamenta≥ians’ pa≥ade, cuts fo≥eign junkets Party-pooper Magufuli rains on parliamentarians’ parade, cuts foreign junkets Tanzania’s new President Illustration:Patrick Gathara Joachim Buwembo G≥aft in Tanzania steals f≥om the land, in Uganda f≥om the people consensus that the time to fight corruption using the ballot is now. Usually, the incumbent or the party in power has a hard time telling voters about corruption since the vice tends to be associated with control of state power. But the ruling CCM in Tanzania managed to turn this conventional perspective on its head, saying they were cleaning up and the corrupt guys were fleeing the party to take refuge in the opposition. The claim was convincing because the CCM presidential candidate was a known no-nonsense operator with a track record of zero tolerance to corruption and laziness. In Uganda, both the T opposition presidential candidates and the incumbent are vowing to fight corruption. But here, fighting corruption means a lot more than just cleaning up. Unlike Tanzania where the country’s vast wealth is largely in potential form requiring exploitation and management by a transparent administration, Uganda already has he election season in Tanzania has burnt out while in Uganda it is just picking up. In both countries, there seems to be a enough cash entering the state coffers to deliver a dramatically higher quality and quantity of services if it wasn’t stolen. In Tanzania, corruption delays exploi- tation of natural wealth and involvement of a large part of the population in profitable economic processes. And Tanzania is also an investor’s paradise as far as tax holidays and exemptions are concerned, denying considerable revenue to the state. But while Uganda collects a small portion of GDP as tax, it is already enough to provide good services, but does not because unfortunately an unacceptably high portion of it gets misallocated and a lot more simply gets stolen. Opposition candidates are currently putting the figure of cash stolen from the annual budgetary outlays at about $650mi l l ion, against expected tax collections of about $3.5billion this fin a n c i a l year. So why theft of s h o u l d ‘a mere’ $650 million or 18.5% of the revenue collec- tion cause a whole difference between good services Illustration: John Nyagah and scandalously hopeless services? Well, it is not only direct theft that takes resources away from the taxpayer. The capacity of the Executive to use resources as it wishes that takes resources away from the people. For example, Uganda’s cost of public administration is blatantly high. The country supports over 70 ministers and some 400 Members of Parliament each of whom takes home half a million dollars by the end of the five year electoral term. Added to these are an unbelievable number of elected officials – over one and a half million across the population, all of whom require allowances of one form or another. Then there are presidential advisers, resident district commissioners and so on and so forth. But most immoral is the portion of the health budget that is spent on taking a few powerful families abroad for medical tourism. The annual national health budget is about $500million but some estimates put the portion the few powerful families take for medical tourism at $150million. In public maternity centres, midwives are said to hold mobile phone torches between their teeth to deliver babies. Reason? No light. So that is the difference between management of public resources between Uganda and Tanzania. In both countries, corruption is powerful negative factor. With Tanzania, it delays the conversion of potential into cash, in Uganda, it takes cash away from the intended beneficiaries. John Pombe Magufuli continues to set new standards in the region for work ethic and restraining wasteful expenditure by officials in his government. President Magufuli has declared there will be no national celebrations to mark this year’s Independence Day, advising citizens to use the day for an environmental clean-up. In his first week as president, Magufuli caused ripples by visiting some ministries and government hospitals unannounced and firing civil servants for not taking their work seriously after he found several citizens seeking assistance unattended to. The parliamentarians also had to do with very little during their cocktail party this year after Magufuli slashed the party’s budget by 90 per cent, because it makes no sense to have an expensive party when patients are sleeping on the floor at a government hospital. Steal a man’s wife, then buy her after haggling A man from the village of Kibundani in Kwale County in Kenya has taken a decision to sell his wife for $4.8 (Ksh500) after being frustrated by her behaviour. The four-year marriage between Mwachambuli Saria and Fees Kassim became rocky after Kassim discovered that his wife had had an affair with his close friend. So Kassim decided to sell Saria who I turn decided that she preferred the new man and refused to return home. Initially, Kassim demanded $9.6 (Ksh1,000) but the new man managed to haggle it down to $4.8. Ugly only when he opens his mouth? Mr Ugly Pageant judges in Zimbabwe crowned a new winner in 4th annual contest, upsetting supporters of the crowd favourite, who called the winner too handsome, and prompting rioting at the event. Judges chose 42-year-old Mison Sere, citing his numerous missing front teeth and a wide range of grotesque facial expressions, over William Masvinu, who had held the title since 2012. Masvinu and his supporters complained bitterly, claiming that Sere was “too handsome” to win and his ugliness wasn’t natural since it was based on missing teeth. “I am naturally ugly. He is not. He is ugly only when he opens his mouth,” maintained Masvinu, “Do we have to lose our teeth to win? This is cheating,” complained another contestant, Patrick Mupereki. Sere dismissed the critics as just “sore losers” as he pocketed the $1,000 in winnings. Criminal only when she bats hers eyes And in a Brazilian prison, “Miss Criminal” was won by a woman serving a 39-year sentence for robbery — with an additional six years added on for prostitution inside the prison. Michelle Neri Rangel, 27 — who has been behind bars since 2010 — won this year’s contest held in Talavera Bruce women’s prison, in Rio de Janeiro. It is Brazil’s only maximum-security prison for women and holds the country’s most serious female offenders. Rangel, a glamorous burglar with sex appeal, outwitted security personnel with her charm to raid 300 homes. Donate spe≥m, win an iPhone? You’≥e not je≥king me a≥ound? A sperm bank in China’s Hubei province has announced an attractive deal where they will give away the latest Apple iPhone 6S to donors. An iPhone 6S costs at least 5,288 yuan ($830) on the Chinese mainland, and now Chines people can easily own one without having to sell a kidney. Hubei Province Human Sperm Bank wants you to own a 6S,” the sperm bank said in an advertisement. Sperm banks in China have faced severe shortages in recent years and in some places less than 30 per cent of the donations met the standards.
Nov 21st 2015
Dec 5th 2015