Cabinet that people want

President Kikwete
As he scratches his head over who to appoint for his anticipated new-look Cabinet, President Jakaya Kikwete should ensure he picks individuals who will dedicate themselves to serving the people and not the type who would mostly be keen on pleasing the appointing authority.

Speaking with The Citizen in random interviews on what kind of new faces the President should rope in to replace those who are to go, they noted that the trend of selecting people simply because they enjoy a rapport with the holder of the country’s highest political office are long gone.

A wide cross-section of respondents who gave interviews to The Citizen said they expected from the President substantive and not cosmetic changes.

“If Mr Kikwete wants to restore the credibility of his government, he should pick people with high integrity, Tanzanians known for their dedication to serve the people,” said Mr Deo Filikunjombe, Ludewa MP on a CCM ticket.

And the executive director of Tanzania Media Women Association (Tamwa) Ms Ananilea Nkya, said yesterday that recycling the same people wouldn’t do the country any good.

“I don’t think we have exhausted the stock of capable Tanzanians who can serve this country ably and diligently,” she stressed.

“Many of those in the Cabinet have already proved failure. We need a fresh team that will be able to take us from here to a next level of development... most of the current leaders have been affected by graft and embezzlement which have become rife,” said Ms Nkya.She argued that the current government has been marred by scandals and it would be impossible for people to have trust in it even after the expected reshuffle.

“Trust can only be restored if all those who are embroiled in scandals from Richmond to EPA and the like are taken to court to answer charges... we should fight for total change and it should come with the envisaged new Constitution,” Ms Nkya said.

Reached for comments yesterday, Tanzania Labour Party (TLP) national chairman, Dr Augustine Mrema, said Tanzanians want a Cabinet that would comprise men and women who are selfless.

“It is unfortunate that today, when elected to high office, the first thing a person thinks about is how to steal. It is no wonder that Tanzanians now see a person who has been appointed to a leadership post as one who has already kissed poverty goodbye,” he said.

Dr Mrema said most of the current leaders stand out as greedy; most of them focus on advancing their personal interests instead of serving the nation.

“President Jakaya Kikwete has a vetting system in place and I believe he’ll be able to identify credible individuals that the people want… he should forget comradeship as the country now seriously need committed leadership,” he insisted. His advice was also echoed by Mr Filikunjombe who said the country is at a stage where, when somebody is appointed a minister, he celebrates without even appreciating the onerous task ahead.

“I once told President Kikwete when he came to launch an electricity project in my constituency that most of our leaders have lost direction, with many of them serving the President’s interests instead of wananchi’s,” he said.

He said what Tanzania now needs are ministers who will work for the interest of the public, adding that the ruling CCM has great reserve of dedicated and committed people, but appointments have been marred by who-knows-who instead of who-knows what.

“If I were to advise Mr President, I’d tell him to also consider individuals from opposition parties who have shown they have the dedication and diligence to serve the country... we have people like John Mnyika (Ubungo-Chadema),  Zitto Kabwe (Kigoma North-Chadema), Freeman Mbowe (Hai-Chadema) and Hamad Rashid Mohammed (Wawi-CUF) – these guys can work for us and can rescue Tanzania from the current crisis,” Mr Filikunjombe said.

However, Mr Kabwe quickly dismissed the idea of serving in President Kikwete’s Cabinet, noting that the current constitutional set up doesn’t provide for a mixed Cabinet.

But Mr Filikunjombe insisted that if the Constitution was silent on the issue of mixed Cabinet, it would still be okay for Mr Kikwete to appoint an opposition politician minister, citing the case of South Africa where Mr Nelson Mandela, when serving as President, left the country under his opponent Chief Mongosuthu Buthelezi, when he (Mandela) was away on a lengthy foreign tour.

Reached for comment, executive director of the Tanzania Gender Network Programme (TGNP) Ussu Mallya said circumstances that are forcing the President to change his lieutenants are a wakeup call.

She said that the non-partisan debate in the recent Parliament sitting targeting non-performing ministers has helped to show the President what kind of ministers Tanzanians want now.

Ms Mallya said it wouldn’t hurt anybody if the President consulted broadly across the political lines and civil society in his search for a new team to help to move the country forward.

“Shuffling the same old team will not help anything... we need to discuss it deeply since the forthcoming changes won’t bring a lasting solution to the growing problem,” she said.

She noted that the new constitution was a good opportunity for the nation to set standards on who should be appointed to serve as minister.

“It is time we had ministers picked on the basis of professional merit as it has been clearly proved that career politicians don’t make good leaders,” she said.
Source: The Citizen,, reported by Mkinga Mkinga
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