Tanzania’s president Jakaya Kikwete has sacked the governor of Bank of Tanzania (BoT), Daudi Ballali following an audit of the central bank’s External Payments Arrears (EPA) account by an international audit firm Ernst and Young which revealed losses of over Sh133 billion through fraudulent transactions to 22 companies in 2005. Most of those companies were either phoney or tendered fake documents.
The decision to fire Ballali comes against the background of claims by the opposition camp in parliament from mid last year that large amounts of public funds were unaccounted for at EPA account in dubious deals. Led by MP Dr Willibrod Slaa, the opposition legislators called for Ballali to resign to pave the way for proper investigation.
The news of Ballali’s termination can be spotted across a number of Swahili blogs. While the president’s decision to fire Ballali has been positively welcomed, some are of the opinion that due credits should go towards the opposition.
Ngurumo gives congratulations to the opposition camp MP, Dr. Slaa:
“Kwamba Rais Jakaya Kikwete amemfukuza kazi Gavana wa Benki, Daudi Balali, ni jambo la kutia moyo. Pongezi anazopata Rais Kikwete sasa anazistahili. Lakini sote tunajua kwamba Rais Kikwete amelazimika kuchukua hatua hizo, ingawa serikali ilikuwa inajua ‘matatizo’ ya Benki Kuu. Kama si Dk. Willibord Slaa (pichani) na wenzake kuibua hoja hiyo Bungeni na kushinikiza serikali ichukue hatua, uchunguzi usingefanyika, na hatua hii moja isingechukuliwa. Kwa sababu hiyo, wanaompongeza Rais Kikwete wasimsahau yule aliyemsukuma, Dk. Slaa. Haya yote yameonyesha kuwa serikali na watu wake ilijua ukweli wa tuhuma alizotoa Dk. Slaa, ndiyo maana hata Jaji Mark Bomani akawaonya waliotishia kumshitaki mtoa tuhuma, ambao waliishia kutoa vitisho lakini hadi leo hawajakanyaga mahakamani. Na sasa tayari ametangaza kuwa ana siri nyingine kubwa za wizi wa vigogo. Ndiyo maana nasema, katika hili la JK kuchukua hatua, shujaa ni Dk. Slaa.”
R. S. Miruko also congratulates the opposition:
“Gavana wa Benki Kuu ya Tanzania, Daud Balali ametemeshwa kibarua leo baada ya kubainika ubadhirifu wa Shilingi Bilioni 123 katika akaunti ya madeni ya nje. Bravo Chadema. Bravo Dk Slaa. Bravo JK”
Soliciting readers’s opinions, Muhidin Issa Michuzi posed a question about President’s decision in a post titled ‘panga la JK’ literary meaning ‘president JK’s matchette’. Some readers want the president to clean up every department:
“Naona baada ya benki kuu hilo mashete lielekezwe kwenye mabuzwagi…namaanisha mikataba yoote ambayo haijatulia na kwa kuanzia ni ile ya madini na hasahasa Buzwagi yenyewe”
Another reader is of the opinion that the sacking of the governor is too little too late taking into consideration the news that Ballali tendered his resignation in December 2007 that were denounced by the government : More questions than answers on Ballali”
“Hakuna Kitu, hakuna panga lolote lililotembea. Balali amejiuzulu toka Dec. 2 2007. Barua ipo. Wewe Raisi leo unakuja kutuambia kuwa umemfukuza kazi.Acha usanii sema umekubali kujiuzulu kwake. Mbona naibu Gavana wakati wa Balali hukumfukuza kazi?…”
Scepticism about the president’s steps is not on short supply. On Mjengwa’s blog, one reader congratulates the opposition but remains skeptic:
“wote tunajua ya kuwa:
1: Bila ya kelele za akina Zito na Slaa, huu uchunguzi usingefanyika
2: Watawala wetu walitumia nguvu zote mpaka wakazunguka mikoani kukanusha shutuma za akina Zito na Slaa
3: Pamoja na kelele zilizokuwa zinapigwa na wapinzani, na watawala kujua kuwa ni za kweli bado walikataa kufanya lolote mpaka pale waliposhinikizwa na wafadhili wa nje
4: Wahusika wa kashfa hii bado wapo kwenye nafasi zao na wanaendelea kufaidi matunda ya ufisadi wao
5: Balali katolewa kama sadaka tu. Haingii akilini ati pesa zote hizo zinapotea halafu all you can do ni kumfukuza mtu kazi.
6: MWISHO WA HII SINEMA ITAKUWA KAMA ZINGINE ZOTE. MAFISADI WATAENDELEA KUPETA WAKATI WANANCHI NDIO WANAZIDI KUWA NA MAISHA MABAYA”
2: Our rules used all the powers they had to roam around Tanzania to denounce Zito’s and Dr. Slaa’s allegations
3: With all the noise from the opposition, and our rulers knowing the truth they refused to take any steps until pressurised by external donors
4: Those involved in this scandal are still holding their positions and are continuing to enjoy the fruits of their corruption
5: Balali is a scapegoat. It does not make sense, after losing all that cash all that is done is to sack one person.
6: AND THE END OF THIS MOVIE WILL BE LIKE ALL THE OTHERS, THE CORRUPT WILL CONTINUE TO ENJOY THE FRUITS OF THEIR CORRUPTION
Another hot topic across Swahili blogosphere is about an attack on journalists in Dar Es Salaam recently. Two local journalists, Saed Kubenea and Ndimara Tegambwage of the MwanaHalisi weekly Kiswahili tabloid were attacked with machetes and acid by a group of unknown assailants who raided their office.
Happy Katabazi has posted photos showing her with the victims of that attack.