AID FOR WHOSE BENEFIT?

By, Brian Cooksey [posted first on: 02/17/10 ]

I am concerned that Tanzania's 'development partners' may be pumping hundreds of millions of USDs of their taxpayers money into the corrupt purchase of the 2010 presidential and parliamentary elections.

Forum readers do not need to be told that these elections are crucial for the future stability and development of the country. In recent years, state coffers, including budget support from donors, have been plundered mercilessly by political actors for personal and political purposes.

This year, donors are promising to support the national budget with unprecedented amounts of cash. They continue to fund programmes and projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars that fuel corruption at all levels and add to our foreign debt. My fear is that donor aid to the government will fuel unprecedented levels of corruption as CCM factions continue to squabble over who runs the country now and in the future.

JK has shown his lack of leadership by not invoking his presidential powers to put an end to the internal bickerings that threaten to destroy the unity of the Tanzanian state and people. Foreign aid to Tanzania depends on the continuation of the 'peace and tranquility' for which we are justly praised.

My recommendation to the donors is that they make it understood to JK and his gvt that they can no longer justify throwing their tax payers money into a bottomless pit of corruption, incompetence and waste. Failure to take a principled stand would lead critics to conclude that aid has run its course and serves only the purposes of the political class and its business cronies.

Views of the People (2007) found that over 80 percent of Tanzanians believe that aid benefits politicians and bureaucrats, not the poor and needy majority. Donor silence on these critical issues will speak volumes, and those who want to see an end to aid (not me, incidentally) will have their arguments immeasurably strengthened.

Time for donors to stand up and be counted!

God bless Africa!

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