Zitto challenges Magufuli to publicly declare his wealth

30Dec 2017
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Zitto challenges Magufuli to publicly declare his wealth

THE leader of the opposition ACT-Wazalendo party, Zitto Kabwe, yesterday challenged President John Magufuli to declare his wealth for public scrutiny in order to push for wider transparency and accountability of public leaders.

Magufuli on Thursday this week personally submitted his assets and liabilities declaration forms to the Ethics Secretariat in Dar es Salaam and warned that any public leader who fails to do so by the end of this year would face legal action.

The president's warning triggered a last-minute rush as scores of public leaders or their aides yesterday thronged the offices of the  Ethics Secretariat in the city to submit  assets declaration forms by the 31 December deadline. 

However, Zitto went a step further yesterday by once again publicly disclosing his annual assets and liabilities declaration forms and challenged Magufuli to similarly lay bare his wealth.

"I would like to remind the president to lead by example by publicly disclosing his own assets and liabilities declaration forms," Zitto said in a statement.

"The president should publicly disclose his wealth, liabilities and financial interests to set an example for other leaders in the country."

The Kigoma Urban Member of Parliament, who has been pushing for open government and stronger public leadership ethics for nearly a decade now, implored President Magufuli to reform existing laws.

"I strongly urge President Magufuli to overhaul the public leadership legislation to strengthen leadership ethics and enhance the fight against corruption in the country," he said.

The Public Leadership Code of Ethics Act (2015 revised edition) requires public leaders to declare their assets, but puts restrictions on public and media scrutiny of the assets and liabilities declared in the forms.

Zitto said it was high time that the assets and liabilities declaration forms of public leaders, including all MPs, should be made available for public scrutiny.

He noted that countries such as the UK and Canada keep assets and liabilities declaration registers of public leaders open for public scrutiny.

The MP said he has submitted a private member's bill in Parliament in yet another personal attempt to encourage reforms of the country's public leadership ethics law.

"Once again, today I submitted my private member's bill to amend the Tanzania leadership ethics code in order to let Parliament publish the assets and liabilities declaration forms of public leaders and allow scrutiny by citizens," he said. 

"This is the fifth time that I am doing so. The first time was in 2007 and all this time, no parliamentary debate (has been held on the proposed bill)."

President Magufuli publicly revealed in October that he earns a salary of 9 million Tanzanian shillings per month, making him one of the lowest paid African leaders as he pursues a policy of deep public spending cuts. 

By contrast Kenya’s president earns a monthly salary of around $14,000. Jacob Zuma of South Africa is paid around $20,000 monthly, following a salary increase by parliament in 2015. 

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa announced yesterday that he has also beat the deadline by submitting his annual assets declaration forms to the Ethics Secretariat on Thursday.

Majaliwa ordered all public leaders to ensure they submit their forms by a 4pm deadline tomorrow.

The PM warned cabinet ministers, deputy ministers, permanent secreteries, deputy permanent secretaries and all other public leaders not to miss the deadline.



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