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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Who should clear Rostam Azizi?

The name of Honourable Rotam Azizi has popped up in the media for sometime now whenever issues such as the Bank of Tanzania( BOT) and Richmond fraud scams and possible grand corruption allegations relating to these have come up for discussion. The media reports often echoed allegations made to the same effect by the popular opposition leader, Honourable Wilbroad Slaa, who first made these allegations at a political rally at Mwenge Yanga grounds in Dar es Salaam late last year.

This was the occasion on which a coalition of opposition parties including CHADEMA, CUF and TLP, announced what has now come to be known as the List of Shame, or Orodha ya Mafisadi, in Kiswahili. That list named eleven senior CCM politicians who were alleged to be the key participants and beneficiaries of these alleged BOT and Richmond fraud scams.

Some sections of the media, such as the popular Kiswahili weekly, Mwanahalisi, subsequently made further elaborations on the role played by Honourable Rotam Azizi as the key accomplice in the various serious fraud schemes, including one involving getting money from BOT and passing it on to the ruling party, CCM, to help it finance the campaigns of some of the politicians who ran on its ticket as parliamentary and presidential candidates in the 2005 General Elections.

All the same, these serious allegations remain allegations, and the truth about them has yet to clearly come out. The public has been denied the ultimate truth partly because those against who these deadly serious allegations have been made, including Honourable Rostam Azizi, and many other senior CCM politicians, have not so far taken the opposition politicians who made the allegations or newspapers like Mwanahalisi that made the allegations public, to court. It is the courts which can clear the names of these eminent persons, if indeed these allegations are false and the alleged culprits such as Honourable Rostam Azizi are also indeed innocent.

One is therefore baffled by the attempts by those who are on the List of Shame to seek to clear their names by organizing media spins including attempts at mudslinging those who they claim to be behind what they allege to be politically ill-motivated insinuations and innuendoes against their personal integrity. One is intrigued by the attempts by those mentioned on the List of Shame to take advantage of occasions of giving charity donations to Christian churches to announce to an obviously captive and ratified audience that they are innocent and that those making the allegations against them are maliciously envious political and business competitors.

On previous occasions when they had made donations in support of these same presumably noble religious causes they had not seemed to be too keen to have publicity given to their philanthropic endeavours. It sounds odd indeed that these same god-fearing philanthropists whose immerse wealth was presumably acquired through protestant chastity and prudence are now furiously seeking to have the entire world believe that, in spite of the ‘lies’ told against them by people who presumably have an axe to grind, they are clean politicians and businesspersons and that their claim of innocence ought to be accepted at face value.

Being unusually very naively charitable, I wish to humbly make a simple suggestion as the way forward out of the political hell into which CCM and the country’s ethically clean reputation has been plunged by the alleged BOT and Richmond fraud scams. I say to my compatriot Honourable Rostam Azizi, and all the other senior CCM leaders who are included in the List of Shame, if you wish to clear your name using religious platforms, then put to Parliament a private members motion requesting for the establishment of a Truth Commission. This will be similar to the one formed in South Africa after the collapse of the Apartheid regime in 1994.

Those alleged to have been involved in the alleged frauds will confess and be forgiven but only after pretty rigorous public interrogation by a panel of eminent persons, including noted lawyers like Prof. Issa Shivji and Mr. Tundu Lissu as well as clerics like Bishop Methodius Kilaini, and in the presence of representatives of those who suffered due to the commitment of the alleged frauds. In religious terms, that will indeed constitute a proper repentance procedure. Otherwise take Honourable Wilbroad Slaa and Mwanahalisi to court and stop organizing media circuses meant to encourage all to consider you innocent at face value, just as some people seem to have already done.

Author: Dr. Azaveli Feza Lwaitama
Source: The article was submitted as ' Rostam Azizi, Religion and the Media' in a respected newspaper. However, it was not published with apology from the editor as par commissioned column contract on advice of a lawyer.

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