Saturday, February 14, 2009

'Tanzanian Teacher Whipping Move': Act of Impunity or Accountability?

In the process of defending the 'rule of law' and 'human rights' while condemning 'impunity and 'anarchy' we can easily miss the other side of the coin. This other side is captured well by this rhetorical, if not sacarstic, contribution by Msemakweli in Michuzi Blog: "JK, vipi baba wacha wacharazwe bakora hadharani. Hawafanyi kazi yeyote, watoto wanafeli. Huyu Jamaa Albert Mnali ndio anafaa kuwa Raisi wa Tanzania. Atembeze bakora kwa mafisadi wote hadi wanyooke. Baada ya hapo ndio tutazungumzia Rule of Laws." The quotation is simply stating a given fact: Lack of Accountability is equal to Absence of Rule of Law!

What the now former DC of BK did is/was a manifestation of a 'vacuum' that we now have in our society. When the system is not functioning at a fairly optimum level you create a condition for 'compensation' in an attempt to fill that 'vacuum'. In such a situation even teachers can resort to 'mob (in)justice'. The so-called black markets thrive. And so forth. Our country is particularly prone to this illegality because there is an unholy alliance between the 'political regime' and the 'legal regime'. Many a times politicians become the law in themselves. Illegally, they can issue political statements which are legal statements. In lawlessness, they can take political actions that are legal actions. The DC is/was not the first one to take such an action. He is just the tip of the iceberg. Just a tiny space in the bigger vacuum!

So, our governance system needs an overhaul. There can be no rule of law without separation of powers. Nor can there be accountability. And when the Speaker of the Parliament and the Chief Justice are in a tussle about the alleged interference of the Judiciary by the Legislature in a country whereby the main complaint has been about the interference of the Executive then know that we are into 'anarchy' and 'impunity'. No wonder human rights violations have been 'thriving' way before the teachers were whipped!


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