Singida East Member of Parliament (MP), Mr Tundu Lissu, has said former President Jakaya Kikwete should be the first one to be held accountable if the country is serious about doing justice with regard to people who erred in the way they handled Mining Development Licenses.
This comes just one day after President John Magufuli’s second probe committee found out that Tanzania has been ripped-off at least Sh108 trillion in mineral revenue by multinational mining firms during the past two decades.
In its recommendations, the committee proposed that certain individuals, who held ministerial, attorney general and other leadership positions during the days when the agreements were being signed, be held responsible for not 'aiding' multinationals to steal from the country’ mineral resources.
But debating the 2017/18 budget here on Tuesday, Mr Lissu (Chadema) said there was no way out for Mr Kikwete to be spared from the whole saga, saying he was the one who signed three of the controversial mining licenses during his days as a cabinet minister back in 1994 and 1995.
“It was Jakaya KIkwete who signed the Bulyanhulu Mining Development License way back in 1994 during his days as Water and Energy Minister….It was Jakaya Kikwete who signed the Nzega and Geita Gold Mine licenses. By then, he did not have the immunity that heads of state enjoy. How do you leave such a person from taking his personal responsibility if you want to be fair?” enquired Mr Lissu.
He said as much as he understands, the two recent reports – initiated by President John Magufuli – were not the only ones to be called for the purpose of finding the right revenue and legal framework for the mining sector.
Such committees, he said, started in the year 2002 when former President Benjamin Mkapa initiated what came to be known as General (rtd) Robert Mboma Committee.
Two years later, President Mkapa initiated the Jonas Kipokola Committee before coming up with yet another committee - the Enos Bukuku one – in 2005.
“Similarly, in 2006, former President Kikwete initiated the Lau Masha Committee and completed with the Judge (rtd) Mark Bomani Commission.
“I have read the findings of two of President Magufuli’ committees and to a large extent, they resemble those of the other past Committees,” said Mr Lissu, noting that he expects very little from the reports.
He said even the terms of reference for President Magufuli’s committees resemble those of the past ones, insisting that a true change will have to be borne from amending the laws.