UDSM must fully probe ‘sexual favours’ claims

Friday November 30 2018

 

By Editor

The University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) must treat allegations of sexual favours involving lecturers and female students with the seriousness they deserve. Nothing short of a sincere, transparent and objective investigation into the claims can set the record straight.

A tweet addressed to President John Magufuli by a renowned lecturer at the Hill, Dr Vicensia Shule, stirred up a hornet’s nest this week. Part of it read: “Baba @MagufuliJP, you’ve come to the University of Dar es Salaam to inaugurate an ultra-modern library. Corruption in the form of sexual favours is widespread at the UDSM…”

However, responding to the tweet, the UDSM Vice Chancellor, Prof William Anangisye, told Dr Shule to use official channels within the university system to raise the matter. He also challenged her to provide evidence. Dr Shule revealed that she had brought up the matter to the VC’s assistants, but her efforts had not yielded any positive results.

The lecturer also proposes that the university sets up a system to report such cases. She wants assurance that those reporting matters like this are protected and that justice is done. The VC’s concern over the use of proper channels, notwithstanding, the claims are still serious, and the UDSM must act on this tip-off to nip the vice in the bud.

As the country’s premier institution of higher learning, a lot is expected in terms of reputation. In other words, reputation is everything for an institution like the University of Dar es Salaam. While cases of sex-for-marks at the university level are not new, this vice cannot be allowed to thrive due to laxity. This is why it was important for the UDSM authorities to assure members of the public that the lecturer’s claims will be comprehensively investigated.

After all, as the country’s most prestigious institution of higher education, the UDSM has the responsibility to lead by example, both in academic performance and moral issues. Society looks up to UDSM as the mirror of uprightness and professionalism.

Good fight in poverty war

Poverty has remained one of the biggest hurdles that successive governments had to battle with since independence. Admittedly, eradicating poverty has never been a walk through the park. But over the years, notable progress has also been made. And, worth mentioning is the latest achievement highlighted in the 2017 Tanzania Human Development Report (THDR).

According to the report, poverty in Tanzania decreased from 64 per cent in 2015 to 47.4 per cent last year. That is remarkable progress in a period of three years. More so, extreme poverty is said to have dropped 31.3 per cent in 2010 to 17.7 per cent in 2015. What this means is that in one or the other an increasing number of Tanzanians are getting involved in economic activities.

Certainly, the fifth phase government can ride on this wave to fulfil the nation’s dream of becoming a middle-income by 2025. The target is to reduce poverty levels to 29.2 per cent by 2026. This is achievable if the government sets its priorities right. Nevertheless, a lot more needs to be done to get there.

The immediate challenge is creating jobs and more economic opportunities for especially the youth and women. In a nutshell, it is possible to win the war against poverty if we stay on course.