ACT Wazalendo leader Zitto Kabwe: This is what I told World Bank

ACT Wazalendo leader Mr Zitto Kabwe

Dar es Salaam. The ACT Wazalendo leader Mr Zitto Kabwe yesterday publicly shared a letter he wrote to ask the World Bank to ask the lender to withhold Sh1.15 trillion education loan to Tanzania.

Kabwe released the letter just a day after the Speaker of the National Assembly Job Ndugai told the parliament that the lawmaker’s move was an act of betrayal and asked the Attorney General to establish if there was criminality in the MP’s action.

The Kigoma-Urban MP who is currently in England, informed his followers through his twitter account yesterday that he would not be intimidated by threats he has been receiving since he made the move.

In the letter he wrote on 22 January to the World Bank’s board of directors, the outspoken opposition leader alerted the board on the deteriorating human rights situation in Tanzania, saying the government didn’t deserve getting the planned loan.

Other issues he raised in the letter include the contentious barring of pregnant school girls from resuming studies after delivery, suppression of freedom of assembly and free press.

Mr Kabwe has also accusing authorities of preventing opposition political candidates from holding public rallies.

“Similar restrictions during local governments in November prevented meetings by any party besides the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi. During these November elections, the ruling party also prevented more than 400, 000 candidates from competing for public office because they were insufficiently aligned with the current government.

“Ultimately, nearly all opposition parties boycotted the elections, leading to 99.6 per cent of the contested seats to be taken by the ruling party, CCM. One of the few remaining constitutional checks on government, the Controller and Audit General, was unconstitutionally removed in November, further jeopardizing the proper use of our taxpayer dollars and Bank’s investments,” he wrote.

During a sherry party held at the State House in Dar es Salaam, however, President Magufuli assured the diplomats that this year’s general election will be transparent, free and fair. He further said the government would also allow the international delegates to observe the election exercise.

Mr Zitto said the government has not demonstrated any good intent on the use of the money on advancing the interests of girls and women in Tanzania. The MP was referring to the recent government’s ban on pregnant school girls from resuming studies after delivery.

The President had announced in June 2017 that no pregnant girl would be allowed to study in a public school, nor readmitted after giving birth.

The President was quoted saying: “As long as I am president no pregnant student will be allowed to return to school. We cannot allow this immoral behaviour to permeate our primary and secondary schools. After getting pregnant, you are done.”

The announcement met strong opposition from the human activists, opposition leaders and development partners.

Mr Kabwe has also informed the board of the detention of Tanzanian journalist Mr Erick Kabendera who has been in remand prison since July last year facing unbailable money laundering and leading organised crime charges.

“This government can no longer claim to represent the Tanzanian people, but rather the interests of a few. Regrettably, it is the Tanzanian people, not the ruling minority, who will ultimately be forced to repay this loan for many years to come.

Moreover, we fear that with the absence of checks and balances, this enormous investment will be used by the ruling party to distort our electoral process,” read part of the letter.

The MP has asked the Bank to suspend lending to the government until basic checks and balances are restored in Tanzania including a free press, freedom of assembly, free and fair election and the reinstatement of the ousted CAG.