Tanzania Ruling-Party Panel Urges Graft-Linked Leaders to Quit

The central committee of Tanzania’s ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi urged members of its national executive linked to corruption scandals to resign to help improve the party’s image among voters.

Members of the central committee, the CCM’s decision-making body, quit and were replaced on April 10 when the panel held its first meeting since President Jakaya Kikwete won an Oct. 31 election with a reduced share of the vote. Wilson Mukama was appointed as the committee’s new secretary-general.

“The new central committee asked all leaders in the National Executive Committee named in corruption scandals to resign,” Nape Nnauye, the party’s spokesman, said in a phone interview yesterday from Dodoma, the capital. He declined to identify the officials concerned.

Tanzania, an East African nation of 41 million people, has been ruled by Kikwete since 2005. In that time, the country’s ranking deteriorated to 116th from 93rd on an index of the world’s most corrupt countries compiled by Transparency International, the Berlin-based advocacy group.

“We want our leaders to take responsibility and step aside when the public perceives them as corrupt, instead of waiting for judgments from court,” Nnuaye said. “There are some still in the NEC, and we want them to resign or the party may be compelled to take decisive action against them before the upcoming NEC elections next year.”

In January 2008, Kikwete fired Central Bank Governor Daudi Ballali following an irregular-payments scandal over which Prime Minister Edward Lowassa resigned. In a separate incident that year, Andrew Chenge stepped down as infrastructure development minister after being investigated in a bribery probe involving BAE Systems Plc in 1997. Ballali died in May 2008 and no government ministers were prosecuted in either of the cases.

Donors to Tanzania announced in May they planned to cut their pledges in the 2010-11 fiscal year by about $220 million to $534 million.

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