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Friday, 30 September 2011

Dowans nightmare: What went wrong .

With the issue on whether or not Tanesco should pay Dowans Sh110 billion for breach of contract out of the way, factors that led the Tanzania into the ditch are starting to emerge.Noting that presently there isn’t any chance for the government to evade liability, calls are being made that those responsible for the mess should be taken to task.Tanzania would not have ended up paying billions to Dowans if, right from the beginning, politicians had agreed to step back and listen to advice from technocrats, the chairman of Public Organisations Accounts Committee (POAC), Mr Zitto Kabwe, told this paper yesterday.

 “The main source of this problem is politicians within the ruling party who chose to play factional politics and neglect advice from technocrats. If we had listened to former Tanesco Managing Director, Dr Idris Rashid, we wouldn’t be here,” said Mr Kabwe.

The politicians refused to buy the plant at $50 million on grounds that it was against procurement regulations but the same plants have been producing power that Tanesco buys at exorbitant price, and no one is making any noise, he charged.

“Anti-Dowans forces were self-centred and misused their support by Tanzanians and instead of providing leadership, they chose populism and personal vendetta,” he said.Mr Kabwe, who is also a shadow minister for Finance, also further said that it was not wise to cancel the Dowans contract with only five months to go.

He said the Wednesday decision, in which the High Court threw out the Tanesco petition and registered the International Commercial Court’s verdict requiring the firm to pay Dowans more than Sh110 billion for breach of contract, was indication that the country now has to bear the burden of paying.

Despite the fact that several government officials, including the minister for Finance and Economic Affairs Mustafa Mkulo, have made it public that the Treasury has no money to pay the compensation, commentators who spoke yesterday said that the government would nevertheless pay the money, which is “an insult to the country.”

For his part, Energy and Minerals minister William Ngeleja, who addressed a press conference on Mtwara-Dar es Salaam pipeline project in the city yesterday, declined to comment on the Dowans ruling.

CUF national chairman, Prof Ibrahim Lipumba, said the Dowans saga was enough to open up people’s eyes that there is a leadership vacuum under the ruling CCM. “It is sad that we are supposed to pay this money at a time when the government has been lamenting that it hasn’t enough money to even finance its Budget,” said Prof Ibrahim Lipumba, the CUF national chairman.

Prof Lipumba suggested that because those who have caused the loss were known, they should be made to account for the mess, wherever they were. “We have a big leadership vacuum in this country, and the Dowans issue is just one example manifesting how the ruling party has failed to run this country in a more focused way,” said Prof Lipumba, noting that there would never be seriousness if no action were taken against those who landed the nation in the current mess.

He added: “This is what you get when you have a bad governing system sparked by corruption and favouritisms … Tanzania will never achieve anything until CCM is removed from power.”
The CUF chairman said Tanesco was supposed to sue Richmond after it failed to implement the agreement as well as after it transferred its contract to Dowans, which was against the agreement.

Prof Lipumba also said there was no logic in appealing the ICC ruling especially after the Attorney general said categorically there were no grounds for appeal.

A prominent lawyer who led other activists in filing a petition against the payment, Dr Sengondo Mvungi, said the payment of the compensation would be an approval of graft within the government.
Source the citizen.