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Dealing With Conflict of Interest: Separating Business from Politics in Tanzania

Ernest T Mallya*

Abstract

This paper is about conflict of interest in government circles. It is about the emerging trend in Tanzania where politicians have started becoming businesspersons and the other way round, thereby making many political process especially elections a matter for those who have a financial muscle. To correct this, the top leadership thought of ways to separate politics from business. This has been a big challenge because the matter is not an easy one and more so for a developing country like Tanzania where the infrastructure for handling potential conflict of interest is almost absent. Such concepts and practices as blind trusting are a far-fetched idea in Tanzania. Efforts such as having a leadership code have been on and off depending on regimes and somehow the need to revert to the castigated ujamaa principles is seen as one way to deal with this issue. The multiparty political system that has been around for almost two
decades has made matters more difficult in that the rules of the game for entering politics at national level have tended to work against the newer parties. To address this and other crippling problems in the political system it is proposed that the entire
way political parties are funded and how the electoral processes are carried out need to be reworked to make access to elective posts less demanding, as well as strengthening the democracy protection institutions that are in place before trying the huge experiment of separating politics from business – which is at the moment very difficult.

Keywords

conflict of interest, politics, business, blind trusts, Tanzania

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