Why Prof. Tibaijuka should have accepted that US$100,000

ON August 31 this year, there was breaking news in some international media, that one of our learned women in this country had won the "His Royal Highness Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa Award for Sustainable Development" Prize.

The winner of this prestigious wrench was none other than Professor Anna Tibaijuka, former Undersecretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) office in Nairobi, Kenya.

The nomination endorsed by Bahrain's Prime Minister Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa was based on the recommendations and study submitted by the Award's team.

Most of us were delighted with that good news, and taking into account what Professor Tibaijuka has done both inside and outside this country, I silently said in my heart 'she deserved it'. Unfortunately we heard bad news on Thursday, that Professor Tibaijuka refused to receive the 100,000 US dollars accolade (over 210m/-), fearing to go against the country's public servants ethics code.

What a strange thing? During a press conference held in Dar es Salaam, the learned lady said she only accepted the trophy because the country's law forbids public servant to receive money in such bequests.

She argued that the law had put her in trouble when she received money from Mr James Rugemalira, and later on grilled by Ethics Tribunal over 1.6bn/- after she had received the money which was drawn from the Tegeta escrow account.

It is at this juncture that I started reasoning why this reputable academician had refused that money, while there are thousands (if not millions) who would have found use of that big amount of money.

For example, had she accepted that money, she would have been able to buy 3, 330 school desks for schools in Muleba district, assuming one desk in that particular area costs 60,000/- .

Suppose she had decided to take the money, she would have been able to buy sanitary kits for ward secondary school girls in her constituency, an assistance that could really help them.

There are some other areas where that 200m/- could have rendered assistance, especially in social services like education, health, roads and environmental protection, the task she has played a lot in her life.

Indeed, Professor Tibaijuka should have accepted that cash, because it had been donated by a reputable organization for a good purpose - honouring her for a job well done.

If she did not need that money, I think she should have accepted it and presented it to President John Magufuli, and that would really made sense, especially at this time of the year when the nation needs money to help people affected by the earthquake in Kagera region recently.

I think the Muleba South constituency where Professor Tibaijuka is the current Member of Parliament, needed that money to renovate people's houses, because recent media reports say that some families sleep outside during the night, simply because they don't have shelter.

This article was written by Deo Mushi and published Daily News