It could be a very big day for Tanzania today. The parliamentary Public Accounts Committee, under the determined leadership of its chair, Zitto Kabwe, promises to present its findings on the IPTL / Escrow audit report as prepared by the Controller and Auditor General (CAG), despite apparently considerable pressure through official channels from the Prime Minister, Mizengo Pinda, the judiciary and others, and through unofficial (and unpleasant) channels from unknown sources.
For background on the case and why it is so significant, I recommend two excellent articles in the Citizen newspaper, which has reported steadfastly on this topic for many months:
- What CAG found out in Escrow deal, 17/11/14
- Facts on IPTL deal ahead of the tabling of Escrow scan report, 24/11/14
In all, it is said to be a case involving as much as Tshs 321bn ($185m). And it is said to go both deep into government and high up. Hopefully we will understand this much better later today.
But for now, let’s celebrate one aspect of the media coverage of this story – the creativity and audacity of the cartoonists.
Below is the full collection of newspaper cartoons I have collected on the issue over the past few weeks, in the order in which they were published.
We begin with Masoud Kipanya in Mwananchi from November 1st, noting (if I have understood correctly) that people were yet to really take this issue seriously:
Government (Serikali) coming under intense pressure:
File under “obfuscation“:
Personalising the issue: is the Prime Minister personally clinging on to power?
“I’m not going to school today until you answer my questions about Taneskro. First, how old is it?” / “Myself, I found it had already started when I was born”:
Somebody has been eating:
A sense of the scale of what could be revealed: (the building is the Tanzanian parliament – the Bunge):
“I don’t understand this IPTL class” / “And it’s the one with the most marks”
Public Accounts Committee shining a light, revealing the truth?
The struggle to get this on / keep it off the agenda:
Parliament in the dark, trying to see what’s really happened:
About to boil over?
Untouchable? Above the law?
PAC in control:
The big donors have suspended General Budget Support over the issue:
Now in the light, government trying to hide the evidence, parliament checking the figures: “Didn’t I already tell you not to come into shallow water, you want to bring me big trouble”
Trying (failing?) to prevent the danger:
PAC in control, again:
Parliament on fire:
Who will fall? Will anyone fall?
Upinzani = opposition
Last minute efforts to stop the scandal having such a big impact / to remove parts of the report:
And finally, two that are not cartoons, but photos. The first conveys a message just as strong as any of the images above. Zitto Kabwe, PAC chair, flexing his muscles:
Please forgive the Liverpool shirt.
The second, posted yesterday by Zitto, is of the final PAC meeting before presenting their report. Making accountability happen can be dull, difficult work, unglamorous. It’s not James Bond, though it can require just as much bravery. Look closer, though, and the weight of this issue is there to see, in full three-volume, several-thousand-page glory. Those three heavy piles of papers are the auditors’ report.
A few new cartoons today:
Have we all forgotten about the constitutional review process?
The Prime Minister in the hot seat:
A reprise, and a plea to the courts: