It is really appalling to see our National Assembly, a sacred place where the laws of the land are made and other serious matters of state are transacted, being turned into a political theatre as well as a house for comedians to display their theatrics.
For that is precisely what our ‘honourable’ legislators indulged in the whole of this week when they were ostensibly debating the government budget for fiscal year 2012/13.
The budget may finally have been endorsed despite all the hue, cry and fuss, but the rude, crude and offensive language used in debating it, coupled with the theatrical displays, have left a lasting and bitter aftertaste in some of us who viewed all the episodes of the theatre, casting very serious doubt on the calibre of the people we elected to represent us in the otherwise august House.
The linguistic missiles the MPs shot at each other, coupled with their crudity, during the debate cast doubt about their integrity, credibility and ability to serve as the people’s representatives. For, the uninitiated, one would have been excused for thinking that what was going on was probably a scene of a free-for-all in a local pub at Uwanja wa Fisi.
When debating the 2012/13 budget the legislators forgot that they were Tanzanians first before they joined their political parties, besides the fact that they were elected by Tanzanians. But the zeal to protect party interests rather than those of Tanzanians overwhelmed them, especially those from the ruling party, CCM.
Instead of thoroughly scrutinising and analysing the budget, the majority of our MPs chose to capitalise on cheap propaganda as well as launching personal attacks against each other.
This, to say the least, may be viewed as a betrayal of those who elected them, for aren’t our legislators expected to put Tanzanians’ interests above politics when debating crucial issues such as the government budget?
Mwalimu Julius Nyerere once said, “Argue, don’t shout,” but the majority of our lawmakers this week threw the adage out of the window and traded instead in abuses instead of debating the 2012/13 budget.
Only a few of them managed to argue strongly, backed by facts and figures, while the majority turned the august House into a house of comedy – and comedy of the worst type to boot!
Now, in the circumstances, can anyone fault Madam Speaker Anne Makinda for chastising the legislators for their unbecoming and disgraceful behaviour they publicly displayed?
Franco Debono once said, “The people are represented in Parliament. Therefore, parliamentarians are not party delegates but representatives of the people elected on a party ticket, which is different.”
Our Members of Parliament should bear in mind that they are not their party’s delegates, as they would want us to believe. They are the people’s representatives and therefore should put the interests of their people above cheap politics.
Now, what moral can Tanzanians draw from the indignity they were subjected to the whole of this week? If there is one it is this: that it is high time Tanzanians learnt about the quality of people they elect as their representatives, because this week we witnessed the highest level of immaturity, recklessness and, above all, lapdog politics on the part of our legislators.
Corrupted voters always vote for corrupt candidates, and this is the result of corruption in politics that have dominated our electoral processes during the past two decades. Since most voters opted to sacrifice credibility and integrity due to bribes, here now we are as a country with a Parliament full of jokers and comedians.
One could rightly say that the chickens of graft have come home to roost.