Some Members of Parliament, mainly from Zanzibar constituencies, on Wednesday called for immediate deletion of union matters which were added years after the original list had been compiled by the two founding leaders – Abeid Karume and Julius Nyerere.
The MPs, Hafidh Alli Tahir (Dimani, CCM), Ismail Jussa Ladhu (Nominated, CUF) and Yahya Kassim Issa (Chwaka, CCM) said removal of the matters would go a long way to making Zanzibaris enjoy some benefits.
They raised the argument after Magogoni MP Vuai Abdallah Khamis (CCM) had demanded clarification from the government on issues which were later added to the original list of union matters.
Khamis wanted the government to specifically mention the matters, which were signed by the founding leaders and those which were added later on.
Additionally, Dimani legislator Tahir had wanted the government to state the reason why it decided to remove prison affairs from the list of union matters.
For his part, Ladhu said the international union official document didn’t allow the government to tamper with the original copy of the union matters.
He explained that some items listed as union matters denied Zanzibar residents some essential benefits, including revenue collected by the union government.
Speaker Samwel Sitta, who was forced to interfere in the debate, said whoever wanted some issues to be removed from the list of union matters should move a private motion in the House.
State minister in the Vice-President’s Office (Union Affairs) Mohamed Seif Khatib said in his response that the government took into consideration the normal constitutional procedure to add some of the issues on the list of union matters.
Khatib explained that, before changes were made, the list was brought before the House where the MPs discussed and endorsed them.