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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Opposition MPs irked by VP`pms `unfortunate` statement

27th January 2011
Vice-President Dr Mohamed Bilal

Opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) have challenged Vice-President Dr Mohamed Bilal for saying they propose nothing but oppose everything presented for debate in the National Assembly.

Opening a 10-day seminar for MPs in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday, Dr Bilal decried a statement by an opposition leader in the British Parliament some years back, who had said, "The duty of the opposition is to propose nothing, oppose everything and turn out the government."

“You will agree with me that it is out of time for opposition MPs to misuse the meaning of democracy. Only constructive criticism is contributing to people’s development,” he said.

Speaking in an interview with The Guardian, Gando MP Khalifa Khalifa said he didn’t understand why Dr Bilal used such a statement at the seminar.

“I don’t know why he decided to use that kind of quotation, while he knew the seminar had MPs from various political parties. How will people take it,” questioned Khalifa.

However, he said as a leader from the opposition their role was to contribute constructive views to build the nation and not to oppose everything and propose nothing.

For his part, Kigoma North MP Zitto Kabwe (Chadema) told The Guardian that the vice-president had no authority to give directions to opposition MPs on what to do or not to do during parliamentary sessions.

He said they would play their role as representatives of the people, who voted for them to listen to their claims and then present them in Parliament with a view to seeking solutions.

“We are guided by procedural rules and know what to do at what time and under what circumstances including contributing new ideas,” he insisted.

The MPs seminar aimed at discussing different topics that will be presented in Parliament including the position of the judiciary in State leadership, separation of powers, Parliamentary authority in ruling the nation, MPs job ethics and code of behaviour, human rights and good governance and the role of Parliament in fighting corruption.

Other topics are rights, power and protection of MPs, procedures and monitoring of government’s procurement system and responsibilities of the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) of the National Auditing Office and its relation to Parliament.

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