Tanzania Parliament under Speaker Anne Makinda is steadily moving away from being a rubber stamp and partisan politics. Instead, it is paying greater attention to promoting national interest and challenging the Executive whenever necessary.
This is assessment of several Members of Parliament in comments during interviews this week with The Guardian on Sunday but they admit however that the watchdog role was earnestly nurtured during the 9th Parliament.
Saying the Parliament’s image has tremendously changed, James Lembeli (CCM- Kahama), was still of the view that colleagues in his party, who are the majority in the House, ought to go a step further.
For his part Freeman Mbowe (Chadema – Hai) said given that the House unanimously rejected the budgets of the Ministries of Energy and Minerals and Communications and Transportation, it shows the MPs are united in championing the national interest.
Under the Westminster system, the Parliament makes laws and grants money for running the administration of the country and overseeing government programmes and plans. Additionally, it oversees the actions of the Executive, ensuring that it is accountable for its administration.
“I think she is handling the House, well contrary to the expectations of her critics said Kawe MP (Chaderma) Halima Mdee,” commenting on Speaker Makinda’s performance.
Ubungo MP John Mnyika (Chadema) said compared to the Chairpersons of the Parliament Sylvester Mabumba, Jenister Mhagama and George Simbachawene, the Speaker has performed better.
The Speaker should lead the House judiciously in order to perform its constitutional role, adding that she should not accept simple answers from government to complex national matters raised by Members of Parliament.
When Speaker Makinda took over from Samuel Sitta late last year most MPs expressed fear that Parliament could be rendered toothless, losing the new grip it started tightening on the government during the first term of the fourth regime.