Members of parliament were yesterday banned from debating the ongoing strike by doctors on the ground that they will be breaking standing orders following Speaker of the National Assembly Anne Makinda's earlier ruling on the matter.
Makinda last week said the government had backtracked on its promise to make a statement on the matter in the House because it was already subjudice.
National Assembly chairperson Jenister Mhagama told the legislators yesterday that the matter could not be discussed any further in view of the Speaker's ruling.
Muhambwe lawmaker Felix Mkosamali (NCCR-Mageuzi) had earlier sought the Speaker's guidance on whether the MPs should debate the doctors' strike in view of its negative impact on the nation's and people's welfare.
He had wanted also that all the parliamentary activities be stopped and instead the day be used to resolve the doctors’ strike.
In her ruling Mhagama said Muhambwe MP has also broken the parliamentary standing orders by debating a matter which had already been ruled on by the Speaker.
Mkosamali had argued that it was not fair for the House to continue debating the budget at a time when Tanzanians were dying owing to the ongoing strike.
He requested other MPs to support him, a majority of whom did, but chairperson From Page 1
Mhagama stuck to her guns, saying there was no need for the MPs to debate it because it had already been ruled on by the Speaker.
“This matter has been clarified by the Speaker, so we cannot continue with it. But if there is any member of parliament who has not been satisfied with the Speaker's decision they can bring it in the House by using alternative means according to the standing orders,” said Mhagama.
However, shortly after Mhagama had ruled that Mkosamali broke the standing orders, Kisarawe MP Suleiman Said Jafu (CCM) stood up to contribute to a debate on the estimates of the President’s Office, Public Service Management, for the year 2012/2013 budget, and prefaced his speech with some reference to doctors' strike.
To the amazement of MPs, he was left to finish his remarks without intervention by the chairperson.
In his contribution, Jafu continued to discuss Dr Stephen Ulimboka’s kidnapping and beating and also the doctors’ strike.
He said there was a need to investigation the kidnapping in order to get to the bottom of the matter.
After Jafu’s statement on the doctors’ strike, John Mnyika, MP for Ubungo
(Chadema) stood up seeking the chairperson's guidance for allowing Jafu to refer to the doctors’ strike while she had already stated the stand of the House that the matter should not be discussed.
Clarifying, Mhagama said she prohibited Mhambwe MP to debate because on Monday, the matter was too hot and it brought a serious debate in the House.
“What we need is for a legislator to discuss the matter with discipline not like what was happening yesterday. Jafu has discussed the matter in a nice way,” she said.
After that Mnyika stood again stressing that since Jafu had been allowed to debate the matter then there was a need to debate it because, according to media reports, the doctors were still on strike and not as it has been published that they had heeded President Jakaya Kikwete’s call to go back to work.
Mnyika’s words prompted Kondoa South MP (CCM), Juma Nkamia to stand up and ask for guidance, saying the House has its standing orders and did not depend on media reports.
The struggle to end the debate entered into another development as CUF MP, Juma Kombo supported CCM’s stand.
But the chairperson ended the stand-off by not allowing anymore requests for guidance from the MPs.