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Mixed reaction over behaviour of MPs

29th July 2011
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  Some describe development as democracy
  Others say Parliament now house of comedy
Deputy Speaker, Job Ndugai

Some members of the public have described the developments in the parliament as a demonstration of the country’s transformation into a democracy while others say it has turned to a house of comedy.

Speaking in a telephone interview, they said despite increased democracy in the House, its performance is not up to the expectation of voters.

Secretary General of the Tanzania Association of Managers and Owners of Non-government Schools and Colleges (TAMONGSCO), Benjamin Nkonya said the current situation in the parliament is a result of emerging leaders who have grown and studied in a capitalist system and believe in freedom of expression and right to information.

“This is a conflict between the previous system of autocracy vis-à-vis democracy”, he said.

According to him, ordering Members of Parliament out of the National Assembly is improper. He suggested that the Speaker and the presiding chairpersons should find ways of controlling disorders without resorting to such punishments.

“Sending them out of the debating chamber does not help. There should be another way of controlling them, so that they continue representing their people in the house”, he noted.

For his part, Chairman of the Tanzania Constitutional Forum, Deus Kibamba said the Speaker’s chair is overwhelmed, questioning presiding chairpersons’ competence. He said the performance of the House is not to the expected standards.

He said legislators are in a battle to prove to the public who is better between those in the ruling party and the opposition.

According to him, the Speaker’s seat is the source of what is happening in the house, adding: “The parliament has turned into a house of comedy. The right and left wing are speaking two different languages,” he said.

A resident of Mbezi in Dar es Salaam Evarist Mabula said both the Speaker and her presiding chairpersons were incompetent, a factor behind the frequent chaos and exchange of bitter words in the august house.

“We did not see such things in the 9th Parliament, which was led by Samuel Sitta, because of his professional competence. He led the parliamentary proceedings more efficiently than the current leaders of the house,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chairperson of the Tanzania Media Women Association (Tamwa) Ananilea Nkya cautioned that the Speaker should be fair when penalising members who violated House orders, be they from opposition or the ruling party.

Nkya said if parliamentarians really want to contribute to the country’s development, then it was important for them to observe parliamentary rules and regulations.

“Legislators should learn to respect the Speaker’s chair and adhere to parliamentary rules and regulations,” she said. Yesterday morning three MPs, Tundu Lissu, Godbless Lema and Peter Msigwa were served with marching orders by the Deputy Speaker, Job Ndugai, apparently for violating rules and regulations of the house.

Nyamagana MP Ezekiah Wenje was on Wednesday ordered out of the National Assembly for being ‘disrespectful’ to the chair, following a heated exchange with the House chairperson, Sylvester Mabumba.

The drama started during question-and-answer session when several MPs sought the Speaker’s guidance on some of the issues raised in the House.

Singida East legislator, Tundu Lissu (Chadema) had posed a supplementary question on why schools were demanding contributions from parents, contrary to government directives.

To substantiate his claims, the outspoken MP produced a letter dated May 2nd, 2005 authored by the then Singida District Commissioner, James Yamungu, directing parents to contribute to school and other development activities.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
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