Immediate former Speaker of the National Assembly Samuel Sitta was yesterday announced as acting head of government business in the House for one week. He is standing in for Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda, who is on an official trip outside the country.
Speaker of the National Assembly Anna Makinda made the announcement about Sitta’s interim position in the House yesterday.
“Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda, who is the leader of government business in Parliament, will be outside the country …and parliamentary rules and regulations provide that one of the most senior cabinet ministers can serve as acting leader of government business in the House,” noted Makinda, adding: “In this case, Samuel Sitta, being one of the most senior ministers, will now act as leader of government business during the PM's absence.”
In what may be seen as a demonstration of his spirited and determined gesture to defend the rights of the poor, Sitta said the government would not sit back when the rights of poor farmers were being denied.
Sitta's remarks came after Mwibara legislator Alphaxard Lugola (CCM), rose on a point of order and sought the Speaker's guidance on the failure by the government last week to provide a clear stand on the continued use of 'unfit' cotton weighing machines, as they short-changed farmers.
According to the legislator, the machines had been discarded by the same government, but he wondered “why the machines are still being used in the Lake Zone region. This machine deprives cotton farmers of their income. Why does the government allow the use of the cotton-weighing machines which has been proved unfit and unfair to the farmers?”
He proposed that the machine be abolished officially and replaced by accurate and correct weighing cotton machines, which would enable farmers to get income which corresponds to the cotton quantity they sell.
Reacting to the MP’s concerns, National Assembly Speaker, Anna Makinda said, “Because of time constraints, it would be wise for Mwibara legislator to put your question in writing, as provided for in parliamentary rule No. 50-51, so as to allow the responsible minister to prepare an elaborate and descriptive answer.”
It was at this juncture that Sitta, as leader of government business, chipped in.
“It seems there are serious weaknesses with the cotton weighing machines…the government will look into these weaknesses and resolve them. The CCM government cannot relax and sit back while the rights of our farmers are being denied.”