Speaker Anne Makinda yesterday gave Arusha Urban MP Godbless Lema (Chadema) five days to substantiate charges that the Prime Minister lied to parliament when explaining the recent killings in Arusha.
The opposition legislator is obliged to submit evidence on February 14, this year, failure of which disciplinary measures will be taken against him.
The Speaker’s directive came after the MP sought clarification on Parliamentary procedures to penalise a senior government leader like the Prime Minister in case he told lies in Parliament.
His request came shortly after the PM had answered a question by the leader of the Opposition, Freeman Mbowe, who wanted the PM to explain the Arusha killings after Chadema staged a peaceful demonstration to protect the highly disputed Arusha mayoral election.
“Honourable Speaker, I want to know Parliamentary procedures that may be used against a person of high integrity like the Prime Minister if proved that he has lied in Parliament,” Lema said when referring to PM’s clarification on the Arusha saga.
The MP’s request angered
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the Speaker, who responded: “Regarding procedure! Can you, please, sit down? There seems to be no discipline anymore in this House!” she remarked.
She asked the legislator to submit evidence to prove his statement that the PM lied in the Parliament.
Later, Lema told reporters outside the House that he would present the evidence to support his statement, as demanded by the Speaker.
“I am not a child…I am a grown up person…I have no fear. People have to fight for their rights,” he said, giving examples of globally-recognised freedom fighters such as former South African President Nelson Mandela, who was very instrumental in the political liberation of his country and the entire African continent.
Earlier, Mbowe blamed the government for remaining mum on the Arusha and Mbarali killings by police.
Pinda said the government had been very keen on the Arusha case, saying: “Don’t rush to the conclusion that the government has been mum before understanding the root causes of the problem,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Pinda yesterday told MPs that they were not bound to approve every budget estimates presented in the House, but should instead scrutinise and be satisfied that they benefited the nation. He was responding to Kisesa MP Luhanga Mpina (CCM), who blamed the government for massive waste of public funds.
According to the MP, at least 35 per cent of the government budget was spent on seminars, workshops and allowances, leaving poor Tanzanians suffering from lack of social services.
“Has the government any plans of reducing such unnecessary expenditure and instead channel the resources to productive and people-focused development projects?” the legislator asked.
The Premier said it was the duty of MPs to scrutinise the budget estimates tabled in the House closely before endorsing them.
“It is up to MPs to make sure you pin down the government and ministries on budget estimates. You have to scrutinise them and see if they have any significant contributions to the national development,” he said, adding: “Do not approve unnecessary expenditures.”