The National Assembly yesterday turned into a ‘heated bud vase’ after the Opposition camp’s views on the 2012/2013 Home Affairs ministry Budget estimates were intercepted several times by government officials. House Speaker Anne Makinda later ruled that particular portions of the documents containing the views particular be skipped.
It all started when Home Affairs Shadow minister Vicent Nyerere started reading the budget speech which had details, of which the government claimed were already in court.
State Minister, Prime Minister’s Office, (Policy, Coordination and Parliamentary Affairs) William Lukuvi interrupted Nyerere by asking for the Speaker’s guidance on pages three, four and five subtitled ‘Politically Motivated Killings’.
It was then that a tussle between Lukuvi and the Opposition Chief Whip, Tundu Lissu ruptured, spoiling the debating trend in the House, forcing Anne Makinda, Speaker of the National Assembly, to stand up before several other MPs and the Attorney General to seek more guidance from her.
In his arguments, Lukuvi who preempted the speech by the opposition by reading parts which had not been read by the shadow minister, said as per Standing Order Number 64 (1) (a), the three pages- 3, 4 and 5 of the speech were on matters that are in court and some were still under police investigation.
The state minister said the explanations given by the Opposition camp would have suited to help the police in their investigation and not be tabled in the House.
It is contrary to the House Standing Orders to address an issue in the House which has already been sent to court.
Lukuvi requested the Speaker to disallow such explanations in accordance with the powers invested on her because they could distort investigation and court procedures.
Immediately after he (Lukuvi) finished, Lissu, requested the chair to do justice for the opposition, who are few in the House by allowing the full text of their speech to be read in the House.
He said on Monday CCM lawmakers debated a lot accusing the opposition Chadema of taking part in the killings of a UVCCM leader in Iramba District and thereafter political fracas ensued in their rally.
But the Attorney General, Frederick Werema said he had said on Monday that Chadema MPs should not fear to help police in case they are called for regarding the Iramba political fracas and the killing of the UVCCM leader.
Chipping in Makinda, said whoever goes against the Standing Orders would be interrupted be a minister, MP from the opposition or the ruling party.
“You can read everything but issues that are in court, please no, those under investigation you can continue with them,” she said.
When it all became tense, state Minister Lukuvi intervened saying both sides and all who stood to speak had good intention.
“I don’t have any bad intention with my colleague, the opposition Chief Whip, Tundu Lissu,” Lukuvi said.
Lukuvi mentioned cases which were in court and which had been cited in the opposition speech as a case involving Iringa Urban MP Peter Msigwa against a CCM cadre, Iramba District killing of a UVCCM member, the beating of Ilemela MP Highness Kiwia and Ukerewe MP, Salvatory Machemli, the kidnapping and beating of Dr Stephen Ulimboka.
But immediately thereafter tens of MPs mostly from the Opposition sought the Speaker’s guidance, -- and only Ezekia Wenje (Nyamagana, Chadema) chanced to explain that to his understanding Standing Orders prohibit debates on matters that might distort case proceedings and not otherwise.
“Stephen Kebwe (Serengeti, CCM) accused Chadema openly here that its members took part in the killing of Iramba UVCCM leader …our speech doesn’t talk anything on court proceedings but it speaks of crime issues in general,” he said.
Later on it was the Speaker’s turn to use her guillotine, whereby she ruled that the disputed pages 3, 4 and 5 should not be read until when the Parliamentary Committee on Privileges, Ethics and Powers discusses the details of the same.
The committee sat under the chairmanship of Brig General Hassan Ngwilizi.
Meanwhile, the Immigration Department came under scathing attack yesterday in Parliament after the Opposition Camp accused it of embracing corrupt practices, including promoting its staff without considering merits.
The attack was leveled by Shadow Minister for Home Affairs Vicent Nyerere (Musoma Urban, Chadema) when tabling the opposition views on the 2012/13 budget estimates.
According to Nyerere, embracing corrupt practices and promoting department personnel without considering merits has contributed immensely towards dismal performance of the entity that is now manifested through influx of illegal immigrants and human trafficking.
Citing the Immigration Service Reform Programme strategic plan research report published by the ministry on November 27, 2011, Nyerere said the posting of personnel to various posts in the department does not take into consideration one’s experience and academic qualifications.
He said the government report was clear in the matter as it admitted that division of labour or placement at the department did not depend on one’s qualifications; instead favoritism, bribery and friendship were the determining factors.
“Most of the time placement is not based on merit but on nepotism, bribery, technical know-who, favouritism and friendship all of which are contrary to the whole concept of placement,” Nyerere said.
To prove the case, Nyerere said the same report stated that higher ranking officials at the department have low level of education compared to the low ranking officers.
According to him, from the level of Assistant Commissioner to Commissioner, there are ten officers with master’s degree, two with postgraduate qualifications, twenty four with degrees, nine with diplomas, seven with advanced diplomas, eleven (Form Six) and 248 being Form Four Leavers but surprisingly the department has a Form Four leaver working as Commissioner, 216 as Acting Commissioners and 31 as Assistant Commissioners.
Nyerere said under such circumstances the public should not be surprised to witness the influx of illegal immigrants and multiplication of human trafficking cases in the country.
He said of late the country’s borders are porous, a claim proved by proliferation of human trafficking cases masterminded by dishonest immigration officers and unscrupulous businesspersons.
Nyerere said it is now an ordinary phenomenon for nationalities from Somali, Burundi, China, India, Pakistani, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Kenya to enter and stay in the country without proper immigration paper.
Citing the recent incident whereby about 40 Ethiopian nationalities were found dead in a container lorry in Dodoma while on transit to Malawi, Nyerere said it was inconceivable for the incidents to occur in the presence of immigration officers and police.