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Mtwara MP`s fate hangs on a thread over Mtwara violence

3rd February 2013
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  He may face CCM`s wrath
Mtwara Urban Member of Parliament, Hasnain Mohamed Murji

The political fate of the Mtwara Urban Member of Parliament, Hasnain Mohamed Murji looks to be in serious jeopardy as he has been singled out by the government as the top agitator in the recent riots in Masasi and Mtwara in relation to the use of the natural gas.

The riots left four people dead and more than 20 others injured, among those a police officer. In Masasi the riots caused loss of public and private property worth Sh1.5 billion as a score of houses, motorcycles and vehicles were set ablaze.

Murji’s name was for the first time mentioned at the official ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) legislators’ meeting on Wednesday this week during which Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda briefed them on his observations in Mtwara.

Sources privy to the meeting, commonly known as the Party Caucus told this paper that Murji’s name was the only name mentioned as the CCM person at the center of the rioting public, and was accused of giving out seditious statements.

“Prime Minister Pinda talked directly of Murji’s undesirable involvement in public mobilization, which risked peace and order in the southern regions, and said the matter would be reported to higher parties organs for action,” revealed the source who requested to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the matter.

“It seems the government’s top leadership is furious with the MP on the incident especially the way the public was organized, and violent actions. The premier’s mood indicated there will be stern measures against the MP but it is difficult to say how stern will they be.

Another source at the Wednesday meeting confirmed to this paper that the Mtwara Urban MP’s name was mentioned and that the MP gave the way forward on the matter.

The source however argued that it was not proper to narrow the scope of the matter and discuss about an individual for his presumed involvement.

“Explanations have been given on what was the source of the problem. I don’t think it is proper to go to trivial points and forget the bigger picture and the root cause. This is not the proper way of dealing with sensitive matters of this nature,” noted the MP from a constituency in the coastal regions.

Premier Pinda told a press conference on Wednesday prior to the party caucus briefing that all agitators in the Mtwara and Masasi riots would be reported to the CCM higher organs for action but did not mention any specific person.

On the following day, Pinda stated that people involved were many and therefore it would not be possible to take action against all of them. He urged political leaders of all parties to refrain from uttering words which may shake the country’s peace and stability.

He was responding to the leader of official opposition camp in the House, Freeman Mbowe who wanted to know why the government did not take measures against the agitators. It was during a weekly session of instant questions to the PM.

When reached, the Mtwara Urban lawmaker Murji said he honours and works for his employers, Mtwara Urban people.

“I am not aware that my name was mentioned at the caucus meeting. What I have been doing is to represent my people who sent me to the National Assembly.

These people were not given information on the various projects; now they understand that no unprocessed natural gas will be transported thus there are no further problem,” affirmed Murji.

He added: “The Premier visited the area. I thank him for coming. He told us of the projects to be implemented which will be important for transformation of the southern regions. This is what I campaigned for and I was clear on that.”

On the point that he will be facing the top party authorities Murji said:

“I have not been summoned yet but I am ready when the summons come, and I will explain everything, what I did and for whose interest.”

Asked as to why he has not attended parliamentary sessions since the 10th meeting started on Tuesday February 29 the legislator responded:

“I remained in Mtwara for the Premier’s visit. He left for Dodoma on Wednesday. I requested to be part of the entourage but I was told there was no space. My driver was very sick and admitted at Nyangao Mission Hospital therefore I had to look for alternatives.”

He explained that he arrived in Dar es Salaam on Thursday February 31 and as he was about to leave for Dodoma he was informed of the death of one of his close relatives, so he was compelled to attend the burial and make the trip on Sunday.

Murji said by the time of the interview with this paper he was on his way to Dodoma.

CCM, formed in 1977 marks its 36th birthday on Tuesday February 5 with the national commemoration being held in Kigoma. It was formed after the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) and Zanzibar’s Afro Shirazi Party (ASP) merged.

It is expected to hold its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting here in Dodoma from February 9, if no unforeseen matters crop-up.

It has a history of taking tough actions against its leaders, including MPs.

In late 1960s eight legislators were expelled from TANU for openly opposing the party’s position in the House. In 1987 a score of top party leaders and ministers including the then Chief Minister, Seif Shariff Hamad were shown the exit door for presumed involvement in divisive politics which left a number of party and government offices in Pemba set ablaze.  

SOURCE: GUARDIAN ON SUNDAY