Scores of political and religious leaders and academicians have said Monday’s commotion in the National Assembly suggested lack of concern by MPs for the problems facing Tanzanians.
Others told the MPs not to use taxpayers’ money to discuss issues which are of no public interest while others called for tolerance in the august house.
In separate interviews with The Guardian yesterday some pointed out that the country is facing a number of problems which legislators should focus on and advise the government on ways to improve the situation. “It is unjust to voters that their representatives in the national assembly are debating issues which are of no benefit to them, while important motions tabled by the opposition are rejected simply because of political interests,” said a Dar es Salaam resident who gave her name as Dorice Jonathan.
She said Tanzania will never attain its development goals if MPs continue to reject important issues tabled in the parliament, due to political interests.
President for Tanganyika Law Society (TLS) Francis Stolla said what was happening in the National Assembly was lack of tolerance among members of parliament.
He said the MPs have forgotten their responsibilities while in the debating chamber of defending the interests of their voters and not otherwise.
“Tolerance is the only solution to end chaos in the national assembly,” Stolla stressed, adding that each MP has the right to be heard when presenting a motion in the House.
Senior Lecturer in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at the University of Dar es Salaam Bashiru Ally, said legislators spent taxpayers’ money in the parliament by doing unacceptable things.
He said the country is facing a number of challenges, including shortage of water, teachers and doctors but the MPs were focusing on their political ideologies instead of discussing serious issues which have impact on wananchi.
“Issues such as water and education are very critical to wananchi and it has nothing to do with any political party, but some MPs used the chance to distract from the issues, instead of giving constructive views to improve the situation,” Bashiru said.
Kinondoni resident Isaac Moleli said in 2015 election a number of MPs will lose their seats due to their behaviour in parliament.
“The public is tired of the behaviour of watching ‘comedy’ in the parliament while their constituents face serious development hurdles,” he said.
Mburahati resident Catherin Modest recommended that there should be fairness in treating the legislators regardless of their parties, as all have been elected by the people to represent them in debating about issues of the society.
Although backing their good intentions, Modest faulted the reaction by opposition parties’ legislators saying: “Booing and the use of abusive language was not a show of leadership before the public and international community,” she said.
The Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) Executive Director Hellen Kijo-Bisimba said the top leadership of Parliament lacked objectivity when making decisions on some issues raised by legislators during sessions.
She said that the private motions on education and water tabled by opposition legislators were crucial as they directly touch on the lives of the people.
“Legislators who have been trusted to represent the people should be given time to discuss on the issues and then the government could defend its part,” she said.
She however expressed disappointment with MPs Tundu Lissu (Singida East, Chadema) and Dr Hamis Kigwangala (Nzega CCM)) who instead of concentrating on finding the solution of the problems facing the society, have turned the debating chamber into a ground for exchanging words on their private matters.
Chairman of the Tanzania Constitution Forum Deus Kibamba said it was a shame to see the trusted institution with making crucial decisions on behalf of the Tanzanians engaging in such unethical conduct.
He said that Ubungo MP’s (John Mnyika, Chadema) was right to table his motion on the crucial issue concerning the people he represents in the House, calling on the ruling party legislators to be tolerant during such discussions of national interest.