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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Committee to probe House commotion

6th February 2013
Speaker of the National Assembly, Anne Makinda

The Parliamentary Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Powers has been tasked to investigate the commotion that happened in the august House on Monday evening, forcing Deputy Speaker Job Ndugai to suspend the session.

Speaker of the National Assembly, Anne Makinda giving the directive here yesterday urged the committee to submit its recommendations in the ongoing 10th House meeting.

The Speaker said the Parliamentary Steering Committee condemned the boisterous act, saying if left unattended it might turn the debating chamber into a boxing ring.

According to Makinda, the committee agreed to block all lined up private motions following the unruly MPs’ behaviour in the House.

“This was made purposely to restore the respect of the National Assembly before the public,” Makinda said, adding that her office would however allow those which touched on public interest.

“The motions were to be moved in the previous Parliamentary sessions, but because of time they were shifted to this session. We had very good intentions so as to advise the government on how to solve social-economic challenges facing the public,” she said.

“But we are forced to suspend debates on private motions following the rowdy behaviour shown by some lawmakers making it lose its credibility before the public,” she said.

Makinda further noted that MPs are supposed to adhere to parliamentary orders governing debates in the House, citing orders number 53 to 58 and discussion orders from 59 to 71.

“If we’re fully aware of these standing orders, such commotions would not be happening in this House…it is high time legislators were equipped with these orders,” she said.

She warned MPs not to play with Standing Orders, as they are there purposely to ensure that the House’s activities are carried out in a peaceful manner.

“Don’t use the Standing Orders to dupe people, who don’t know them,” the Speaker said as she explained all the procedures needed in executing private motions in the House.

She also noted that the motion brought in the House by Ubungo MP John Mnyika, had all the blessings from the National Assembly, but  defended Water minister Prof Jumanne Maghembe for recommending that it be removed as the government was working on the water-related challenges in Dar es Salaam.

Makinda also refuted claims that the chair of the Speaker favoured the government against the opposition MPs.

“This is not true we treat everybody here equally and if there is an MP who thinks that they weren’t fairly treated by the chair, there is room for appeal,” she said.

The speaker however removed from the list the private motion by Joshua Nassari (Arumeru East, Chadema) on the National Examinations Council of Tanzania (NECTA), as a source for poor performance of the country’s education sector.

Meanwhile, Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema) has directed its MPs not to appear before the Parliamentary Steering Committee as directed by Deputy Speaker Job Ndugai on Monday.

Briefing journalists in Dar es Salaam yesterday on the saga, Chadema secretary general Dr Willbrod Slaa said: “Regardless of political ideology, I commend all lawmakers who moved private motions...however, I have ordered Chadema MPs not to show up before the Parliamentary Steering Committee.”

He said: “Since the Speaker’s chair has twisted the House standing orders, then we also have to… so as to compromise... if they thought Chadema MPs would move out as it used to we have other techniques....”

“We have at least ten pending referrals before the committee…we think the Speaker should deal with them first,” he said.

Once a presidential candidate, Dr Slaa explained that his party condemns what Ndugai did by treating the opposition unfairly.

According to him, Chadema will organise a countrywide campaign on all the motions dropped in the House.