Members of Parliament yesterday cautioned the government against rushing to ratify international conventions, saying some of them are tricky and could plunge the country into trouble.
The lawmakers made the observations in the National Assembly soon after the Deputy Minister for Home Affairs Pereira Silima tabled two documents on nuclear terrorism and the convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons including Diplomatic Agents 1973 and asked the parliament to ratify them.
Citing the nuclear terrorism convention, Mkanyageni MP, Mohamed Mnyaa (CUF) said: “This is another tricky convention that needs the government to be careful before getting into it. The government needs to be careful with such kinds of conventions, due to their sensitivities.”
For his part, Jafo Seleman Jafo (Kisarawe, CCM) said: “We’re not sure of the interest our colleagues have…I worry that some people might be interested in our natural resources, taking into account that we have discovered gas and uranium. We should learn from what happened in Iraq, developed countries were interested in oil and now oil is going to their countries.”
“We shouldn’t be used as a rubber stamp,” said Jafo.
Muhambwe MP, Felix Mkosamali (CHADEMA), said: “This convention is designed to protect diplomats from the developed world,” he said.
He however said that it is important that the document be carefully analysed to sort out all areas that could leave Tanzania on the losing side.
“We as MPs also need to be well informed what is in the convention before signing it,” Mkosamali said.
For her part, Leticia Nyerere, (Special Seats, Chadema) advised the government to produce enough experts on nuclear energy, who will be able to handle issues related to nuclear terrorism.
“This is a very serious challenge across the world. As a nation we need to discuss how to protect ourselves from nuclear terrorism,” she said, advising that MPs take time before ratifying the document.
Tabling the nuclear terrorism convention, minister Silima said the convention is meant to curb nuclear-related terrorism as well as giving every country the right to use nuclear for its advantages and barring countries from using it negatively.
He said the convention is in line with the 2002 Terrorism Act that was drawn up and enacted in Tanzania to put in place a system that controls terrorism activities as well as welcoming other countries to join hands in the fight against the vice, adding that Tanzania also has a law on curbing reckless use of nuclear resources in the country.
“With all these efforts we think it is important for Tanzania to be a part of the 141 countries teamed up to fight against nuclear terrorism,” he said.
On the convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons including Diplomatic Agents 1973, the minister outlined several benefits the country is going to get soon after ratifying it.
Silima said that the convention will give Tanzania an opportunity to come up with a better system of relating with other countries who are members of the convention in protecting people with diplomatic immunity and diplomatic agents who are in the country against criminal acts.
“This will also empower Tanzanian citizens with diplomatic immunity and diplomatic agents who are outside the country to be given protection against criminal acts,” the minister asked the house to endorse the two documents.
However, the two documents couldn’t be endorsed as the number of MPs in the House was not enough to do so.