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Rights groups fault Speaker and deputy

14th February 2013
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  Mbatia motion misunderstood by House-DC
Anne Makinda

Speaker Makinda’s decision to dissolve some Parliamentary committees including the Public Organisations Accounts Committee (POAC) has been described as a violation of Parliamentary standing orders as provided for in clause no 152 and 153 (1) and (2).

Then assertion is shared by the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) and the Citizens’ Parliamentary Watch (CPW) who have both expressed extreme dismay over what they referred to as ‘the poor conduct and violation of parliamentary standing orders against public interest’. 

Briefing Journalists yesterday in Dar es Salaam on the  organisations’ evaluation and interpretation of the recent parliamentary meeting fiasco that saw the Speaker dismantle the POAC and the subsequent harassing calls and texts against him and his deputy,  Executive Director of LHRC, Dr Helen Kijo-Bisimba said that disbanding the POAC especially at the height of the organs’ on ongoing inquisition into government contracts with Mtwara gas production was denying Tanzanians their right to information.

Apart from disbanding the POAC, the civil society organisations also criticised the very management and administration of the parliamentary proceedings. Using sharp language like ‘abuse of speaker’s seat’ Dr Kijo-Bisimba did not refrain from pointing out that  use of abusive language by MPs, violation of parliamentary standing orders by Speaker and his Deputy and their stopping of private motions and their mismanagement of time is abuse of very limited resources  and nothing short of unacceptable squander of tax payers’ money.

They also condemned suspension of private motions of some parliamentarians, abuse of  the parliamentary standing orders and biasness shown by the speaker, deputy speaker and sessions chairmen saying they were  the causes of chaos and the tug of war between the MP’s.

 “… the committee (POAC) is very important to the nation’s development but it has been disbanded in the mid of the Mtwara saga...” asserted Dr Kijo-Bisimba and then issued a statement saying: “The committee had also issued a directive to the social security funds not to grant loans to the government without issuing contracts of agreement …”

Dr Bisimba did not issue empty accusations but backed all her claims with examples. She cited that mismanagement of parliamentary proceedings was evident when the deputy speaker failed to observe parliamentary standing order no. 58 which led to the suspension of a private motion by John Mnyika which is, according to Dr Bisimba, against parliamentary orders.

Parliamentary standing orders number 43 second edition of 2007, states that a Member of Parliament has the main obligation to present important issues in parliament from their constituencies as presented to them by their electorates and since three private motions were thrown out, Dr Bisimba is of the opinion that the Speaker acted against parliamentary standing orders.

Executive director for the Citizens Parliamentary Watch (CPW) Marcossy Albanie seconded Dr Bisimba cautioning the speaker, the deputy and other parliamentarians to shun from what Albanie called ‘favouritism and self interest’ and to instead put the nation’s interest first.

Sarcastic or just humorous, Albanie shared his concerns with the conduct of parliamentary meetings saying

“…my worry is that if we ignore this violation of parliamentary orders to continue unchecked then one day we might wake up to find the Speaker has dissolved the whole parliament…”

Emmanuel Lengwa reports from Mbozi that Dr Michael Kadeghe who is the District Commissioner has said the parliament failed to grasp the main point of the motion moved by James Mbatia, nominated MP (NCCR-Mageuzi) on the country’s education system.

On January 30, this year, Mbatia tabled in the House a private motion on the validity of the country’s education curriculum, calling for a House select committee to probe the issue.

Speaking exclusively with this paper in his office recently, Kadeghe said Mbatia was right when he said that the country didn’t have an education curriculum.

Dr Kadeghe, who used to be a lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam, said while handling the motion tabled by Mbatia, Parliament failed to differentiate the education syllabus from education curriculum.

Elaborating further Dr Kadeghe said that a curriculum entails the totality of what education can provide to a learner at specific education levels, while a syllabus contains briefings of what a student deserves to learn.

He said that there are many syllabuses, some of which he (Dr Kadeghe) took part in preparing, and that the country did not have a curriculum and that he has never seen such a document in the country.

“I believe what the government sent to the Parliament was the syllabus and not a curriculum. I've never seen such a document,” said Dr Kadeghe.

He said that a lack of an education curriculum in the country has caused many problems in the provision of education in the country because education stakeholders lack a guiding document which they can fall back on in the process of pushing forward the education sector.

In the just ended 10th Parliamentary session, Mbatia pointed out that the education system in the country is in tatters and needs urgent solutions to address the situation.

He said the challenges start with the policy framework, curriculum and even the improperly prepared text books used in schools.

Mbatia said he is surprised at EMAC approving books that are found to contain a lot of mistakes.

Citing corruption as one of the causes, Mbatia said, “Education is the heartbeat of the nation. So there is a need to find a solution to address the degeneration and one way is by forming a probe team to oversee the matter.”

The House later resolved to leave the matter in the hands of the government as proposed by the responsible minister, Dr Shukuru Kawambwa.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN