Lowassa, Sumaye retirement benefits not justified - CCM MPs

28Jan 2016
Our Reporter
The Guardian
Lowassa, Sumaye retirement benefits not justified - CCM MPs

SEVERAL CCM Members of Parliament are of the view that former Prime Ministers Edward Lowassa and Fredrick Sumaye should not get retirement benefits because they are both engaged in active politics.

Former Prime Ministers Lowassa (l) and Frederick Sumaye (r)

They also argued that it is not right for the former premiers to get the benefits from a CCM government when they have left the part and joined the opposition Chadema.

Dimani MP,Hafidh Ali Tahir (CCM) asked for review of laws that entitle them to the benefits; “it is political greed for those who served in the government under the ruling party to still enjoy benefits from the government even after crossing over to the opposition camp,” he said.

In his supplementary question, former Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office for Regional Administration and Local Government, Hawa Ghasia seconded her fellow party member and argued that it is not right for retired politicians to get pension when they are still engaged in active politics.

“Members of Parliament are not entitled to pension, they only get gratuity when their term expires but Prime Ministers get pension but they should not get it if they are still engaged in politics,” she said.

“It is only prudent to review the laws that allow retired politicians to enjoy such privileges...we should add clauses that bar them from practicing politics after retirement and if they do, they should not get pension from the government,” she advised.

Responding, Minister of State in the President's Office-Public Service Management and Good Governance, Angella Kairuki told the House that the retired prime ministers were rightfully entitled to pension in accordance with the law.

“It is a constitutional right for anyone to engage in politics within the opposition or ruling party and retired the prime ministers have the right to get pension from the government even if they have switched to the opposition,” she said.

However, she clarified that while it is a constitutionally right for the former premiers to engage in politics, they are not supposed to disclose government secrets and other sensitive matters they handled while in government.

The issue drew angry reactions from members of the opposition bench shouting foul play and alleging plots to undermine their leaders.

In his comments, leader of the opposition camp in parliament, Freeman Mbowe, said responsibilities and mandate of the government are intertwined with those of CCM and hence the complain by CCM MPs who think that it is CCM paying the pensions rather than the government.

“Even the public cannot differentiate responsibilities under CCM and those under the government...some public servants think it is treason to be in the opposition and they treat us (opposition) without respect,” he said.