Chadema opts out of Budget session

02May 2020
Felister Peter
The Guardian
Chadema opts out of Budget session
  • *Starts two weeks of isolating its MPs, bars them from travelling

THE opposition Chadema has announced two-week self-isolation for its legislators participating in the marathon Budget meeting of the National Assembly.

chairman Freeman Mbowe.

National chairman Freeman Mbowe said in a statement that the party arrived to the decision as some MPs have died from coronavirus infection.

“Chadema MPs will not attend the ongoing budget meeting or visit parliament buildings in Dodoma. We have also barred them from travelling to their constituencies until they are tested and confirmed to be negative,” the statement declared.

Mbowe also suggested that the legislature suspend the Budget session for at least 21 days to allow MPs and employees of the Speaker’s Office “to go for mandatory quarantine.”

He underscored the need for the House to engage in widespread testing of MPs, workers and service providers to know exactly who may have contracted the disease.

“Testing all the people at the National Assembly will give a clear picture of infection rates and enable authorities to take appropriate measures,” he said, urging the steering committee on Privileges, Ethics and Powers of MPs to work on the issue via video conferencing.

Mbowe appealed to members of the public to take precautions and adhere to Covid-19 prevention measures issued by health experts.

The highly contagious, pneumonia-causing disease first reported in Wuhan, China, has hit over three million people globally.

Experts have frequently been advising the public to avoid unnecessary gatherings, practice self-isolation to remain safe during this time when the world struggles to battle the Covid-19 outbreak.

Covid-19 is characterised by mild symptoms including a runny nose, sore throat, cough and fever. Illness can be more severe for some people and can lead to pneumonia or breathing difficulties.

So far three MPs have died since the opening of sessions of the 11th Budget meeting on March 31st.

They include Constitutional and Legal Affairs minister Dr Augustine Mahiga (74), who died here early yesterday after a short illness.

A statement by the Directorate of Presidential Communications said he died suddenly as he was being taken to hospital.

Others are Special Seats MP Dr Getrude Rwakatare (69), who died at a hospital in Dar es Salaam on April 20 and Sumve MP Richard Ndassa (CCM) who died on April 28 in Dodoma.

On April 20, Deputy Speaker Dr Tulia Ackson announced that one of the lawmakers had contracted Covid-19 and was undergoing treatment.