Dr Ackson seeks to ‘clarify’ MP protest procedures as opposition snubs

02Jun 2016
Lydia Shekighenda
The Guardian
Dr Ackson seeks to ‘clarify’ MP protest procedures as opposition snubs

THE alternative finance budget was not read in parliament yesterday as opposition legislators continued their walk-out protest against deputy speaker Tulia Ackson for a second consecutive day,

Dr tulia

with Ackson challenging the aggrieved lawmakers to lodge their complaints in accordance with Bunge standing orders.

The opposition MPs, who have vowed to boycott all National Assembly sessions chaired by Dr Ackson, walked out right after the customary prayers opening the day’s proceedings were concluded.

The shadow minister for finance and planning, Joseph Silinde, later returned to the debating chamber after the questions-and-answers session as he was scheduled to table the alternative finance budget.

But after Budget Committee vice-chairman Josephat Kandege finished tabling the committee’s views, Silinde moved to the podium and said he was not going to read his presentation “because we (opposition) are not satisfied with how the deputy speaker is conducting parliamentary proceedings.”

He requested that the alternative budget be recorded in the official National Assembly hansard for the benefit of the general public “and future generations of Tanzanians.”

Clarifying on the Bunge standing orders, Dr Ackson - who the opposition camp has declared to be their “number one enemy” - called on MPs who were not satisfied with how things were being done to observe parliamentary rules in lodging their appeals.

There have been “misleading” reports with regard to how the National Assembly operates but the standing orders were very clear, the beleaguered deputy speaker told the House.

Said Dr Ackson: “If there is any member of parliament who has not been satisfied with any decision made by the Speaker, if there are any complaints regarding the breaching of parliamentary procedures, the House regulations provide the chance and the standing orders clearly outline the steps to be followed for the legislator to appeal.”

She cited regulation number five of the House standing orders which requires the Speaker to ensure that all MPs abide by parliamentary rules and procedures, as well as regulation number 72 which says the Speaker’s decision on issues related to parliamentary proceedings will be final.

“Any MP who is not satisfied with the Speaker’s decision can submit his or her complaints to the National Assembly clerk, who will then present them to the Speaker,” she said.

The Speaker will then be required to convene a meeting with the parliamentary Standing Orders Committee, but will not chair the meeting, and the National Assembly will be informed of the committee’s decision on the complaint(s) raised, she further explained.