Tanzania: Prime Minister Takes Hit At Opposition for Boycott

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa yesterday hit opposition Members of Parliament (MPs), saying they would better return to parliament and express their grievances through appropriate procedures instead of boycotting.

Moving a motion to adjourn parliamentary sessions until September 6, he said the just ended National Assembly has had some achievements even as some politicians strove to send a bad picture to the world that the parliament had become undemocratic.

"Unfortunately, they have not succeeded since the electorate and our development partners have come to realise that the opposition is still immature in our country," said Mr Majaliwa.

He said opposition MPs may benefit nothing by boycotting Parliamentary session and instead resolving to take their views to their voters across the country.

"If things were to go that way, then there could be no need for having the parliament... .this august House is governed by the Constitution and Standing Orders... .It makes sense for us to follow these provisions to avoid unnecessary grievances... In case one is unhappy with the way the House business is run, there are procedures to follow... boycotting may not yield any tangible outcomes," he said amid applause from the floor, which was full of CCM legislators.

About 70 MPs from the opposition bench have not taken part in debates for over four weeks as they boycotted all sessions chaired by the Deputy Speaker, Dr Tulia Ackson, who they accuse of being biased against them.

The bone of contention between Dr Ackson and the opposition started on May 30, when Dr Ackson thwarted a plea from opposition MPs to deliberate on the expulsion from studies of about 8,000 University of Dodoma (Udom) students as a matter of urgency.

It happened that, when the parliament had reconvened at 4pm on May 30, the Deputy Speaker invited the deputy Minister for Water and Irrigation, Mr Isaack Kamwelwe, to wind up his ministry's budget. The opposition camp opposed the move strongly, describing it as an abuse of parliamentary Standing Orders.

Opposition MPs John Mnyika (Kibamba-Chadema), John Heche (Tarime Urban-Chadema) and Esther Bulaya (Bunda Urban-Chadema) stood up, maintaining that the issue of Udom students be resolved before carrying on with any business. Dr Ackson tried to bring order into the House, but Mr Mnyika disobeyed, compelling the chair to order him out.

Thereafter, all opposition legislators started shouting and banging tables in protest over the winding up the water budget, leading to their dismissal from the debating chamber.

In his remarks yesterday, Mr Majaliwa touched on a number of issues including the availability of sugar in the market and what the government plans to do to offset a new shortfall in the near future.

He also said that the Dar es Salaam Rapid Transit system has helped to reduce the problem of traffic jam in the commercial city and that plans were afoot to start building the next phase of the project where the roads between Mbagala and Posta as well as one between Gongo la Mboto and Posta will also be constructed.

On safety and security, Mr Majaliwa said the government will leave no stone unturned in dealing with those that troubling Tanzanians.

The private sector, said Mr Majaliwa, remains high on the government's agenda and that it is key for the implementation of Tanzania's Second Five Year Development Plan which envisions creating an industrialised nation as a step towards meeting the overall goal of turning the country into a middle income one come 2025.

The government, he said, will ensure that businesses operate in a hassle-free environment.

Source: The Citizen