Showing posts with label DEMOCRACY IN TANZANIA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DEMOCRACY IN TANZANIA. Show all posts

8 Mar 2010

It's nearly less than seven months before Tanzanians go to poll to elect,among others, the 5th phase president,should all go well.However,none of the major opposition parties have so far come up with any names of their potential presidential candidates.Does this imply that they have indirectly endorsed a potential CCM candidate,the incumbent president Jakaya Kikwete?The Swahili word for it is 'kusuasua'.Arguably,that's how one could describe opposition politics in Tanzania.Nearly two decades after Tanzania embarked into multiparty politics,most,if not all,of the country's opposition parties have been a hughe disappointment.It could well be concluded that Tanzanians are yet to benefit from the considerably huge number of opposition parties.They are more popular for their seemingly incessant internal skirmishes than their polices or service to the society.Although the ruling party CCM has frequently been accused of meddling into the Opposition's affairs,the truth remains that they are either too weak or too disorganised to pose any serious challenge to the ruling party.

The first multiparty elections saw the perceived might of NCCR Mageuzi,a party that was seen as a serious contender for the ruling of the country.However,sooner after the party lost miserably to CCM,it embarked into a bitter power struggle that eventually led to its chairman,and one of the four 1995 presidential candidates,Augustine Mrema,to switch sides to join TLP.

The next two elections in 2000 and 2005 continued to be the same sad story as CUF and Chadema succeeded in pulling huge crowds during their campaign rallies but only for them to receive meagre number of votes.

Although Chadema emerged fairly stronger in the elections after winning a substantial number of seats in local elections,and has so far gained considerable support in its outspoken stance against economic sabotage (ufisadi) it has so far failed to project any personality that voters could take as a serious contender against Kikwete.And with election looming,the party seems more concerned with increasing their share of parliamentary votes than winning the presidential seat.

The opposition is well aware of how strong CCM remains despite its poor record in delivering its election promises.While opposition parties have an uphill task of convincing potential members and supporters to join them,the ruling party has a distinct advantage from the pre-political reform era where membership to the party was compulsory.That's on top of the current de-facto single-party political environment in which all the characteristics of a one party state prevail except for the legal and constitutional provisions making it official.

One would have expected that by now the opposition parties should have started the process of nominating their presidential candidates process if their participation in the coming election is to make any difference. Faced with acute financial and logical constraints,and with such limited time left before the election,it's fair to conclude that the opposition parties have 'informally' endorsed a CCM candidate even without making such a stance public.

While this blog has nothing personal against such an 'endorsement',it is disaapointed to see how 18 years of opposition politics have produced so little hope to Tanzanians and therefore leaving them with no other choice than continuing to vote for CCM,a party that is so out of touch with voters.Once they lose the election,which is becoming most likely,they (opposition parties) would certainly repeat same old excuses such as calling for an independent electoral commission and constitutional reforms,all of which would brand CCM as a culprit in sabotaging democratic development in Tanzania.However,unless the opposition parties clean up their act,they are doomed to continue to perform dismally in every election.

31 Oct 2009

Sometimes I am left wondering if democracy means anything to a common man on the street.Look at Tanzania.Our elected representatives in the National Assembly have,arguably,made democracy look like a joke.How on earth would they defend accepting (or rather demanding) extra allowances despite their hefty packages in terms of their sitting allowances and salaries?

It's more than ironic when a body entrusted with the task of making laws becomes a champion in breaking the law.Our MPs should understand that it's simply unacceptable for them to demand or receive hospitality allowances not only because it could impact their opinions but also they are already receiving more benefits an ordinary Tanzanian could only imagine about.

I am even more disgusted by the stance taken by the Speaker of the House Samuel Sitta who claims that 'hospitality allowance is offered in accordance with African tradition.Bribe is not an African tradition,and that is exactly what our MPs are doing.It is widely understood that hospitality accorded to MPs when they visit an organisation for a fact-finding mission could very well be an attempt to soften their stance towards it.In other words,our MPs could easily be bribed by lunch allowances simply because they can't have enough.

Of course, I have been one of the strongest critic of PCCB,especially after its Director General Edward Hosea was implicated by a Parliamentary Committee which was investigating the Richmond scam.However,despite "getting it right at a wrong time" PCCB has every right to investigate the said claims against our MPs.

And it is ridiculous for Speaker Sitta to give statements which imply that MPs are above the law,and therefore have a divine right to break the law.Although it could be true that the decision by PCCB ot investigate the hospitality allowances was prompted by the much anticipated House debate on the Richmond scam,it still does not make our MPs,Sitta included,immune to scrutiny on favours accorded to our representatives.

Back to my point about how ironic democracy could look when analysing African politics,it makes one wonder if the 300 plus MPs representing Tanzanians in Dodoma are actually useful.Arguably,the only thing that most of our MPs have been so effective is in demanding improvement in their benefits.They have so far failed to pressurise the Government to act responsibly in dealing with such important issues as the Richmond scandal,stupid mining contracts and the likes.How could they while they rely on the Government for 'improving' their welfare?

It looks as if the Government's trick to bring the hospitality allowance issue ahead of the debate on the Richmond scam has worked perfectly.Our MPs are so busy to justify that they deserve 'bribes' in a form of hospitality allowances that they have completely forgotten about pressing the Government to come clean on the Richmond saga.

As I have frequently written in my previous posts,I strongly believe that despite of what majority of Tanzanians would like to see or hear,the Government will never bring the Richmond farce to an end because most of the key players are still useful for its (the government's) survival.Unless you are dreaming,Lowassa and Co are too important to wanamtandao to have him on the dock to tell us how we ended up signing such a silly contract with Richmond.

24 Jun 2009

Slaa up in arms on 'silencing' in House
By Faraja Jube Dodoma

Karatu MP Willibrod Slaa has threatened to "go public" with what he said were issues of national interest the Parliament blocked him from tabling in the august House on Monday.

Some MPs heckled the firebrand opposition leader as he stood up in parliament on Monday to give a speech on the Prime Minister's Office 2009/10 Budget.

Dr Slaa had reportedly prepared a vitriolic attack on former President Benjamin Mkapa and the Government over alleged mismanagement of funds.

Before giving his speech, the Chadema leader was reminded to respect the Parliamentary Standing Orders and warned not to breach the law in his presentation.

But in an interview with The Citizen yesterday, Dr Slaa said the National Assembly Speaker, Mr Samwel Sitta, had no right to block debate on sensitive public issues.

He said: "I have written to the Speaker asking him why unnecessary restrictions are being imposed on MPs who want to discuss matters of public interest in parliament."

He threatened to go public with the same issues he was barred from presenting in parliament saying he had the right to let people know about matters that affected them.

"If they don't want us to speak in parliament, it will reach a point where the only reasonable thing to do is table the agenda to the people," said Dr Slaa.

CCM MPs accused the opposition legislator of attempting to use the platform to launch a verbal attack against Mr Mkapa.

Mr Mudhihir Mudhihir (Mchinga-CCM) defended the former president saying he had done "a lot of good things but people want to see the negative only".

"It was under his leadership that this country recorded significant increases in Government revenue," the MP said, praising Mr Mkapa's administration for containing inflation and opening a number of trade opportunities.

Another CCM legislator, Dr Chrisant Mzindakaya (Kwela), tried to have Dr Slaa blocked from presenting his speech at all.

But even when he finally gave his speech, the opposition leader was forced to skip tabling his prepared questions on controversial deals the Mkapa administration allegedly signed.

And in an apparent reference to Dr Slaa, Dr Mzindakaya lashed out at "jealousy hypocrites and good-for-nothing crusaders against corruption".

"Those who criticise Mr Mkapa are agents of the Devil and loafers who have done nothing in life, but are motivated by jealousy and hatred. They are themselves corrupt people," he said.

But Dr Slaa insisted he would not relent on the issues he was barred from talking about saying the Constitution and Parliamentary Immunities and Privileges Act guarantee MPs the freedom to challenge the Government in the parliament.

"I will not accept such moves by anyone any more. This is all compromising principles. But I will stand up for my principles and for justice. We all have the right voice our concerns," he said.

Dr Slaa, who had prepared his disputed speech as a shadow minister, said the Government was obliged to respond to all queries raised by MPs in parliament.

"Even if the issues are sensitive, this is the whole purpose of raising them so that people can know and be informed about what is going on," he said.

"But there has been a tendency to block all sensitive issues from being discussed in parliament," he added.

Before he gave his controversial speech, Mr Sitta told the opposition MP he had read the speech and warned him against making statements that breached parliamentary regulations.

The Speaker had also ordered Dr Slaa not to use abusive language against a former president or discuss issues that had been lined for debate during the session.

Earlier, the chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Justice, Constitutional Affairs and Governance, Mr George Lubeleje, a CCM MP, had tabled the committee's position against Dr Slaa's speech.

However, the opposition leader retorted: "Why must I have any confidence in the committee or Speaker's office if they insist on imposing on us?"

He questioned the Speaker's application of the Parliamentary Standing Orders to the contentious issues of Meremeta, Tangold, Mwananchi and Deep Green Finance companies.

Last Friday, Dr Slaa asked the Government to respond to allegations of funds mismanagement involving the four companies that have become subjects of public debate.

"I was just questioning the Government over the embezzlement of Sh155 billion in Meremeta and not about the issues pertaining to national security," he said.

Mr Sitta postponed the debate to this Monday saying the Government should be given time to prepare its response.

But Dr Slaa also questioned the Parliament barred debate on the CAG report. "Where does the Speaker obtain the directive to block the debate?"

On the PMO's 2009/10 Budget estimates, the Chadema leader queried the allocation of billions of shillings to entertainment and hospitality, which he said had nothing to do the welfare of people.

He had to put up with sporadic interventions, mainly from Mr Philip Marmo, the minister of State in the President's Office (Good Governance), who also serves as coordinator of parliamentary activities.

Mr Marmo wanted, among other things, the Speaker to reprimand Dr Slaa for his reference to the amount of funds set aside for particular votes in the Government's Budget.

However, Mr Sitta said there was nothing wrong with the MP debating the Government's budget priorities.

SOURCE: The Citizen

18 Jun 2009

Hivi karibuni watunga sheria (wabunge) wetu watatu "waliungana" kuandika kitabu walichokipa jina "BUNGE LENYE MENO".Ukiangalia sehemu ndogo tu ya wasifu wa wabunge hao utamaizi kuwa "muungano huo wa uandishi" ulikuwa ni mithili ya "ndoa za makaratasi" (marriages of inconvenience).

Dkt Wilbroad Slaa,Spika Samuel Sitta na John Momose Cheyo!Nadhani kitu pekee kinachoweza kuwafanya wafanane ni "wote ni wabunge",and the similarity stops there.Wakati Dkt Slaa amejijengea jina kubwa kama kinara wa mapambano ya ufisadi,ni vigumu kum-define Spika Sitta linapokuja suala la mapambano dhidi ya ufisadi.Lakini si vigumu kukumbuka kuwa ni Sitta huyuhuyu aliyempa kadi nyekundu Zitto Kabwe alipombana ex-waziri Nazir Karamagi kuhusu sakata la Buzwagi.Na ni Sitta huyuhuyu aliyetishia kumshtaki Dkt Slaa alipoibua tuhuma ufisadi ndani ya Benki Kuu akidai kuwa ni ushahidi wa kufoji!Eti leo tunaambiwa Spika huyuhuyu nae ni kinara wa mapambano ya ufisadi!

Tukija kwa John Cheyo,nadhani amebaki kuwa UDP,kwa maana ya one-man party.Sera yake ya mapesa ilijaa utani ambao ungekuwa na maana zaidi kwenye sanaa za maigizo kuliko katika siasa makini.Amebaki kuwa jina tu.Sidhani kama kunamfano wowote hai unaoweza kutumika kumtambulisha Cheyo kama mwanaharakati wa mapambano dhidi ya ufisadi.

Sasa hao ndio waandishi wa kitabu BUNGE LENYE MENO.Lakini kwa vile nafahamu kwamba uchambuzi makini unahitaji kwenda mbali zaidi ya kuangalia personalities,naomba kugeukia hoja yangu ya kupingana na ya akina Sitta kuwa bunge la sasa lina meno.Binafsi nasema kama ni meno basi ni ya plastiki.Nadhani unafahamu mtoto mchanga anapoanza kuota meno huwa yanaota meno ambayo yanaitwa meno kwa vile tu yamekaa sehemu yalipo meno.Ukimnywesha uji wa moto basi kilio chake hapo ni balaa!Ni meno machanga yasiyomudu kutafuna vitu vigumu.

Na ndio bunge letu lilivyo.Utasikia kelele,vitisho,na vitu kama hivyo kila waheshimiwa wanapokutana hapo Dodoma ambapo mwisho wa siku akaunti zao zinaingiza kipato cha zaidi ya mwezi mzima kwa Mtanzania wa kawaida,huku kila mwisho wa mwezi wakiondoka na mamilioni lukuki.Basi angalau kipato chao kingeendana na hali halisi ya uchumi wa nchi yetu.

Wabunge wa CCM,ambao wanatengeneza zaidi ya robo tatu ya bunge letu,ndio vichekesho zaidi.Utamsikia huyu akisema hili kabla ya mwenzie kumkalia kooni akitaka mwongozo wa Spika kwa madai ya "kukiuka kanuni za bunge".Lakini ukifuatilia kwa makini,mara nyingi mwongozo huo huombwa pale anapojitokeza mbunge mmoja kuelezea yale yanayozungumzwa na Watanzania wengi mitaani,kwa mfano ishu ya ufisadi.Sasa kwa vile kuna wabunge wenye deni kubwa zaidi kwa CCM na vigogo wake,njia pekee ya kulipa deni hilo ni kuomba mwongozo wa Spika ili kuwaziba midomo wale wanaoongea yasiyopendeza masikioni mwa watawala.

Majuzi,Mbunge wa Nzega Lukas Selelii amemwomba Mungu awalaani mawaziri kwa madai kwamba wamekuwa sehemu muhimu ya maendeleo ya ufisadi nchini.Mbunge wa Pangani Mohammed Rished akaomba mwongozo....sijui kuonyesha anafahamu zaidi sheria za Bunge au kwa vile yaliyoongelewa na Selelii hayakumpendeza mbunge Rished.Kwani si kweli kwamba maamuzi mengi yaliyopelekea skandali za ufisadi yalipitishwa na Baraza la Mawaziri?Kabineti ingetimiza wajibu wake tungekuwa na Richmond?au Kiwira?Au TICTS?au Buzwagi?Au IPTL?Orodha ni ndefu.Sasa Rished alihitaji mwongozo kwa vile Selelii kumuomba Mungu awalaani watu waliofanya maamuzi yaliyopelekea ufisadi ni kosa la jinai au?Halafu tunaambiwa tuna "bunge lenye meno"!In this case,haya wala si meno ya plastiki bali ni mapengo kabisa.

Fuatilia kwa karibu mjadala wa Bajeti unavyoendelea huko Dodoma.Kuna kauli za uchungu kutoka kwa baadhi ya wabunge kama Selelii,Mwambalaswa,Mpendazoe na,kama kawaida,wabunge wa upinzani kama vile Dkt Slaa.Lakini kauli pekee hazimsaidii Mtanzania masikini asiyejua hatma ya maisha yake.Kelele hizi zimekuwepo tangu bunge hili linaanza.Ndio,zimesaidia kuundwa kwa kamati mbalimbali kama ile ya Mwakyembe.Lakini kuunda kamati kisha kutofanyia kazi mapendekezo yake ni sawa na ufisadi tu.Ikumbukwe kuwa kamati hizo hutumia mamilioni ya fedha za walipa kodi.Ukubwa wa gaharama za kuendesha kamati za aina hiyo ungeweza kupunguziwa maumivu laiti mapendekezo yanayotolewa yangekuwa yanafanyiwa kazi.Hadi leo wahusika wa Richmond (achana na yule decoy mwenye kesi mahakamani) wanaendelea "kupeta".

Laiti Bunge lingekuwa na meno,isingetosha kwa Lowassa,Msabaha na Karamagi kujiuzulu tu.Walipaswa wakabidhiwe kwa vyombo vya dola.Kadhalika,watendaji wa serikali waliotajwa kuhusika walipaswa kuwajibishwa mara moja.Badala yake,hadithi zimeendelea kila kinapojiri kikao kingine cha bunge,huko waandishi wetu mahiri wa kunukuu wakija na vichwa vya habari kama "Moto kuwaka Bungeni","Ishu ya EPA kuibuliwa tena Bungeni"...Huwezi kuwalaumu sana kwa vile vyombo vya habari vinaendeshwa kibiashara na kichwa cha habari chenye mvuto kinauza gazeti!

Bunge lenye meno lisingekuwa linapigwa danadana na Waziri Ngeleja kuhusu ishu ya Kiwira.Bunge lenye meno lisingekubali mkataba wa TICTS uendelee kuwa hoja ya moto kila kikao lakini inayoishia kuwa ya moto pasipo mabadiliko,only for it kuwa ya moto tena kwenye kikao kingine.Yayumkinika kusema kuwa kama ni moto wa hoja,basi ni wa njiti ya kiberiti kwenye upepo mkali;hudumu kwa sekunde tu.

Sintajadili zaidi kwa vile itakuwa sawa na kupre-empty muswada wa chapisho naloandaa kama mapitio (majibu?) ya kitabu hicho cha wabunge hao.Ila kwa kifupi,si rahisi kuwa na bunge lenye meno wakati wabunge wenyewe wanaishi maisha tofauti na hao wanaopaswa kuwawakilisha bungeni (nikimaanisha maslahi yao).Tusidanganyane,mtu anayelipwa milioni 6 na ushee kwa mwezi hawezi hata chembe kuwa mwakilishi mzuri wa mtu asiye na uhakika wa kukamata angalau shs 10,000 kwa mwezi.Haya ni matabaka mawili tofauti,na japo kinadharia wabunge wanapaswa kuwa sehemu ya tabaka tawaliwa kwa maana ya uwakilishi wa wananchi,maslahi yao makubwa yanawaingiza kwenye tabaka tawala na hivyo kuwaweka kwenye mgongano wa moja kwa moja direct confrontation) na tabaka tawaliwa la wananchi wa kawaida.Katika hali hiyo,serikali kwa maana ya the executive branch of the government,inapata free pass kwani wanaopaswa kuihoji nao wanajikuta wakihojiwa na wanaowawakilisha.Kiuhalisia,mpiga kura is hardly represented bungeni.

Lakini tukiweka kando suala la kipato na matabaka,tatizo la msingi zaidi kwenye bunge hili ni kutanguliza mbele maslahi ya chama badala ya maslahi ya nchi.Umoja na mshikamano ndani ya CCM unatafsiriwa kuwa ni muhimu zaidi kuliko umoja na mshikamano wa kitaifa.Wengi wa wabunge wa CCM wanahofia kuzungumzia baadhi ya masuala yanayolihusu taifa ambayo kwa namna moja au nyingine yanaifanya CCM inyooshewe kidole.Hakuna mbunge wa CCM anayeweza kuzuia bajeti ya wizara flani,hata kama ni mbovu namna gani,kwa vile akifanya hivyo atatafsiriwa kuwa anavunja mshikamano wa chama.Mbunge katika bunge lenye meno hawezi kuogopa tafsiri ya chama chake,bali wapigakura wake.

Kwa anayehitaji nakala ya bure ya kitabu hicho cha BUNGE LENYE MENO (as an ebook),tuwasiliane.


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