AfricaPress-Tanzania: AS Chadema leadership on Friday evening announced its decision to strip off all its 19 women Special Seats Members of Parliament (MPs) of party membership, official reports state that the nomination of the lawmakers followed all the laid down procedures.
The new development within Chadema party creates uncertainty on the fate of the lawmakers, who according to authorities were duly nominated by the national electoral body before being sworn in Dodoma by Speaker Job Ndugai.
A statement issued by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) on Friday and signed by its Director of Elections, Dr Wilson Charles insisted that the nominated Members of Parliament were picked from a list submitted to the Commission by the opposition party.
According to Dr Charles, the Commission nominated the Special Seats MPs from the list submitted by Chadema through its letter with reference number C/HQ/ADM/20/TU/05/141 dated November 19, 2020.
He strongly refuted claims that NEC illegally nominated Chadema MPs because it used the list presented by the party’s Secretary General to appoint the legislators.
Chadema Women’s Wing (BAWACHA) members yesterday held its meeting in Dar es Salaam only to condemn their colleagues who were stripped off of party membership by the party’s Central Committee (CC) without adducing any evidence to fault official reports from authorities.
Speaker Ndugai, while swearing in the MPs on Tuesday this week, said one of his responsibilities in the August House is to protect the minority members. He made it clear during the occasion that he administered an oath to the MPs after receiving the list from the national electoral body.
Again, when speaking in a state television programme on Thursday evening, Mr Ndugai said the lawmakers had the right to enjoy all the rights and privileges provided by the Parliament. Immediately after Speaker Ndugai swore in the 19 members of the opposition Chadema, the party issued a statement accusing them of betrayal.
Mr Ndugai had suggested that Chadema hurriedly and unprofessionally handled the matter. He advised CHADEMA’s Secretary-General, John Mnyika to borrow a leaf from his CCM counterpart, Dr Bashiru Ali.
It is on record that Mnyika had blamed and judged the new MPs who took the oath of integrity on Tuesday. Mr Ndugai said the decision by the party to summon its members was tantamount to prejudging them.
He said it could have sounded better if there had been internal meetings through which the opposition party’s Central Committee could have reached its verdict.
Ndugai administered the oath of integrity on 19 new MPs, in which CHADEMA national chairperson for Women’s Wing and former Kawe legislator, Ms Halima Mdee took the first oath.
Other legislators were Grace Tendega, Esther Matiko, Cecilia Pareso, Esther Bulaya, Agnester Kaizer, Nusrat Hanje, Jesca Kisho and Hawa Mwaifunga.
Speaking on behalf of her colleagues after being sworn in, Ms Halima Mdee thanked his party and all the leaders, promising that all the 19 MPs will deliver to the expectation of their people by discharging their duties diligently with the greatest degree of trust.
The former Kawe MP paid tribute to her party, Chadema for trusting them to work for majority Tanzanians.
The decision by Chadema to revoke the membership of 19 Special Seats MPs has raised mixed reaction among members of the public and analysts.
University of Dar es Salaam Lecturer, Dr Richard Mbunda said that Chadema could have acted earlier since the rumour concerning the 19 Special Seats legislators went viral in social networks.
“Chadema could not have reached the decision of revoking the membership of its 19 members who were sworn in as Special Seats MPs if it had worked on the matter earlier,” Dr Mbunda said.
The party failed to oversee the matter by allowing the rumour to spread through social networks until the MPs were sworn in, forcing the party to revoke their membership, he said.
He said that the 19 MPs have been expelled without being heard, something that has left a number of unanswered questions, which may affect the party.
Political and Economic analyst, Gabriel Mwang’onda said that Chadema has failed to act earlier over the matter by revoking the membership of the 19 MPs.
He said that the decision to expel the 19 members was contradictory because the party has given them a chance to appeal and reinstate them if they appeal.
Former Speaker of Parliament, Pius Msekwa on the other hand told the Sunday News that under the existing laws, when a political party strips off an MP of party membership, he or she automatically ceases to be an MP.