AfricaPress-Tanzania: SPECIAL Seats Members of Parliament through the opposition Chadema have vowed to appeal against the party’s decision to strip-off their membership.
The 19 members led by ousted Chadema Women’s wing (Bawacha) chairperson, Halima Mdee, said they will file their appeal to the national executive council against the decision, arguing they were punished without being heard.
Chadema expelled the female MPs shortly after being sworn-in by Speaker Job Ndugai last week, saying they violated the party rules.
The party declined to have submitted any name to the National Electoral Commission (NEC) for nomination and summoned the legislators in a short notice for disciplinary hearing.
Mdee and co demanded more time to prepare their defence but the party’s central committee decided to revoke their membership, a decision made public by Chadema national chairman, Mr Freeman Mbowe.
Speaking at a press conference, Mdee, said on behalf of the rest of the expelled MPs that they will follow legal and constitutional procedures to challenge the party’s central committee decision.
Ms Mdee said they did not show up to the CC which summoned them for security reasons and the fact that the tension among Chadema members and leaders was high.
“We were summoned November 25, to appear before the CC, but due to the situation and the tension we observed on the ground, we asked for extension of time for at least one week, but the Secretary General refused,” she said.
Ms Mdee said all 19 MPs who have been stripped of their membership were not ready to accept the decision and leave the party they have toiled to build.
“We love Chadema, we respect Chadema…and there could be no way we could disrespect Mr Freeman Mbowe, we are therefore looking forward to settling these misunderstandings and getting back to the party,” she remarked.
The former MP for Kawe who joined Chadema 16 years ago, accentuated their allegiance to the party, recalling 15 MPs out of 19 who were stripped off their memberships contested for constituency posts in the October 28 General Elections.
“So when we say this team is made up of strong Chadema cadres… we mean it, we have been in this party for years and we are part of it, we have fought for it,” she said.
She said the MPs believe the matter will be resolved amicably within the party and that their membership will be reinstated.
“I believe this matter will be resolved within the party, we are looking forward to filing our appeal… our aim is to discuss and solve this standoff,” she said.
Commenting on why they decided to appear for the swearing- in as special seats MPs contrary to the party’s position, Ms Mdee said the argument on the ground was election rigging and that the opposition had the same claims in 2010 and 2015 but still MPs went to the House.
She said: “I think it is the best idea to fight for justice in the Parliament instead of staying outside, we are going to represent the people regardless our small number,” Responding to a question on who within the party submitted the names to NEC, Ms Mdee, refused to open up, saying that will be one of grounds for their appeal against their expulsion.
She said since they are prepared to appear before the party’s National Executive Council, such questions will be answered there and the public will understand what happened.
“Some questions cannot be answered here, our appeal is based on two major arguments, we are going to respond to all those queries before the National Executive Council,” she noted.