‘SO HELP ME GOD’

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Author: KATARE MBASHIRU in Dodoma
AfricaPress-Tanzania: AFTER days of a mouse-and-cat race between Speaker of the National Assembly Job Ndugai and Chadema over Special Seats lawmakers’ names submission to the House, finally it was a game over on Tueday evening.

It was a great surprise at Parliament grounds in Dodoma when 19 Chadema Special Seats Members of Parliament turned up for registration.

Later, the communications department of the law-making body sent a media invitation detailing that Mr Ndugai would hold a press conference without divulging details.

Journalists camped outside Parliament grounds as early as 2 p.m. only to be greeted by a surprise of the 19 MPselect led by the Chairperson of Chadema Women Wing and former Kawe MP Halima Mdee, all of them dressed in official dress code, confirming that they were set to take oaths of office.

Mr Ndugai arrived at a place that was prepared for the ceremony at around 4pm and started presiding over the oath of integrity. The first legislator to be sworn-in was Ms Mdee.

Others are Grace Tendega, Esther Matiko, Cecilia Pareso, Esther Bulaya, Agnester Kaizer, Nusrat Hanje, Jesca Kishoa and Hawa Mwaifunga.

Others are Tunza Malapo, Asia Mohammed, Felister Njau, Naghenjwa Kaboyoka, Sophia Mwakagenda, Kunti Majala, Stella Fiyao, Anatropia Theonest, Salome Makamba and Conchesta Rwamlaza.

This is the first time MPs are taking oath outside the debating chamber. However, speaking at the occasion later, Mr Ndugai was quick to offer clarification as to why he decided to swear-in the opposition special seats MPs while there was no any ongoing parliamentary session.

The constitution states that political parties which took part in the General Election in accordance with the procedure laid down and obtained at least five per cent of the total valid votes for Parliamentary election, shall propose to the Electoral Commission the names of women on the basis of the proportion of votes obtained by each party in the Parliamentary election.

Citing section 30(2) (b) of the parliamentary Standing Orders, adopted by MPs in the 11th Parliament in June 2019, Mr Ndugai said: “The House Standing Orders are categorical that if any MP will be elected or appointed as per the requirement of the law, he/she will be sworn in by the House Speaker at any place that will be deemed appropriate and the speaker shall inform the august House in the next parliamentary session according to the schedule.’’

“This style is used in many countries and I chose this place (outside parliament grounds) to swear in these lawmakers so that they can be able to start representing their people as MPs,’’ he insisted, reminding that he would inform the House in the next Parliament scheduled for February 2, 2021.

He said he decided not to wait until February 2021 because people the MPs are representing have high expectations and they want to see their representatives working on the problems they are facing.

Section 78(3) of the constitutions is clear that the names of the persons proposed to the Electoral Commission shall be declared to be the results of the election after the Commission is satisfied that the relevant provisions of the Constitution and of other legislation have been complied with.

According to Mr Ndugai, on November 20 he received a letter containing the names of 19 lawmakers from the National Electoral Commission (NEC) after the electoral body was satisfied that they qualify to represent their party.

In her acceptance speech, Ms Mdee promised that all the 19 MPs would deliver to the expectations of their people by discharging their duties diligently with a greatest degree of trust.

The former Kawe MP paid tribute to her party, Chadema for trusting them to work for the majority Tanzanians.

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