Sunday, January 24, 2016

Underhand forces in forming Bunge teams revealed

Public Accounts Committee members at a session

Public Accounts Committee members at a session in Dodoma on Thursday before electing their chairman. PHOTO|EDWIN MJWAHUZI 

By Citizen Reporter @TheCitizenTz news@tz.nationmedia.com

Dodoma. The composition of Parliamentary Standing Committees is a result of a lot of pressure from other bodies apart from the Speaker of the National Assembly himself, The Citizen has been told.

Sources told this paper that the government, CCM and the opposition exerted a lot of pressure on the Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr Job Ndugai, on who MP should be assigned to which Standing Committee.

Sources confided to The Citizen that one hand the government, seeking to influence the committee composition, came up with its list of members whom it preferred to be selected in certain committees.

On the other hand, the opposition also wanted some of its members to be named in the Public Accounts and Local Authorities Accounts committees, which, being oversight committees, are reserved for opposition chairmanship.

As a result of this, sources said, the line-up of committee members was changed several times to suit interests of different parties. It reached a point where the pressure was so intense that Mr Ndugai decided to take the matter on his own hands and came up with a list which has left many analysts surprised.

Among other things, the list of committee members has surprised many people, including some MPs because people with experience and potential to chair the committees found themselves in less important committees.

On the contrary, less experienced MPs were assigned to sensitive committees charged with oversight role. They are Public Accounts as well as Local Authorities Accounts and a powerful Budget Committee which is charged to supervise budgetary implementation.

“Most probably Speaker Ndugai decided to release this list which has prominent lawmakers in less important committees and inexperienced members in sensitive committees as a reaction to those who were pressuring him during the arrangement of the committees,” said a source who sought anonymity.

However, the Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr John Joel, refuted the reports.

He noted that the reports were circulated by people with malice.

“There was no any interference during the nomination of committee members,” he said.

As a result of this nomination, Ukawa, which expected some of its prominent members to appear in the oversight committees protested and directed its members to stay away from election of committee chairpersons.

Among other parties, the Opposition was one of sides which tried to influence the Speaker’s selection of committee members.

Ukawa wanted its outspoken lawmakers to head the oversight committees as a way of ensuring that they tackle the government effectively in its programmes and projects.

But the government also had anticipated this and prepared a way of defending itself. Sources hinted that Mr Ndugai also received proposals from the government on how the committees should be shaped.

Though The Citizen could not independently confirm, there are reports that the government also came up with a list of whom should be elected committee chairpersons.

After finding it hard to have direct influence on the nomination, the government used the ruling party in fulfilling its desires.

As a result, CCM MPs meetings held earlier in the week, were used, among other things, to get members who wanted to contest for committee chairperson posts.

“The ruling party conducted primaries within the party and came up with a list of who should be committee chairpersons and their deputies. As a result in elections in many committees there was sole contestant who was endorsed by consensus,” added the source.

Asked to comment about this situation, Kigoma Urban MP, who was touted to be the chairman of one of powerful committees, Mr Zitto Kabwe, said the selection of committee members suggests a possibility of government manoeuvre to control Parliament.

In a public statement which he released yesterday, Mr Kabwe also indicated that there were some leaders who ‘lobbied’ to the Speaker over the list of committee members.

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