Dar es Salaam. Will the enormous “courage” shown recently by some outspoken ruling party lawmakers, namely, Mtama MP Nape Nnauye, Nzega MP Hussein Bashe and Kigoma rural MP Peter Serukamba, by openly challenging the government in the last Parliamentary session, at a time when even the opposition thinks twice before criticizing the government, last?
That is the question that political stakeholders and observers of Tanzanian ruling party politics pose.
The three youthful MPs are clearly emerging as mavericks within the party. In the last parliamentary session they so passionately and “constructively” criticized the economic plan and budget framework for 2018/19 that had been tabled by the minister for Finance Dr Philip Mpango for its inadequacy to raise to the task at hand, industrialisation, that Speaker Job Ndugai, was obliged to encourage them to speak freely.
“I want you to speak freely so that we help our government to plan better. I will protect you!” Mr Ndugai, said during the session.
But the three CCM MPs “franc-parler” attitude elicited President John Magufuli’s reaction.
President Magufuli, who made his views known through Dr Mpango, seemed to have been strongly touched by Nnauye and Bashe’s suggestions that the government erred by using the meagre budgetary financial resources to undertake the mega-infrastructure projects such as the Stiegler’s Gorge hydropower project and the Standard Gauge Railways (SGR). The two MPs had suggested that instead of spending public resources on the projects the government should have joined forces with the private sector through various available modalities such as PPP and the build-operate-transfer.
But President Magufuli urged the MPs to show him private sector players who are ready to invest in the huge projects.
Dr Mpango told the Parliament that President Magufuli telephoned him and instructed him to urge Mr Nnauye and Mr Bashe to take the private sector players to him immediately. “I will immediately give those investors sections of the SGR to invest in…,” President Magufuli, reportedly, told Dr Mpango.
Prof Gaudens Mpangala, a political scientist from the Ruaha Catholic University (Rucu) said the franc-parler attitude of the three MPs is the way to go for all MPs.
“That’s how all MPs should behave, if they are to oversee the executive. The three main pillars of the government; the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary should be independent,” he said. A political science lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), Prof Bakari Mohamed said ruling party MPs who speak freely should not be misunderstood.
“When MPs raise their concerns on various issues in the parliamentary floor, they are simply doing their job. This should not be taken as criticizing the government for the sake of it,” Prof Mohammed said.
However Mr Ally called upon the MPs to raise realistic concerns, citing that some of statements uttered by the MPs were not realistic.