Dar es Salaam. Shinyanga Urban MP Stephen Masele will be the man of interest this week in Dodoma where he is due for grilling by two committees over unspecified “misbehaviour” as reported by Parliament Speaker Job Ndugai.
Mr Masele, the youthful legislator and First Vice President of the Pan African Parliament has found himself at loggerheads with Mr Ndugai after he snubbed the Speaker’s summons last week, to ostensibly face disciplinary action by Parliament’s Powers, Privilege and Ethics Committee.
Mr Ndugai also revealed the MP would be subjected to the ruling party, CCM’s, parliamentary caucus, also over accusations whose nature would likely emerge in the course of his grilling. The MP is expected to be grilled from tomorrow, according to Mr Ndugai, who appeared to escape the standoff, declaring that Mr Masele should present himself before the House Committee by 11am on Monday. The Speaker said he will be questioned about his conduct in the regional parliament which is based in South Africa.
Credible reports indicate that Mr Masele is already in the country, having flew back Friday after the sessions of the PAP ended on Thursday. His Tanzanian colleagues in the regional assembly were expected last night or today. Sources close to the MP told The Citizen he was ready to appear before the two different committees. Momba MP, who is also member of PAP, David Silinde (Chadema) said he spoke to Mr Masele, who told him that he will speak to the Press after reporting to the Parliamentary ethics, powers and privilege committee on Monday.
Yesterday Mr Ndugai said: “He must appear before the committee on Monday not later than 11am, failure to which we will direct authority to arrest him.”
The standoff between the two came to light on Wednesday when Mr Ndugai announced in Parliament that he had suspended Mr Masele’s membership to PAP over allegations of insubordination.
He claimed that Mr Masele was “misbehaving” in South Africa and had set the Parliament against other executive arms of the state.
Although the speaker did not reveal how Mr Masele misbehaved, the later confirmed that his support for establishment of a commission to investigate President and Speaker of PAP from Cameroon, Mr Nkodo Dang against sexual abuse allegation by the parliament staff may be the main reason behind Mr Ndugai’s decision to recall him. The second term MP who briefly served as deputy minister in President Jakaya Kikwete’s final tern in office said he did not return home because Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa told him to first finish the business in SA while the suggested recall would be sorted locally. The office of the PM has since not issued any statement to verify this claim by Masele. He also, accused mr Dang of seeking to use Mr Ndugai to block an investigation against the allegations he faced.
The Shinyanga MP who apparently enjoys massive support among PAP members and staff said his actions in the assembly was to offer moral leadership at a time when the President was facing serious accusations. He went on to chair a session that voted to subject Mr Dang to an African union-led probe mechanism over his reported mistakes, including nepotism and highandedness. The Tanzanian MP would be the candidate to assume the PAP presidency in the absence of the Cameroonian.
Across section of Tanzanian Parliament MPs have expressed support for Mr Masele and also the process to give him the chance to answer to the allegations being leveled against him. Other political analaysts have variously blamed Mr Ndugai, suggesting he had overreached himself in trying to defend Mr Dang. But Mr Ndugai has refuted this claims.
Yesterday when asked if he has the power to recall an MP from the regional assemblies, Mr Ndugai said: “How can’t we (MPs), who elected you to represent us, and the country not have the powers to recall you?”
He added: “Can anyone prevent a parent from taking his/her child from school which he/she enrolled? After all I am the one who signs the letter to allow him to go to PAP.”