Dar es Salaam. National Assembly Speaker Job Ndugai has recalled one of Tanzania’s representatives to the Pan African Parliament (PAP), Mr Stephen Masele.
Mr Ndugai told Parliament in Dodoma yesterday that he had written to the PAP president, seeking the immediate recall of Mr Masele, who is first vice president of the African Union’s legislative body.
Mr Masele, who served as a deputy minister in Retired President Jakaya Kikwete’s government, is also an MP in Tanzania.
Mr Ndugai told the House yesterday that Mr Masele had been acting in a manner that was in contempt of the National Assembly of the United Republic of Tanzania.
“Honourable Masele’s conduct is putting two pillars of the State – the Legislature and Executive – on a collision course. He has been tarnishing the image of the Legislature by channelling falsehoods to higher offices of the executive arm,” he said.
Although Mr Ndugai did not state exactly what Mr Masele allegedly told higher authorities, a video clip posted by Mr Masele on social media shows that the bone of contention are differences between the Tanzanian lawmaker in his capacity as PAP first vice president and PAP’s Cameroonian president, Mr Roger Nkodo Dang. Mr Masele is seen in a video clip as saying that back home in Tanzania, they appreciated what he was doing at South Africa-based PAP.
Reports from various news sources in South Africa show that the PAP recently approved a motion and set up a committee to investigate Mr Dang over a number of allegations levelled against him.
Last Thursday, the PAP held a closed-door session which followed a series of meetings called after staff went on strike, forcing the cancellation of a scheduled session in the morning.
In a document circulated by the PAP Staff Association (Papsa), the staff said that the fourth and fifth PAP held under the leadership of the incumbent president are marked by nepotism, personality cult, fear and lack of motivation and respect for their rights.
Mr Nkodo was first elected PAP president in May 2015, succeeding Nigeria’s Bethel Amadi. He was re-elected in May last year for a second three-year term.
The last week’s session was suspended as the procedural House staff and co-workers accused the president of nepotism, abuse of power and sexual harassment.
The PAP was meeting for its third sitting of the ordinary session, having not met the previous day, a public holiday set aside for South Africa’s general election.
When members converged for the sitting, there were no clerks, who assist with procedural duties including calling out of items to be discussed in the House. The House was also scheduled to receive and debate the PAP Strategic Plan for the 2019-2023 period.
Mr Masele, who is seen as an automatic replacement of Mr Dang in case the committee goes ahead and relieves him of his duties of found guilty of the allegations levelled against him, is seen in one the videos saying that he has full support of high authorities back home.
“We need to clean PAP. We need to clean the mess here,” he says in the video, criticising the PAP president for playing political tricks by asking Mr Ndugai to recall him.
Mr Masele further says in the video that when he received a letter from the Speaker requiring him to return home, he (Mr Masele) spoke to Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa, who told him to ignore the communication and continue with his work.
“The president is using political tricks to tell my Speaker to tell me to go home immediately. I got home and my Prime Minister told me never to respect the letter and that the issue will be handled internally,” Mr Masele says.
He said since he was elected by PAP members, the PAP president, who is the speaker of the AU legislative body, did not have the authority to remove him.
“I am going to continue to be vice president, and you have no authority. I was elected by these honourable members,” he says.