Dar es Salaam. National Assembly Speaker Job Ndugai yesterday defended his decision to recall Mr Stephen Masele from the Pan African Parliament (PAP), amid accusations of rocking the boat to toss the Tanzanian out.
Mr Ndugai refuted claims he had intervened to rescue the PAP President and Speaker, Mr Nkodo Dang of Cameroon. Mr Dang is fighting against a motion to remove him from office over a host of allegations, including nepotism and sexual harassment.
Reports from South Africa where the Parliament is based, indicate that the House on Thursday evening adopted the motion for a special Africa Union investigation against Mr Dang.
He was expected to step aside to pave the way for the probe. Yesterday, Mr Ndugai who came under attack from a section of leaders, including some MPs who accused him of taking sides in the decision to recall Mr Masele, said he had no personal interest in the matter.
“Where is the relationship with the Cameroonian? He is the President of PAP and they are there together with Masele,” he told Mwananchi newspaper on phone. Mr Ndugai said he hosted Mr Dang once in Tanzania when he was campaigning alongside Mr Masele and also in Rwanda at a meeting of Speakers. “There is nothing more,” he said.
Mr Masele who is Shinyanga Urban MP is First Vice President of PAP and is likely to assume the leadership of the Parliament should Mr Dang be deposed. He has separately accused Mr Dang of reaching out to Mr Ndugai to save his skin.
The standoff came to public on Thursday when Mr Ndugai announced in Parliament that he had suspended Mr Masele’s membership to PAP over allegations of insubordination.
The Speaker said the MP had ignored his orders to return to Tanzania to face questioning by the ethics committee of Parliament and also the CCM’s parliamentary caucus.
He claimed that Mr Masele was misbehaving in South Africa and had set the Parliament against other executive arms of the state.
Even though he did not make it clear, Mr Ndugai was apparently infuriated that the youthful MP serving his second term dragged into the matter the name of the Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa.
In failing to honour Mr Ndugai’s recall, Mr Masele told the PAP that he had reached out to Mr Majaliwa who told him to continue with the sessions in South Africa as the issue would be locally sorted out. The office of the PM has however not independently verified Masele’s claims.
Neither Mr Ndugai, nor Mr Masele has revealed what could exactly be the matter behind the attempt to recall and subject him to disciplinary mechanisms.