Dar es Salaam. Stakeholders in law and good governance yesterday said the 11th Parliament, under Speaker Job Ndugai, was weak compared to previous parliaments.
But, in a quick rejoinder, the outgoing Speaker said the critics have no idea about parliamentary rules, regulations and procedures.
“Let me assure you that most Tanzanians do not understand the existing rules, laws and regulations…, they are speaking out of emotions,” Mr Ndugai told The Citizen in a telephone interview.
“They also do not understand parliamentary democracy globally, it is the majority who make decisions and not the Speaker. So all the decisions that were made are the ones most lawmakers decided.”
Speaking during a debate about the 11th parliament and prospects for the 12th one which was organised by the Law and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) through Zoom, veteran journalist Jenerali Ulimwengu said the 11th parliament had failed to do its job.
“The 11th Parliament, to me, completely failed… it failed to foresee development management policies that are coordinated by the government,” said Mr Ulimwengu.
Mr Ulimwengu, who served as a national member of Parliament from 1990 to 1995, also referred to the attack on former Singida East MP Tundu Lissu on September 7, 2017, saying it had tarnished Parliament.
“I never saw the Parliament being shocked or concerned about the incident… the Parliament largely ignored this,” he said.
He also mentioned the issue of some opposition MPs defecting - yet they continued being recognised as MPs despite the Constitution requiring MPs to be members of political parties.
“…How can a person defect from the party that approved him/her to Parliament and still be a Member of Parliament?“ he queried.
The arguments were echoed by the University of Dar es Salaam’s political science lecturer, Prof Mohamed Bakari, who said the assessment showed that the 11th Parliament had lost status compared with other parliament since Independence.