Dodoma. The standoff between the Speaker of Parliament, Mr Job Ndugai and Shinyanga Urban MP Stephen Masele (CCM), took a new twist on Thursday, May 23, 2019, when the two exchanged harsh words in the debating chamber.
It all started after the Parliament Powers, Privilege and Ethics Committee had found Mr Masele guilty of four counts and proposed that he be barred from attending three consecutive parliamentary meetings.
If the proposal had sailed through, Mr Masele, who doubles as First Vice President of South Africa based Pan African Parliament (PAP), would be required to miss the ongoing parliamentary meetings as well as those for September and November 2019.
This would also have affected his participation in PAP calendar.
The verdict, delivered by the committee chairman and Tabora Urban MP (CCM), Mr Emmannuel Mwakasaka, said Mr Masele was found guilty of writing a text message and sending it to unnamed top government officials.
He was also found guilty of travelling outside the country without the approval of the Speaker of Parliament.
Mr Mwakasaka said Mr Masele also acted wrongly when he failed to honour the Speaker’s summons to return home form PAP.
The fourth count was that of acting in a manner that puts leaders at loggerheads during his recent address in the South Africa based Pan African Parliament (PAP).
But in an unusual occurrence, Mr Ndugai gave no chance for the Parliament to debate the committee’s proposal.
Instead, he told the Parliament to ignore Masele and hastened to say that he (Ndugai) had received information that the Shinyanga Urban MP wanted to ask for forgiveness.
That gave Mr Masele a chance to stand up in the debating chamber but contrary to what Ndugai said, he turned the gun on the Speaker, accusing him of colluding with the PAP President Roger Nkodo Dang of Cameroon to make sure that he (Masele) is removed from his position as PAP First Vice President.
The Parliament approved Mr Ndugai’s proposal to have Mr Masele ignored on account of him forgiving him and the young politician escaped without any punishment.
Mr Masele, who is the First Vice President of South Africa based Pan African Parliament (PAP), was grilled on May 20, 2019, by the committee following accusations revealed by the Speaker Job Ndugai.
Mr Ndugai summoned the youthful politician on Wednesday, May 15, 2019, to appear before the powerful committee.
The Speaker announced then that Mr Masele’s membership to PAP was temporarily suspended.
Speaking shortly after being grilled on May 20, Mr Masele warned against the danger of interpreting one’s defence of basic human rights as an act of “misbehaviour.”
“I have been deputy minister and I am well conversant of the leadership ethics. I have never been reckless and you can check my record on that. What I have said was only in the defense of human rights and my respect to my seniors is unquestionable,” said Mr Masele.
“It is my hope that justice will be served but I am certain that I have done nothing in contravention of [accepted] conducts of an MP both within the Tanzania Parliament and PAP.”
The name of the PAP President, Cameroonian legislator, Roger Nkodo Dang, finds its way into Tanzania’s local politics due to differences between Mr Masele, in his capacity as PAP First Vice President and the former (Dang).
Information from various news channels in South Africa show that the PAP recently approved a motion and established a committee to investigate Dang, who is accused of a host of allegations.
Two weeks ago, the PAP steering committee held a closed-door sitting in the afternoon which followed a series of meetings called after staff at the PAP went on strike forcing the cancellation of a scheduled sitting in the morning.
The sitting was suspended as the procedural House staff, who together with their colleagues, accused the President of nepotism, abuse of power and sexual harassment.
Against such a background, Mr Masele says Mr Ndugai is being used by the Cameroonian to silence him at PAP.