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Expelled Chadema MPs file appeals

Monday December 28 2020
Chadema pic
By Louis Kalumbia

Dar es Salaam. Chadema’s sacked women cadres have appealed against the Central Committee’s decision to strip them of their party membership.

The Committee (CC) made the decision on November 27, 2020 against the party’s women wing chairperson, Halima Mdee, and 18 others allegedly for contravening party directives.

The women - who were sworn in as Special Seats MPs - are now defending their membership which, if lost, will cause them to lose the parliamentary seats.

Speaking to The Citizen’s sister paper Mwananchi yesterday, Chadema’s Protocol, Communications and Foreign Affairs director, John Mrema, said a good number of the members who took the oath as special seats MPs have submitted appeal letters.

“As of today morning, 13 of them had filed their appeals. We are waiting for the 4.00pm deadline to establish the actual number, and the respective names of those who have challenged the CC’s decision,” he said in a text message.

But, until 7pm, neither Mr Mrema nor the party’s secretary general, John Mnyika, was available to provide updates.

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The deputy secretaries-general for the Mainland and Zanzibar, Benson Kigaila and Salumu Mwalimu, said they were not in a position to comment on it.

December 27 was the deadline for the 19 to appeal against their expulsion. The MPs’ saga started on November 24, 2020, with the surprise swearing-in, in Dodoma, of 19 Chadema women leaders as Special Seat MPs. On November 27, they were expelled from the party.

Apart from Ms Mdee, the 18 others are the ex-Bawacha vice chairperson Hawa Mwaifunga, national secretary Grace Tendega, deputy secretary general Jesca Kishoa, ex-Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairperson Naghenjwa Kaboyoka and Chadema chairperson for Mtwara Region, Tunza Malapo.

Others are Cecilia Pareso, Sophia Mwakagenda, Anatropia Theonest, Salome Makamba, Stella Fiao, Agnesta Kaiza, Hawa Mwaifunga, Felista Njau, Kunti Majala, Asia Mohamed, Conchesta Rwamulaza, ex-Bunda and Tarime Urban MPs Ester Bulaya and Esther Matiko respectively, and the ex-youth wing secretary general Nusrat Hanje. Announcing the CC decision, Chadema chairman Freeman Mbowe said the women were also banned from assuming any responsibilities on behalf of the party.

Also, the party would challenge their nomination as MPs in court, while the women wing machinery was instructed to immediately fill the resulting vacant positions.

Mr Mbowe distanced himself from having blessed them to take oath as MPs.

On December 1, 2020, Ms Mdee and her colleagues told a press conference that they would appeal the CC’s decision to the party’s national executive council, saying the decision was taken without them being heard.

“We are considering to appeal to the Chadema national council to get our membership back,” she said, declining to go into details of how they were nominated special MPs in the first place.

National Assembly Speaker Job Ndugai said after receiving a list from the National Electoral Commission (NEC), he had no option but to swear them in as MPs.

But, the NEC director of Elections, Wilson Charles, said he submitted the women’s names to Speaker Ndugai after receiving them from the party’s chief executive officer.

The law requires that a political party’s sponsorship is essential for one to qualify as an MP. This stand was confirmed by a former and long-serving National Assembly Speaker, Pius Msekwa, in an exclusive interview with Mwananchi.

“The 19 MPs lost the status the moment the decision to strip off their membership was announced,” he said, citing how eight CUF members aligned to the then secretary general Seif Sharif Hamad lost representation after being stripped off their membership.


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