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What next for 19 Chadema ousted MPs?

Saturday January 02 2021
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By Louis Kalumbia

Dar es Salaam. Chadema’s expelled women party members face an uphill task before the meetings of the party National Council and the General Congress.

This comes after the 19 sacked women submitted their appeals before a meeting of the National Council to challenge the decision to strip them of their membership.

The women leaders are accused of contravening the party position and procedures by appearing before the National Assembly Speaker Job Ndugai and taking the oath as Special Seats MPs.

The women members filed their appeals at the party’s office of the secretary general on Sunday, December 27, 2020.

Addressing a press conference on December 1, 2020 former women wing (Bawacha) chairperson Halima Mdee on behalf of 18 others promised to appeal the decision of November 27, meeting of the Central Committee (CC).

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

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Others are Cecilia Pareso, Sophia Mwakagenda, Anatropia Theonest, Salome Makamba, Stella Fiao, Agnesta Kaiza, Hawa Mwaifunga, Felista Njau, Kunti Majala, Asia Mohamed, Conchesta Rwamulaza as well as ex-Bunda and Tarime Urban MPs Ester Bulaya and Esther Matiko respectively and the ex-youth wing secretary general Nusrat Hanje.

But, Chadema’s constitution provides that members of the CC, the National Council and General Congress vary according to the number of voted parliamentarians, councillors and mayors during the previous General Election.

The CC that expelled the women leaders had 50 members while the National Council and the General Congress will have not more than 450 and 1,000 members respectively.

Article 7.7.10(f) of the party’s constitution says the General Congress has been conferred with powers to consider and decide on appeals and disciplinary measures on various issues submitted by the National Council.

Providing the party’s national chairman Freeman Mbowe with powers to preside over the meeting and participation of CC members as constitutional participants of the meeting raises another concern over the independence of the council.

However, after exhausting the intra-party justice remedy, the 19 women leaders would be allowed to challenge the party’s decisions before the High Court and the Court of Appeal if decisions continued leaning against them.

Speaking to The Citizen, renowned lawyer, Prof Abdallah Safari believed that the intra-party’s system would deliver justice to the 19 co-accused women leaders.

“The presence of CC members as part of those forming the National Council will not prevent dispensing justice to the women leaders because of the significant increase of the number of members,” he said over the phone.

He said Chadema’s constitution resembles those of other political parties in the country.

The former Chadema vice chairman for the Mainland, said “There will be no mob justice because every appellant will appear before the committee individually and express herself before final decisions are made for justice to take its course.”

According to him, the party’s constitution provides the right for the women leaders to appeal before a meeting of the General Congress if not satisfied with decisions of the National Council.

Political science lecturer at the University of Iringa (UoI) Stephen Kimondo said there would be difficulty for justice to take its course, suggesting that member’s opinions should be respected in making the final decision.

Dr Kimondo said on social media members consider the women leaders as betrayals who have contravened party’s position and procedures; hence they were supposed to be sacked from the party.

“Most members have been commending the decision made by the CC. But, Chadema’s survival will depend on the way it will address this saga because the same could trigger increased incidents of indiscipline especially if the CC decisions will be overturned,” he said, adding.

“Decisions different to that made by the CC could also split the party and put leaders’ trust at stake following decisions made at the meeting of the CC,” he said.

But, political science analyst Buberwa Kaiza was of the view that party’s cohesion was the most important aspect as compared to interest of individual members, hence decisions that would assure the party with unity and solidarity are expected.

“As long as administrative mechanisms are concerned, there is no way the chairman (Freeman Mbowe) who is the most answerable person to party members will be excluded from chairing both meetings,” he said.

Likewise, members of the CC need to attend a meeting of the National Council’s in order to give explanations of what transpired during the CC meeting in order to give room for decisions to be made and justice to take its course.

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