- A war of words pitting lawmakers from the ruling party over mega projects initiated by Tanzania’s fifth president dominates debate on the 2021/22 budget estimates of the Prime Minister’s Office
Dar es Salaam. The legacy of former President John Magufuli continued to dominate the debate on the Prime Minister’s budget estimates for the financial year 2021/22 in Parliament on Thursday as ruling party lawmakers openly showed their differences.
Lawmakers from the ruling party CCM have been embroiled in the defence and criticism of the past regime, forcing the Premier’s budget debate to go into the third day.
When Prof Sospeter Muhongo opined that the Julius Nyerere Hydro-Power Project (JNHPP) will take many years to financially benefit the country - and that Tanzania should instead go for natural gas for power generation - his Geita Rural counterpart, Mr Joseph Kasheku, said the professor has failed to help the country in addressing its challenges.
On Wednesday, Bumbuli Constituency legislator January Makamba had to calm the situation in the debating chamber when he called on Tanzania leaders, representatives and citizens to uphold unity, tranquillity and solidarity in the wake of President Magufuli’s death.
“My call to my fellow leaders is: let us maintain equanimity as the fallen leader did. The country needs unity, tranquillity and solidarity than any other time in history,” he said.
In what sounds like a continuation of the debate, on Thursday it was the turn of Mtama Constituency legislator Nape Nnauye and his Kawe counterpart Josephat Gwajima.
While Mr Nnauye said President Samia Suluhu Hassan should be left to write her chapter in history, Mr Gwajima called for defining Tanzania’s development in order to maintain continuity - doing so thorough implementing development projects even after leadership changes.
Debating the Sh116.784 billion 2021/22 budget for the Prime Minister’s Office - and another Sh128.873 billion for the Parliament Fund - Mr Nnauye said after beginning her tenure of office as the Head of State very well, President Hassan should be left to make the sweeping changes she considers appropriate in order to continue serving Tanzanians.
The former minister of Information, Culture, Arts and Sports (Mr Nnauye) called on the public and CCM cadres to support the country’s first female leader in writing her book of legacy as her five predecessors have done.
“We shouldn’t write for her, instead she has to do that by herself. My colleagues, legacy is not defended, rather it defends itself,” he said in the parliament.
“Magufuli’s legacy needs not to be defended, it will defend itself unless someone has doubts on it.”
He said CCM had a tradition to challenge each other, stressing that was a sign of maturity and urged people not to consider it as a weakness.
But, the Kawe Constituency lawmaker, Bishop Josephat Gwajima (CCM) said leadership successors will be required to execute defined development, something that will keep the country on the development track.
The cleric who ventured into politics said most African states including Tanzania will take a long time to develop due to lack of continuity in implementing development projects especially after leadership transition.
“We need a national agenda for the country to develop. We need to define Tanzania’s development in the coming 30 or 50 years as well as identifying areas we need to develop,” he said.
“We should have at least 50 years of National Development Vision through which, when it directs that every house should have clean and safe water and electricity, and got incorporated in the new president’s election manifesto then the president will be obliged to ensure it is enforced in order for the country to develop.”
According to him, the country’s constitution provides more powers for questioning the President, noting however that once incorporated in the manifesto, the Head of State could easily be reminded and guided.
“Who can question the CCM national chairman and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces? This will only be possible in the presence of the vision,” he said.