Bizarre questions as parliament elects Eala representatives

The winners of Eala seats being congratulated by a section of ministers, including the Prime Minister, Mr Kassim Majaliwa (left), in Parliament in Dodoma yesteday. PHOTO | Said Khamis

Summary

  • The event in Parliament yesterday was entertaining even as at some point, some aspirants spent a good part of their precious time giving salutations instead of marketing their policies.

Dar es Salaam. Forget about the grammatical hiccups that tend to define the election of members of the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) in Tanzania’s Parliament and instead think of the odd questions that the voters posed to aspirants.

The event in Parliament yesterday was entertaining even as at some point, some aspirants spent a good part of their precious time giving salutations instead of marketing their policies.

Of particular interest, however, could be some of the questions that the voters – who are Members of Parliament (MPs) – posed to the aspirants.

While it is an open secret that not all MPs are fluent in English - and rather does competence in a foreign language define one’s academic proficiency - what was vivid yesterday was that some questions were just unthinkable so much so that on several occasions, the Speaker of Parliament, Dr Tulia Ackson had to intervene.

Mr Joseph Msukuma (Geita – CCM) may have stolen the show with the way he posed his question to aspirant Mohammed Habib Mnyaa when he asked: “Where are you? What did you do for the last five years?”

Well, as odd as it sounds, the question by the wealthy businessman-cum politician was well understood.

Having held the position of Eala member for the past five years, Mr Msukuma was on point to want to know what Mr Mnyaa has achieved during his first five-year tenure to convince the August House that he deserved a second chance.

That was probably why the House burst into laughter as MPs turned Mr Msukuma into a hero. Others could be seen giving him money to signal their approval of their colleague’s question.

While Mr Msukuma may have stolen the show, it was actually Khadija Taya (Special Seats - CCM) who carried the day.

As soon as aspirant Ansari Abubakar Kachwamba had effectively marketed himself for consideration to the MPs to snatch one of the available Eala seats, Ms Taya had this to ask: “What is your weakness that can be a benefit to our country?”

Feeling puzzled and somehow unaware of what the question actually meant, Mr Kachwamba had to ask that the question be repeated. But Ms Taya remained steadfast and she repeated the same question in the same manner.

And, if you thought Mr Kachwamba harboured any weakness that could be a blessing to Tanzania, then you are far off the mark because his response was: “I do not have any weakness.”

The other person, whose question was so amazing that it should not go unnoticed, was Mr Ally Mchungahela (Lulindi - CCM), who posed this question to aspirant Thomas Malima: “This region has been one of the dumping place of the market. What are the strategies you have to alleviate the problem?”

Mr Malima could not immediately answer the question but asked to have it repeated. Dr Ackson granted the repeat and the question went like: “This region is among the dumping place of the foreign market. What is your strategy to alleviate the problem of dumping in this region of the East African Community?" The Speaker intervened and ruled the question out.

After all the drama, the nine contestants, who finally made to Eala were Ms Angela Kizigha, Nadra Mohammed, Dr Abdullah Makame, Machano Machano, Mr Mashaka Ngole, Ansari Abubakar Kachwamba, Mr James Ole Millya and Dr Ngwalu Maghembe.