Tanzania: Speaker Warns Waitara Over Undermining Bunge, Indiscipline

SPEAKER of the National Assembly Dr Tulia Ackson has warned Tarime Rural MP Mwita Waitara for a statement he made in the local newspaper that was found to degrade Parliament’s dignity and powers as well as the Speaker.

Mr Waitara was quoted in the newspaper criticizing the decision by Speaker Ackson, following his allegations in Parliament last week that there was an increase of wild animals’ attacks on people and properties at the Serengeti National Park.

Following his claims, which were backed by Songwe lawmaker Philip Mulugo, Dr Ackson wanted the duo to submit to her in writing their claims and evidence.

Mr Mulugo claimed that since 2016 in his Songwe constituency people have been attacked by elephants.

However, upon submission of their written claims last week, Speaker Ackson stated in the House that their writings too lacked enough proof for their claims.

However, Dr Ackson issued a three month ultimatum for the government to conduct comprehensive research on the claims.

On Tuesday, the Speaker said she expected that Mr Waitara would be thankful for that decision instead of mocking and opposing it through the media.

“I read an article published in ‘Raia Mwema’ newspaper opposing my decision, the article was titled ‘Waitara opposes Speaker’s decision,” she said.

The article quoted Mr Waitara saying: “It’s difficult that the government which is accused of doing something then it investigates itself, the Parliament is supposed to form a committee to investigate then submit its report to the House… .

The Serengeti National Park belongs to the government, so how can the government investigate itself.”

The article further quoted him saying: “There is a problem if the government investigate itself.”

Dr Tulia argued that Waitara’s statement meant that the government and its security organs such as police, Prevention and Combating Corruption Bureau (PCCB) and others have a problem, something which is not correct.

“Therefore, what the MP has done is against procedures and standing orders governing the House.

The standing orders are clear that when a legislator is unsatisfied with the Speaker’s decision, he or she should write to the National Assembly Clerk,” she said.

Dr Ackson said Mr Waitara did not use proper channels to air his dissatisfaction over her decision.

The Speaker further argued that Waitara’s statement indicated that the Parliament is led by a Speaker who does not follow procedures and Standing Orders.

“Due to the effects of his act which has degraded the Parliament’s dignity and rights, Standing Orders are clear on what punishment should be taken against such a person.

It’s unacceptable to disrespect the Parliament, and it is unacceptable to disrespect the Speaker.

Despite this, I give him a warning not to repeat such act of undermining the Parliament and Speaker”s decision, and I forgive him,”

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