Wednesday, February 6, 2013
A CALL FOR MADAM SPEAKER TO RESIGN
There comes a time when doing the right thing not only is the best option but is the only option. When such a time comes then those called to do the right thing ought to do the right thing – whatever the price.
Madam Speaker, I’m totally and absolutely convinced that such a time has come especially as the running of our National Assembly is concerned. I, like many other Tanzanians - have witnessed the unthinkable – the inability of your chair to run the business of the National Assembly in an impartial, professional and to the expectation of the Tanzanian people. I’m alleging madam speaker that you yourself and your deputy Hon. Job Ndugai have subjected the Office of the Speaker of the House to public ridicule and shame.
When you were elected by your colleagues two years ago I was one of the few people at the time who were not impressed by your election though I lauded the historic nature of your ascension to the Speaker’s chair. Many people congratulated you by being the first woman to hold one of the highest public offices in Tanzania, indeed, the first one to lead one branch of our government. That alone deserved public praise for it showed that in our country gender would not be an obstacle to anybody’s aspirations. But that was it – just the historic symbolism of your election.
But in my public congratulatory message then I urged you to be impartial Madam Speaker, I beseeched you to lead our unicameral chamber in such a way that our people would see your abilities, impartiality and indeed your wisdom to lead a highly politically charged environment. Madam speaker you have miserably failed and if you will continue in your current position you will tarnish the honor you have earned over the years as one of the few people who have been in public service since the First Republic.
In my note of congratulations to you at the time I visited your own words of acceptance which as I said then “signaled that you will lead the House in such a way that unity of decision is reached.” I said that if I understood your words correctly as you spoke to the press then under your leadership of the House “dissent and diversity will have their limits and at the end conformity will have an upper hand.”
I criticized that vision because as I believe then as I do now “if this is the vision you have for the Parliament and the country as you have implied then it is the wrong vision. It will lead into curbing of the democratic progress we have made in the past few years, will usher an era of political intimidation and humiliation, and will force Members of Parliament to try to conform” to your standard.
I said then that “democracy is created, maintained and nourished by the presence of dissent and diversity of thoughts. This must be (truer) in the People’s House. For it is here where their rightful representatives of the people gather to discuss, argue, oppose, support different positions and ultimately create our laws. It is here then where diversity must be desired and guaranteed by the Speaker. It is here where Tanzanians of all works of life must learn to see political opposition as part of that same unity and not an enemy to true unity.” Madam Speaker, I said that “If we all think alike, agree on everything, and dissent is despised as ‘anti-unity’ then we would all become automatons of sort. We must not let that happen.”
Unfortunately Madam Speaker under your mediocre leadership you have let that happen. You have destroyed through gross incompetence any gains we have made as a nation in the journey towards a democratic society. You have tried on and on to thwart political opposition in the House through trickery and banal actions. Many Tanzanians saw this once again yesterday as you tried bamboozling your way out the mess your own party members put you. Sadly you succeeded.
I ended my note by saying that “You were not sworn to “defend or protect” the Constitution of your ruling party nor to protect the interests of few individuals or a group of people but the Constitution of Our Republic.” Madam Speaker, you have done exactly what some of us feared; you have become and continued to be your party’s cadre trying to defend the indefensible while at the same time trying to destroy the indestructible. Madam Speaker, political opposition in the country is here to stay; mtake msitake!
It doesn’t matter what you or any other member of your party wish; it doesn’t matter if the whole caucus of your party decide to do against opposition members of parliament; it really doesn’t matter. You party has tried and it has failed and it will continue to fail as long as free people continue to think for themselves. You can try to remove political opposition in the House, but you cannot remove opposition from the people’s hearts. You are party will never return to its former glory; it can’t. You should know that by now.
It is for this reason, and due to the myriads number of decisions you have taken in the past two years I believe you have become a clear sign of failure in leadership. It is about time for you to resign and with you your deputy Mr. Job Ndugai. Give the people’s House a chance to elect someone more able, accountable and available to lead.
It is about time to do the right thing.
Consortium of Concerned Tanzanians International
M. M. Mwanakijiji (BGM)