15 January 2013

Tanzania: MPs Shouldn't Be Ministers - Call

THE Parliament has recommended that cabinet ministers and the Speaker should not be appointed and elected from among MPs as is the case now.

Briefing reporters soon after she had presented the legislative assembly's views to the Constitution Review Commission (CRC) in Dar es Salaam on Monday, the Speaker, Ms Anne Makinda, said they had also proposed that an MP should not be nominated in any other capacity in the government, including that of district and regional commissioner.

She noted that the proposal comes out of the fact that Parliament is an estate while the State was another, which meant that the 'MP cum minister' would not be able to extricate himself or herself from the conflict of interest web while performing his or her duties.

She also noted that a Speaker is entitled to perform official duties locally and internationally and in so doing fails to adequately serve his or her respective constituency."We want the constitution to make it clear that the Speaker, cabinet ministers and other government officials will not be sourced from among MPs. This will likely increase efficiency in the daily activities of the national assembly," she said.

Ms Makinda observed that having cabinet ministers who are also MPs could also result into unfair implementation of government plans as such ministers could use their ministerial powers to favour their constituencies."The Speaker has so many duties, including that of attending to related functions, including attending the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association sessions.

As a result, there is not enough time to attend to their electorate. The constitution should dictate another mode of getting the Speaker," she opined.In another development, Ms Makinda said it was high time the constitution stated that the Clerk of the National Assembly should have two deputies to boost administrative efficiency.

She noted that the House has over 500 staff now, which calls for increased efficiency on the part of the administration to ensure that human resources are well managed.The Speaker advised that there should be a way to ensure that Special Seats MPs are competent enough. "The constitution should explain the qualities and the ways through which special seats MPs are obtained," she said.

Late last year, several MPs had also similar views when they met the CRC Chairman, Judge (retired) Joseph Warioba, in Dodoma.Those who contributed were of the view that ministers should not be picked among MPs to ensure proper checks and balances between the Executive and the Legislature.

The MPs also proposed that ministers and other presidential appointees should be approved by the National Assembly as it is done with the prime minister.

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