THE Opposition Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema) has been warned against protecting its legislators who stand accused for misconduct.
They are required to respond to National Assembly summons. The Attorney General, Judge Frederick Werema, told the 'Daily News' that summoned MPs should respond positively and air their grievances before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Privileges, Ethics and Powers.
"It is not the matter of who is right and who is wrong, it is the matter of responding to the call and if they think that the committee does not exist or it has no powers of questioning them, they will make their point before the committee," he said.
He was commenting on the party's decision to shun the call by the National Assembly to send its lawmakers to appear before the Committee and face questioning on misconduct, claiming that the committee does not exist.
Chadema General Secretary, Dr Wilbrod Slaa claimed that the committee headed by (rtd) Brigadier General Hassan Ngwilizi does not exist. He added that its tenure expired during the 10th Parliamentary session. "An accused person cannot refuse to go to court in the guise of not recognizing the court. He or she should respond to the summons and make a point thereafter," said Judge Werema.
The University of Dar es Salaam Head of Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Dr Benson Bana warned against the tendency of rushing to the media as a way of responding to official communication. "Chadema should have responded formally to the official communication made to them by the National Assembly but coming out complaining in the glare of the public through media is playing politics unnecessarily," he said.
Dr Bana seconded Judge Werema saying that Chadema MPs should respond positively to the summons and make their point before the committee. "Let them attend the hearing and use the opportunity to question the committee's legitimacy, if they refuse to show up then it will equally prove that they are really disobedient," he said.
He emphasized that an argument can only be countered by another and that the only genuine option was to face the committee. The Deputy Speaker, Mr Job Ndugai, was recently quoted as saying that some committees were spared when others were dissolved in the last Bunge session. He named the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Privileges, Ethics and Powers as one of the committees still existing.