Dodoma — The Member of Parliament for Sengerema (CCM), Mr William Ngeleja has said people need to understand that being accused of wrong doing is not the same as being found guilty of an offence.
Debating the 2017/18 budget in Parliament on Thursday morning, Mr Ngeleja - who is one of the past leaders who were named for questioning on the way they handled the mineral licenses during their days in government - commended President John Magufuli for steps being taken to ensure that Tanzania gets a fair share of revenue from the mining sector.
"The President has sacrificed himself for the cause of Tanzanians and we need to support him for taking such a bold move," he said, recalling how the 32nd President of the United States Franklin Roosevelt and the founding father of the People's Republic of China, Mao Tse-tung set the concrete foundations for their countries' economies.
But his praises did not go down well in the minds of some Members of Parliament (MPs) who believe Mr Ngeleja - along with his fellow former ministers in the energy and minerals docket, Daniel Yona, the late Dr Abdallah Kigoda, Nazir Karamagi and Prof Sospeter Muhongo - are some of the people who did not exercise their responsibilities well in the past two decades, occasioning Tanzania a loss of between Sh68.6 trillion and Sh108 trillion in revenue from exporting mineral concentrates from 1998 to 2017. That feeling prompted Paschal Haonga (Mbozi - Chadema) to stand on a 'point of order' and asked Mr Ngeleja to declare his position on the accusations.
"Mr Chairman, allow me to inform the speaker (Mr Ngeleja) that he is one of those who have been adversely mentioned in the report. Can he tell us his side of the story?" said Mr Haonga.
The session chairman, Mr Mussa Azan Zungu (Ilala - CCM) intervened and told Mr Ngeleja not to respond to the 'point of order'. But Mr Ngeleja said: "Even the speaker - Mr Haonga - is aware that being accused of an offence is one thing and being found guilty of an offense is yet another thing. Finally, life must go on".