13 September 2017

Tanzania: Kubenea, Kabwe in Hot Water Over Utterances

Speaker of the National Assembly, Job Ndugai has summoned Ubungo and Kigoma Urban legislators Saed Kubenea (Chadema) and Zitto Kabwe (ACT-Wazalendo), respectively, to appear before the Parliamentary Privileges, Ethics and Powers Committee over utterances they made against the head of the House.

The Ubungo legislator is accused of branding Mr Ndugai a liar regarding comments he made over last week's shooting of Singida East MP, Mr Tundu Lissu. Mr Kubenea reportedly made the accusations during a mass service last Sunday at Bishop Josephat Gwajima's Glory of Christ Church in Dar es Salaam.

Not only that, the Speaker directed that Mr Kubenea should be brought before the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security to furnish it with information on the shooting of Mr Lissu, as it appears that the legislator knows much about the incident.

On the other hand, Mr Zitto is said to have posted on social media networks with demeaning remarks against the House, stating that "Parliament was in the pockets of the government." "I hereby direct the Clerk of the National Assembly to ensure that by all means possible Mr Kubenea appears before the Committee tomorrow (today).

It is very unfortunate that some MPs are out to tarnish the image of this august House and at the same time putting the Speaker in bad light. "For the case of Zitto, he should surrender himself to the Committee at convenient time; the Kigoma Urban legislator has been absent from the Parliament and I, as the Speaker, I don't have any information where he is," Mr Ndugai stated.

During the mass last Sunday, Mr Kubenea accused the Speaker of lying when he informed the Assembly last Friday that Mr Lissu's vehicle was sprayed with between 25 and 32 bullets, basing on reports by Dodoma Regional Police Commander Gilles Muroto.

"What the Speaker told the House is a lie; the truth is that the vehicle was sprayed with 38 bullets, 30 of them from a sub-machine gun and the remaining from either a pistol or another type of firearm," Mr Kubenea told the congregation at the church.

Mr Kubenea should thus prove to the ethics committee that I said lies; he should as well appear before the defence and security committee to provide it with information on the shooting as it seems he knows much about the incident," the Speaker stated.

The Kigoma Urban MP on the other hand made the demeaning remarks following a move by Mr Ndugai to hand-over to Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa, the two reports by special parliamentary committees formed by the Speaker to probe mining operations for Tanzanite and diamond.

Mr Zitto argued that the two reports should have been deliberated in the House rather than being presented to the Executive. However, Mr Ndugai was categorical that he had formed the committees on his discretion in order to advise the government.

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