21 June 2018

Tanzania: Operations Curb Destructive Fishing By 90pc

OPERATIONS against illegal fishing in Lake Victoria and the India Ocean have netted 3,033 suspects, eliminating fishing with explosives by 88 per cent in the past six months.

Dubbed Operation Sangara 2018 for Lake Victoria and Operation MATT along the coast of Indian Ocean intend to make fishery activities sustainable, according to Livestock and Fishery Minister Luhaga Mpina.

"All these operations are run as per the country's laws and Constitution," he told the National Assembly while apologising for the impromptu inspection at Bunge canteen on Tuesday by officials from his ministry.

"I admit that in carrying out the operation within the Bunge premises, the officials did not observe the required parliamentary procedures ... with this, the ministry apologises to the National Assembly and Speaker," he said, admitting that he had personally directed his Permanent Secretary (PS) to deploy officials from the ministry to inspect fishes at the canteen.

Speaker Job Ndugai said the legislature is a respectable pillar of the state and the act by the officials to storm into Bunge canteen for fish inspection without informing the Speaker is unacceptable. But, he said since the minister had apologised, his office forgave him.

"I would like to assure the minister that his apology is accepted, let's move ahead but that act should never reoccur without my knowledge," said the Speaker.

The apology came a day after the Deputy Speaker, Dr Tulia Ackson instructed the government to bring in Parliament a detailed report on government officers who stormed the Bunge canteen for fish inspection without informing the Speaker.

The directive followed Members of Parliament (MPs) who had irrespective of the political divide, resolved to have the officers who carried out the inspection and their minister, Mpina, taken to Parliamentary Privileges, Ethics and Powers Committee for questioning.

Parliament postponed its scheduled activities on Tuesday afternoon for 30 minutes to discuss the issue that was raised by Peter Serukamba (Kigoma North - CCM). Mr Serukamba sought the Speaker's guidance as to why the Parliament could not postpone its activities and discuss "This matter of urgency."

"It is good that the Prime Minister (Kassim Majaliwa) is here ... I direct the government to bring the report tomorrow for the House to decide whether or not to take this issue to the ethics committee," ordered Dr Tulia. Mr Serukamba had asked MPs to order the fish inspectors and Minister Mpina to appear before Parliamentary Privileges, Ethics and Powers Committee for grilling, describing the officers' conduct as arrogance and contempt of Parliament.

"Let the minister and his officers appear before the ethics committee ... unless we act on this matter, we will no longer command respect in this country," he argued, adding: "The House is at testing time ... how somebody can storm in with TV crews without even informing the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker.

This can't go unpunished." Cecilia Pareso (Special Seats - Chadema) supported the proposal, describing the incident as testimony of the harsh treatments arrogant government officers were subjecting ordinary Tanzanians to.

She expressed dismay over the officers inspecting already cooked fishes instead of focusing on the source.

Joseph Selasini (Rombo - Chadema), said MPs were themselves to blame for allowing the status of the august House to deteriorate, with some legislators being arrested in Bunge premises.

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