ATTORNEY General (AG), Dr Adelardus Kilangi yesterday put the last nail onto the coffin of a debate that has been raging inside and outside the National Assembly that President John Magufuli erred in law when he officially declared Dodoma as a city in April, this year, saying the President was right as per the country's relevant legislation.
The AG spoke in Parliament after opposition Members of Parliament maintained that it was only the National Assembly that was bestowed with powers to elevate a municipality into a city status.
Citing the Urban Planning Act, 2007, the MPs said the President had misused his discretionary powers only to deny the august House its powers as per the law.
The MPs were debating the Dodoma Capital City Declaration Bill, 2018 that was tabled in parliament for the second reading by the minister of State in the President's office (Regional Administration and Local Government).
But, when asked by the Speaker of the National Assembly to chip into the heated debate, Dr Kilangi said MPs and other people opposed to the decision were confusing the Urban Planning Act with the Local Government Urban Authorities Act, which gives powers to the President to elevate a municipality into a city.
"Where the purpose sought to be achieved by the order under subsection (1) is only to confer on an existing municipality the status of a city, that order shall be made by the President," the AG made citation in the house.
It all began with the representative of the official opposition in Parliament, Sophia Mwakagenda (Special Seats) who said it was unacceptable for the executive to take powers of the National Assembly, adding that the Dodoma municipality before it was elevated by the President to a city status, was yet to attain all the requisite criteria as per the Urban Planning Act, which requires that for a municipality to become a city it should have at least a population of not less than 500,000 people and have the ability to run its business through internal revenue sources by 95 per cent, among others.
She was backed by Kawe MP,Halima Mdee who said the Parliament had never made any decision as per the law to allow Dodoma to be transformed from a municipality to a city, as Members of Parliament from the ruling CCM interrupted contributions from the opposition MPs seeking the Speaker's intervention.
However, the House Speaker commended the government for coming up with the bill, adding that Dodoma was at the centre of the country, thus security was highly guaranteed.
Earlier on, Mr Jafo tabled the Dodoma Capital City Declaration Act, 2018, maintaining that the enactment of the law seeks to declare the city of Dodoma as the capital city of the country, adding that its location makes it easily accessible and potential for economic, political and social development.
On April 26, during the Union Day Celebrations held in Dodoma, President Magufuli officially declared Dodoma to become a city to be developed and administered by the Dodoma City Council, joining the league whose earlier entrants were Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Tanga, Mbeya and Mwanza.
At the ceremony witnessed by several people and relayed to similarly several others elsewhere via electronic media outlets, the President's upgrading of the urban centre climaxed months of regional authorities' aspirations to raise the bar of the town. The President said, "I just came by flight to Dodoma.
I have seen how the town has been built ... there are lots of structures, this is indeed the country's capital," he said.
He remarked further, "I had to review how many municipalities we had but more importantly, on what powers I have regarding this matter. I noted that Arusha is a city, Tanga, Dar es Salaam and Mbeya too.
So now I am declaring that from today Dodoma will be named a city." During their contributions yesterday, the law makers commended Dr Magufuli for his bold decision to relocate the country's capital from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma, a decision that had remained unimplemented for 45 years since the founder of the nation Mwalimu Julius Nyerere preferred and declared Dodoma to be the capital city of Tanzania.
Kibakwe MP, George Simbachawene (CCM) remarked, "We have every reason to congratulate our President because all the CCM manifestos of all the previous administrations stated that this ambitious declaration by the founding father be implemented, but we could not." Malinda MP, Ali Salehe said the decision was welcome but he was quick to point out that prior to the decision, there was need to involve both sides of the union by seeking consent of all people.
Special seats Fatma Tawfiq (CCM) commended the move to come up with a new law to relocate the country's capital city saying it would help the new city to have proper infrastructure.