Tanzania: CAG Assad Prefers Dialogue to Avert Constitutional Crisis

This week, the House passed a resolution not to co-operate with the Controller and Auditor General.

CONTROLLER and Auditor General (CAG), Prof Mussa Assad came out yesterday, proposing for a dialogue to avert an evident constitutional crisis that is likely to arise due to the stance by the august House.

Professor Assad's proposal came just a day after the National Assembly on Tuesday passed a resolution against working with him.

The legislators had on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved the proposal by the Parliamentary Privileges, Ethics and Powers Committee against working with the current CAG.

"I think we should sit down and weigh the likely impact (of the resolution) to avoid problems that may arise," the CAG commented during a telephone interview during 'Jambo Tanzania' programme aired yesterday morning by the state-owned TBC1 television.

He added: "This (the house resolution) could be a problem rather than a solution. But I believe there are people with wisdom and probably are giving their insights.

My concern is that this may become a bigger problem than it looks at this moment." The Committee Chairman, Mr Emmanuel Mwakasaka (Tabora Urban-CCM), presenting the committee findings in the house vowed that the assembly will never work with Prof Assad, after proving that he had issued utterances that humiliated and tarnished the house image.

However, Prof Assad was worried that the stand by the National Assembly could technically lead to constitutional crisis.

"The (audit) reports have already been submitted to the President (Dr John Magufuli) and I am not the one to table them in the parliament.

As such, if the president submits the reports to the house in the next six days and the house rejects them then that will be a bigger problem... and that's contempt," he stated.

Prof Assad explained further that once the audit reports are tabled in the National Assembly they become public documents after which he (CAG) gets an opportunity to speak on what is contained in the reports.

"As such, the interpretation of 'we will not work with the CAG' is a wide and of which we must know it well," he explained during the programme by the public broadcaster.

He added; "As I told you earlier, I have not received the information reliably, I will look out for them today (yesterday) then I will talk to my people to chart the way forward."

Apart from a likely constitution crisis, political pundits are of a view that the passing of the resolution by the National Assembly against the CAG, also threatens the job of Prof Assad as overseer of public finances.

Asked on whether he was considering resigning from the position, the CAG ruled out against the possibility, stressing that he will still continue performing his duties as provided by the constitution of the land.

The cold relations between Prof Assad and the legislature started when the CAG appeared for an interview with the United Nations Kiswahili Service late last year, where he remarked that there were some 'weaknesses' in handling audit reports by the house.

Prof Assad claimed that his office has been preparing audit reports, which are supposed to be worked on by the parliament but quickly pointed out that there were weaknesses in handling the findings.

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