Tanzania: Analysts Weigh in On Cag-Bunge Rift

The Controller and Auditor General (CAG) Prof Mussa Assad and President John Magufuli.

Dar es Salaam — There is a mixture of opinions among analysts and rights activists over how to end the ominous misunderstanding that has pitted the office of the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) against the National Assembly which now appears to have reached a stalemate.

While some analysts see the need for President John Magufuli's intervention in the matter, others have opposed the call, saying the President does not have a constitutional mandate to do so. This latter school of thought believes the court should instead be engaged to end the impasse.

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One of those who thinks that there is a need for President Magufuli to intervene and seek a middle ground between the two accountable institutions is advocate Jebra Kambole.

"The only person who can bring the harmonisation needed between the two is the President," said Kambole, adding: "I urge him to intervene and state his stance on the issue and issue a directive on what should be done at the moment."

Mr Kambole said the necessity of Parliament working with the CAG is not debatable as it is a constitutional requirement.

He said Parliament's decision to stop working with the CAG meant that the legislative body no longer had the interest to abide by the constitution to supervise the government as it meant that the CAG's reports would not be worked on and his recommendations would be disregarded.

"Something that's not right at all as it doesn't do Tanzanians any good," said Mr Kambole yesterday at the sidelines of a ceremony to commemorate the life of the late Justice Francis Nyalali, which took place in the city. "Nor does it help the country to move forward developmentally," he added.

But Tanganyika Law Society (TLS) president Fatma Karume challenged Mr Kambole's call, calling it an unlikely move as the constitution did not give a mandate to President Magufuli to interfere with the independence of another pillar of State.

"The President doesn't have that mandate," the firebrand lawyer told The Citizen yesterday. "I think the court can be the best avenue to challenge Parliament's decision. People can go to court and seek an interpretation of the law as well as of the constitution on the matter," she added.

Prof Chris Peter Maina, a distinguished lawyer and Professor of Law at the University of Dar es Salaam, thinks that although it is true that the constitution does not give the President the mandate to intervene legally, he still believes that the Head of State can do so diplomatically.

"He can say that we want this country to move forward. So he can intervene diplomatically, which will be good for the country," said Prof Maina.

The don fears that Parliament is 'engineering' a constitutional crisis, which can distract the country's efforts to improve the living standards of its citizens.

He said Parliament's decision was, not only baseless, but also lacked logical standing, saying it should not have happened in the first place.

"The parliament's decision is very unfortunate because the CAG is a constitutional office with its prescribed responsibilities," said Prof Maina. "This literally means that the Parliament is stopping the country from properly running" its affairs.

Prof Maina advises the Parliament to stop keeping the issue going for it is counterproductive in many ways.

Former director for the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) Dr Helen Kijo-Bisimba concurs, saying one way that the move is disastrous and that it will affect the issue of accountability in the country.

Kijo-Bisimba, reiterating Mr Kambole's point, said that the decision means that the CAG reports will no longer be worked on by the Parliament. This, she argues, has detrimental consequences to the country's good governance as well as the development of the rule of law.

"The parliament should stop being authoritarian," she said. "The parliament's responsibility is not to create authoritarianism but rather to check it. It is supposed to ensure checks and balance and gives directives that ensure to achieve that end and not curtailing it."

try's efforts to improve the living standards of its citizens. He said the Parliament's decision is not only baseless but also has no logical standing and which shouldn't have happened in the first place.

"The parliament's decision is very unfortunate because the CAG is a constitutional office with its prescribed responsibilities," said Prof Maina. "This literally means that the Parliament is stopping the country from properly running" its affairs.

Prof Maina advises the Parliament to stop keeping the issue going for it is counterproductive in many ways.

Former director for the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) Dr Helen Kijo-Bisimba concurs, saying one way that the move is disastrous and that it will affect the issue of accountability in the country.

Kijo-Bisimba, reiterating Mr Kambole's point, said that the decision means that the CAG reports will no longer be worked on by the Parliament. This, she argues, has detrimental consequences to the country's good governance as well as the development of the rule of law.

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