Tanzania: Bunge Adopts New Modus Operandi

Dodoma — Tanzania Parliament has modified its way of operating during the budget sessions scheduled for today as it adopts measures to avoid spreading coronavirus.

Speaker of the National Assembly Job Ndugai announced yesterday the new approach which will see the number of the members of parliament (MPs), journalists and working hours reduced to escape crowding.

The number of the MPs to get into the debating chamber will now be limited to 150 at once, said Mr Ndugai adding that the rest will follow the proceedings through video conferencing and an application installed in the tablets of the lawmakers.

The working hours has also been reduced from nine to four hours while the House promised to fully go digital by providing no document in print. The National Assembly has 393 members but at some points the House could accommodate about 700 people including the MPs, visitors, journalists, staff and government experts representing various departments.

"There will be no questions-and-answers session as we used to have but all these will be communicated to the MPs through their tablets every morning. In case one has a supplementary questions, they will ask online and it will get in the parliament system," said Mr Ndugai at a press briefing. The number of people diagnosed with tcoronavirus infection had risen to 19 by yesterday after five others tested positive.

Ministers who normally use a special podium to respond to issues or present speeches will now be allowed to do so from their chairs using their microphones.

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During voting on the main budget, Mr Ndugai said the House will have special arrangement which will allow all MPs to vote as required by the constitution.

The MPs normally sign in the morning and evening sessions to get their full allowances but this time they will only login in the system installed in the tables that accepts them while in the Bunge grounds.

The budget sessions will start today and are scheduled to end on June 30, 2020.

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