Tanzania: Kudos Deputy Speaker For Serving ‘The People’ Well

By Peter Saramba

Debate on the performance of Dr Tulia Ackson Mwansasu, the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, has, since the inception of the Budget Sitting in Dodoma, gone viral.

While some political observers and commentators say she is worth her salt, others argue, saying she is a chip of the old block.

The holier-than-thou, mostly those identifying themselves with the ruling CCM, rally behind Dr Ackson to the chagrin of the back benchers and their sympathisers who claim she is a bully.

Although I am a horse of a different colour altogether, I concur with those siding with Dr Ackson; for I for one believe she is a tough cookie.

Dr Ackson is a nominated lawmaker whose primary goal is to defend the Executive against Members of Parliament the government considers to be troublemakers, as they are bent on intimidating it in the august House.

Whoever attempts to prevent her from playing her role effectively is equally a bully. Among them is Mr Joshua Nassari (Arumeru East – Chadema) who was mercilessly coercing Dr Ackson to give him room to embarrass the fifth phase government.

Otherwise, what was the guideline Mr Nassari was asking on the 7,000 plus stranded students of the University of Dodoma all about if not an embarrassment to Dr Ackson’s electorate – the State?

Mind you, immediately after President John Magufuli nominated her MP, Dr Ackson’s avowed intent, in the first place, was to run for the fully-fledged National Assembly Speaker’s post.

Thanks to Mr Job Ndugai (Kongwa – CCM) for chalking it up to experience and other lawmakers, particularly those on the ruling party’s ticket, for making noise about President Magufuli’s hidden agenda; Dr Ackson would be at the helm of the House now.

Frankly speaking, Dr Ackson’s constituency is the Magufuli Administration. She is duty bound to defend the fifth phase government at all cost against any MP bent on embarrassing it regardless of the camp he subscribes to.

The bitter pill for her critics to swallow is: Much as each MP firmly stands for interests of his constituency in the House, Dr Ackson is not an exception.

Who is Dr Ackson?

The Deputy Speaker’s harrowing experience in the legislative gymnastics dates back to the lopsided process of writing a new constitution.

The former Deputy Attorney General was among 201 Members of the Constituent Assembly who defended their constituencies well, so to speak.

She had successfully led a team of state attorneys in last year’s legal wrangle pitting the State and the Opposition on voters standing 200 metres away from polling stations after casting ballot.

No one had a clue that after the polls, while she was still a senior civil servant, she would join some CCM cadres in seeking the ruling party’s nomination for the National Assembly Speaker’s post.

Other cadres, who were eying the lucrative post on November 14, last year, were the incumbent Speaker, Mr Job Ndugai, and Dr Abdullah Mwinyi, the East African Legislative Assembly member.

This is despite Article 67 (2) (g) of the 1977 Constitution and the 2009 Government Standing Order 20 (2) (e) prohibiting senior civil servants, including state attorneys, from actively engaging in politics.

Article 72 (b) of the Constitution instructs government office bearers intending to run for political posts to call it quits beforehand.

But this was not the case with Dr Ackson whose Deputy Attorney General’s appointment President Magufuli revoked at the same time he nominated her MP.

One did not need a rocket science then to read the writing on the wall that the Magufuli Administration had tasked Dr Ackson with a special mission to accomplish in the august House.

I would actually be surprised had she failed to deliver to the expectation of her power-wielding constituency — the Executive.

Defeating Mr Mussa Azzan Zungu, a seasoned lawmaker and National Assembly Chair, who was also eying the Deputy Speaker’s post, explains extraordinary powers Dr Ackson boasts having, given the fact that she is just off the boat.

All in all, Dr Ackson’s scenario is a wake-up call for the House to consider passing a law to bar presidential nominees from eying the National Assembly Speaker, Deputy Speaker and Chairpersons’ posts, as is the case with other Commonwealth law making organs, in a bid to prevent the Executive from meddling with Parliament’s affairs.

Source: allafrica.com

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