We, Members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) from the Tanzanian Chapter, hereby reaffirm our position not to support the motion to censure the Speaker of the EALA, Hon. Margaret Nantongo Zziwa.
After careful consideration and thoughtful deliberation with regard to the real motive of the motion, we came to the following conclusions:
- The motion is entirely not in the best interests of Tanzania and indeed against the spirit of regional integration because it has an inherent “hidden agenda” of serving the narrow interests of a few partner states of the EAC.
- The stated allegations of favoritism, arrogance and perceived misconduct against the Hon. Speaker of the EALA, nepotism and involving her family members in EALA netball team are unsubstantiated and trivial.
- A fact which also gives us concern is that there were repeated attempts by some members of EALA and a section of EAC Secretariat officials to use coercion to try to prevent EALA Members from Tanzania to withdraw their previous signatures in support of the motion. This bears testimony of a “hidden agenda” in the whole move to censure the Hon. Speaker of the EALA.
- Following heated debates in the House regarding this very divisive issue, members of the EALA from the Tanzanian Chapter sought the path of compromise and consulted fellow members of EALA from other partner states on how best to resolve this matter for the greater interest of the East African region, but such efforts proved futile. Hence it is our considered opinion that there was a lack of goodwill among some members in finding an amicable solution to this matter.
We would also like to draw attention to the fact that the motion for the censure of the Speaker of the EALA was initially due to be tabled during the March 2014 EALA session in Arusha. However, the motion was unsuccessful due to legal technicalities.
The motion was once again raised in the just ended EALA session in Arusha, but upon critical reflection of the grounds put forward for the impeachment of the Speaker, the vast majority of EALA Members from Tanzania (7 out of 9) concluded that the stated reasons lacked merit and were not in the best interests of Tanzania and the EAC. Three members of the EALA from Tanzania therefore decided to withdraw their previous signatures from supporting the ill-advised motion by notifying in writing the Clerk of the EALA on 29 May 2014. The withdrawal letters were duly accepted.
The withdrawal of signatures in support of the motion by some members of the EALA from Tanzania was in line with Rule 9(2) of the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly which states that: “A motion for a resolution to remove the Speaker from office shall be signed by at least four elected Members from each Partner State and submitted to the Clerk.”
The fact that the motion to censure the Hon. Speaker of EALA was not tabled in the Assembly within seven days of its receipt by the Clerk and the fact that the motion lacks at least four signatures of support from each partner state after EALA members from Tanzania withdrew their support means that this motion is null and void. The motion is not only time-barred; it is also effectively dead by lacking the support of at least 4 EALA Members from Tanzania as required by law.
The decision by EALA Members from Tanzania to withdraw their previous signatures in support of the motion must and shall be respected by everyone because the said members exercised their democratic rights. It should be noted that 5 out of 9 Tanzanian Members of the EALA were initially in favour of the motion; three of those have since withdrawn their signatures in support of the motion, bringing the total number of Tanzanian EALA Members against the motion to 7 out of 9. This signifies a vote of confidence from the overwhelming majority of EALA Members from Tanzania in the incumbent Speaker of the EALA as the right person to lead the Assembly.
We have wasted enough time, money and other resources in this divisive motion to try to censure the Speaker of the EALA. We now need to focus our collective attention on the hard work at hand of spearheading the integration process, which is of primary interest to over 140 million East Africans. Our East African citizens are not best served by “hidden agendas” and trivial politics; instead they want their EALA members to discuss critical issues that will bring about tangible benefits of regional integration.
We believe that EALA Members should not continue to waste taxpayers’ money from the citizens of East African by dwelling on this failed motion. Instead, they should utilize their time diligently by performing their core duties for the greater interests of all East African citizens. Our people want better education, access to safe and clean drinking water, food security, quality healthcare, modern infrastructure and economic prosperity – not meaningless politicking by EALA Members.
We also appeal to our fellow EALA members from all partner states and to EAC Secretariat officials, to decline to cooperate with those who are still harboring a “hidden agenda” for the removal of the incumbent EALA Speaker. The people of East Africa deserve better than this.
Our shared interests are best served by cooperation, rather than confrontation and divisive politics.
Joint statement Issued in Dar es Salaam on 9 June 2014 by:
Hon. Adam Kimbisa, Chairperson of EALA Members Tanzania Chapter
Hon. Shy-rose Bhanji, Secretary of EALA Members Tanzania Chapter
Hon. Charles Makongoro Nyerere, Member of EALA
Hon. Maryam Ussi, Member of EALA
Hon. Bernard Murunya, Member of EALA
Hon. Twaha Taslima, Member of EALA
Hon. Angellah Kizigha, Member of EALA