Magufulification: Concept That Will Define Africa's Future and the Man Who Makes Things Happen

Magufulification: Concept That Will Define Africa's Future and the Man Who Makes Things Happen

Saturday, 15 January 2022

THE AFTERMATH OF SPEAKER NDUGAI’s RESIGNATION : THE MISGUIDED OPINIONS THAT NEED TO CLARIFIED.

                                         

  Understandably, former  Speaker Job  Ndugai’s sudden   announcement of his voluntarily resignation last week on 6th January 2022,  quickly became  the greatest ‘hot  news’ of the   week;    and the  mass and social  media were awash with  observers’ comments  and  opinions  regarding this matter. Speaker  of  the National  Assembly; Hon Job Ndugai  (November  2015 -January 2022);  suddenly tendered  his  letter  of  resignation  to  the CCM Secretary  General,   the  political  party  that had nominated  him  for  election  to  that high constitutional  position.
    “Constitutional position” simply  means  “a leadership  position, which is  established  by the  country’s Constitution”.  The  Speaker’s  position  is  established  by article  84(1)  of  the Constitution  of  the United  Republic  of Tanzania,  1977. Most    of  the  opinions expressed  stated  that  his resignation was   tendered   under great pressure, that  was  piled  on  him  from  a  variety  of  sources;  particularly  from his  fellow  members  of  Parliament (MPs),  the  persons  who elected  him  to  that  office;   some  of  whom,  including  Hon  Livingstone  Lusinde, and  Hon Msukuma;    even called  special press  conferences separately;  at  which  they  strongly urged him  to “step  down  immediately”.  This  pressure was a result  of his  unprecedented  public  criticism  of President  Samia  Suluhu  Hassan, and her  government;   published  through his  statement posted  on  social media; in which  he  said : “ Is there  any  pride in carrying a begging bowel around? We have resorted to  borrowing  every day.  There will come  a day when  this  country will be  auctioned off to repay  these  huge  debts”.        
        His  remarks  prompted a furore  among  seasoned  economists, producing a barrage of  statements from different  sources, including the  Governor of  the  Bank of  Tanzania  (BOT);  and  the  Minister  of  Finance. In  such  circumstances,  his  resignation  was  indeed   inevitable;   for  two  simple  reasons:-  
 (a)  Had he  attempted to ignore such pressure;  he would obviously have  been  expelled from  that position by the National  Assembly, in  exercise  of the powers granted to it  by the Standing Orders  and  Rules of  the  House.                                       
(b)  His continuation  as  head  of  the  Legislative  Branch of  the Government,  had clearly become untenable  when President Samia  severely censured  him; saying that  Ndugai’s remarks were part of  an  orchestrated  campaign   to  destabilize the government ahead  of  the  2025  general  election when  she  said: “It  is  inconceivable that the head of one of  the  ‘pillars  of  the State’ can stand  up  and  say what  he  said.   It  all has  everything to  do with  the 2025 general  election”. There is a Kiswahili  proverb  which  says: Mwanakuvitafuta, mwana  kuvipata.” Speaker  Ndugai’s   resignation  was    thus inevitable,  and  unavoidable. And,  very commendably, he took the right decision,  at  the  right  time.
The aftermath  of  his resignation.
But there are certain   issues  which  have  arisen  in  the  aftermath of  his  resignation,  which  need  clarification; specifically the  following:-     
 (i)  The  misguided  comments  and  opinions  that   “it  was   the  first  time  in  the  country’s  history  that  the  Speaker  of  the  National  Assembly  has  tendered  his  resignation”,  expressed  in   bold  print  in a front  page  story of DAILY  NEWS   of   Friday,  January 7th, 2022:- Ndugai throws in  towel : first  time in history for the  Speaker to  resign”. In fact,  this was just not true!           
        The first  Speaker to resign, was Speaker  Adam Sapi  Mkwawa;  who voluntarily  resigned  from that  post (on  health grounds) in  April  1994,  due  to his deteriorating  health,  to the  point  that  he could  no longer manage to guide the proceedings of  the House  from  the Speaker’s  Chair; and was thus obliged to  stay away,  leaving to me (the  Deputy Speaker  at the  time) the task  of  presiding  over  the House  proceedings, up  to   April  1994;  when  he  decided to tender his  resignation  from the Speakership.    
(ii)  The other issue, which has been  the  subject  of misinformation,  is the procedure adopted  by    former Speaker Job Ndugai , of addressing his  resignation letter to the CCM Secretary General,  instead of to the Clerk of the National Assembly.
        This  was, indeed, contrary to the  requirements of the  country’s  Constitution;  which  requires,  in  its  article 149 (1)  (c);  that  a  Speaker who resigns “shall send his resignation  letter  to  the  National Assembly (Bunge)”. It is this  inconsequential little mistake, that led Mr. James Mbatia, the Chairman of  NCCR-MAGEUZI,  to assert that Ndugai’s resignation “was invalid; and that his  party was making  arrangements  to challenge the matter in court. There  is basically no  problem with  that  intention  of   going   to  court; because article  26 (2)  of  our  Constitution,  allows any   aggrieved person  “ to  take  legal  steps  to  prevent any  breaches  of   the  Constitution,  or  of  the other  laws  of the  land”.
         However, as any seasoned lawyer will    testify; the legal  system recognizes two types  of  such mistakes: there are those that are described    as “fatal mistakes”, which could  indeed render the relevant  action  invalid.  But there are also the “non-fatal” mistakes, which  can  be cured, in  order to achieve  the  ends  of proper justice.            
        In the instant case, Ndugai’s little mistake  of  sending his resignation  letter  to the  CCM  Secretary General, was quickly cured by  the  said   Secretary  General,  who  promptly   sent  the  same  letter  to  the  Clerk  of  the  National  Assembly;  and  who   acknowledged  its  receipt,    in  a  published    statement  to  the  mass  media.                                                                               
        The  said  letter  will  now  be  read  in  the  House   on  the  day  of  its  first  sitting,   upon  its  resumption   of  business  after  the  current  adjournment.That  is  precisely   what  was  done  in  the  case  of  the  resignation  of the  late  Chief  Adam  Sapi   Mkwawa  in  1994.  Because he  had  been  properly  advised,   he   correctly   addressed  his  resignation  letter  to  the  Clerk  of  the  National  Assembly.   
        There is one item of business that is  regularly  placed  on  the Order Paper of the  Assembly’s first  sitting,  after  every adjournment.  It is titled “Communication from the Speaker”.;   which is normally called immediately after  prayers. Thus,  in Speaker Chief  Adam  Sapi’s  case, upon  the Assembly’s  resumption  of  business on the first day of  its  sittings  after  it  had  been  adjourned in February, 1994; the  “Communication  from  the Speaker” was the reading of  his resignation  letter. Being  the Deputy Speaker  myself, I was  the  person presiding over those proceedings. I therefore invoked the provisions of article 84(2) ( c ) of  the Constitution of the United  Republic, (which  prescribes that no business can be conducted  in  the  National  Assembly when the  Speaker’s  position is vacant). I therefore adjourned  the  House “sine  die” (without  mentioning the  date  of its resumption);  to enable the process for the  election  of a new Speaker to commence. 
        That process was commenced immediately  thereafter. I stood as one of two candidates  who  were nominated by CCM (under the then One  party election rules); and when the election  was  subsequently  held, I emerged the winner. That is  how I ‘graduated’ from Deputy Speaker, to Speaker of the National Assembly.      
        This  authentic  information  hopefully puts  to  rest,   the   media  speculations  that  Ndugai’s  resignation was “the  first  in  the  history  of  our  country”. It was  certainly not the  first;  since  there  already  was the  resignation  of  Speaker  Chief  Adam  Sapi  Mkwawa.
 The issue of the expelled  CHADEMA MPs.
This is the other issue, which  was ‘resurrected’   in  the  aftermath of former Speaker Ndugai’  resignation. I have used the term “resurrected”,  simply because it had  already been raised; when  Speaker  Ndugai presided over  the swearing-n  of  19  HADEMA MPS, who had been expelled  from membership of their party. 
        There is a media outlet, the East Africa  Radio/Television; which interviewed me this time, seeking my opinion on Speaker  Ndugai’s  resignation. That is when my interviewer  “resurrected” the issue of CHADEMA’s expelled  MPs. In my responses, I quoted  the provisions  of  article  71 (1) of the Constitution of the United  Republic; which specifies the events, which, when  any of them occurs, leads to an MP losing his  membership of Parliament.  
        These events are  listed in  article  71 (1);  whose sub- article  (f) provides that: “if  an MP   ceases to belong  to the political party that  sponsored him or  her to contest in the  relevant  parliamentary election”. I told my interviewer, that   this  clear and unambiguous provision was  intended by the constitution makers; that it should apply automatically, upon the relevant political party notifying the Speaker of such action . I even mentioned the many  previous  actions of  that  kind, which have taken by different political  parties at different  times in our country’s history; all of which automatically led to the  loss  of  membership of Parliament by the persons  concerned.  I mentioned the expulsions   of  several  MPs by  TANU, way back in 1969; by a meeting  of  its National Executive Committee  held in  Tanga.                             
         When  the then  clerk  of  the National  Assembly, Pius  Msekwa, was notified by letter  from  TANU’s National   Executive secretary;   that  letter was sufficient evidence  that the  specified  MPs  had  ceased  to be members of  Parliament;  and the then Speaker Adam  Sapi  Mkwawa   accordingly notified  the Electoral Commission  of  the vacancies that had occurred; and the Electoral Commission  dutifully took the  necessary action to fill those vacancies. In  fact,  this  notification   was  (and  still  is),   a  requirement  of  the  National   Elections  law.
        And   even  after  the  return  to the  multiparty  system; political parties continued  to  exercise  their  power in  that  respect.  For  example, I  was  the  Speaker  of  the  National  Assembly when the United  Democratic  Party  (UDP)  expelled  one  of  its  MPs,   Mr.  Danhi    Makanga;  from membership of  that  party.    Upon  receipt  of  the letter   signed  by  its  Secretary  General Kasella-Bantu  duly    informing  the  Speaker  of  that  action; and  in  compliance  with  Election law; I Informed the  Electoral Commission  that   a  vacancy had  occurred in the membership of  the  National  Assembly; and  the Commission   dutifully     took  the  requisite  steps to fill that vacancy. 
         There was  also the interesting case of Mr. Augustine Mrema, at that time MP for Temeke; who  decided  to resign from NCCR-MAGEUZI,  in  order to  join the Tanzania Labour Party (TLP). By that seemingly simple   action, Mrema had ceased to belong to the party that  had sponsored his election to Parliament. He therefore lost his  membership of Parliament.                            
        He did not write a letter to the Speaker,  probably in the  forlorn hope and  false expectation that  in  the  absence of his  letter,  the  Speaker  will  take  no  action!   But  I  took  his  own  public  announcement  that  he  had  so  resigned  and  joined  another  party,  as  sufficient  evidence  of  his  having  disqualified  himself  from  membership  of  Parliament   I  therefore informed  the  Electoral  Commission,  as  required  by  law;    that  a vacancy  had  occurred  in  the  membership  of  the  National  Assembly.,  
        Hence, it was with that rich background  knowledge  in my mind,  that I confidently   responded  to my interviewer in the way I did,   when  he resurrected the matter of the  expelled  CHADEMA  MPs. having been sworn  into  office as  members of Parliament despite  their expulsion there from. I simply  maintained the position  which  I  have  reiterated  above. In other words,  I was,  practically,  saying  nothing  new; I just  maintained my position  regarding  the  unconstitutionality of this  matter.  Perhaps  CHADEMA will,  instead of just   keeping  quiet  about  it, will one  day take  the  matter  to  court.; and the   holding of the  court  will  hopefully  put  this  matter to a peaceful rest.
piomsekwa@gmail.com /0754767576





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