As Tanzania settles after transitioning into President John Magufuli’s second term, opposition party Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema) has thrown a spanner in the works by disowning the 19 women sworn in as special seats parliamentarians.
Chadema is also contemplating stripping the 19 women of their party membership.
On November 24, Speaker of the National Assembly Job Ndugai swore in 19 Chadema women as special seats parliamentarians.
However, Chadema Secretary General John Mnyika said the party did not present nor propose, neither did party chairman Freeman Mbowe endorse them.
Mr Mnyika summoned the MPs to appear before the Central Committee on November 27 for grilling. By press time none of the women had shown up. But Halima Mdee, the party’s women’s wing chairperson, had earlier said that the process had the blessing of the party chairman.
Chadema rejected the October 28 election results and all its outcomes, saying the poll was marred by irregularities and that it does not recognise President Magufuli’s victory nor accept parliamentary special seats.
The 19 special seats MPs, and another who won the election, Aida Kenani (Nkasi constituency, southern Tanzania) may be expelled from the party for their refusal to comply with the call to boycott parliament. Ms Kenani attended the first seating of the assembly and was sworn-in.
Attorney General Adelardus Kilangi has threatened to prosecute Chadema if it takes any measures against the MPs, saying their presence in parliament is legal and constitutional.
Article 66 of the Constitution of United Republic of Tanzania requires that political parties that took part in the general election and obtained at least five per cent of the total valid voters for parliamentary election will propose to the National Electoral Commission the names of women on the basis of the proportion of votes obtained by each party.
John Mrema, Chadema director of communications and Foreign Affairs, queried the swearing in of the MPs without the knowledge of the secretary general who was supposed to endorse the names.
“In order for one to be nominated as a special seat parliamentarian, she has to sign form number 8D, of which part C is supposed to be filled by the Secretary General and the nominee should take an oath before a magistrate. Did NEC receive the forms? Who filled them,” he tweeted.