Wednesday, June 14, 2017

How MPs joined hands over Magufuli’s stance on minerals

It was something extraordinary as all Members of Tanzania’s National Assembly joined hands in the debate over the issue of mineral mining and dubious deals that miners have blackmailed the government. The President’s bold move to protect national resources has not only sparked a hot debate in the on-going parliamentary budget sessions to foresee the 2017/18 budget proposals, but also  the law makers have become furious and put aside their party’s ideologies. All Members of Parliament (MPs) supported the courageous move by the Head of State, but some opposition members maintained that the ruling party is to blame for all the blunders, especially in the mining sector. Mr Japhet Hasunga (Vwawa-- CCM) sought the Speaker’s guidance on the possibility of passing a parliamentary resolution to commend and support the President’s efforts to ensure that the national cake is benefiting all Tanzanians. Speaker of the National Assembly, Job Ndugai responded swiftly, ordering the Parliamentary Steering Committee to convene and advise him on the matter. The Committee approved the proposal and advised the Speaker, accordingly. “The Committee has agreed with the proposal to pass the resolution to commend the President for the great job he is doing... I therefore order that the resolution be brought here tomorrow (today),” said Mr Ndugai before he adjourned the morning session, yesterday. MPs on CCM ticket, debating the budget proposals which they described as historic, said it was critical for the nation to come together and “fight this war collectively,” instead of continuing with witch-hunting. Mr Nicodemus Nsanzugwanko (Kasulu Urban -- CCM) said the country has been excessively “eaten” and it is time for all Tanzanians to unite and fight for their resources. “... and they have stolen from us not only minerals but almost all sectors with money,” he said. John Heche (Tarime Rural --Chadema) vowed to mobilise his constituents to invade the North Mara Gold Mine as long as the second report on the export of mineral concentrates has declared Acacia Mining Plc an illegal entity in the country. 


Tanzania's National debating chamber in Dodoma designated capital city

“I am serious on this... I have started mobilisation works. Tarime residents have suffered and some have died on the hands of these looters... these are thieves and we know how to deal with them because there is no formula on handling thieves,” fumed the legislator. But, the Deputy Minister for Health, Community Development, Elderly and Children, Dr Hamis Kigwangalla, cautioned the lawmaker against his violent approach, the country still embraces the rule of law. “The mine invasion is not an appropriate approach, this country respects the rule of law,” he said. Munde Tambwe (Special Seats-CCM), speaking emotionally, asked all Tanzanians irrespective of their political parties and religions to unite and collectively and successfully fight the tough war against the looters of the country’s resources. The proposed 40/- fuel levy per litre instead of the motor vehicle licence fee was among issues that attracted heated debate with proponents dismissing as unfounded claims that the charge will harm the poor who will be obliged to pay for the motorists. Ms Tambwe condemned what she described as discrimination in development, saying when it comes to paying taxes for development, everybody is responsible. “We all pay railway levy but is there a railway line in Mtwara... and is there anybody who is not using the road,” she queried. Ahmed Shabiby (Gairo --CCM), declaring his business interest in the matter, said the 40/- levy will no way increase the cost of transport. “Sumatra issued the indicative fares in the past five years but no transporter has reached the ceiling fare due to stiff competition,” he said.

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