- Published on Friday, 21 September 2012 03:40
- Written by ABDULWAKIL SAIBOKO
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THE Parliamentary Standing Committee for Privileges, Ethics and Powers has cautioned the media and other parties from continuous discussions on the probe it is carrying out on the 'offensive words' uttered by Mr Tundu Lissu (Singida East-Chadema) in parliament over the appointments of Judges.
The Committee Chairman, Brigadier General (rtd) Hassan Ngwilizi (Mlalo - CCM) told a press conference in Dar es Salaam that such discussions frustrate the work of the committee and infringe the Parliamentary Immunities, Powers and Privileges Act, 1988.
"A section of the media has been reporting issues being discussed before the committee which is an offence, according to section 3 (1) of the Parliamentary Immunities, Powers and Privileges Act, 1988," he said.
Mr Ngwilizi, who was accompanied by several other members of the committee, said further that his team had already made a formal communication with the editors whose media houses have been covering the matter.
He said that though Article 100 of the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania gives privileges of freedom of speech and debate in the National Assembly without being questioned by anyone, the Assembly has under Article 89 (1) formulated the Parliamentary Standing Orders governing proceedings in the House.
"The seventh annexure, clause 3 of the Parliamentary Standing Orders, 2007 edition, has set up conditions on which committees' tasks will be held in privacy. Such tasks include the ones that if released for publication will mislead the committee and lead to breach of Standing Orders," he explained.
Mr Ngwilizi noted that one of the things translated by the Clause as being private is all the tasks sent to the committee by the Speaker of the Assembly with an intent to submit a report in parliament for further action as per the Clause 3 (1) (a).He noted further that in the same Clause 3 (2) the Parliamentary Standing Committee for Privileges, Ethics and Parliamentary Powers is named as a committee of which all its tasks will held in private.
"We advise all people with views on the matter to submit them to us through the Clerk of the National Assembly and we will work on them," he said.Mr Ngwilizi declined to mention the exact date when the committee will finish its job but said that it will be reported in the National Assembly.
In a speech read on July 13, this year, Mr Lissu who doubles as Opposition Chief Whip and Shadow Minister for Constitutional and Legal Affairs claimed that the appointment of some High Court judges did not follow laid down procedures, creating room for incompetence.The remarks by the shadow minister prompted Attorney General Frederick Werema to ask Lissu to withdraw his remarks in the speech since they were offensive and went against the Parliamentary Standing Orders.
MPs are not allowed to interfere with the conduct of another pillar of State. However, Mr Lissu refused to retract his remarks on the grounds that the Parliamentary Standing Orders governing proceedings in the House had not been followed.The day's Chairperson, Ms Jenista Mhagama (Peramiho-CCM), forwarded the matter to the committee.