THE Attorney General (AG), Mr George Masaju, has advised Members of Parliament (MPs) to refrain from giving sentiments that are likely to jeopardise national security and interfere with the proper functioning of other pillars of the state.
Instead, the AG said, the lawmakers should concentrate on pertinent issues that impact on their electorate back home - or constituencies -then advise the government on how best they could resolve their problems such as water, electricity and agriculture, among others.
Responding to some of the issues raised when debating the PMO budget, the AG pointed out that it was unhealthy for them (MPs) to continue “debating issues which do not address problems of the people.”
Mr Masaju also called on the legislators to observe the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, Parliamentary Rules and other laws when exercising their powers, including debating estimates for different ministries and hold accountable the government where something goes wrong.
The AG pointed out that statements given on a widely discussed issue relating to powers of the Registrar of Political Par ties on leadership crisis involving the opposition Civic United Front (CUF) party had elements of interference with the duties of another pillar of the state, namely, the Judiciary.
“This issue is pending in court. We are not allowed under the constitution to debate it here,” he told the National Assembly. The AG reminded the MPs that Parliament was an essential arm in the nation, considering its importance of enacting laws.
Referring to Article 63 (2) of the Constitution, he said that Parliament “shall be the principal organ of the United Republic with authority on behalf of the people to oversee and advise the government and all its organs in the discharge of their respective responsibilities in accordance with the Constitution.”
Mr Masaju analysed Parliament’s duties - such as asking any question to any minister concerning public affairs within the United Republic - which were within his brief; the other was the need to debate the performance of each ministry during the annual budget session of the National Assembly.
Other duties are to deliberate upon and authorise any long or short term plan which is intended to be implemented in the United Republic and enact a law to regulate the implementation of that plan and enact law where implementation requires legislation.
Parliament, according to AG Masaju, is also to deliberate upon and ratify all treaties and agreements to which the United Republic is a party and the provisions of which require ratification.
On Article 89 of the Constitution, the AG said: “Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the National Assembly may make Standing Orders for the purpose of prescribing procedure for the conduct of its business.”