OPPOSITION parties faced yet another blow yesterday after Arumeru East MP Joshua Nassari on the Chadema ticket was stripped of his position for failure to attend three consecutive sessions of the National Assembly.
The youthful MP is said to have skipped parliamentary meetings without the consent of the Speaker since September last year until January this year.
Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr Job Ndugai, yesterday wrote to the Chairman of the National Electoral Commission (NEC), Judge (Rtd) Semistocles Kaijage, informing him that Mr Nassari was no longer suitable to represent constituents in Arumeru East.
As such, Mr Ndugai informed the electoral body to initiate procedures to conduct an election to fill the vacancy of the former lawmaker.
Mr Nassari becomes the first MP to be relieved of his position after a score of other parliamentarians and local councillors defected from opposition parties to the ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM).
A statement issued by the Office of the National Assembly explained that Mr Nassari had skipped parliamentary sessions between September 4 and 14, 2018, November 6 and 16, 2018 as well as January 29 and February 9, 2019.
The decision by the Speaker is based on Article 71 (1) (c) of the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania which stipulates that an MP will lose his/her seat for failure to attend three sessions of the House without the consent of the Speaker, the statement said in part.
The statement stated further that the provisions of the constitution are stipulated further in Section 146 (1) (2) of the Standing Orders of the National Assembly as revised in January 2016, which require MPs to attend all parliamentary sessions and committee meetings.
So far, a number of lawmakers and local councillors from Chadema and Civic United Front (CUF) defected to the ruling party CCM in support of the exemplary work being championed by the government under President John Magufuli.
They include Liwale MP, Mr Zuberi Kuchauka, who decamped from CUF and became the latest among the dozens of opposition politicians who have jumped ship since the 2015 General Election. He was then re-elected through CCM.
The list also includes Mr Julius Kalanga (Monduli-Chadema), Mr Mwita Waitara (Ukonga-Chadema), Dr Godwin Mollel (Siha-Chadema) and Mr Maulid Mtulia (Kinondoni-CUF).
Others are Mr Abdallah Mtolea (Temeke-CUF), Ms Pauline Gekul (Babati Urban-Chadema), Mr James Ole Millya (Simanjiro-Chadema), Mr Mwita Waitara (Ukonga-Chadema), Mr Marwa Ryoba Chacha (Serengeti-Chadema) and Mr Joseph Mkundi (Ukerewe-Chadema).
The parliamentarians were re-elected to the positions through the ruling party. On the other hand, only one CCM lawmaker went the opposite direction when former Singida North MP Lazaro Nyalandu (Singida North) defected to Chadema.