Bunge puts hands off Chadema’s sacked MPs

Bunge puts hands off Chadema’s sacked MPs

SPEAKER of the National Assembly Dr Tulia Ackson yesterday said the status quo of the embattled 19 Chadema Special Seats legislators will be maintained until the High Court decides on the case filed by the MPs against the party’s decision to revoke their membership.

Speaking yesterday in Dodoma, Dr Tulia said since Tanzania respects the rule of law and separation of powers, her office cannot declare the 19 seats vacant while the matter is in court.

She said, having been stripped of party membership by their party (Chadema), the legislators filed the case at the High Court to oppose the decision. According to Dr Tulia, the country's constitution clearly mentions the Court as the sole organ vested with powers of dispensing justice.

"Due to the fact the country's constitution lays emphasis on respecting the pillars of state under the principle of separation of powers, the Parliament cannot interfere with the roles of the Court, instead it will be forced to wait until the final decision on this matter is reached," the Speaker said.

Speaker Tulia said she received information from the beleaguered opposition legislators on May 12, 2022 that they had filed a case at the High Court for the objective of protecting their rights as bona fide party members and as Members of Parliament, including safeguarding the constitution and the National Election Commission (NEC) Act Cap. 343.

"We must understand that this explanation is made in line with our constitution and other laws that we, the MPs, enacted. Based on this fact, I am not compelled to declare the 19 positions vacant until the Court makes its final decision," she said.

She added: "If there are any questions on this matter then the person to speak about is the speaker."

She said on May 11, 2022 the Parliament, through social media platforms, received information that stated that Chadema General Assembly had blessed the decision reached by the party's Central Committee of expelling the 19 Special Seats MPs through stripping them of party membership.

She said on May 12, 2022 she received a letter, through an email from the MPs, notifying her about the decision reached by the party's General Assembly of stripping them of party membership.

According to Speaker Tulia, the MPs said, in their letter, that the party's decision was illegal and was against the principle of natural justice of the right to be heard.

The 19 had lost in the 2020 election but were sworn in as special seat MPs, a move the party disagreed with. The party's General Assembly late Wednesday voted to expel the 19 lawmakers from the party, saying they were sworn in without the blessing of the party.

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