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Battle that turned ‘big victory

Battle that turned ‘big victory

This happened in the just ended sixth meeting of the tenth parliament. However, one of his concerns remains up in the air, in his contests, Mr Zitto questioned on the validity of any allowance paid to MPs saying that no allowance should be paid for there were salaries, thus paying both was a total superfluous.

“Prior to debating on whether there should be an increment, the public needs to know the legality of sitting allowance itself, when we establish that it was legal to have allowance.. Then it is when we can be in a position to question on the legality of the increment,” he said.

Mr Zitto, who is also the Deputy Leader of the Official Opposition Camp in the National Assembly, added that double payment to MPs is a clear manifestation that the House ‘’is one of the leading organs in public funds embezzlement’’. The State House, just a day after the Prime Minister, Mr Mizengo Pinda, confidently declared that President Jakaya Kikwete had already blessed the increment rebuffed the comments, saying that the president had never endorsed any increment.

National Assembly Ms Anne Mkainda as well confirmed that the new increment was already in effect. “The new allowances are not starting now… we started issuing them after the president gave his consent, indicating that MPs would be paid the perks if they attend the meetings,” she is  quoted as saying.

Speaker Makinda clarified that despite complaints and public outcry on the matter, the reality remains that the amount 200,000/- was still meager compared to the needs and responsibilities of MPs. The Speaker added that the allowances were already being paid out to legislators, stressing that they would be paid to MPs during parliamentary sessions only.

“It is true that  government has already approved the sitting allowances and they are being paid out,” Ms Makinda stressed. There seemed to be confusion. The contradiction between these two top organs of the state on the sitting allowance increment, and one says that the matter has been endorsed while the other, which is the endorser, says it has no approval.

Popularity took its pace with victory shining on the faces of those who vehemently oppose the increment. Anti-allowance increment crew got a backup from the State House. The following day after Ikulu distanced itself from the new MPs sitting allowance increase the majority including MPs were puzzled.

The parliament headed by the Speaker claimed that the new allowances are already in effect while the Executive, which is the top organ of the state, threw out the say. The confusion is heating up, public is getting flabbergasted even more. What came and has remained in mind of many people is that the crew won the fracas but what could not be effortlessly understood is that the parliament grounds underwent ‘news suffocation’ in the next day.

It was established that, in that day all papers  ront-paged a story from the State House, the story which was antagonistic to what Speaker Makinda said with a lot of confidence and brevity. Of course, MPs,  reporters and other officials who were for various missions in the Bunge missed the news especially from the papers, a vendor who used to sell papers on a daily basis was nowhere to be seen. This was just a day after Ikulu statement held opposing views with that of Speaker Makinda on the increment.

At last, the Deputy Speaker, Mr Job Ndugai who is also MP for Kongwa on CCM ticket comes into sight and breaking the silence, however the silence he broke fortifies the confusion and the public remain sited on the fence, and this time the fence becomes even taller.

Last week it was reported that Mr Ndugai confirmed that the new sitting allowance, which had drawn debates from the public with other terming it as egotism and rigorous public funds embezzlement was officially called off. He however insisted that the new allowances were yet to be paid to MPs because the President who has the mandate to approve MPs salaries and perks had never endorsed the increment.

This is where public puzzlement promptly picked up the pace, both Speaker and Deputy serve in the same organ, considering that their views on the sitting allowance increment are at variance is totally mystifying the public. The increment was first reported on November, that amount has gone up by almost three times, from Sh70, 000 to a whopping 200, 000/- per day.

The increase was highly criticized by the public from all walks of life including politicians, activists and clerics. If the increment would have been into effect, the amount of cash that would have gone to a legislator pocket on a daily basis during parliamentary session would have been 330,000/- because, in addition to 200,000/- for sitting, they also  receive a per diem of 80, 000/- plus 50, 000/- for fuel.

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Author: CHRISTOPHER MAJALIWA

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