Mnyika kicked out over ‘JK is weak’ remark

Mr Mnyika (C) is escorted out of Bunge area
It was drama after drama in Parliament yesterday as Chadema MP John Mnyika was thrown out of the House after he refused to withdraw a statement that President Jakaya Kikwete is a weak leader.

The Deputy Speaker, Mr Job Ndugai, sent off the Ubungo MP after a war of words between lawmakers from Chadema and the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM).

The heated exchange interrupted debate on the 2012/13 budget tabled on Thursday by the minister for Finance, Dr William Mgimwa, as the lawmakers rose on points of order seeking direction from the Deputy Speaker on the barbed remarks.

In his contribution to the debate, Mr Mnyika said the budget—which has been criticised by most MPs—was the result of President Kikwete’s weakness, Parliament’s laxity and the ruling CCM’s “stupidity”.
At this point, Government Chief Whip William Lukuvi shot up and asked the Deputy Speaker to order Mr Mnyika to withdraw his remarks.

He added: “According to section 64 of our Standing Orders, it is forbidden to use abusive or unpalatable language, especially when referring to the President. And, to make things worse, Mr Mnyika has personally referred to President Kikwete, not the presidency. This is unacceptable.” 

Mr Ndugai concurred with Mr Lukuvi and asked Mr Mnyika to withdraw the statement, but the youthful lawmaker refused to comply. “Mr Deputy Speaker, if you would listen to what I meant, you would see my point,” Mr Mnyika retorted.

But Mr Ndugai intervened, saying: “Mr Mnyika, this is an order. You should withdraw the statement because you didn’t use decent language.”

Mr Mnyika responded that he would stand by his statement since he had not meant any harm. 
At this point, Mr Ndugai stood up holding a copy of the Parliamentary Standing Orders and said:

“Because I am the Deputy Speaker, and according to section 73(2) of our Standing Orders, if a member uses abusive, attacking or unpalatable language and he refuses to withdraw his statement after being ordered by the chair, the Speaker may order the Sergeant at Arms to send him out and he may remain outside for the remainder of the session on that day.”

Then came the killer blow: “I am taking that decision now. Sergeant at Arms, please escort Mr Mnyika out and make sure that he does not return until tomorrow at 9am.”

But, having sensed what was coming, Mr Mnyika had already collected his documents and left the debating chamber as the Deputy Speaker pronounced his sentence. “He is not supposed to be on Parliament grounds until tomorrow,” insisted Mr Ndugai.

Still sticking to his guns outside the Bunge grounds, Mr Mnyika insisted that Mr Kikwete should be accountable for shortcomings in the budget. He added: “According to the Constitution, it is the President who sends the budget to Parliament, the minister does so on his behalf.

The President has been given enormous powers over the budget and things Parliament can do... He is supposed to direct his minister to withdraw the budget so that it can be revised.”

Earlier, Mr Ndugai warned the Iringa Urban MP, the Reverend Peter Msigwa (Chadema), against making statements when other MPs had the floor. 

Mr Ndugai was infuriated by Rev Msigwa’s interventions when he (Mr Ndugai) ordered Mr Mnyika to withdraw a statement in which he suggested that people who prepared the budget were crazy.

As Mr Mnyika and Mr Ndugai argued over the matter, Rev Msigwa switched on his microphone and said what the Deputy Speaker was doing was not fair. Mr Mnyika’s departure did not calm matters and MPs from the two parties continued the war of words.

Mr Kangi Lugola (Mwibara-CCM) told the Finance Shadow minister, Mr Zitto Kabwe, that his alternative budget was misleading as it showed that the government would not collect tax revenue from the local governments.

The sniping along party lines started on Monday evening when Mr Tundu Lissu (Singida East -Chadema) was contributing.  He dismissed the government and ruling party as useless and a group of silly people.

When CCM Treasurer Mwigulu Mchemba (Iramba West) stood to contribute, he spent all of his time on the floor reacting to Mr Lissu’s attacks and discredited the alternative budget tabled earlier by Mr Kabwe as “utter rubbish” before throwing it away.
Source: The Citizen,http://www.thecitizen.co.tz, reported by Peter Nyanje
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