Using law enforcers and dogs to violently haul law makers out of the
debating chambers and the “weak” cost-cutting argument presented by the
government for curtailing live broadcasts were signs that Tanzania was
moving downward with regard to democracy, human rights and good
Speaking to The Guardian yesterday, CHRGG chairman Bahame Nyanduga said it
was not right for Chairman of the National Assembly to allow police inside
the debating chambers.
Nyanduga said that each of the three pillars which are judiciary,
Parliament and the Executive should work independently. He said what
police did was an interference by the executive into the activities of the
“It is sad indeed. This is against the rules of good governance…we are
keenly watching the matter and will issue our statement”, he said noting
that CHRGG thinks of preparing a guideline on the best ways each of the
pillars should executive its duties.
He said the commission is working to get deeper information concerning the
ban of the tax payer-funded public broadcaster TBC from live broadcast of
National Assembly sessions. He said the aim is to make sure that citizens
are not denied their right to information.
“We have a feeling that people will be denied their right to information
because of the time schedule of airing the programme” he noted.
The opposition Chadema yesterday condemned the government action, saying
if it is true that the problem is money as the government claims, then the
party was ready to mobilize funds for the airtime so that Tanzanians get
their freedom of information.
Chadema acting secretary general Salimu Mwalimu told reporters I Dar es
Salaam that the move is an indication that the fifth government was
heading for dictatorial rule.
“We condemn that action, we disagree with it and no one can tolerate it,
we call upon Media Owners Association of Tanzania and Media Council of
Tanzania to take action on this matter urgently,” he appealed.
Announcing the ban on Wednesday, Minister for Information, Culture, Arts
and Sports said recorded sessions of the National Assembly will be aired
A Lawyer with Legal and Human Rights Center (LHRC) Harold Sungusia said
the legislators have an exceptional privilege according to Article 100 of
the Union constitution. He said forcing the MPs.
“Actions like this will lead us to infringe of democracy”, he said.
Sungusia pointed that denying people the right to correct information will
cause them access seditious and fiction information through social media.
He was worried that there is a mission behind the ban…we are going
backward”, said Sungusia noting that it is the beginning of eclipse of
democracy in the country.
He said what Tanzanians are seeing now is a manifestation of problems that
have not been solved for a long period.
According to him, voters are tax payers and are the core sponsors of TBC
operations. He said they deserve to see what their representatives are
doing in the august House.
Deputy National Coordinator Women in Law and Development in Africa
(WILDAF) Hanna Kulaya said what happened in the parliament on Wednesday
evening is a big shame. He said the legislative must have its own ways of
solving rising issues.
She said people trust the National Assembly and believes that it is among
the places with high levels of democracy.
She said: “I don’t want to believe that MPs doesn’t have a proper
mechanism to debate and reach consensus on certain matters…leaders should
be wise to make sure issues are solved smoothly”.
Tanganyika Law Society (TLS) President Charles Rwechungura said the act is
a violation of the constitution. He said ‘wananchi’ have the right to
access information from the parliament since it not a crime.
Rwechungura noted that issues of cutting cost are not real calling on the
government to publicly announce TBC’s bankruptcy. He said by so doing
citizens will contribute funds to enable the state owned TV station to
make live broadcast of parliamentary meetings.
Minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports, Nape Nnauye told the
parliament that TBC has been spending over 4.2 bn/- to air the live
coverage an amount it can no longer afford.
The minister made the announcement after he was prompted by Special Seats
Cecilia Pareso (Chadema) who wanted to know why TBC has stopped airing the
Meanwhile, the government yesterday maintained that TBC shall not carry
out live coverage of parliament proceedings. The government position was
made in parliament yesterday by the Prime Minister, Kassim Majaliwa who
stated, “The decision made by TBC as an independent institution is also
the government position on the matter” he told the house.
He clarified that the public broadcasting organization had not abolished
completely coverage of the house session but had just changed programmes
to suit their business needs. The PM was responding leader of opposition
camp in the parliament, Freeman Mbowe who had sought government
explanation on the matter.