The National Convention for Construction and Reform (NCCR-Mageuzi), the first opposition party to be registered at the introduction of multi-party politics in Tanzania through its earlier National Committee for Constitutional Reforms is calling for the immediate unconditional resignation of Samwel Sitta as speaker of the National Assembly.
``Speaker Samwel Sitta directly contravened the Witchcraft Ordinance through ordering scientific investigations on powdered dust found at Parliament Hall last month linking it with superstitious beliefs,`` declared James Mbatia, NNCR-Mageuzi National Chairman to the press yesterday.
The Ordinance forbids witchcraft beliefs.
Speaking in a telephone interview yesterday, Sitta said: ``I am not resigning.
If you read the Hansard you will realize nowhere had I said anything about witchcraft.
The debate was closed yesterday (Friday) by the Deputy Speaker and if one wants to continue with it, it is none of my business.``
Speaker Sitta had last month admitted that Bunge security cameras had captured two figures putting `unidentified substances` on legislators` seats inside the hall at a time when they were not supposed to be there and later told the House that scientific investigations on ` believed modern poisons` would be undertaken by the police, the national security and the government chemist.
Reacting to Deputy Speaker Anne Makinda that parliamentary debate on the issue was over, the party chairman remarked: ``Parliament is not above the people.
The people`s power will decide on this issue, and we are going to instigate a national debate because our country has suddenly and terribly lost its reputation abroad.
``In Holland (the Netherlands) where I am studying, and in Sweden, we Tanzanians are dubbed \'jujumen`.
We are already stained through Sitta`s position in this regard and in order to cleanse ourselves he has to step down instantly from the high office he is vested with by Tanzanians before any further actions are considered against him.``
Flanked by NCCR-Mageuzi Secretary General Polisya Mwaiseje and Dr. Sengodo Mvungi, head of the legal affairs wing, Mbatia fumed: ``The people must make all those involved in the saga accountable.
Our (Union) Constitution is the voice of the people on how we are to be governed, and because of that we are saying `a big NO` to stopping the debate prematurely unless Sitta, the man we are highly convinced is the cause of all this smear, and who perhaps believes in witchcraft, must let it go.``
The party, which said the witchcraft saga was above party politics and ideologies, has also proposed that the chief government chemist must be warned strongly for submitting to Speaker Sitta`s order of investigating the chemical properties of samples of the \'witchcraft\' substances.
``We know the chemist had acted on orders which should have been ignored in the first place so long as the substances would never reveal any `witchcraft or superstitious` contents after all,`` charged Mbatia, stressing that a private motion against Sitta was opportune by any legislator who had a responsibility to Tanzania first, the constituency second, the party third and inner conscience fourth.
Efforts to get the government chemist failed yesterday as he was attending a meeting.