Tanzania’s President John Magufuli has threatened legislators with dissolution of parliament if they make good their threats to bring a motion of no confidence against Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa.
The EastAfrican has learnt that President Magufuli, who is the chairman of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) read the riot act to the MPs in a closed door meeting in the capital Dodoma after the party convention at the weekend.
The party is reported to have kicked out 1,520 members, including two party heavyweights, who were accused of sabotaging CCM in the 2015 general election.
The members were linked to former prime minister Edward Lowassa, who defected to the opposition in August 2015, after failing to capture CCM's nomination for the presidential election.
During the Dodoma meeting, President Magufuli is reported to have told the CCM MPs that he was aware of the move to impeach the prime minister. However, he warned that those pursuing the agenda would fail as he would submit the same name to the House and would subsequently dissolve parliament if they voted against him again.
According to the Constitution, the National Assembly can pass a vote of no confidence in the prime minister if two-thirds of MPs support the motion. After this, the Speaker would have to inform the president and the prime minister would have to resign within two days. The president is then expected to appoint another MP as a nominee.
“Majority of the MPs were seemingly scared as the president addressed them, especially when he said he would dissolve parliament so that each one of us would go back to the election. The president also said that he had personally banned live broadcast of parliament because MPs used the opportunity for gossiping not working,” an MP, who requested anonymity, told The EastAfrican.
Some of the MPs who attended the meeting said President Magufuli did not name the legislators behind the impeachment plan. However, the MP for Nzega Hussein Bashe, MP for Geita Rural, Joseph Msukuma and former MP Adam Malima were arrested and questioned by security officers ahead of the convention. Sources told The EastAfrican that their arrest was linked to suspicions that they were working with politicians planning a rebellion against President Magufuli.
Multiple sources within the party said that the MPs plan to impeach the prime minister shows their resentment towards the way the Executive has interfered with parliamentary affairs in recent months. They are also unhappy about President Magufuli’s support for the Regional Commissioner of Dar es Salaam, Paul Makonda, who has publicly ridiculed MPs.
Mr Makonda attacked MPs after they had criticised the manner in which he had carried out the war against drugs by publicly naming people accused of using drugs.
Members of Parliament had urged that the accused should not be publicly named until evidence had been gathered against them.
In January, ACT-Wazalendo leader Zitto Kabwe warned that his party would team up with like-minded people in parliament to impeach President Magufuli, whom he accused of taking the country in the wrong direction.
Most members who were kicked out of the party are accused of supporting Mr Lowassa during the party’s nomination process in 2015. The party’s women wing chairperson, Sophia Simba, former home affairs minister, Emmanuel Nchimbi and party member Adam Kimbisa, who were members of the Central Committee, openly criticised the party after Mr Lowassa’s name was dropped. However, it is only Ms Simba who was kicked out of the party while Mr Nchimbi and Mr Kimbisa were given stern warnings.