THE Committee appointed by the Interim Chairperson of the Constituent Assembly, Mr Mr Pandu Ameir Kificho, to work on the issue of an increase in allowance considering “the high cost of living in Dodoma’’ has completed its work and presented its recommendations to President Jakaya Kikwete.
Addressing the assembly on Monday Mr Kificho said the committee had been meeting from February 19 to 23 during which time it deliberated on opinions from the members, considering conditions articulated. They were now awaiting guidance from the President.
He said the committee considered the cost of living in Dodoma, looked into the type of members appointed and their income before attending the assembly.
The committee also looked at what the law says about allowances for members of the constituent assembly, transparency on how the allowance is being handed out to the members and harmonization of payment, taking into consideration all the members.
“As I have said before, the conditions of the members are within the authority of the person who issued them, the committee has presented its recommendations to the authority and was now awaiting its recommendation,” Mr Kificho said.
He urged all members to be patient while awaiting recommendations from the president on the best way forward.
“So honourable members of the constituent assembly, I appeal to you to be patient until we get other directives to the issue that you raised. Let us, the committee, do our work. I want you to understand that we are also stakeholders in this issue,’’ Mr Kificho told the members.
Last week, the interim chairperson chairman formed a committee of six members committee to guide him on the allowance increase demanded by some members of the assembly.
The committee includes Mr William Lukuvi, Mr Mohamed Aboud Mohamed, Mr Freeman Mbowe, Mr Paul Kimiti, Ms Asha Bakari Makame and Ms Jenista Mhagama and Mr Kificho. Mr Kimiti chairs the committee.
Members opposed to the hike in allowances include Mr Julius Mtatiro, Mr Mohammed Keisy and Mr Zitto Kabwe.
Mr Mtatiro was in the process of collecting signatures from constituent assembly members in its petition to President Kikwete.
He told this newspaper on Monday that he stopped the process after he got an assurance “from high circles in the government that the allowance will not be increased’’.
Mr Keisy said it was absurd for members to demand an increase in allowances when the public was facing a myriad of challenges, including shortage of water and inadequate health facilities.
He said that he has been receiving messages from people in his Nkasi North constituency suggesting that constituent assembly members who were opposing the allowances should pack up their bags and go home.
Mr Keisy said life in Dodoma was not expensive as being perpetuated by some members, pointing out that MPs have been living on a total allowance of 170,000/- per day, including sitting allowances
“The amount is enough. We should look at how much the common man is getting in a day before we start demanding more money. We need to sympathize with the kind of life the common man in the village is going through,” he appealed.
Mr Zitto Kabwe opposed the idea of an increase in allowances, saying the current amount was more than enough. He advised President Kikwete to turn down the appeal for a hike in allowances.
He vowed that if the appeal would go through and the president increases the allowance, he will not take the topped-up amount, adding that the real situation on the ground (of how the ordinary people in the villages make ends meet) is disheartening.
“And for us to come here and start demanding for more money is discouraging. We should focus on the task ahead of us and be proud that we are making history by being tasked by the public to write the new constitution instead of using this as an opportunity to get rich,” he said.