New twist in Zitto, Government battle for Ethics Bill By Rodgers Luhwago THE CITIZEN Opposition MP Zitto Kabwe yesterday accused the Government of trying to plagiarise his Leadership Ethics Bill. He said he had followed all the procedures required for a Bill to be tabled in Parliament, contrary to what the Government's claim. ''I call upon the Clerk of the National Assembly to gazette my Bill because there is no reason why it shouldn't be. I followed all the procedures required by the Parliamentary Standing Orders there is nothing like consulting the Executive.'' Mr Kabwe's remarks came three days after the minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office (Policy, Coordination and Parliamentary Affairs), Mr Philip Marmo, told The Citizen that the Chadema MP had erred as he should have gazetted the Bill before submitting it to the Parliamentary Secretariat for action. Yesterday, Mr Marmo maintained that the Parliamentary Standing Orders requires an MP to gazette his Bill 21 days before the start of the parliamentary session. ''Some MPs do not fully understand these Standing Orders. You see, the Clerk of the National Assembly can not gazette a private member's Bill,'' Mr Marmo said by telephone. He said the Clerk of the National Assembly's duty was to ensure that Bills are gazetted 21 days before the start of the session. Private member's Bills were not exempted from that procedures, he said. The minister explained that the Kigoma North MP had breached the procedures while processing his private member's Bill by including matters pertaining to employment and financing. ''The law does not allow an MP to come up with a private member's Bill on employment and financial matters of the state.'' However, the minister, who is also the Parliamentary Chief Whip, said given the fact that the Government was preparing to amend the same Act, Mr Zitto's Bill may not be presented in Parliament in September. ''A government task force is working on the President's directive to have the Public Leadership Ethics Act amended. We hope the Bill on the subject will come to Parliament in September. So, it will be illogical to have two Bills on the same matter. His will be nonstarter,'' said Mr Marmo. However, he explained that if Mr Kabwe's Bill followed the procedures, ''some constructive ideas from it might be added to the Government'' one. He called upon the public to submit ideas to the task force on how best to improve the legislation. Early this year, President Jakaya Kikwete called for the amendment of the Act so that individuals holding public offices cannot also engage in private business. Yesterday, Mr Kabwe maintained that his private member's Bill passed through all the required procedures. ''Minister Marmo argues that I did not follow procedures. He is not telling the truth. He is doing old-time politics which do not add value to our democratic development. The procedures require an MP to submit the Bill to the Clerk of the National Assembly, and then the clerk sends the Bill for gazettement. ''An MP cannot gazette the Bill before submitting it to the Clerk of the National Assembly, as claimed by Mr Marmo. The Standing Orders require the Clerk to gazette and not a member as Marmo wants the public to believe.'' Mr Kabwe said after he sent the Bill to the Clerk, the latter wrote him (Mr Kabwe), saying that the Speaker had asked for consultations with the Government. He said he agreed to that since he understood that the Speaker did it in good faith to ensure the Government was properly informed about Bills proposed by MP. ''The Speaker did not ask for permission from the Government. Mr Marmo is implying that the Speaker asked for permission from the Executive. I don't blame the Speaker for his wisdom. I blame the Government, especially Mr Marmo for the mistrust and lies,''' he said. He said consultations were meant by the Speaker to create harmony between the Executive and Legislature, adding that the former had abused the Speaker's goodwill.