2009-06-17 09:06:00 Shame of MPs who have forsaken voters THE CITIZEN That more than 60 per cent of voters feel they have no contact with their MPs is intriguing. The MPs are representatives of those voters in the National Assembly, where they are expected to articulate their interests. So if they have cut links with them, whose agenda are they fronting in Parliament? To get elected, the politicians go to the people, seemingly identifying with their concerns, hopes and aspirations. During their five-year tenure, therefore, they are expected to mobilise the people and lead the development agenda. There is absolutely no reason why the MPs should fail to keep in touch with the people they are supposed to serve. But a recent study by an NGO, Research on Poverty Alleviation (REPOA) has established that the majority of voters have never spoken to their MPs since their election in 2005. In fact, only 16 per cent of the voters have had contact with their MPs since they were elected. This is simply ridiculous. They owe their very positions to the voters. If MPs can't find time for their voters, may be it is time the Constitution was changed to enable the recall of representatives who just vanish once they are elected. It cannot get more desperate! Voters have had to ask President Jakaya Kikwete to compel their MPs to gotheir constituencies. The President, as the national chairman of CCM, promised to summon and warn them to mend their ways or risk losing their seats to the opposition. But MPs as adults who chose to run for Parliament, knowing quite well what they were getting into, need not be summoned by their party bosses to be reminded to do their work. They should not forget that they will soon have to return to ask the same people to re-elect them. Also of concern is the appointment of serving MPs as executive regional commissioners in other areas. Why should one person hold two demanding responsibilities when there are many other qualified Tanzanians who can do those jobs. This growing tendency is diluting the essence of representative democracy and smacks of Executive interference with the Legislature. It's time the President's powers to make such appointments were reviewed to avoid such ludicrous situations.