According to section 2 of the House of Representatives (Immunities, Powers and Privileges) Act, No. 4 of 2007, as among the common laws governing the practice, accountability together with exercising the functions of the House, the term Committee is defined in relation to the functions of the House of Representatives, as an established Committee in accordance with section 85 of the Constitution of Zanzibar and includes seasonal and any Committee selected by the House or the Speaker to exercise the power of the House.
The main function of the Parliament among others is to supervise the Government within the spirits and theory of check and balance for the purpose of having the accountable Government on its everyday activities. This great function of the Parliament, as in Zanzibar exercised by the House of Representatives, can not merely done by the sittings and sessions of the Parliament, but since the oversight function needs leaving the House premises and following up where the Government Ministries are and where these Ministries perform and spend the public money elsewhere, the only Committees of the House can perform oversight functions.
Since the whole Members other than the Ministries, Deputy Ministries and Attorney General cannot following up a specific issue outside the House premises, the need is not only is on establishment of the Committee itself, but the true need is to establish several Committees, whose members, functions and jurisdictions, would be as the determination of the Speaker or the House. On this aspect, there is a crucial need of appreciating the Zanzibar Constitution of 1984, that vested the House of Representatives, an absolute power under section 85 to establish any Committee for the purpose of its creation, provided that the their functions and composition would be as per the House or Speaker would determine.
The life of these Standing Committees of the House is quite different from other Parliamentary experiences. For us, each Standing Committee is exercising its dues within only two years and six months, but the adhoc Committees are living short longer than the Standing Committees. They come to an end once their reports have been tabled and submitted in the House.