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The East African : Oct 6th 2014
14 CONSTITUTION MAKING Katiba: It is now up to the people of Tanzania The Opposition, backed by Catholic bishops, decla≥e the deal fa≥ f≥om done By CHRISTOPHER KIDANKA The EastAfrican F ollowing the approval of the draft Constitution by the Constituent Assembly, it is now up to the people of Tanzania to make the crucial decision in a referendum. However, this has left the country divided, with the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi considering it a victory for them as the Opposition, backed by Catholic bishops, declaring the deal far from done. The Tanzania Episcopal Con- ference vice-president Bishop Severine Niwe-Mugizi accused CCM of hijacking the constitutional review, a process that he says should have been owned by the people and given them a chance to decide how they wished to be governed. “The process started off well until the skirmishes began after CCM members hijacked it. We know that majority of members of parliament and the 201 presidential appointees to the Constituent Assembly were proCCM. It was at this point that the ruling party began exploiting the situation to its advantage,” said Bishop Niwe-Mugizi. He questioned a last-minute decision to amend the Constituent Assembly’s Standing Orders, which ensured the draft Constitution was passed. “How do you amend the Standing Orders to allow people to vote in absentia because you don’t have quorum? When some members voted ‘No’ they were called for consultation to explain. Why?” The Opposition said they were saddened by what happened in Dodoma because CCM and its allies acted as if they were in a competition rather than in a consensus-building process. “The way they were celebrat- ing suggested that they had won a battle against their enemies. This has left the nation more divided than it was before the constitution-making process began,” said Freeman Mbowe, the co-chair of the Opposition coalition, Ukawa. Mr Mbowe said that 85 per cent of the 201 members of the CA who were appointed by the president are CCM cadres who were there to dance to the tune of their party. “This is why the rules were being changed in the middle of the process to suit the wishes of CCM. How can people vote via fax, and e-mail? How do you The EastAfrican NEWS OCTOBER 4-10,2014 President Jakaya Kiwete with Chama cha Mapinduzi Party Congress delegates at the Kizota Conference Hall in Dodoma in 2012. Picture: File check whether they really voted or not? Nowhere in the world do things like this happen,” he said. Mr Mbowe said that the quest for a new constitution has not ended with the completion of the draft, adding that the Opposition will continue pressing for a people-driven constitution as it has been doing the for past 20 years. Mr Mbowe criticised Presi- dent Jakaya Kikwete accusing him of insincerity. He said they had agreed last month to postpone the CA to give room for national consensus and amend the present Constitution to provide for free and fair elections; but the assembly met and concluded its business one day before the October 4 deadline. Bishop Niwe-Mugizi said the Church does not favour any political party but would want to see the people get a constitution they desire because one day CCM will be out of power. “If we have a pro-CCM constitution, what if the party is voted out one day? Does it mean that the new ruling party will also push for a constitution that favours it? “We are like a voice in the wilderness which can hardly be heard, but we speak for the ordinary people. We will tell our people what all this means and they will decide whether they want to be governed that way or not,” he said. The cleric said the proposed constitution may pass because “when a government wants something for its interest, it makes sure it sails through.” Bishop Niwe-Mugizi who chairs the Peace and Justice Commission, the socio-political arm of the Church, said the Church is going to conduct civic education so that the public can decide what to do. Samuel Sitta, chairman of the CA, was last week quoted as saying the clerics’ opinion was ungodly, and he was supported by some mainly pro-CCM CA members. Deus Kibamba, chairman of Constitution Forum has predicted social unrest between now and the end of 2015, following the controversial passing of the draft constitution. He said a people-centred constitution is going to be an election issue come the December civic polls and next year’s general election because the people have been let down. Mr Kibamba said the people do not own the constitution despite the narrow victory it got in the CA, and it is evident that it is going to be the major election agenda since politicians who want to maintain the status quo will fight for it while the Opposition will be campaigning against it. “Most of the proposals in Judge Warioba’s draft have been retained, but what was important has been removed. This is going to cause unrest,” he said. Dr. Benson Bana, a politi- cal analyst and lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam, said constitution making process tended to generate more heat than light. “This is because there are many conflicting and competing interests, wishes and positions. Some of these are ideological, value-loaded and, consequently, they are irreconcil- WHAT HAS BEEN PROPOSED GOVERNMENT STRUCTURE : The United Republic of Tanzania shall have two governments — the Governemnt of the United Republic and Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar. CITIZENSHIP: A person with Tanzanian origin who has ceased to be a citizen of the United Republic of Tanzania shall be endowed with special status as determined in the laws of the land. LAND OWNERSHIP: Only Tanzania citizens shall have the right to own land in Tanzania, and that right shall be in accordance with this Constitution. ETHICS: Public leaders shall have responsibility to declare personal interests to avoid conflict of interests in matters pertaining to their exercising of duties. BILL OF RIGHTS: The government shall put in place proper infrastructure to enable people with disability of go wherever they want, to use public transport and access information. LEADERSHIP: A person shall qualify to contest for being elected to parliament if he/she can read and write Kiswahili and English and is a member of a political party or proposed by a political party or a private candidate. A presidential candidate shall be proposed by a political party or private candidate. There shall be Commission for Management and Coordination of Union Matters which in short form shall be called ‘Commission of Union Matters. The Zanzibar government will be free to join regional and international organisations and borrow money from international organisations. The president of Zanzibar will now become the second vice president of Tanzania. “We know that in Tanzania, particularly in Zanzibar you will never reach a consensus on the appropriate structure of the Union.” Dr Benson Bana, political analyst and lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam able. That is what politics is all about,” he said. Responding to criticism that the process did not have the people’s participation, Dr Bana said: “I do not think the process lacked the people’s participation; by any measure, it did not. It lacked people’s participation if, and only if, the 130 Ukawa members and supporters are the only ‘people’ who matter in the United Republic of Tanzania.” According to the official sta- tistics by the Constitution Review Commission, on average, 1,365,337 Tanzanians in all regions on Mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar had the opportunity to give their views on the envisaged New Constitution in 1,763 public meetings. He contended that a culture of making decisions by consensus in Tanzania’s political institutions has not been institutionalised to become a culture. That is why unhealthy conflicts in political parties, civil society orgnaisations and faith based organisations (FBOs) are phenomenal in Tanzania. I did not expect consensus to reign in the justended Constituent Assembly. “But what do we do if there is an issue in society which does not attract consensus? We know that in Tanzania, particularly in Zanzibar you will never reach a consensus on the appropriate structure of the Union. Unguja and Pemba have acute differences on this issue. “Consensus in such a situa- tion may considerably take a long time. The Proposed Constitution, if it is affirmed via a referendum, has created room for reconciling some critical contentious issues by way of referenda,” he said.
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