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The East African : March 24th 2014
The EastAfrican NEWS MARCH 22-28,2014 Wa≥ioba gets the ball ≥olling in CA afte≥ a month of ugly scenes tutional Review Commission Justice Joseph Warioba, presented his second and final constitutional draft to the Constituent Assembly last Tuesday, and engaged in uncharacteristically straight talk. The initial hurdle had hinged A around the issue of whether it was appropriate for Justice Warioba’s presentation to take place before the Union president Jakaya Kikwete formally opened the CA. After ugly scenes of noisy arguments and name calling on Monday, CA chairman Samuel Sitta adjourned the session, and the following day a working compromise had been reached to allow Justice Warioba to table his draft, leaving the president to open the CA later. Justice Warioba made a detailed But President Kikwete said in the House recently that there was no way such a government could exist. “You will be creating a gov- ernment with no resources and it cannot be there… If you create Tanganyika today, people from Pemba and Unguja will officially become strangers in Tanzania Mainland,” he said. President Kikwete said he has comprehensively read the draft constitution and he saw no credible response on the Union issue. “If you decide to start segre- gating each other today, things will be difficult and if that is what you want, then wait until I leave…. I don’t want to be part and parcel of those that took part in such a decision,” he said. He however concurred with the findings of Justice Warioba’s team that the need for a threegovernment system has been there for decades though each time it was proposed, it never went through. The president called upon CA members to comprehensively read and discuss the draft constitution without necessarily concentrating only on the structure of the Union. He said there were a number of issues that should not have been in the draft constitution and others that were not well captured in the document. Issues like the right of citi- zens’ access to basic needs, including farm inputs, he said should not have been included in the draft. He also cited an Article 128 (d) that gives powers to citizens to recall their member of parliament should they be convinced that he/she has not done his or her duties for six months due to poor health or has been jailed. According to the president, penalising an MP because he has not done his/her parliamentary duties for six months due to ill health is cruelty. In the same vein, one can be jailed for six months just because the judge/magistrate deliberately or delayed the process. presentation of the second and final draft of his Commission’s draft, whose contents had already been presented to the public and had been the subject of heated debate. Additionally, in his submissions to the CA, the retired judge went some distance to dispel what he and his commission saw as misconceptions about the draft constitution. The crux of the presentation by Justice Warioba was his commission’s proposal to install a three-tier Union government, which would comprise a government each for Tanganyika and Zanzibar and a Union government, smaller and federal in nature, handling a reduced schedule of Union matters. This is an area where important differences have been aired and on which the CA might meet difficulties in reaching an understanding. There is a huge lobby led by the ruling party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), which has been holding onto the notion of maintaining the current two-tier government system, arguing that three governments would be too expensive to run or, alternately, that that would be a prelude to a breakup of the Union. Those who advocate for a two-tier government structure trash the “expense” argument pointing out that the government as it is today is too expensive not because of the number of governments but because of corruption, profligacy, a huge transportation bill (the huge SUVs favoured by the officials), costly foreign travel, allowances of all types and people simply helping themselves to the state coffers. As someone pointed out in a local paper, the periodic reports by the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) talk of financial impropriety occasioning losses of billions of shillings every year, and this is never addressed. “What expense are they talking about?” he queried. And then look at the recent IPTL scandal; how were all those monies paid out so easily? Who is talking about the real expenses of this government? There are those who state, correct- Chama cha Mapinduzi supporters. The party has been accused of taking a hardline stance on critical chapters. Picture: File ly, that the two-government system was the brainchild of former president the late Julius Nyerere, which is why CCM is determined to hold onto it. But, a colleague who spoke to me fter A few procedural hiccups that delayed the exercise, finally the chairman of the Presidential Consti- 11 Constituent Assembly member Esther Bulaya makes contributions to a proposal. Picture: File COMMENTARY JENERALI ULIMWENGU “The question of the Union government structure has been a bone of contention for over three decades.” found this argument to be funny because there is very little else on which today’s CCM seems to agree with its founding fatherr. “Look who is talking,” he said, adding, “they have abandoned everything Nyerere stood for and they have all gone into looting, and all they can associate with Nyerere is two governments?” The question of the Union govern- ment structure has been a bone of contention for over three decades. In 1984 Nyerere, then Union president, forced the resignation of Aboud Jumbe, then president of Zanzibar and vice president of the Union. His “crime” had been to secretly seek legal advice on how to effect a threetier government structure. His moves were revealed by young Zanzibaris, including Seif Sharif Hamad, who sought to curry favour with Nyerere, but who today serves in the Zanzibar Government of National Unity (GNU) with a completely changed political agenda for the Union. In 1991-92 then Chief Justice Fran- cis Nyalali, making constitutional proposals for the reintroduction of multiparty, thought a three-tier government would be best for the Union, but his proposal was turned down, as were others, such as the freedom to stand as an independent candidate; no reasons were advanced. In 1993, group of MPs under the one-party system defied their party line and tabled a motion for the formation of a Tanganyika government. Despite government resistance the group, dubbed G-55, saw its motion passed by parliament, only to be shot down by Nyerere, who did everything to make sure the motion was never implemented. Such was the power of the man that, even in retirement, when he was neither head of state nor head of the party, he managed to thwart what the sitting head of state Ali Hassan Mwinyi, had resigned himself to. The issue came up later, when then president Benjamin Mkapa commissioned retired justice Robert Kisanga to advise him on necessary constitutional reforms. Mr Kisanga came back with the same proposal for three governments, among some other proposals, which infuriated Mr Mkapa, who in a public reaction, seemed even to doubt the venerable judge’s patriotism. This time it has come back, brought by the Justice Warioba Commission, and it is whipping up the same passions as before. In addressing the issues attaching to this age-old problems, Jutice Warioba laid bare before the CA the historical problematic that has always informed the dissentions existing within the Union, the dissatisfactions expressed by the two sides of the Union. These included on the part of Zan- zibar feelings that Tanganyika (the mainland) is in effect “wearing the Union mantle” by subsuming the Tanganyika government under the Union structures. Zanzibaris are also piqued by what they see as an elastic list of Union matters, an encroachment they allege took place over time, surreptitiously. They also do not think they get fair treatment from the Union government when it comes to accessing foreign economic assistance. On the part of those on the mainland the feeling is that Zanzibar wants to have its cake and eat it too, to be in the Union and get all that the Union can bring, but also have their independence and freedom to do what pleases it. They have a president, parliament, a “national” anthem, a flag, a 21 gun salute for visiting heads of state, etc. In his address to the CA Mr Wari- oba addressed these issues head-on, stating his evidence matter-of-factly, putting the historical facts one after the other, before delivering his coup de grace. There was no way, according to him, the country could reasonably expand the Union list, or restore those matters, which used to be under the Union but were later removed, because that would play into the hands of those who think there is an erosion of Zanzibar’s autonomy. Nor was it feasible to have a one- government structure, in view of Zanzibar’s quest for autonomy. The two-tier government, said JusticeWarioba, worked well under the two co-founders of the Union (Nyerere and Abeid Karume), but now things had changed appreciably.
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