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Shivji: No need for hurry about Constitution Bill

Discussion in 'KATIBA Mpya' started by BAK, Nov 13, 2011.

  1. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

    Nov 13, 2011
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    Shivji: No need for hurry about Constitution Bill

    By Guardian on sunday correspondent

    13th November 2011

    Professor Issa Shivji

    The opposing voices against planned tabling the Bill of Constitution for a second mention deem to be getting impetus as the government is urged to table it for first mention in the National Assembly in Dodoma.

    This would provide enough room for the majority of citizens to share views on the subject and enable the Constitutional Commission to carry out a thorough review of the bill.
    Speaking at the forum prepared in Dar es Salaam on Saturday by Tanzania Centre for Democracy Professor Issa Shivji, who was the main forum facilitator, said there was no point to hurry as the Bill for New Constitution is a serious matter, which defines the fate of the nation.

    "Withdrawing the Bill from being discussed as the second mention will provide for the second opportunity of the citizen to continue sharing their opinion, grievances, and even their hopes on what really they want included in the prospect constitution, something which is every citizen's basic right," he said.

    Professor Shivji used the forum to give what he believed personally to be three key organs in coordinating the process of airing, collecting and reviewing citizens' opinions over the Bill for the new constitution.

    He listed them as Constitutional Commission, Constituent Assembly and Citizens' opinion vote, saying they should be the ideal organs..

    "The Constitutional Commission is an organ for facilitation and reviewing. The organ will facilitate citizens to give out their opinion and after that it will organise and scientifically review them regardless of any basis of the opinion," explained Prof. Shivji

    He insisted the Constitutional Commission would not be representing any political affiliation; rather it will be of expertise in nature. This will allow the organ to perform its duties without interference from any external forces.

    In regard to Constituent Assembly, Professor Shivji clarified that; this is what will be a representative organ set by the citizen themselves regardless of their political background, educational merits or any other individual interest.

    "Members of this organ will be elected just like the general election by the citizens themselves except here individual interests will not be a factor.
    The role and appointment of these members grants no special status to any member, thus there won't be any minister and they will not be referred to members of parliament, but simply delegates," clarified Shivji.

    Citizens' Opinion Vote on the other hand, is neither representative nor participatory organ, rather a direct democracy organ. However, he warned that despite its direct democracy status, "this organ maybe abused if not well involved."

    "This is the all-citizen organ where every citizen has the right to say whatever opinion deem appropriate for inclusion within the prospect of new constitution. But collection of these opinions must allow enough time first, for the citizens to make informed decision," alerted Professor Shivji.

    Contrasting the current organs, Professor Shivji points they are questionable if they can really perform their duties unfavorably. He reasoned the basis for formulation of organs provides narrow if not none room for freedom of their performance.

    "Imagine, the presidents (of the United Republic of Tanzania and Zanzibar) are two individuals who appoint members of the Constitutional Committee and apart from the few qualities of the members mentioned, the presidents are free to choose in accordance to their own qualities," criticised Professor Shivji.

    In addition to the appointment measures, members of the committee are to be paid by the Minister of Constitutional and Legal Affairs. This will also jeopardize the committee's integrity in their performance.

    Apart from the organs, Shivji suggested that the number of members in the constitutional committee be reduced to not more than 20. He said the current number is too big and certainly doesn't guarantee effective performance.

    Furthermore, he suggested that universities and professional organisations are to be the major bodies to appoint committee members and that the President is to choose from the appointed list and not from his own choice.

    Regarding paying the committee, Shivji was of the view that the proper way is to be directed by the law itself and that the collected report sent to the president should be made public, so that the citizen would also be well informed about the report.

    Advocate Sam Mapande, who represented Chama Cha Mapinduzi at the forum, defended article 9(2) of the Bill of the new constitution, saying it regards Tanzania is a nation. He said altering that would mean a change of that current status.

    Representative from Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo, Fred Hatari and those from other political parties, concur with Shivji - that tabling of the Bill should not be as per second mention.

  2. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

    Nov 14, 2011
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    [TABLE="class: contentpaneopen"]
    [TD="class: contentheading"]Constitution confusion
    [TD="class: buttonheading, width: 100%, align: right"][/TD]

    [TABLE="class: contentpaneopen"]
    [TD="class: createdate"] Sunday, 13 November 2011 22:48

    By The Citizen Reporters
    Dar/Zanzibar and Dodoma.

    The process to write a new constitution was thrown into confusion yesterday with many people rejecting the government's decision to table the Constitutional Review Bill for the second reading.In his comments, the chairman for Jukwaa la Katiba (Constitution Platform), Mr Deus Kibamba, said MPs have an opportunity to safeguard the interests of Tanzanians irrespective of their political affiliation.He warned that if the Bill were tabled for the second reading, the Platform would lead a nationwide demonstration to protest the move.

    On top of this opposition from the Platform, members of the House of Representatives in Zanzibar have called for the shelving of the constitution writing process until people get the opportunity to debate and decide on the type of Union they want.

    However, many people who contributed on the Bill were apparently misguided in that they aired views on the kind of constitution they want instead of how the process to write a new constitution should be carried out.

    In Dodoma, the dean of School of Law at the University of Dar es Salaam, Prof Palamagamba Kabudi on Saturday pleaded with MPs not to be emotional during the discussions of the Bill so as to forestall violence and unnecessary misunderstandings.

    In Dar es Salaam, many people who contributed at the symposium organised by the Jukwaa la Katiba, urged the government to rescind its decision to table the Bill for the second reading.

    They also urged the MPs to reject the Bill if the government tables it for the second time. They wanted more people across the country to go through the Bill, which has been written afresh after the earlier version was rejected in April.
    Jukwaa member Christina Kamili said that the Bill should not proceed to the second reading because it has many weaknesses.

    Ms Kamili noted that there wasn't enough consultation with various crucial groups before the drafting of the Bill.
    A professor from the University of Dar es Salaam, Josephat Kanywani, who represented the Interfaith Community, noted that what Tanzanians needed now was drastic changes in their lives that have been deteriorating since independence.

    "This (writing of new constitution) is an opportunity that has presented itself to Tanzanians and nobody should mess around with it... Laws are made to serve the people, not vice versa," he said adding:
    "We should not rush to have a constitution just for the sake of it, let us have a constitution which can work for Tanzanians.

    A representative from the Trade Union Congress of Tanzania (Tucta) Mr Hezron Kaaya, wondered why the drafting of the Bill had sidelines the participation of the workers.

    "Let the current leaders note that times have changed. Many of voters are young people. In 2015, these youth will constitute a big voting bloc... Conservative leaders should beware of the changing trends," he warned.

    He said those defending the current constitution are doing so because they benefit from it. It provides them with huge material benefits and protection upon their retirement, he charged.

    "We don't expect them to crave for a new constitution which comes from the people. We don't expect a minister to agree to a constitution which reduces hi powers," he said.
    He said workers should not agree with a constitution they had no say during its writing.

    Ms Maria Charles from the Disabled Association of Tanzania also said disabled people do not agree with the Bill which the government is tabling in Parliament today because their views were not taken on board.
    "If we were sidelined in the preparation of the Bill, will we be involved in the process of writing the new constitution?" she asked

    Debating the Bill in a workshop, House of Representatives members demanded that a referendum be held as soon as possible so that people decide whether they want to maintain the current Union set up or have it changed ahead of having a new constitution.

    Giving their views on the revised Constitutional Review Bill scheduled for the second reading today in the Parliament, the majority of legislators at the meeting held on Saturday criticized the proposed Bill content and process.

    "We still have many problems in the Union, and people want to decide on it. Call for a referendum before having a new constitution," Mr Hamza Hassan Juma from CCM said.

    Mr Juma was supported by other such as Mr Saleh Nassor Juma from CUF who argued that the government should avoid wasting millions of taxpayers' money on a new constitution before the fate of the Union is known. "Let us be transparent and let people decide on union through referendum," he emphasised amid cheers.