We`ll challenge Z`bar constitution - Chadema


JF-Expert Member
Sep 24, 2010
We`ll challenge Z`bar constitution - Chadema

By Judica Tarimo

29th November 2010








Chadema Constitutional and Human Rights Director Tundu Lisu talks to journalists in Dar es Salaam yesterday, protesting the countrywide police ban of his party`s meetings. With him is Chadema lawyer, Mabere Marando.(Photo Seleman Mpochi)

In a renewed push for constitutional reforms, Chadema yesterday outlined shortfalls in the 10th Isles Constitutional amendments, it claimed have “direct, negative and irreparable” effect on the Union between Zanzibar and Tanzania Mainland.
The opposition party made public its plan to formally present a private motion in the next Parliament session to challenge Zanzibar Constitutional amendments, which it said had grossly violated the Union Constitution and fundamental principles set up by the founders - the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere and Abeid Amani Karume.
“Although they were made to calm down protracted political problems in the Isles, the amendments are absolutely unconstitutional…we are going to challenge them in the Parliament…the union is going in the wrong direction,” said Chadema’s Director of Law, Constitution, and Human Rights, Tundu Lissu at a news conference in Dar es Salaam during which he unveiled a draft copy of the private motion to be tabled in the coming House session.
Zanzibar constitutional amendments endorsed on August 9, this year by the House of Representatives and immediately signed by the then President of Zanzibar, Amani Abeid Karume on August 13 - paved the way for the formation of a national unity government, widely praised by the national and international community as “a strategic instrument” for halting political conflicts between the rival political parties of CCM and Civic United Front (CUF).
In recent debates, constitutional lawyers have criticised the amendments generally, but Chadema yesterday cited specific shortfalls.
“Firstly, the amendments now recognizes Zanzibar as a sovereign state within the Union…such changes contradict the Union Constitution which recognises Zanzibar as part of the Union,” said Lissu.
The amendments reduced the powers of the Union president when it comes to the question of dividing regions, districts and other areas in Tanzania, Zanzibar included.
While Article 2 (2) of the Union Constitution, gives powers to the Union president, in consultation with Isles president to divide Tanzania Zanzibar into different regions, districts, and other areas to ease implementation of government activities, the amended Zanzibar constitution, Article 2 (a) gives powers to Zanzibar president to do the same without consulting the Union president.
According to Chadema, the Isles constitutional amendments affected the functions, jurisdiction and structure of the High Courts in Tanzania. Under the Union Judiciary structure, as provided in the Union constitution, appeals of cases from Zanzibar High Court are supposed to the forwarded to the Appeal Court, the highest court in the country.
“However under the amendments, Article 24 (3), all cases related to human rights would be determined by the Zanzibar High Court; they will not be taken to the Appeal Court of Tanzania,” said Lissu.
The amendments have also changed the structure of the Zanzibar government, as recognized by the Union Constitution.
Article 105 (1) (b) of the Union Constitution recognises the post of Zanzibar Chief Minister, who is one of the members of the Zanzibar House of Representatives. With the recent Isles constitutional amendments, Article 39 deleted the post of Chief Minister and introduced two new posts-First Vice President and Second Vice-President of Zanzibar.
The amended Zanzibar constitution violated the Union constitution, as it changed Article 52 (2) which talked about security agents anti-smuggling unit (KMKM), prisons and JKU, which were recognized by the Union constitution and put the agents under roof “Idara Maalum” (Special Department).
In an exclusive interview yesterday, Harold Sungusia, a lawyer from the Legal and Human Rights Centre, said: “The Isles constitutional amendments have vested more powers to the Zanzibar president in handling Isles affairs, and reduced powers of Union president in Zanzibar…On top of that, these changes disrupted, confused and contradicted many things in the management of Union issues.”
Contacted, Minister of Constitutional Affairs and Justice, Celina Kombani, declined to comment on the existing contradictions between the Zanzibar and Union constitutions, saying: “I am not concerned with the Isles constitutional amendments…ask the Isles constitutional minister…that is my comment.”


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