Dar es Salaam. Former senior government leaders yesterday called for constitutional changes to avert violence during elections.
Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation director Joseph Butiku and former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa strongly spoke about the need to reinstate the Second Draft Constitution prepared by a commission led by retired Judge Joseph Warioba.
They were speaking during the Mwalimu Nyerere Intellectual Festival at the University of Dar es Salaam.
The event was held yesterday ahead of the commemoration of 19 years since Mwalimu Nyerere died.
“The Opposition, most of the time, complains about fraudulent elections. We should reach a consensus on such issues to avert chaos,” Mr Butiku cautioned.
“We should return to the content of the citizens’ constitution debated and passed by Parliament. That’s where answers to all these questions are,” he said.
According to him, there are signs insecurity, especially during elections, as violence occurs. He blamed leaders for failing to protect citizens and the Tanzania Constitution. “But, we haven’t sued the President, the Vice President or the National Assembly Speaker although the Constitution allows us to do so.”
Mr Lowassa suggested that a Constitutional Review Commission proposal on the formation of the Council of Elders to advise government top leaders be reinstated.
“The UK takes serious issues to the Queen, a mechanism that we don’t have. Let us use the Council of Elders to address challenges threatening Tanzania’s peace and security,” he said. He emphasised the need to protect human rights.
He blamed the government for sowing seeds of hatred and fear for CCM to win elections.
He said that had been done through using excessive force by security organs.
According to him, 45 police vehicles and four water cannons were deployed during the Monduli by-election to intimidate voters and because of that a candidate who was not of their choice won.
“It is difficult for the Opposition to win such elections. That’s why I commend Kenyans for arraigning suspects of the last general election on charges of rigging,” he said.
He noted that civil servants had been tasked to ensure CCM remained in power.
Prof Gaudence Mpangala, of Ruaha Catholic University, said CCM had been operating in a multiparty democracy as if it were in a single-party state, using security organs to win elections.