Dar es Salaam. Former chairman of the Constitutional Review Commission Judge (retired) Joseph Warioba has advised the government to seriously think about the process starting with where it ended before considering developing the new mother law.
His statement comes amid calls for the revival of the process now that Tanzania has sworn in its new President, Ms Samia Suluhu Hassan, who replaced Dr John Magufuli after his sudden death in March.
Last week, President Hassan mistakenly twice referred the budget sitting as the Constituent Assembly when swearing-in of 16 ministers at Chamwino State House in Dodoma. According to her she found herself mentioning it following calls from the public to revive the process.
“What is wrong with the constitution? I think they pushed me a lot but they should wait and forget about it a little,” she said. Judge Warioba said it was imperative to first make deep reflections and understand the government’s objective on whether or how it would revisit the process of the making of a new constitution.
“The process was not completed and time has passed. So, if we start, we will have to agree on the procedure. For now let’s first leave the government to sort itself, see how it goes then we can discuss,” he said.
Mr Deus Kibamba, a political analyst said there was a need to form a team of experts who would advise the President on where to start and the way forward.
“Before the formation of the committee, the government should send a bill to amend the Constitutional Amendment Act which will establish the committee along with other amendments,” said Mr Kibamba.
He said if the process was to begin, it should start with the Second Draft of the constitution popularly known as the ‘Warioba Draft.’
“There had been no dispute with the draft. The problem started during the presentation of the draft in Parliament, where retired President Jakaya Kikwete inaugurated the Constituent Assembly before the draft was presented, which meant the draft was not official,” said Mr Kibamba.
He further noted that the other mistake was to break the former Constitutional Review Commission before the process was finalised.
“The Commission was supposed to be the secretariat that would advise the process to the end,” he said.
The return to the “Warioba Draft” has also been backed by a prominent lawyer in the country, Dr Onesmo Kyauke saying, the proposed constitution does not carry the views of the people.
“The constitution is not for political parties, it is for the people and those who draft it should know that it will be valid for the next 200 years. So the process would have started earlier, this time with Judge Warioba present,” said Dr Kyauke.
In another development, the Director of the Tanzania Constitutional Forum (Jukata), Bob Chacha Wangwe, wrote on his Facebook page expressing his confidence in the changes.
“It is our belief that we will get a new Constitution within the leadership of President Hassan. Our job will be to push-tirelessly, because the constitution is the agenda of the people. We believe it is not easy to get in and start the process, therefore the translation of the words ‘forget it a little.’ We pray for more wisdom to see its importance.”
He said if the process is to be approved there is a need to use the second draft of the constitution that was prepared by the Commission for Constitutional Change and the proposed Constitution to find a solution.
Mr Wangwe suggested a team of Constitutional experts be appointed to provide guidance on achieving that change.
“What is needed now is the will and readiness to achieve a change in the Constitution because we have found a President who is ready. This is the Constitution of the people and not the wishes of politicians alone,” he said.