'Take the constitutional reforms debate to the people', says Warioba

Former Prime Minister Joseph Warioba, who headed the latest Constitution Review Commission, speaks during a recent event.

What you need to know:

  • The retired premier who served concurrently as the country’s Vice President from 1985 to 1990, and the Chairman of a Presidential Constitutional Review Commission, aired his opinion to the task force saying he had done his work.

Dar es Salaam. Former Prime Minister Joseph Warioba called on the Presidential Task Force to reconsider people’s views when it comes to the country’s new constitution as they seem to be sidelined.

The retired premier who served concurrently as the country’s Vice President from 1985 to 1990, and the Chairman of a Presidential Constitutional Review Commission, aired his opinion to the task force saying he had done his work.

“My stand on the new constitution is well known, but it is sad that people’s voices seem to be ignored. I see that leaders and intellectuals are given high priorities to air their concerns on the matter leaving aside the common people,” he lamented.

Therefore, he appealed to the task force to reconsider its position and reach out to Tanzanians of all walks of life for their views. He added that political will was needed for the country to get a new constitution.

In 2010, he said, after the general election, there was an outcry for a new constitution because the people believed that there were anomalies in the existing constitution, although at first the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) was not in favour of the matter but its leader, Jakaya Kikwete, chose to listen to the people.

President Kikwete set up a Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) chaired by Judge Warioba and was given instructions to draw up proposals for a draft Bill to be presented to Parliament.

In March 2011, the Commission presented a draft Bill for consideration by Parliament at its August session. It was expected to lead to the enactment by 2014 of a constitution which would be an amended version of the existing one.

It soon became apparent. however, that this was not what the people wanted as the final draft was passed in 2014 by the Constituent Assembly departed significantly from the Second Draft of the Warioba Constitution.

Whereas the Commission had proposed the introduction of a three‑tier administrative structure, comprising the Mainland, Zanzibar and the Union government, the draft approved by the Constitutional Assembly (CAS) retained the current two‑government structure.

Nonetheless, some concessions had been made to Zanzibar, assuming the constitution was passed by referendum, Zanzibar would be free to join regional and international bodies and would also be able to borrow money directly from international bodies. The president of Zanzibar would also become the second vice‑president of Tanzania, marking a return to the structure scrapped with the introduction of multiparty politics in the early 1990s.

CA members also voted to retain the position of prime minister, who would be third in line in terms of the national leadership hierarchy.

However, an earlier proposal to recall non‑performing Members of Parliament and to impose a limitation to their tenure to three five-years was rejected.

On the other hand, the former Prime Minister called upon Tanzanians to distance themselves from any intolerance and discrimination against religion, ethnic group, and one’s domain saying if left unchecked, the nation will be divided.

This is the second time in a fleeting period that a national leader alerts the country about such acts as the first time, retired President Kiwete conveyed his displeasure over a rising trend of re-establishing chieftainships in the country.

Mr Kikwete who is also the Chancellor of the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), was addressing the Mwalimu Nyerere Intellectual Festival at the institution organised by Kigoda cha Mwalimu.

“I recently learned about Chiefs’ meetings, I am not aware where it come from, am not sure if the chieftainship for Chagga will be restored, my grandfather was a traditional ruler of our tribe, and I have been invited to such meetings, but I have always refused because I’m not impressed.”

“It is unfortunate that in the country, we now see some indicators that could divide the nation’s peace, our founding fathers built this nation altogether, we became a peaceful country by disregarding the things that were separating us,” he said.

For his part, the retired Vice Chairman of CCM, Mr Philip Mangula, said: “For the new constitution, it’s better to pay attention to people’s views if they see it fit to have a new one,” Mr Mangula noted.