Dar es Salaam. The opposition ACT-Wazalendo yesterday presented its views before the presidential- sanctioned task force, detailing how Tanzania would end the new constitution deadlock.
In its presentation, the party proposed a six-point strategy to end the impasse saying if the country is to go with a proposed draft by the Constitutional Assembly (CA), which they believe is a product of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi, will not produce positive results.
The party proposed the process to restart from Judge Warioba’s draft. For instance, Mr Bimani said: “In Zanzibar, the CA draft cannot be accepted as it portrays Zanzibar to be similar to a provisional or municipal government.”
He stressed: “The Zanzibaris will not accept it in any way.”
ACT Wazalendo said apart from starting where Judge Warioba and his commission ended, the process should be immediately initiated along with some minimal reforms to the current constitution that meet short and medium term goals towards the forthcoming elections.
“These include the 2024 local government elections and the 2025 General Election,” said Mr Salum Bimani, the party’s public relations secretary.
He added:“If the process is not completed by August 2024, then; it should be paused, and immediately resume when the 2025 General Election is held.”
That means, the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) headed by Judge Joseph Warioba, which among other things, had proposed the introduction of a three-tier administrative structure, comprising the mainland, Zanzibar and the union government, should be the base for resuming the process.
Tanzania is currently governed by the 1977 constitution that was formed under a single-party system. Opposition and critics are challenging it since it favours the ruling CCM party.
On the other hand, the final version of the constitution draft, which was passed in the assembly, departed significantly from the Warioba’s, by retaining the current two government structure.
Therefore, ACT Wazalendo believes that the move to restart the process would legitimise the “katiba mpya” in which wananchi would feel and see themselves as responsible when it comes to respect, obey, enforce, protect, and defend it.
Nevertheless, ACT Wazalendo urges that there is a need to amend the Constitutional Review Act and Referendum Act as some of the dates in both legislations, are invalid.
He said: “The proposed amendments would help to smoothen the process, as obstacles experienced between 2011 and 2014 would be dealt with accordingly. this includes identifying some sort of mechanisms to help in case of differences that might rise.”
For the amendment of the said two Acts to take place in harmony, then, ACT Wazalendo thinks a national consultative conference should be summoned.
Mr Bimani indicated that the proposed conference would encompass the government, political parties, civil organisations, religious based organisations, academicians, and law experts specialised in constitutional and administrative law.
He adds: “Any resolution agreed in the said conference, should serve as a guideline in the process to drafting the bills for the said Acts…after which it would be adopted by the parliament hence orchestrate the said amendments.”
Besides, ACT Wazalendo sees there is a need for consensus regarding various national matters, which include, the union and its structure, the powers of the President, separation of powers when it comes to the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary as well as a system in which elections are to be conducted.
He added: “If the proposed draft is passed…then the next stage would be a referendum, therefore, we proposed that the outcome for the referendum should be a simple majority in both parts of the union.
“If it happens that during the process we encounter some holdups, or differences then, the amendment bills that we have proposed should accommodate such, he insisted.”
Furthermore, ACT Wazalendo proposed the removal of article 11 (2), which authorises the use of section 43 – 46 of the country’s Police Force and Auxiliary service Act Cap 322 of 1973, which deals with ‘permission’ to convening political rallies as they believe the section strips political parties’ of their right to conduct political rallies.
It is said that the country’s ability to maintain peace and stability since independence has been attributed to the nation building efforts of the founding father Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, which has been the source of peaceful transition from one president to another and respected term limits without a fuss.
However, during the fifth phase government, the line between the state and the ruling party was increasingly blurred despite a multiparty system that the country is governed with.
As a result, intensified partisan politics led to polarisation along party lines.