Constitutional reforms to wait until after 2025, says task force

Monday March 21 2022
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President Samia Suluhu Hassan with members of the Task Force to coordinate the views of the Stakeholders of Multi-Party Democracy immediately after receiving their report at the State House in Dar es Salaam on March 21, 2022.

By The Citizen Reporter

Dar es Salaam. The task force appointed by the Registrar of Political Parties, Justice Francis Mutungi, has recommended that the process of obtaining a new constitution starts after the 2025 General Elections, with President Samia Suluhu Hassan instructing it to work on it and submit proposals.

Should the report be adopted it means Tanzanians will have to wait for 13 years since the journey into writing the nation's new constitution first kicked off in 2012.

The chairman of the task force, which is made up of 25 members from across the country, including politicians, civil society organizations, scholars and members of the defense and security committees, Prof Rwekaza Mukandara, made the announcement on Monday, March 21, 22 at the State House in Dar es Salaam.

Prof Mukandara has made recommendations while presenting a preliminary report on the performance of the force, to President Samia.

The main function of the task force is to monitor and analyze the democratic process and how to address the challenges facing some political parties, including the thorny issue of rallies.

In his remarks, Prof Mukandara said the reasons for making the proposal include providing an opportunity to align the new vision for development in the coming years, which will give direction to the new Constitution.

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Speaking after receiving the report, President Samia said "This one on the new Constitution you are going to work on it and bring a proposal that will be announced for all Tanzanians understand, I agree that it is a long-term issue but Tanzanians need understand why," said President Samia.

She added: But first let's work on the reforms we mentioned this term and then in the future let's see if we need to amend our constitution maybe there is no need to rewrite the whole constitution.

Demand for new constitution

The need for a new, dynamic constitution arose in Tanzania in mid 1980s and became more urgent in the early 1992 with increasing calls for political change.

The new constitution became the rallying cry of the Opposition, activists and members of the academia well before the political and civil space was fully opened.

Moral intentions behind the new constitution was to enable Tanzania to grab the occasion for change that was sweeping across the globe ushered by the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Tanzania started the process of writing a new constitution in 2012, after former President Jakaya Kikwete appointed a 32-team of the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) headed by highly respected politician Joseph Warioba.

The team was tasked to conduct an extensive nationwide consultation on the new constitution, which comprised public opinion on how the constitution should be.

But the Draft Constitution tabled by Judge Warioba at the Constituent Assembly in February 2014 was overhauled resulting in the Proposed Constitution.

This move prompted a boycott of the CA sessions by the major opposition parties.

The CA submitted the Proposed Constitution to the government in October 2014 with the planned referendum to decide its fate, this never happened.