Tanzania allocates Sh9 billion for new constitution and democratic reforms

President Samia Suluhu Hassan. PHOTO | FILE

What you need to know:

  • The new development aims at implementing President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s directives following concerns from political stakeholders and the public in general.

Dodoma. The Ministry of Constitutional and Legal Affairs’ budget will increase by Sh9 billion in the 2023/24 fiscal year after the government allocated funds to revive the new constitutional-writing process, it has been leant.

The funds will also be utilized for the amendment of election laws and for the reforms of the National Electoral Commission (NEC).

The new development aims at implementing President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s directives following concerns from political stakeholders and the public in general.

The new constitutional-revitalization process stalled in 2014 to pave the way for the 2015 General Election, but political stakeholders have been pressing for it to be restarted, particularly since President Hassan took office on March 19, 2021.

The process had been started by Fourth Phase President Jakaya Kikwete with the hope that it would be continued by his successor, the late, Dr John Magufuli.

However, Dr Magufuli insisted that the implementation of development projects was his top priority, not the new constitution.

Last year, President Hassan formed a taskforce to review the country’s political system, which came with the proposal that the process be restarted after the 2025 General Election.

The CCM Central Committee (CC) in its June 22, 2022 meeting directed the government to see better ways of reviving the process.

Addressing Chadema women wing (Bawacha) meeting to mark the International Women’s Day (IWD) earlier this month, President Hassan reiterated that her government was planning to revive the stalled process.

Yesterday, the Constitutional and Legal Affairs minister, Dr Damas Ndumbaro said the allocation of the funds was part of the implementation of the president’s directives.

“The new constitution is a demand of Tanzanians. We are supposed to get well prepared for the process, which also requires enough financial resources,” he said when opening the ministry’s workers council meeting here.

Furthermore, he said failure to mobilise enough financial resources could stall the implementation of the process.

He said apart from reviving the new constitutional writing process, the allocated funds are also expected to be used for amending electoral laws and those related to the electoral commission in order to strengthen democracy in the country.

“We have two laws governing elections in Tanzania: the Local Government (Elections) Act and the National Elections Act (Cap 343),” he said.

“We also have the issue of the NEC, which equally needs to be amended in this fiscal year, and since these are laws touching the majority of Tanzanians, then broader participation of stakeholders is of paramount importance,” he added, justifying the budget increment to Sh36 billion.

He insisted that ministry officials should be prepared to look for additional financial resources and efficient execution.

Commenting on the decision, Chadema chairman Freeman Mbowe said it is good that the government has allocated funds for the process, something that shows they are walking the talk.

ACT-Wazalendo leader Zitto Kabwe said after the funds are allocated, important steps for reviving the process should follow as proposed by the taskforce.