THE CONSTITUTION

by Enos Bukuku & David Brewin

We welcome in this issue a new contributor to Tanzanian Affairs. He has succeeded Frederick Longino who has other pressing demands on his time at present. We are very grateful to Frederick for steering us skillfully through all the complexities of the early stages of the revision of the constitution. The new contributor is Mr Enos Bukuku who will be covering the remaining work which still has to be done before a new constitution can be finalised. Enos Bukuku is a solicitor at Levenes in London specialising in personal injury, clinical negligence and general civil litigation. Born in Mwadui (Shinyanga), he moved to the UK with his family at an early age. He regularly returns to his hometown Mbeya and is involved in an NGO which seeks to empower women and children in Southern Tanzania. As part of a team giving legal assistance and advice to the Afro-Caribbean community, he spends time reaching out to the community and attending events to raise awareness of legal rights.

Constitution Review – update
Since the last issue of TA, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Mathius Chikawe has been in London and addressed a three hour meet­ing on the Constitution at the High Commission. Having been deeply involved with the Constitutional Reform Commission (CRC) during all its deliberations, he was able to deal effectively with numerous ques­tions from the audience.

In view of conflicting statements by leaders in Zanzibar, the Minister was asked what would happen if Zanzibar failed to accept the main principles of the draft constitution, specifically the degree of autonomy for Zanzibar. The Minister’s reply was clear. It would mean the end of the Union, he said.

On 16 November the Britain Tanzania Society devoted a major part of its AGM to the constitution. The speakers were TA Editor David Brewin and Frederick Longino.

On December 2 the Chadema Party stated that it would oppose the proposed Referendum Bill in Parliament. It listed issues on which change was required including the Zanzibar Permanent Residents Register and the decision to put the power to supervise opinion polls under the Electoral Commission.

Deadline postponed
In the meantime the National Assembly made a bold and unexpected move by making an amendment ensuring that the CRC would not participate in the debate on the draft constitution next year. The CRC was supposed to be disbanded at the end of October 2013 after sub­mitting its final report and preparing the second draft, which would then be delivered to the President. He in turn would present it to the Constituent Assembly which would take over the constitution drafting process. The original deadline, which had already had a previous extension, was then further extended by the President to 30 December 2013, at the request of the CRC.

The Constituent Assembly
The National Assembly has also passed the Constitutional Review (Amendment Number 2) Bill in response to criticism, chiefly from Chadema, in relation to the Constituent Assembly. The amendment will increase the number of non-Parliamentary/House of Representative members from 166 to 201. The 201 members will be drawn from fully registered political parties (42, NGOs (20), Faith Based Organisations (20), higher learning institutions (20), people with special needs (20), trade unions (19), associations of livestock keepers (10), fisheries associations (10), agricultural associations (20) and 20 from other groups.

37 Civil Society organisations complained that the Constituent Assembly was not representative enough of those stakeholders outside mainstream politics. Although there are over 100 people from interest groups, they amount to less than a third of the total Constituent Assembly. It remains to be seen whether there will be further changes to redress this.

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