A veteran politician Njelu Kasaka said before commencing to write the new constitution he supported the three tier government system since before the proposal for New constitution.
Participants in a constitution debate held in Dar es Salaam yesterday want members forming the constituent assembly increased to over 900 from 604 to avoid political influence in writing the new basic law.
The debate themed “Tanzania We want” was organised by East Africa Business and Media Training Institute (EABMTI).
One of the key speakers Tundu Lissu who is a member of parliament for Singida East said in order to get fair representation in the constituent assembly the number of members should be increased to 908 and should include members of the Constitutional Review Commission.
“If included views of the members of the CRC will be useful because they have been engaged in the process from the beginning,” Lissu said.
He said at least 76 per cent of the proposed number of members forming the constituent assembly will come from the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi which means that the views given will be politically driven.
Another key Speaker Dr Aley Nesor from Zanzibar University said in reality the constituent assembly will comprise majority of CCM members and not wananchi.
“Their views will be influenced by their parties and not wananchi…,” he said, suggesting that members forming the constituent assembly should not be affiliated to any political party,” he said.
Other participants supported three-tier government, saying the current structure has proved failure.
On August 24, 1993, the Parliament unanimously passed a resolution which directs the government to initiate a process which will involve the general public with a view to bringing before Parliament an agreed new structure of the Union, which will, among other things, accommodate a state government for Tanganyika within the United Republic of Tanzania.
Many people will of course remember that the recommendation for creating a federal structure for the United Republic of Tanzania was first made in 1991 by the Presidential Commission (The Nyalali Commission) which was mandated to study the desirability or otherwise, of introducing political pluralism in Tanzania.
There is currently a school of thought which says that the present demand for a Tanganyika government which was initiated by group of members of Parliament, was an angry response to what they considered to be arrogant behaviour by the Zanzibar leadership.
There may indeed be an element of truth in that observation, but it is certainly not the whole truth. The Nyalali Commission was meeting at a time when no one was accusing the Zanzibar leadership of any arrogance.
In fact, the Nyalali Commission was working at a time when the general public was not even discussing the Union issue at all. Therefore there was no pressure whatsoever on the Commission from any quarter, to include in its recommendations the question of the restructuring of the Union.
Yet the Commission still felt it necessary to give serious consideration to that issue, and eventually came up with a majority recommendation that the Union should be restructured in order to include a state government for Tanzania Mainland.
Therefore, it cannot be wholly true that the demand for a Tanganyika Government is an angry response to something, because when it was first made, there was nothing to be angry about.
Why then did the Nyalali Commission consider it necessary to raise this issue? It must be made clear that what is described here is the majority position of the Nyalali Commission.
There was no unanimity on this particular issue, therefore a minority of the members of the Commission wrote and submitted their own minority report, which argued against the restructuring of the Union.
But the Nyalali Commission’s majority report states that they had made a thorough analysis of the major problems facing the Union, and considering the fact that the Commission had also recommended the introduction of a multiparty political system for the United Republic to replace the then existing one party system; the Commission felt that in the new circumstances of mult-partism, the best way of preserving and strengthening the Union was to recommend a new federal structure, consisting of a state government each for Tanganyika and Zanzibar, and an overall Union Government.
The majority on that Commission was of the opinion that it was the present structure, whereby the Union government has two jurisdictions: being responsible both for Union matters and for Tanganyika matters, which had created suspicions, fears and complaints in the following areas:
Complain from Zanzibar
Complain from Zanzibar
a) That Tanganyika has become Tanzania and threatened to ‘’swallow’’ Zanzibar.
(b) That the Union Government was favouring Tanganyika at the expense of Zanzibar, especially in the utilization of Union revenues.
Complaints from Tanganyika
(a) That the Zanzibaris were having an unfair advantage over Tanganyika in being able to secure jobs, including ministerial jobs, both in Zanzibar and in Tanganyika, at the expense of Tanganyikans.
(b) That Zanzibar was not contributing to the Union Treasury, leaving Tanganyikan tax-payers alone to pay the full cost of the Union expenditures. Hence the Commission decided, by a majority of its members, that the problems created by this mutual suspicion could only be solved on a permanent basis by altering the Union government structure, in order to separate the existing fusion of two jurisdictions in the Union Government.
Recapitulating the facts
Because the United Republic was created in a hurry in 1964, there was clearly no time to discuss and adopt a new Constitution for the Union, which would have provided for equality of rights and obligations to each of the uniting countries of Tanganyika and Zanzibar. Instead, on April 22, 1964, the presidents of Tanganyika and Zanzibar signed the ‘’Articles of Union, 1964’’ which declared that: “The people’s Republic of Zanzibar and the Republic of Tanganyika shall, upon Union Day and forever after, be united into one sovereign Republic by the name of the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar.”
A mere four days later, on 26th April, 1964, (after the Articles of Union had been ratified by the Legislatures of the two states on the previous day), the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar came into existence, which was later re-named the Union Republic of Tanzania.
Hence, because of the time constraint, the Articles of Union made provision for: (a) The appointment, within one year, of a Commission which would make proposals for a new constitution of the United republic; and (b) As an interim measure, the constitution of Tanganyika (hurriedly patched up to give it a semblance of a Union document) was to be the constitution of the new United Republic.
That interim provision (item (b) above) later became the source of suspicion and fear on the part of Zanzibar, that Tanganyika had in fact become Tanzania, whereas Zanzibar remained as Zanzibar, likely to be left out in the cold! This suspicion understandably increased when the
promised Commission to recommend a new permanent constitution of the United Republic was not appointed for more than ten years after the coming into existence of the Union.
This article has been excerpted from Pius Msekwa’s book entitled: Essays on The Transition to Multi-partism System in Tanzania, Dar es Salaam University Press Limited, 1995.