The Constitution Review Commission (CRC) will unveil the second draft constitution on Monday December 30, 2013 to President Jakaya Kikwete and Zanzibar President Ali Mohamed Shein. CRC chairman, ex-premier Joseph Sinde Warioba will hand over the document to inaugurate the process towards convening the Constituent Assembly to review it and submit recommendations for a final draft, which would then be put to a referendum.
The second draft is expected to address shortcomings noted during the past parliamentary meeting which discussed a bill on the constitutional referendum process, the number of members of the Constituent Assembly and how they are to be selected. A section of MPs raised issues on the modality of appointing individuals to the Constituent Assembly, from lists presented by public organizations and from which the president would choose eligible members. Some opposition MPs cautioned that there is a risk that the president may end up appointing representatives who are followers of the ruling party.
"We have proposed that stakeholders should submit their preferred nominees to the president, and the president should only announce the names presented to him by stakeholders and not otherwise," remarked the leader of the official opposition, Freeman Mbowe (Hai-CHADEMA), Debate was heated with opposition MPs and other stakeholders saying the bill could tear the country apart, also demanding that President Kikwete reject the bill, pointing out limited discussion of the first draft in Zanzibar.
Certain MPs raised contentions to a fist fight on September 5 but the draft sailed the following day where opposition MPs opted to walk out. Tundu Lissu, (Singida East-CHADEMA), went so far as to declare that the ruling party had “abducted" the constitutional review process. CCM was marginalising Tanzanians to suit its own interests, the CHADEMA disciplinarian intoned.
"When we say involving Zanzibaris in the process, we are advocating a 50-50 representation at all stages," Lissu told the lawmakers. "The new bill proposes that Zanzibar will be represented by 219 representatives in the Constituent Assembly, which is 36% of the total." “Because Zanzibar and Tanganyika were two sovereign states before they merged in 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanzania, a future Constituent Assembly must represent both states equally through a 50-50 format,” the opposition lawyer insisted.
"It is not a question of geographical size, but the principle of sovereignty," he further stated. James Mbatia, (Nominated-NCCR Mageuzi) expressed similar skepticism that the bill is full of tricks. “CCM wants to play the ball outside the pitch. The process of writing a new constitution has to be owned by the citizens, but now the ruling party is commanding the show," he affirmed. For his part, CUF chairman Prof. Ibrahim Lipumba said that if the president mutes citizens' voices on the incompleteness of the bill it would mostly likely harm his good track record. The Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Mathias Chikawe rejected these objections, saying that lawmakers had properly drafted the bill and that Zanzibaris were fully involved in the process.
"The Zanzibar attorney general received the bill, discussed it with Zanzibar officials and wrote a letter to the Prime Minister [Mizengo Pinda] expressing the Zanzibaris' opinion on the draft bill," the minister noted.He urged that Tanzanians avoid making it a controversial matter as the new constitution is meant to benefit the whole nation and not just the ruling party. Justice Warioba sounded the same note at a news conference on September 26, expressing concern that political parties were interfering with civic representation discussing the first draft.
Other issues that provoked hot debate was union and government structures, with different sections of stakeholders proposing that the nation should have only one government.
Others preferred the suggested three governments format, and others supporting continuation of the two governments format. CRC has also proposed the reduction of the number of union matters from the current 22 to seven. Issues that would still be under the union include foreign affairs, immigration and citizenship, the central bank and currency, as well as defence and security. Other matters to be retained in the union docket are registration of political parties, constitutional issues and import duty, as well as non-tax revenue accrued from resources that are within the territory of the union.