Something unusual happened last weekend, something unprecedented (unless I am reminded of such a precedent) in the history of an independent Tanzania or even Tanganyika; something about the Chief Secretary announcing a cabinet reshuffle involving appointments of new ministers and deputy ministers.At least some political observers share my feelings that this was rather odd, out of place, diluting the impact of the punch. Of course, there is always a 'first time', which, in the process, will be referred to as the precedent. But after the announcement of the new ministers and deputy ministers, a friend of mine asked where the president was and before I offered an answer, he asked another question to the effect that how was it that a cabinet was being announced by the Chief Secretary instead of the president. To be honest, I did not know the proper answer and so to fill in the emptiness, my embarrassment, I asked him how he had become to love politics to the extent of wanting to know the intricacies of managing a cabinet and we went on with our light talk.However, his questions touched some nerve in my system that got me thinking about the duties of the president and I came to the conclusion that perhaps the duties (and powers?) of the president should be reduced, which in essence, I go along with some articles in the proposed new constitution.
Now, talking of the new constitution, which in fact is the subject of my talk today because I was told (rightly or wrongly) that the president delegated the announcement of the cabinet to the Chief Secretary, because he wanted to concentrate on sifting through the hundreds of names given to him by various institutions in order to appoint 122 citizens for membership in the Constituent Assembly due to meet soon.It must be a hell of a job, which requires someone with quite a cool head.It is this Constituent Assembly I want to remind of their noble duty of going through the proposals of the new constitution wholesomely so that the Assembly comes out with 'nation's interest' constitution recommendations for the referendum.In particular, I would want to ask the Constituent Assembly to debate soberly on the proposed three-government arrangement.For those who read this column will have noticed that I have been singing this three-government system song for some time now and like I said the other time, I'm not apologising for the repetition; in fact I'll continue talking about it through my pen (there were not computers when this cliché was coined), until members of the Constituent Assembly and my fellow citizens see the point, that is, if they have the interest of our nation at heart.And I keep repeating this because I'm convinced that the three-government arrangement will tear our nation asunder and unfortunately, once demolished, it will not be easy to start rebuilding it.
In April, this year we are supposed to celebrate 50 years since the foundation of the Union was laid by it architects, Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere and Mzee Abeid Amani Karume.It is ironic that exactly 50 years later, when we are at the finishing touches to our Union house, some people are working to demolish it.But supposed the Constituent Assembly allows the three-government system to go through and the referendum foolhardily endorses the arrangement, will Tanganyika allow the general elections to take place next year (2015) as the new constitution insists upon, before it attains it own Constitution?This question was answered by the Constitution Review Commission (CRC) when its chairman, Judge Joseph Sinde Warioba told an editors' press conference in Dar es Salaam that the Tanganyika government constitution could be worked out in three or so months.Judge Warioba was clarifying on some salient issues of the Commission's proposals to the people through the editors where he also alleged that it will be less costly to maintain the three-government system than it is now with two-government arrangement.
I am not comfortable discussing the costing part of it because I'm not conversant with the complexities of figures, but I have a feeling that this could perhaps be misleading. In a layman's language, how can it be that it is cheaper to feed three children than two children? As far as the Tanganyika Constitution is concerned, I would think all Tanganyika citizens would like to be involved fully in making their own Constitution. Zanzibar has its own Constitution but no one suggested to them how their Katiba should look like. It might have taken less time for Zanzibar to agree on their constitution, considering the size of the isles and the population than it will take Tanganyika to achieve the same.
Tanganyikans would also want to air their views on how their country should be run. It will need a Commission, something like Tanganyika Commission for Constitution or Commission for Tanganyika Constitution (the lawyers will do their job here), which will go around the country seeking views of the Tanganyikans on how they would want their constitution to look like, compile the views and come up with a first draft, let the people discuss it and then come up with a second draft and finally Tanganyikans will give their last say in a referendum.Surely, this won't take less than nine months (at the very minimum) taking into account the size of Tanganyika and again considering that views collection exercise will have to be preceded by an awareness campaign throughout the country. Democracy must take its place in the whole exercise and must be respected. Isn't that why they say democracy is expensive?
Since Zanzibar has its constitution, so should Tanganyika have its constitution and logically, I would think, the Union or rather the Federation, if you like, constitution should recognise the existence of these two constitutions and therefore, be molded around the two.I have not had the opportunity to read all the articles in the Draft Constitution, so I am not sure the above scenario has been taken care of. The Tanganyika Constitution is a must before we embark on the three-government arrangement. But it seems some people are in hurricane hurry to have the three-government system yesterday.It seems they want to use this confusion to take the reins of the Tanganyika government. They want to be at Ikulu yesterday rather than tomorrow. Yes, one day they will be there; why the hurry?