Thursday, 13 March 2014


The Constituent Assembly (CA) has a permanent chairman. He is veteran politician Samuel Sitta. Upon his election he said he would steer the assembly in a patriotic way.Mr Sitta garnered 487 votes in yesterday’s election, beating Mr Hashim Rungwe who got 69 votes. Seven votes were spoilt.Mr Sitta has been the Urambo East for 29 years. His challenger for the CA chairmanship, Mr Rungwe, contested for presidency in 2010 on an NCCR-Mageuzi. Five hundred and sixty three members voted out of 629 total members of the assembly.However, interim chairman Pandu Ameir Kificho will continue to preside over the CA business until Mr Sitta and his deputy are sworn in.Earlier, Mr Kificho said four members – Mr Sitta, Mr Rungwe, John Chipaka and Dr Theresya Huvisa -- had picked up nomination forms.According to the interim chairman, Dr Huvisa and Mr Chipaka did not qualify for the race, leaving Mr Sitta and Mr Rungwe.“The two candidates did not meet all the requisite requirements as enshrined in Section 23 of the Constitution Review Act and regulation number five of the standing orders,’’ said Mr Kificho.The two candidates were later given three minutes each to explain themselves before the assembly and asked three questions from the floor.
First to appear before the debating chamber was Mr Rungwe who stunned CA members after he said he was the first Tanzanian to own a business of selling vehicles, a resume that elicited questions from the floor on the relationship between selling vehicles and running the CA business. His explanation was written. But Mr Sitta’s explanation was unscripted, impressing many members. Announcing the votes, the clerk of the National Assembly, Dr Thomas Kashililah, declared Mr Sitta the chairman elect of the assembly.In his acceptance speech, Mr Sitta promised to steer the assembly superbly and patriotically.He also refuted reports that he was at odds with his fellow CA member, Mr Andrew Chenge, who is also a CCM member, over the assembly’s chairmanship. “Mr Chenge is my longtime good friend and our families are friends. When I was the minister for Justice during the Ali Hassan Mwinyi era I proposed his name for the post of the Attorney General,’’ he said.Before CCM gave Mr Sitta the green light, there were reports from within the ruling party that Mr Chenge would be in the race for the CA chairmanship. But later, reports made the rounds that Mr Chenge had withdrawn from the race after Mr Sitta’s name was proposed and supported by many members during a party caucus.ut yesterday, Mr Sitta said the reports were untrue and that Mr Chenge had never eyed the seat.Mr Sitta also hailed Union President Jakaya Kikwete and Zanzibar President Ali Mohamed Shein for their strong support of the process of making the constitution.
Mr Kificho yesterday announced another position of the deputy CA chairperson and said it would open to members from Zanzibar since the chairmanship had been taken by the Mainland.He said the position would be open to women. According to him, the nomination forms were to be picked up from yesterday in the office of the Speaker of the National Assembly and that of the Zanzibar House of Representatives and that the election was scheduled for today at 4pm.
Also Members of the Constituent Assembly Standing Orders Committee yesterday showered praise on Mr Tundu Lissu, saying his contribution to the team’s work was exemplary. Mr Ismail Jussa and Mr Frederick Werema said Mr Lissu played a pivotal role in the “tough” work of drafting regulations that would guide the assembly’s activities. Speaking when the assembly met to adopt the proposed regulations, Mr Jussa said Mr Lissu used his legal knowledge to ensure the committee arrived at sensible recommendations.
“If there is one person I would like to commend and thank, it is Mr Tundu Lissu. He read and contributed extensively, and this helped us to make decisions which you, members of this assemble, have hailed as commendable,” the Mji Mkongwe MP said.
Mr Werema, who is also the Attorney General, told reporters later that Mr Lissu had shown beyond any doubt that he was a person who put national interests first. “We need to cooperate and focus on what has brought us here. We should leave our party affiliations aside. I would like members to look at what Mr Lissu has done and emulate him. He has been a pillar in the committee when it was reviewing and drafting the regulations,” he said. Mr Werema said he had been impressed by Mr Lissu’s resolve to let his political affiliation and interests take a back seat while working with the committee. He urged CA members to respect Standing Orders and be tolerant of other people’s views when debating the draft constitution. “We should put our political interests aside when doing this work. We should also tolerate other members’ views. We should know that each member has the right to express his or her opinions,” Mr Werema said.

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