Friday, 28 March 2014



 A showdown looms in the Zanzibar Government of National Unity, with two of its senior officials in the executive engaging in a war of words. Second Vice President Seif Ali Idd publicly attacked First Vice President Seif Shariff Hamad yesterday over a statement he made at a public rally at Kibandamaiti grounds in Zanzibar on Wednesday. Flanked by former CCM members-turned-critics Mansour Yusuf Himid and Hassan Nassor Moyo, Mr Hamad spoke of the constitution-making process and the future of the Union.The First Vice President, who doubles as the opposition CUF secretary general, said his party was not ready to discuss the two-government union structure and ordered his members to quit the assembly. But Mr Idd promptly responded that the CUF leader’s remarks were baseless and Zanzibaris should ignore them.“This is not the first time he is issuing such statements,” Mr Idd said at a press conference here. “Whatever he said cannot affect the government because he spoke in his capacity as the opposition party leader.”Mr Idd declared that whoever causes chaos that is likely to disrupt the peace and tranquility would be dealt with and urged Constituent Assembly (CA) members and Mainland residents who are from Zanzibar to continue with their business as usual.

The statement from the CUF leaders that Zanzibaris were not happy with the Union was not true, Mr Idd said, given that Mr Hamad had not collected the views of Zanzibaris on their feelings on the current structure. “Zanzibar has more than 1.3 million people,” he added. “The last time I checked, Mr Hamad had not met all these people to establish their stance.”At Kibandamaiti grounds on Wednesday, Mr Hamad told a mammoth rally that Zanzibaris were against a three-government union structure and supported a union of contract.  They were not ready to discuss the two-government structure that was touted by President Jakaya Kikwete in his CA inaugural speech on Friday, he added.But Mr Idd said Zanzibar residents were in favour of a two-government union structure and they had benefited more from the arrangement than their counterparts on the Mainland. “This Union has extended employment, business and investment opportunities,” he said. “I want to reiterate that the Union is here to stay and no one can disband it for personal gain.”   The Second Vice President further urged CA members to suspend the interests of their groups, practice tolerance, set aside their party affiliations and put national interests first.Mr Idd warned that there was a group plotting to bring to a standstill the process of writing the new constitution and called for consensus to rescue the process.v The 37 days that have already passed without debate of the second Draft Constitution had cost the tax payers money, he added, and members should now embark on the task of debating and adopting the draft.
People of Zanzibar are happy with their Constitution as it is, a minister in the Government of National Unity (GNU) has said, threatening that any attempt to amend it will not easily go down with Zanzibaris.
Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister in the Zanzibar GNU, Mr Abubakar Khamis Bakary, told The Citizen in an exclusive interview here on Wednesday that the 2010 amendments in the Zanzibar’s Constitution were a deliberate move that is here to stay.Apart from accommodating the GNU setup, the 2010 amendments to the Constitution of Zanzibar also included a clear definition of the Isles’ status as a state.  A clear sentence was included to clearly define Zanzibar to be a country that was once the separate state of the People’s Republic of Zanzibar, which then united with the People’s Republic of Tanganyika to form the United Republic of Tanzania.The move was meant to counter the 2009 remarks by Union government Prime Minister, Mr Mizengo Pinda, about the Isles’ sovereignty when he said that Zanzibar was not an independent country as part of the Union government, within which it can only exercise its sovereignty.But presenting the second Draft Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania on Tuesday last week, the chairman of the Constitution Review Commission (CRC), Judge (rtd) Joseph Warioba, said the 2010 amendments to the Zanzibar’s 1984 Constitution created two countries and two governments in Tanzania.
“Mr Chairman, in 1984, we witnessed what was termed as a turbulent political atmosphere in Zanzibar. The genesis of the atmosphere was an attempt by some Zanzibari leaders who had wanted a three-government system. Although the attempt was unsuccessful, Zanzibar decided to come up with a new Constitution that year,” he said.That Constitution made it clear that laws endorsed by the Union Parliament cannot be automatically enforced in the Isles without the approval of the Zanzibar House of Representatives.That, he said, was contrary to the type of the Tanzania that founding fathers, Julius Nyerere and Abeid Karume left behind, prompting the proponents of the two-government system in the ongoing Union Katiba debate to propose for another amendment to the Zanzibar Constitution.  A veteran Zanzibar politician, Mr Ali Hassan Khamis, was earlier this week quoted as advising the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar to amend its Constitution and get rid of the provisions that go against the two-government system.
He said the ongoing protracted debate on the three-government system is largely due to some amendments made to the Zanzibar Constitution.“While having been amended, the Isles’ Constitution now defines Zanzibar to be a country that was once the separate state of the People’s Republic of Zanzibar, which then united with the People’s Republic of Tanganyika to form the United Republic of Tanzania. Chapter 1 of Union Government Constitution defines Tanzania to be a single country whose boundaries stretch from Mainland to the Islands,” he said while presenting a paper on ‘the State of Politics and the News Constitution Process’ at a symposium in the Isles. Members of the CCM community organized the symposium.Similarly, he said the Zanzibar Constitution empowers the Isles’ President to divide the semi-autonomous archipelago into regions and districts in a manner that is contrary to Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania of 1977.“Time is ripe the Zanzibar Constitution was amended so that it does not conflict with the Mother Law of the United Republic. If we do not do that, we will end up creating unnecessary wrangles and turn the good intensions that drove our founding fathers into this Union,” he said.

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