Constituent Assembly committees’ minority reports presented yesterday held that the proposed three-government structure seeks to strengthen the Union not to break it. Dismissing a key argument against the suggested structure, the minority report stated that, cost of administration is no hurdle to the formation and sustaining of the Union government because it would seek independent revenue sources rather than depend on contributions from the two federal governments as earlier concerns suggested. Speaking soon after Committee number 5 Chairperson Asumpta Mshana had tabled the committee’s report, CA member David Kafulila insisted that there are many more alternative sources of revenue.
Another advantage of adopting the three-government structure, Kafulila said, is to increase transparency of the two federal governments. Another point against the three governments is the size of the surveyed sample group which was dismissed as too small to represent the views of the majority of Tanzanians. Kafulila pointed out that even smaller sample groups are used globally to represent much larger populations. The sample group was 17,000 people whose opinion was used to reflect the will of all 45 million Tanzanians.
“How is it that, 600 CA members can represent the entire country yet they in turn argue that 17,000 people are too few to represent the views of all Tanzanians?” quizzed Kafulila to applause. Presenting views of the majority members of Committee number 5, Asumpta Mshana said the views of the majority was that the Union Charter sought a two- government structure, hence the three tier government is in opposition of the Union Charter.
“The Union government does not have to financially depend on the two federal governments,” he said noting that in fact, with an independent source of revenue, the Union government could very well assist the federal governments balance their development budgets. He estimated that expenses incurred in running ministries of the Union government would not exceed 3.0trn/- annually which, for example, can be obtained from custom duty alone. Notably, at the moment, the annual custom duty is more than 3.6 trn/- which is 40 percent of all the country’s annual revenue.
Mshana was adamant that, the foundation of the Union is based on a two- government system and for the three governments system to be legally recognised then there must be a new agreement, in other words a new Union Charter. Meanwhile, the minority members from Committee number 2 maintained that, the former Clerk of the National Assembly Pius Msekwa failed to prove to them the authenticity of Articles of the Union Charter following their inquiry into the two signatures in the Union Charter and the Act to ratify the Union.
Chairperson of Committee number 2, Shamsi Vuai Nahodha said despite the minority members of his committee having invited the official to clarify on the matter, he failed to do so. “These shortfalls have raised many questions about the legitimacy of the Union...There have been contradictory arguments from various leaders over the legitimacy of the Articles of the Union,” he said. He added that the members maintained their stand despite the fact the members were given genuine copy to prove the Union agreement between the Republic of Tanganyika and the Republic of People of Zanzibar as the legal addition. According to him, failure to get original copies of the union agreement is a major issue affecting the constitutional and political challenges facing the Union now. He added that without the original copies of the Union documents its legitimacy is doubtful.
Hpwever some of the committee’s minority members expressed dissatisfaction over the presentation of their views by Nahodha, saying that he had omitted some important views. “He was supposed to read it in sequential order and if the time was not enough, the report will be recorded in the parliament Hansard,” said CA member Godbless Lema. On a different development, some CA members expressed displeasure with the report presentation format which gives power to Committee Chairpersons or vice-chair to present both the majority as well as the minority members’ reports. CA Member Khamis Kigwangala asked the CA Chairman to use standing order 85 (1) and (2) to change the system such that the minority report would be presented by a member from the minority group. That request was turned down by CA Chairman, Samwel Sitta who said the format was approved by all