The Constitution-making process might be heading towards a stalemate if voting results from various Constituent Assembly (CA) committees are anything to go by.The law governing CA business requires that for changes to be taken onboard the proposed mother law that will be tabled before wananchi in a referendum must first be approved by a two-third majority within the assembly by members from Tanzania mainland and another two-third from Tanzania Zanzibar.The CA Standing Order Number 37 (1) specifically states that for a Chapter or the entire Draft Katiba to be approved by the assembly, it must be endorsed by a two-third majority of members from the Mainland and other two-third majority of those from the Isles. But according to data gathered here yesterday, the debate on Chapters One and Six – which started at committee level on Tuesday -- was so intense that changes, proposed by the ruling party, failed to sail through in ten out of the 12 committees.
Chapter One of the second Draft Constitution defines the United Republic of Tanzania to be a Sovereign Federal State – created out of the Union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar.Chapter Six of the second Draft Constitution also emphasises the fact that the United Republic of Tanzania will consist of three governments, one for each of the federated states and one for the sovereign country. It also lays out specific constitutional conditions that will sustain the existence of the United Republic of Tanzania under the three-government system.The ruling party, CCM, which boasts of numerical strength in the House, believes in a two-government system. But its proposal to change the two chapters so they can be in line with the requirements of a two-government system failed short of a two-thirds requirement in committee numbers One, Two, Three, Four, Six, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven and Twelve.
“From the way things are, it will be very difficult for CCM to get two-thirds in Zanzibar….Considering that the two chapters form the basis of the entire Draft. We can only hope that the process will reach a standstill if the ruling party does not reverse its position of a two-government system,” a CA member from the opposition CUF, Mr Ismail Jussa Ladhu told The Citizen on Saturday yesterday.What will happen?Hoping that both sides will stick to their guns until the day of voting in the House, analysts say, it will be difficult for the Draft to get two-thirds of members from Tanzania Mainland and another two-thirds from Zanzibar.“It simply means that CA members will leave Dodoma without a Proposed Constitution and that will create a political turmoil for it means the CA will have rejected views of wananchi as depicted in the Judge (rtd) Joseph Warioba-led Constitutional Review Commission (CRC),” said another opposition CA member, Mr Tundu Lissu.Chairmen of some CA committees were, however, upbeat that the solution would be found and that Tanzanians would finally go to the referendum to endorse or reject the proposed new Constitution.They said results at the committee level were a reflection of what CA members think, noting, however, that through the Reconciliation and Consensus Committee, which comprises members from all the major political parties – including CCM, Chadema, CUF and NCCR-Mageuzi – a solution would be reached.
We are optimistic that we will finally make it as we go to the assembly,” said the chairman of Committee Number Six who doubles as the Member of Parliament for Bunda Constituency and minister of State in the President’s Office for Social Relations and Co-ordination, Mr Stephen Wassira.His Drafts Committee counterpart, Mr Andrew Chenge said CCM still had a number of avenues through which it can bring its views into the Draft Katiba.The Former Attorney General and CCM MP for Bariadi West said voting results at committee level were only meant to show them the direction, and therefore, not the ultimate projection of what will happen on the day of actual voting in the House.Among the avenues, he said, CCM has a chance of officially bringing a motion in the CA requesting certain changes to the Draft Katiba.“If that fails, then we will go to the Reconciliation and Consensus Committee.
After these two levels, the CA will vote again and that will be the ultimate decision maker that will show what next,” he told The Citizen on Saturday yesterday.He said, if it will still be difficult to make changes at that level, then the Draft Katiba will go to wananchi without changes.if the Draft will go to the wananchi without changes, the two groups in the CA (the opposition bench and the ruling party) would battle it out with CCM now campaigning against the proposed new Constitution while the opposition campaigning for it.