Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Parliament approves constitution review amendment No. 2 Act

AT last the National Assembly has approved the long awaited Constitution Review Amendment Act which will now allow together with other things, the public dialogue of the second draft of the national constitution with civil society members in the constituent assembly scheduled to start in early January next year. The approval of the Act came after the majority of the Parliamentarians including those of the opposition camp unanimously agreed with the amendments of certain provisions in the Act which earlier the opposition camp had refused to accept when the Act was endorsed during the 12th sessions. The bill to amend the Act was earlier tabled in the house for discussion in Friday evening this week by the Minister for Justice and constitutional Affairs Mathias Chikawe and passed by Parliament on Saturday last week. The demand for the amendments of the Act was earlier raised in Parliament in its 12th session by the opposition camp who had refused to accept it on the grounds that it had some provisions which according to them had favoured the ruling CCM party and had no public interest. Following their demand, the opposition parties with their representations in Parliament led by the leader of the opposition camp who is also an MP for Hai constituency Freeman Mbowe (Chadema)  formed a coalition alliance of all political parties with a view to incite people countrywide to boycott the Act and at the same time requested President Jakaya Kikwete not to sign the bill to become the Act. After having seen their movements, President Kikwete made an appointment to meet the leaders with the opposition parties with representations in parliament for discussion over the matter. In their last meeting which was held in 13th October this year, the two parties had agreed on certain matters some of which were endorsed on the Act while some were not fulfilled. 

The leader of the opposition camp in Parliament and the Chairman of the Chadema party Mr. Freeman Mbowe.

Earlier the views presented by the opposition alliance of a technical committee to the President for a review were the increasing the number of individual participation from the various civil society groups to 292 instead of 166 as earlier endorsed in the former bill. Despite of this, he is happy to see that this number has been raised to 201.  Others were the members of the Warioba’s Constitution Review Commission team to b e retained and included in the Constituent Assembly, and the president should not be given the audacity to select individual members from the civil society groups to attend a constituent Assembly, and instead in this aspect t should be left for themselves to choose. Another one was insufficient awareness about the constitutional review process which the opposition camp had claimed that, was not given proper attention to the people in Zanzibar, and some other provisions in the bill which they said needed an urgent amendment before its final approval. Earlier when contributing to the bill in Friday evening, the opposition camp leader Freeman Mbowe than ked the government as it had overlooked the matter and had made some corrections to certain matters agreed and some had not.  The  leader of the opposition camp, Freeman Mbowe said that, about 67 percent of their demands have been fulfilled and that, he has thanked the president for his cooperation which he showed when he dealt with the issue. “I am happy to se that the government has listened to our wish though all that we wanted have not  been endorsed, the it shows a spirited move that now Tanzanians should expect a good future of their constitution” he said.

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