Monday, August 18, 2014

Sitta’s stand discourages groups which are against CA sessions

EFFORTS by some groups of people who have been pressurizing the suspension of the second phase discussion of the constitutional making process which resumed its business on Tuesday last week in the Constituent Assembly (CA) seems to have hit a snag. The CA which has entered in its tenth day has been challenged by many people including members of the ruling party CCM who since its resumption have been calling for its suspension for various reasons citing mostly the absence of the group calling itself Coalition of the Defenders of People’s Constitution (Ukawa). They have however, been calling for a fresh reconciliation talks between the ruling party CCM and Ukawa members who consists of three major opposition parties namely Chadema, CUF and NCCR-Mageuzi. While some individuals have been maintaining that, the CA currently discussing the constitutional draft is deliberately wasting tax payers’ money and have suggested that, it was better for the two warring groups to return to the reconciliation table to ward off their standoff. CA Chairman Samwel Sitta on Wednesday this week put it clear and reiterated his stand once again over the ongoing discussions of the constitutional making process amid claims by some groups and noted that, the sessions will continue as usual despite protests. The call by Sitta has come hardly two days after leaders of the so-called Ukawa made a public statement of their intention to stage a countrywide demonstration next week whose mission is to request President Jakaya Kikwete to suspend the CA sessions. In his clarification Sitta noted that, “the CA has been legally established and there is no way it could change its course at the expense of the few individuals because of limited time issued for discussion by President Jakaya Kikwete”.  However, he has wondered as to why the Ukawa group walked out of the debating chamber in April this year just because of their misunderstanding of the article 60 of Chapter six which discussed about the structure of government. He clarified saying that, the Ukawa group should take into consideration the most crucial issues which are most important things to be discussed in the new constitution which basically touches lifestyle of the majority of Tanzanians in both aspects of economic and social grounds. 

CA Chairman Samwel Sitta

“There are most crucial issues which concerns with the farmers, pastoralists, fishermen, women, old people, children as well as youth employment which have been the most key issues of discussion in the new constitution other than government structures” he said. He said the Ukawa’s argument of wanting President Jakaya Kikwete to suspend the assembly is baseless bearing the fact that no one has prevented their access into the debating chamber. They are free to come and join us to deliberate matters. Despite Sitta’s stand over the continued sessions as programmed by the CA, some groups of people including politicians keeps on insisting for the assembly to indefinitely suspend its sessions on various grounds. Giving reasons, some political analysts and some CA members, including Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) cadre Mwigulu Nchemba have cautioned that the process might end up wasting taxpayers’ money if there would be no consensus with those, who walked out of the CA. Nchemba made open his views and noted that, it would be wastage of taxpayers’ money if the CA continued and then failed to make any conclusive decision at the end. The government has allocated Sh20 billion for CA activities, including allowances to CA members. Mr Nchemba was contributing during a discussion before approving 13 changes to the CA Standing Orders. Among the changes made, include forming Standing Orders that would give more powers to the CA chairman to punish those, who violated CA Standing Orders. Some interviewed residents have expressed their disappointment in an exclusive interview on Thursday last week at the designated capital city and cited fears that what would be decided by members currently in attendance would be favoring the majority members of the ruling CCM party currently in attendance.  They have however suggested that, although there is a standoff which of recent caused misunderstandings between Ukawa members and CCM party over the constitutional writing process, the two warring groups should return back to reconcile their differences. Msabaha Chilongo, a taxi driver in the capital said that as long as the CA members continues with their sitting are at the same time spending huge sums of tax payers money which at the end the draft might not be accepted by wananchi during referendum polls. He said the government should look for any possible ways in order to end the existing impasse between Ukawa which consists of three main rival parties - Chadema, NCCR-Mageuzi and CUF and the ruling CCM party to clear their standoff.

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