Monday, August 18, 2014

TCF affirms public forums on ‘Katiba Review’ as legal platform meetings

Tanzania Constitution Forum (TCF) has said that, the ongoing political platforms and seminars that aim to advocate awareness to people about the contents endorsed in the draft of constitution are legal meetings which help to reform the constitutional writing process. TCF’s Chairman Deus Kibamba made a clarification over the matter on Wednesday this week at a workshop organized by his organization that aimed to educate representatives of 184 organizations which fall under the umbrella of the TCF scattered in all districts in the country. The call by TCF chairman has come after some members of the Constituent Assembly (CA) on Tuesday last week called for a review of Standing Orders to empower the assembly to summon those deemed to be interfering in its duties. Kibamba noted that, the CA members currently discussing the draft of constitution must accept such challenges as debates organized in such meetings helps to air people’s views which could also be used in the constitution making process currently being debated in the CA. Kibamba was reacting against the idea by CA members who contributed a debate requesting for an immediate suppression of such movements which are being advocated by some NGOs in the country, and remarked that is a denial of freedom of expression.  The TCF had organized a three day workshop for heads of their organizations working at a district level with a view to educate them so as to understand the contents outlined in various chapters and articles in the draft of a new constitution.  The aim of the TCF is to let their representatives acquire enough knowledge about the draft so that when they go back to the people in their areas, they should also supply the same knowledge to people as most Tanzanians are not quite aware of some contents proposed in the draft. According to Kibamba, the writing of the new constitution is a collective task that involves every citizen in the country and that among the roles to be played by the CA is to respect proposals endorsed by the disbanded Constitution Review Commission (CRC) as they are people’s views. 

TCF’s Chairman Mr. Deus Kibamba gestures when briefing journalists

He also noted that, TCF has resolved to make use of its constitution forums to enlighten the general public after having seen there is already a great split which has started to emerge among politicians in the country. “We have seen the need to educate people who are showing bad attitude over the constitutional writing process and some have started to fight one another over the topic” he said and cautioned that the current CA in discussion should not fault the disbanded CRC led by Judge Joseph Warioba. He has expressed dismay as some people have shown bad tolerance towards the constitution writing process in some districts in the country, noting that this is not right as people should respect each others’ views over the constitution making process. He said every citizen has the right to contribute views over the constitution currently in discussion and no one has the mandate to suppress them at this time when the CA is going on with the process. Commenting on the issue, a member of the CRC, Humphrey Polepole who is the main speaker said that, TCF members are quite unaware of the new constitution and called for sensitization program through various political platforms so as people should be made aware about the constitution itself. On her part, a member of CA who attended the workshop Esther Bulaya ushered her interest over the ongoing constitutional making process and said that,   at this time the CA should not form a grudge with members conducting meetings outside the debating chamber. However, she said in an exclusive interview and queried the rationale of waiting for other nations from outside the country to come forward to settle our disputes and misunderstandings which have started to emerge in the whole process of constitution writing. She has however, supported proposals by the deputy Minister for Finance Mwigulu Nchemba, also a member of CA who since the resumption of the second phase discussion of the constitution writing process, put forward an argument requesting for the suspension of the CA sessions until the two warring groups reach a consensus.

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