Monday, February 24, 2014

Mengi directs journalists to name corrupt people individually

FINGERS has been pointed to journalists to say the truth against corrupt individuals from the suspected groups of people involved in corruption such as the police, judges, medical staff, teachers and many others who provides services to the needy people in the country. The Chairman of the Media Owners Association of Tanzania (MOAT) Dr. Reginald Mengi issued a plea on Saturday last week in Dar es Salaam and insisted that, it was not fair to report such groups in general as this indicates that all working in the such groups are involved in corrupt malpractices. However, Dr. Mengi who is also the IPP Executive Chairman said that, “instead the suspected people should be named directly from such groups suspected to be involved in corrupt malpractices” Dr. Mengi was speaking to editors and journalists from various media organizations in the country at a luncheon ceremony which he purposely organized to congratulate two journalists who were recently set free by the Kisutu Magistrate Court in Dar es Salaam in a case of sedition charged against them due to lack of sufficient evidence. The journalists are former Tanzania Daima Managing Editor Absalom Kibanda, and former group editor of the Mwananchi Communications Ltd, Theophil Makunga who later was promoted to Business Development Manager by the company. During his speeches, he noted that, the acquittal of the two by the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court is a ceremonious occasion of the right to defeat which must be celebrated by all media personnel in the country. Narrating on how to net corrupt people, Dr. Mengi said journalists have to do thorough investigations in order to get names of the culprits one by one from the suspected groups and report their names through mass media without fear as they shall have gathered enough details to support them. “Mentioning one group is not fair at all as not all people are corrupt, there are some who are clean and are not happy to hear their images being tarnished” he said.  He stressed the need for journalists to work tirelessly in order to curb with grand corruption in a particular institution and reveal them as this is the only way to end such malpractices in the country.  Dr. Mengi further told journalists that, whoever writes issues related with corruption targeting a particular institution that is fully involved in such malpractice, then such a journalist does not perform his/her duties as required enough. 

Dr. Reginald Mengi (Centre) in a light moment of sharing a joke with the freed journalists, Absalom Kibanda (R) and Theophil Makunga (L) at a luncheon ceremony which he had organized for the two at Serena Hotel in Dar es Salaam, last week.

However, he insisted that, they must be courageous while implementing their duties without fear for reporting an institution it disappoints personal integrity of those who are completely innocent. Earlier, Dr. Mengi was invited by a member of the Tanzania Editors’ Forum (TEF) Nevile Meena who thanked him for his dedication and efforts he has been showing towards mainstreaming media fraternity in the country. He also thanked over 70 editors in both print and electronic media who had been following up the case of their two fellows in court and showed tolerance and effective solidarity up to the end. On his part Theophil Makunga thanked Dr. Mengi and his fellow journalists including editors who showed seriousness to ensure that, his case comes to end peacefully. He said during the earlier court proceedings, he could not believe that he was among the suspects until by the time the case was put into judgment and realized that, it had become to such a serious stage.
However, he revealed on how he was tortured and denied the right to move outside the country top attend the graduation ceremony of his daughter who was graduating at Nairobi University in Kenya. On his part, Absalom Kibanda stressed the need for journalists to continue showing solidarity once are in trouble as this shows the essence of their emancipation from being blocked with the freedom of expression.

Academicians faults CCM declaration on two tier government

SOME academicians have faulted the recent declaration of the ruling CCM party’s stand in support of two tier government which was officially proclaimed by its national chairman President Jakaya Kikwete saying the move is regarded as the denial of people’s rights of democracy. Speaking in an exclusive interview on Tuesday last week in Dar es Salaam, the assistant lecturer Rehema Stephano from the University of Dodoma (UDOM) said that, CCM’s recommendation is likely to hijack discussions on new constitution in the Constituent Assembly (CA) currently on the move. Rehema is on the view of the fact that, since the CA is composed of many members of the ruling CCM party, she fears as all matters discussed and voted upon would be mostly favoring the interests of the ruling party and not otherwise. She said the President’s declaration is against the majority of people’s will as earlier revealed in the report by the Constitution Review Commission (CRC) led by Judge Joseph Warioba. The commission was tasked to collect people’s views and came up with the suggestion of three tier government structure. She said CCM stand on two tier government those are their views which they should have presented them before Warioba’s commission for scrutiny, and added that it is not fair to campaign for them when the second draft of constitution is set for discussions. However, she noted that, CCM should understand that, the constitution is not for the political party and this shouldn’t be tampered at any cost and instead leave the people decide on what type of a government structure would suit them. Rehema gave her concern at a conference organized by the Eastern and Southern African Universities Research Program (ESAURAP) which was held in Dar es Salaam early this week. The conference brought together academicians in the country to discuss better constitution or ‘Katiba Bora’ for Tanzanians. Another academician Professor Betrum Mapunda said that, the government structure which the people of Tanzania should have adopted is a one tier government system which ne said could minimize all unnecessary expenses including the current chaos in the union government. His views disregarded neither having a two tier nor a three tier government structures as both of which he noted is more expensive to run compared to the national economic standard. However, he suggested that, a unified Tanzania nation should have one tier government structure. Another academician, Dr. Isaack Safari of the Saint Augustine University of Tanzania (SAUT) said that, party’s policies should not be introduced as guidelines to attain better constitution as they have no use for the interest of the nation. However, he cautioned that, “If CCM will dominate discussions in the CA, the history will judge them and in view of this its members have to respect the whole process for the sake of national interests”. 

A Member of Parliament for Mwibara (CCM) Kangi Logola 

 Meanwhile, some CCM party members in the CA have strongly criticized their party’s stand requesting them to support and defend the idea of a two tier government structure when brought in public debate during the discussions. They have noted that, they do not see the rationale to support the idea and yet the constitution making process is for the people in the country. Interviewed earlier this week is a Member of Parliament for Mwibara (CCM) Kangi Logola who openly disagreed with his party’s intention and resolved to defend the majority opinions of the people he represent in Warioba’s commission. Logola was quoted as saying that, “I Kangi Lugola as a member of CA, I stand to defend the rights of the people whom sent me in Parliament, I want a three tier government” he said and insisted that, there are two things of his party’s stand and that of his own as a representative. The Chairman for Constitutional Review Commission of Zanzibar Ali Saleh was quoted earlier this week as saying that, “he would be surprised to see Zanzibar members in CA if they would go against a three tier government structure as proposed by Warioba’s commission in the second draft”. He said that, a two tier government structure currently being touted by CCM party has extremely failed to end up union chaos for the last 50 years, added that there was no way other than pulling out of the system. He said he would become more perplexed if the Zanzibar members would reject the system as this had been the only means proposed for long as a lasting solution to end up the existing chaos in the union government. Tanganyika Law Society (TLS) has threatened to go to court if the CA currently discussing the draft would dare delete the important factors included in the second draft of constitution and would lodge a court injunction against the decision. The concern was issued on Wednesday by the firm’s President Francis Stolla who noted that, the basic factors of the constitution draft should be respected at all cost as these are people’s views. He said members of the CA have been sent to represent the majority of the people in the country and not the ruling CCM party. The participation and representation during the process to gather views on the proposed new constitution was free and fair says the CRC’s Chairman Judge Joseph Sinde Warioba. During the process, a total of 1,365.337 people gave out their views out of which 333,357 were made directly while 1,942 were in writing. Warioba said the statistics show that the constitution review was participatory and all groups were represented including the marginalized groups. The representation of the number of people who participated was fair and equal and there were no group that exceeded the other, warioba was quoted as saying. He said his commission received views from inside and outside the country through public rallies, special forms from the commission, letters, social networks, emails, face to face , face book, the commission’s website features articles from newspapers and text massages. Both men and women participated fully in the constitutional review process as there was equal representation from all groups including people with disabilities and the elderly.

Kenyan don cautions Tanzanians on the debate over new constitution

As the debate over the issue of unitary government seems to be the main subject of debate in a new constitution, a Kenyan academician has pleaded Members of the Constituent Assembly (CA) to widen up their mindset and think of other matters which would help create a conducive environment for national development. Professor Peter Kagwanja of the Nairobi based Africa Policy Institute (API) made the plea in an exclusive interview on  Tuesday last week in Dar es Salaam during a two-day conference on ‘Katiba Bora’ organized by  the Eastern and Southern African Universities Research Program (ESAURP) and attended by over 100 Academicians. Held at the turn of the week, the conference was convened to create a discussion platform over the details of the new constitution and a review of anticipated areas of interest for the CA members on the second draft of the constitution whose discussions starts officially next week in Dodoma. He said Tanzanians should not only focus their ideas on how many governments should they have as it is being reported everyday in newspapers, except have to think on how they could defend and benefit from the country’s natural resources such as minerals, gas and oil. However, he noted that, since Tanzania is endowed with rich underground resources among the East African countries, its people have to prevent it from being exploited for the betterment of their future life. He said Tanzanians should think of ideas which would ward off the existing disparities among themselves including challenges that face their everyday’s life. By focusing their mindsets on issues related with their social lives will open a brighter future for the coming generation, he added. The Professor, who has specialized in people’s life, has indeed put across various matters to be the most priority areas such as the access to social and economic services such as health, education, water and the increased rate of unemployment in the country as these are still a major challenge for many Tanzanians especially the rural people who suffers the most. Others he noted are formulation of basic strategies on how to alleviate poverty stricken situation among citizens of all walks of life, land issues on aspects of conflicts between farmers and pastoralists, gender equality, citizenship, President’s powers and many others that are among the most crucial matters that members should put emphasis on while discussing the draft. He said it is ample times to think of these issues first as they form the basic human material life through which people are involved in every economic and social development process. “If these are properly discussed and endorsed in the new constitution, there is a likelihood of averting unnecessary protests, conflicts as well as demonstrations in the country”, he said. The professor noted that, all these might not have a chance of discussions as most members seem to have driven their mindset on the issue of two or three tier government structure which he said should not threaten Tanzanians as what is important in this aspect is to solve the envisaged irregularities existing within the union government. Giving an example of his country (Kenya) he said that, the government had adopted the colonial government when came into power in 1963 and of late, it caused some political mishaps in the country an aspect that had decided to write their own after having discovered it had some problems. He described a three tier government structure for being too expensive to run as high ranking officials including the Presidents would require to enjoy the given privileges for having holding such top positions whereby they have to be paid for the recommended allowances from tax payers’ money. Despite the system has been recommended by the people as per the report of the Constitution Review Commission (CRC), it’s therefore upon the members to work to convince their people into looking at the issue more critically and compare it with the country’s economy, he affirmed. He said this issue needed enough time to be conducted slowly and gradually as it needs also the minds of intellectuals and people of high Calibri in every sector of development. Contributing his views, a delegate to the meeting, who is also an economist from the University of  Dar es Salaam, Prof Humphrey Moshi, said the CA should make sure that  equality between the two partners of the Union is given prominence in the  new constitution. He noted that at the moment, Zanzibar complains of inequalities in Union matters and Tanzania Mainland has also many complaints over the same matter due to ambiguities in the current constitution. The dean of the School of Law from the University of Dar es Salaam, who is also a Notary Public and Commissioner for Oaths, Prof Bonaventure Rutinwa, pointed out that the second draft constitution does not state which government will be overall responsible for citizens’ rights calling for the CA to ensure it specifies the matter. Moving across the border, the Executive Director of the South African based Institute for Democracy (IDA) Professor Derrick Marco who was among the invited academicians wanted Tanzania to respect the on-going constitutional review process so as to get a good and a comprehensive draft. He said constitutional meeting process must ensure the maximum participation of all the civil society groups in the country under the sprit of Public Private Partnership (PPP). However, he noted that empowerment of this process needs a joint participation into getting a good draft. Dr. George Kahangwa of the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) is on the view of the fact that, a one government structure was enough to end all the chaos in the current union government, bearing the fact that, Zanzibar is less powerful in terms of economy and thus depends entirely from Tanzania mainland. He said by having a single government would put Tanzanians together in terms of economic, social and political grounds as the sprit of the leaders was to unify a single state He clarified that, there should be a uniformity when it comes to the righteousness of the citizens basing on land acquisition in both Tanzania mainland and in Zanzibar. Unlike today the current constitution dopes not allow people from Tanzania mainland to own land in Zanzibar, a typical characteristic which shows elements of discrimination on the rights for citizens of both countries.

CA official programs rescheduled one week ahead

The official program detailing discussions of the second draft of the National Constitution which was earlier slated to officially begin on Monday next week, has been rescheduled one week ahead. Speaking in a telephone interview yesterday from Dodoma, Tanzania’s National Assembly Clerk Dr. Thomas Kashilila said that, the date for the official opening has been prolonged due to the delay of the approval of the house standing orders which he said will take time for the members of the Constituent Assembly (CA) to discuss in order to accept provisions endorsed in it. Earlier, it was anticipated that if these were in place, then the house could officially be opened on the proposed day by President Jakaya Kikwete, he said. Giving reasons for delay, the Chief Clerk clarified that, it was due to tightened schedule activities his office had to undergo that forced other things like the preparations for the CA matters to move in a slow pace an aspect which has inconvenienced the whole program. “Unless the standing orders are approved by the CA members as this will give room for other things to follow such as the election of the House Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson” he said adding that, the house procedures have to be guided and strictly observed by the standing orders. 

Tanzania’s National Assembly Clerk Dr. Thomas Kashilila

 On how the Constituent Assembly will be conducted, Kashilila said the interim Chairman Amir Pandu Kificho will oversee the approval of the Assembly’s standing orders and later will also supervise the election of the Chairperson and Vice Chairperson as per section 22 (1) of the Constitutional Review Act 2013. According to the Act after getting the chairperson and Vice Chairperson, secretary and deputy secretary will also be selected. He said according to the law if the chairperson comes from one part of the Union, the Secretary will come from the other part of the Union. The same procedure will apply to get the vice chairperson. Comprising over 600 members, the assembly includes the over 350 Members of the Union Parliament, over 80 Members of House of Representatives and the 201 members recently appointed by President Kikwete. Earlier Kashilila was quoted on Wednesday this week as saying that, “after being elected the chairperson will not be sworn in until the secretary and deputy are sworn in by the Union President Dr Jakaya Kikwete”. “Thereafter the activities of the constituent assembly will commence officially because after taking the oath, the secretary will have the obligation to swear in the chairperson and the vice chairperson. The Chairperson will swear in all members of the constituent assembly. After the completion of all these exercises which he assumed would consume more time, the Chairman will have to table a draft of the second constitution and thereby opening a general discussion to all members in CA.  In Dar es Salaam, the Tanzania Constitution Forum’s Chairman Deus Kibamba who is worried about the delay said these should have been ready by now to guide the proceedings in the CA according to Cap 223, sections No. 23, 24 and 25 as endorsed in the Constitution Review Act 2013.  But to his great surprise, Kibamba noted that, the proceedings might take long time than anticipated before and might see the 70 days are not enough for the discussion process. He said the procedural guidelines for the CA’s house depend entirely on the standing orders which should have been ready as earlier enough as per the Constitutional Review Act of 2013 states. He further said that, in every Parliament in the world when there are new members as the case of the Constituent Assembly, a lot of time is consumed to accomplish the necessary arrangements prior to the start of the official sessions.

Monday, February 17, 2014

CA official programs to start next week

The official program detailing discussions of the second draft of the national constitution will have to go one week ahead pending delay of preparedness of the house standing orders that governs the proceedings of the Constituent Assembly (CA), an official of the Tanzania Constitutional Forum (TCF) has said. Speaking in a telephone interview last week in Dar es Salaam, the TCF’s Chairman Deus Kibamba who is worried about the matter said that, the official discussion on the draft of constitution is likely to start a week after. Judging from the short timeframe, Kibamba said that, there are certain important things to be done prior to the start including house standing orders. He said these should have been ready by now to guide the proceedings scheduled to take place in the CA according to Cap 223, sections No. 23, 24 and 25 as endorsed in the Constitution Review Act 2013. But to his great surprise, Kibamba noted that, the proceedings might start later owing to the fact that, the important activities such as the swearing in of the new members and other things have to precede the formal arrangements an aspect which he said would consume time. Other activities which he said would delay the discussions includes the provision of working tools to members of the CA for which have to undergo the orientation seminar ones are sworn in to become full members, a tedious work which he said requires more preparations. However, he said the standing orders for the CA house are supposed to be prepared by the secretariat of the National Parliament office, and which should not relate with the normal National Parliamentary procedures.  He said as members would start pouring in Dodoma as from Monday next week, all of them are not aware of the basic standing orders that govern the CA house, including how to elect their Chairperson and the Vice-Chairperson and other things. He said the procedural guidelines for the CA’s house depend entirely on the standing orders which should have been ready as per the Constitutional Review Act of 2013 states. However, he said all these should have been ready on time to let all Tanzanians give their opinions and know how the chairman is going to be elected as it is a public document he queried noting that all these are not known in the eyes of most Tanzanians. 

TCF’s Chairman Deus Kibamba contributing a point in a public debate about new constitution.

Responding on the issue, the Secretary of the National Assembly Dr. Thomas Kashilila admitted when contacted for comments in a telephone interview yesterday and said that, his office which works in collaboration with the House of Representatives of Zanzibar is currently finalizing the necessary reports. He further said that, in every Parliament in the world when there are new members as the case of the Constituent Assembly, a lot of time is consumed to accomplish the necessary arrangements prior to the start of the official sessions. Driving his points to the newly CA in the country which has about 640 members, he said more time would be consumed prior to start of the official sessions, however, he said there will be some other activities such as the appointments of the temporary Chairperson and the secretary. He said under Cap 83 of the Constitution Review Act of 2011, the CA members would choose their temporary Chairperson who would coordinate the activities of electing the Chairperson of the CA to conduct the whole session throughout. He said the temporary chairperson would also be responsible to handle three issues at a time which includes, ensuring the approval of the house standing orders by members, these he said would give directives on how the discussion procedures on every sections of the constitution would be done. After that, he continued, he or she would supervise the activities of voting to get a Chairperson and the Vice-Chair person, and finally would resign from the position  He said in the Constituent Assembly, ones a Chairman is chosen from the Tanzania mainland then the secretary of the house should hail from Zanzibar as in accordance to the Constitution Review Act of 2013. Likewise, he further noted that, if the chosen Chairman comes from Zanzibar, then the secretary should hail from Tanzania mainland. The secretaries in this case are those of the National Assembly and that of the House of Representatives from Zanzibar. The Chairperson after being selected by members, would lead the discussions on the constitutional review process throughout up to comes to an end and a draft would be presented for the referendum.