Tuesday, February 3, 2015
Public astonished why UKAWA won’t participate in referendum polls
As two months have remained ahead of the referendum polls leaders of the Coalition of Defenders of People's Constitution popularly known in Kiswahili acronym ‘Ukawa’ recently astonished the general public when they announced in Dar es Salaam that, “their members will not participate in the coming referendum polls slated to take place countrywide end of April this year”. Briefing newsmen in Dar es Salaam, Ukawa chairman Professor Ibrahim Lipumba said that, they have come to such a decision after having interpreted and discussed the ongoing preparations as currently being handled by the ruling party and see there are lots of irregularities in it. Among them he mentioned the process of the on-going preparations of the electronic voter registration process which he said is not perfect in general and doubts on how the whole system to be conducted under Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) systems. He said that, the ruling party which spearhead the use of the BVR systems do not associate opposition parties and other stakeholders on how it work and the various software used in the application is likely top cause , sobdoubts comes on illiteracy part of it. However, among other reason he claimed that, ‘the whole constitutional making process was tampered and monopolized by members of the ruling party in the Constituent Assembly (CA) during their absence. He clarified that, during voting processes in passing out articles and their clauses in the house, results for Zanzibar could not reach two third of the votes cast as required by the law, and instead despite of this, the ruling party manipulated the results and force such articles to pass through by using their influence for having many representatives. Other reasons which he noted are the proposals which the ruling party had imposed on the new draft are false as some have been altered and that are not compatible with people’s opinions collected by the Chairman of the disbanded Constitution Review Commission led by Judge Joseph Warioba. Another common mistake which the ruling party has committed is the violation of the agreement which the two entered as part of resolution which stated that the referendum polls could take place after the general election slated for October this year is done and the process to be conducted under the new President. But according to Professor Lipumba, they are surprised to have seen that the agreement has been violated by the ruling party without common reasons, he queried. On his part, the Chairman of the opposition NCCR-Mageuzi party, Jasmes Mbatia reiterated the action of constitution making process is a joint communique agreement among the citizens in the country and therefore it should have respected at all cost.
According to him, he reminded the fact that, the constitutional making of the United Republic of Tanzania involves two separate states that of Tanganyika and Zanzibar and which of course needs to be comprehensively stated, an d is different from other East African states which have a single government. In respect of this, care was needed in handling people’s opinions in order to come out with a comprehensive constitutional draft. He termed the proposed constitution draft as being an illegal document which members of Ukawa are not deserved to participate in the voting process during the referendum polls. “In the illegality we cannot participate as everything is improperly disorganized”, he said and added that, the ruling party must adhere to the consensus reached when they met with then President. However, he reiterated the need of reviving back in the old constitution of 1977 in areas whereby they had agreed upon. The areas he mentioned are review on Election Commission, the area of sending an election petition queries on the Presidential results. Another interim Chairman of the Ukawa group, and the Chairman of the opposition Chadema party Freeman Mbowe noted that, CCM has lost its focus at this time when the party is trying all it can in order to manipulate the results of the referendum and that of the general election. He disclosed that, the ruling party is conducting secret meetings and does not want to associate other stakeholders in the country over the whole process. He queried then rationale of the ruling to enjoin outside nations such as UK and Switzerland and some donors to discuss the BVS voter systems and criticized then State House Communication unit for propagating election process while this is the work entirely to be carried on by the National Election Commission. This is the second time leaders of Ukawa are boycotting sessions related with then CA making process. On 16th April 2014 Ukawa walked out of CA in protest against what they described as a deliberate move by CCM members to hijack the debate in favour of their party interests. Meanwhile , a section of academic and political experts in the country have expressed being stunned by extremist party politics dominating the constitution writing process, saying the wrangling between CCM and Chadema should be softened enough to proceed with the work, not sticking to their party ideologies.