The Constituent Assembly kicks off its business today in Dodoma with election of an interim Chairman, who will oversee enactment of Standing Orders and election of the permanent chairman.
The Clerk of the National Assembly, Dr Thomas Kashililah, told reporters yesterday that according to the Constitution Review Act, any member of the CA is legible to vie for the post of interim chairman. He said his office started to distribute forms to those interested to fill the post since yesterday with the deadline of collecting and returning the forms being today at 11am.
“At 2pm tomorrow (today), Constituent Assembly members will elect an interim chairman from the list of those who will return dully filled forms,” he said.
He noted that basing on the powers that he and his Zanzibar House of Representatives Clerk have been conferred, they will today jointly lead CA members to elect the interim chairman.
Dr Kashililah, who was flanked by Mr Musa Kombo, the Deputy Clerk of the House of Representatives, said any member aspiring to be elected interim chairman should have signatures of not less than ten CA members endorsing his or her application.
The Zanzibar House of Representative Clerk, Mr Yahya Khamis Hamad, did not attend yesterday’s briefing as he was yet to arrive in Dodoma.
According to Dr Kashililah, before they formally start their meeting today afternoon, there will be orientation session this morning to the CA members.
After electing the interim chairman, CA members will be locked up for two days at St Gasper Hall tomorrow and day after, debating the proposed Standing Orders which will be endorsed by the CA on Friday.
According to Dr Kashililah, it is the Standing Orders which will prescribe conditions for modalities to elect the permanent chairman of the CA.
But, the Constitution Review Act has given general qualification for a person to be elected to that post as having a degree from a recognised university, possess proven experience and competency in chairing public assemblies and foras and has not been convicted by any court and sentenced to a term of imprisonment exceeding six months for any offence including dishonesty and moral turpitude.
After adopting of the Standing Orders and election of permanent chairman, the President will then inaugurate the CA after which he will allow the Constitution Review Commission (CRC) chairman to table the draft constitution for debate.
According to a timetable released here on Sunday, this will happen on Monday paving the way for general debate on the second draft constitution to begin on earnest on Wednesday.
According to the law, the CA would debate the draft constitution for 70 days after which the chairman and deputy chairman, upon approval from the Union and Zanzibar Presidents, extend the tenure of the Assembly until it concludes its business.