TANZANIA has logged a historical achievement by preparing and passing the regulations that will guide Constituent Assembly members in rewriting the Constitution. The relations have been prepared and passed in less than a month.
A historic milestone was reached on day when almost 98 per cent of members of the Constituent Assembly (CA) endorsed the constitutional guiding rules. Only a few of them (less than two per cent) opposed the procedure.
The tough journey, which started about three weeks ago, saw the CA endorsing 85 articles of the Standing Orders and reaching an agreement on the remaining two articles (number 37 and 38), which have been kept pending until a lasting solution on them is found.
The happiest persons yesterday were the Interim Chairman of the CA, Mr Pandu Ameir Kificho and the chairman of the Standing Orders Committee, Prof Costa Mahalu, who said the long walk towards a new constitution had officially started.
“These regulations have now shown a clear roadmap on the way forward as we write the new constitution — except on how the voting will be conducted. The matter is still being studied and will be communicated soon after,” said Prof Mahalu.
Shortly before the CA endorsed the Standing Orders, 13 members were offered chance by the Interim Chairman to speak representing their groups. All of them supported the endorsement of the Standing Orders. Prof Ibrahim Lipumba opened the floor by saying the regulations were good.
He appealed to the CA members to endorse them, but reminded the assembly on the remaining task of solving the pending articles, number 37 and 38, on the secret or open mode of voting. Dr Francis Michael, on behalf of the 201 group members, said that all members have to support the regulations and get ready for the harder tasks ahead of them.
“We have come a long way in having these regulations. So let us pass them and this step has to lead us in finding the solutions on how to tackle the other challenges ahead,” he said. Ms Jenista Mhagama, Mr Idrissa Kitwana Mustafa and Mr James Mbatia congratulated the technical committee for the wonderful job accomplished, with Mr Mustafa saying that this new achievement will always be cherished by all Tanzanians.
But on his side, Mr Frederick Msigala, who spoke on behalf of the people with special physical challenges, said the regulations have accommodated their needs by 100 per cent. “It is through the reconciliation spirit that we will go through this transition peacefully and that is, therefore, a stable foundation that we must be proud of,” he stressed.
Others who spoke were Sheikh Mussa Kundecha, Mr Freeman Mbowe, Ms Anna Abdallah and Bishop Amos Mhagachi, who reminded the members of a biblical teaching that says “the voices of majority are the voice of God.”
However, those who went against the endorsement of the Standing Orders were represented by Rev Christopher Mtikila, Mr Felix Mkosamali and Mr Kangi Lugola, who said the whole exercise lacked legitimacy, fairness and transparency.
Mr Lugola said despite being a member from the ruling party whose majority of the members supported the regulations as well as open vote system, he was against endorsing the regulations without clearing the issue of voting first.
“I don’t support this move because principally it was supposed to take place after the House has solved the contentious issues first particularly on how the voting will be done,” he said in an interview at the parliamentary grounds.
Apart from declaring that he preferred the secret vote, he said he was not happy with how the interim chairman handled the matter to the bitter end, but was now waiting for the new chairman to take over and pursue it afresh.
Offering an interview to the ‘Daily News’, Mr Kificho said he thanked God for successfully completing the mission which he described as the most challenging one. On the CA members’ allowances which dominated media headlines in the last two weeks, he said the issue was finally solved and the CA was now focusing on other tasks ahead of them.