The current plan to improve the two government system by CCM would lead to a break up of the 1964 Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar because it is a non-starter, according to Zanzibar political pundits.
They also warned that this time around, Zanzibaris would accept nothing short of the type of Union which provides for fairness between the two partners.
Mr Ismail Jussa Ladhu — a proponent of the treaty-based type of union — told The Citizen in an exclusive interview here that many states have fallen due to the arrogance of its leaders and failure to listen to minorities.
He claimed that CCM’s stand on the Union structure does not take into consideration the voice from the Isles, something that could make Zanzibaris make a decision which would lead to the fall of the ruling party.
“What CCM suggests in its circular is no different from what is in the current Constitution. They are offering nothing new. This means that they want us to continue with the system which has been problematic for the last 50 years, no one in Zanzibar is going to accept that,” said Mr Jussa, who is also a Mji Mkongwe House of Representatives member on the ticket of the Civic United Front (CUF).
On the other hand, a renowned historian, Prof Abdul Sheriff, urged the two sides that if they want to live peacefully, there was no way they were going to refuse to sit and debate their issues.
“I’m a historian and I don’t want to predict what will happen in case these two sides stick to their positions. We should not let past experiences cast a shadow in this debate, we should focus on what we want to achieve as one people,” he said when responding to questions from The Citizen in an exclusive interview.
Prof Sheriff said he has read the CCM circular which proposes a number of changes in order to make the Union stronger.
“After I carefully read the circular, I failed to note what actually CCM wants to achieve with the two government system. If anything, they want two and half governments which is not a viable solution to problems which have accumulated for the last 50 years,” he said.
Elaborating, Prof Sheriff noted for instance that establishment of a House of Representatives and ministers who will deal with Tanzania Mainland would require an organ (government) to which they would be accountable.
Mr Jussa seconded Prof Sheriff wondering how these ministers would operate in the absence of a central organ to coordinate their activities.
“This takes us to the current system where Union government has been used to undertake Tanganyika issues which is one of contentious matters,” he said.
Among many things, CCM proposes in its circular number 3 that the government should establish a Joint Finance Account and a Joint Finance Committee in order to regulate financial issues between the two Union partners.
Contesting, Mr Jussa noted that articles 133 and 134 of the current Constitution direct the establishment of Finance Account and Joint Finance Commission respectively. He said furthermore, the articles want Parliament to enact a specific law to oversee operations of the two organs.
“If they have failed to implement this constitutional requirement for the last 50 years, what would make us believe that recommendations they are making now will be implemented?” asked Mr Jussa.
Mr Jussa also defended the 10th Zanzibar Constitution amendments noting that all of them were made on non-Union matters, over which Zanzibar has full jurisdiction. He said claims that Zanzibar undermined the Union Constitution through the amendments were untrue. He said those who were saying so were ignorant of what the Union Constitution says. He elaborated that the issue of the establishment of organs such as KMKM was included in the first Zanzibar Constitution made in 1984, but no one questioned it until today.
He also noted that the Zanzibar President has powers to divide the country into administrative areas because local government was not a Union issue.
He said even the then Zanzibar president, Aboud Jumbe Mwinyi, increased the number of Zanzibar regions from two to five but no one questioned that decision.