MEMBERS of the Constituent Assembly from CCM have hailed the Head of the Roman Catholic Church in Tanzania, Polycarp Cardinal Pengo, for distancing the religious institution from association with a document purportedly supporting three-government system.
The document is alleged to have been released by some leaders of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC).
In an interaction with members of the media, the members, led Mr Mussa Azzan Zungu, who is also the Ilala MP, said the top cleric’s move to distance the church from the document, which he observed seeks to bring discord and mislead the public.
“The process of getting the constitution is a public agenda but there has been a lot of misleading reports that left the public with the wrong picture in the process making the ruling party to be wrongly perceived in the public’s eye,” Mr Zungu explained.
He claimed that there were dirty games going on aimed at hampering the whole process of writing up the new constitution. “But CCM will employ utmost wisdom to ensure the public gets the document as planned,” he stressed.
Mr Zungu said although there have been many claims that CCM intends to play the card for being the majority in the assembly, the party has on many occasions agreed to cede ground and cooperated with others on issues such as dissenting views and quorum.
“We know that there will be more documents coming out while some will use the social media or even the conventional media with the intention of mudslinging and feeding the public with wrong information on CCM’s intention on the new constitution.
But we beseech the public to ignore such information as the party will always strive to have the best interests of the public at heart,” he explained.
Another CA member, Mr Haji Omar Kheir, who is also the Zanzibar Minister of State in the President’s Office (Local Government and Regional Administration), warned against plans to derail the entire new constitution making process.
Mr Kheir warned groups and other political parties with the intention of seeing the Union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar go under through fuelling and providing the public with misleading information to stop it.
“I am pleased and hail Cardinal Pengo for disowning this ‘fake’ document; I believe with that kind of spirit, we will surely reach the objective of getting a new constitution that serves the public’s interests,” he remarked.
Mr Issa Haji Ussi, who is also Representative for Chwaka in Zanzibar, told the assembly that CCM was guided by principles that focused on protecting public interests.
Cardinal Pengo, who is also the Archbishop of the Dar es Salaam Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church said on Tuesday that the church as an institution will not take sides in the new constitution process since the draft did not deal with issues related to faith.
Cardinal Pengo told reporters in Dar es Salaam that earlier views published by some local tabloids quoting some religious leaders supporting the three-tier government remained personal and not connected to the church.
Some leaders of the justice and peace commission of the Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC) were quoted as having supported the three-tier government.
“In the church, when we want to give our stands, we do not rely on any committee or group; we normally do meet under the Episcopal Conference and come out with a statement, which is normally made by the chairman — and that becomes the official stand of the church,” he explained.