CONSTITUENT Assembly (CA) member Hamad Rashid Mohamed has expressed dismay over the stance by fellow members who he accused of seeking to dismantle the Union under the pretext of the three-tier government structure.
Debating Chapters One and Six of the constitution draft here on Tuesday, Mr Rashid railed at Umoja wa Katiba ya Wananchi (UKAWA) members whom he said have no mandate to propose the three-tier government of the Union, stressing that the structure was not the priority of the people of Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar.
He said the members are supposed to push for reforms in the existing two-government system to improve the lives of the public and address challenges that already exist.
“They have to come back here and defend their proposals; after this assembly, we will all go out to Tanzanians for the referendum. I don’t understand why they are doing this now,’’ Mr Rashid pointed out.
Further pointing out that neither Ukawa nor Tanzania Kwanza have the two-thirds majority from both sides of the Union, Mr Rashid said it was upon all CA members to work together and provide Tanzanians with the new constitution they have been waiting for,” he stressed.
He described the walkout by UKAWA last Wednesday as political suicide. “When you walk out of this session, you are committing a political suicide…this is where you will stand up for what you believe and help bring positive changes to the country; not out in public rallies,” he added.
The CA member said it took many years to bring back the East African Community (EAC), warning the public of such leaders whose interest is to break up the Union and plunge the nation into chaos.
Mr Rashid, who recently arrived back from attending a meeting in Mexico, noted that delegates in the meeting were surprised and worried at what is happening in the country, as CA members deliberate on the draft constitution.
He said the Union, which has lasted for half a century and the peace we have enjoyed all these years has made Tanzania to be looked upon for assistance by conflictridden countries like Sudan.
He briefed the assembly on the meeting that he attended in Mexico, saying that it discussed investments. He stressed that international communities will only invest in countries that are peaceful; pointing out that Kenya was now suffering because the number of tourists has dropped.
The member criticised Zanzibar’s First Vice- President, Mr Seif Sharif Hamad, describing him as a leader who changes positions like a chameleon and can never be relied on, warning the public to beware of such leaders. “In 1984, he defended the two-government system.
After we were thrown out of CCM and came up with CUF he championed the Government of Unity; before the assembly he was for the Union of Contract and now he wants three governments…this is not acceptable, we cannot have such kind of leaders who do not have a firm position on issues,” he said.
In 2012, Mr Rashid found himself in trouble with the CUF for his desire to vie for the party’s secretary general position, which is currently being held by Mr Seif Sharif Hamad.
He was stripped off the party’s membership for allegedly causing mayhem within the party. He was forced to go to court to defend his Wawi Parliamentary seat under CUF.
On his part, another CA member, Mr Aggrey Mwanri, stressed that members should avoid insulting and talking ill about the founding fathers, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere and Mzee Abeid Amani Karume.
He said although those few who were insulting the late presidents did not value their contribution — to the Union and peace being enjoyed– the world recognised their contribution.
Mr Mwanri stressed that the two-tier government system was the only way, urging members to discuss ways to address challenges that have been noted in the Union, which include economic challenges and forge the way forward to improving the lives of people from both the Mainland and the Isles.
“People want to hear about plans to address such issues as health, education, infrastructure and not the three-government system, which will bring additional burden to the public by paying more taxes,” he stressed.
He urged Mr Freeman Mbowe and the rest of UKAWA members to return to the assembly to discuss the best way to solve problems afflicting the people and lift them out of poverty.
Dr Angelina Samike from among the 201 CA members said if the draft constitution had a two-tier government system as their recommendation, UKAWA members would have condemned CCM for bribing the Constitution Review Commission (CRC) to have that recommendation in the draft.
Dr Angelina noted that there is nothing that would please UKAWA who she noted seem to have no interests of the public at heart. She supported the two-tier Union.