11 September 2012

Tanzania: Experts to Sift Views on New Constitution

Photo: The Daily News
Chairman of the Constitutional Review Commission, Judge Joseph Warioba, speaks at a news conference on the progress of people's views.

Kasulu — A SPECIAL team of legal and constitutional experts will be hired to carefully sift through public views on the new constitution before a final draft is compiled.

Retired Chief Justice and Vice Chairman of the Constitutional Review Commission, Mr Augustino Ramadhani told the 'Daily News' in Kasulu over the weekend that the arrangement is important to identify real issues from trivial ones to appear in the final draft.

Experience during the ongoing exercise to collect views here has shown that some people raise policy issues that affect their localities and request that they be accommodated in the new constitution. According to Justice Ramadhani, people were still free to raise issues without self-censorship and the commission will accommodate them accordingly.

"We are going to have a team of experts from within the country who will examine the views as soon as we are done with collecting them and it will work in ad hoc arrangement," he said. He asked the public not to worry about being unable to effectively contribute in the ongoing debate simply because they are ignorant of the present constitution, noting that the constitution review team was there to assist in such matters.

He said he has received a lot of complaints from various people since the exercise started about not having received enough education and sensitization on the existing constitution. Many of the individuals here are of the view that the new constitution should address issues like land grabbing, religious beliefs and social services including issues like school uniforms and animal slaughtering activities.

"We want girl Muslim students be allowed to wear headscarfs while at school and that should appear in the new constitution," said Mr Mikidadi Kipande.Mr Leonard Magoba questioned why Christians are restricted from slaughtering animals for public consumption and the task is solely left to Muslims and wants it to be a constitutional right for Christians to do the same.

Others wanted the constitution to state on freedom of worship where all prayer houses will be allowed to use loud speakers instead of only Mosques being allowed to do so as is the case now. A section of people recommended that prostitution be legalised in the new constitution since authorities have failed to curb the trade.

At Kigadye Village over the weekend, Kasulu District Commissioner, Mr Danhi Makanga, cautioned illegal immigrants from Burundi to stay away from the exercise. Over 75 per cent of about 5,000 residents at the village are refugees who fled from Burundi during conflicts in the 1970s and 1990s and are still accommodated there.

Mr Makanga admitted it was difficult to differentiate between illegal immigrants and natives but was confident that local authorities at the village will be able to identify them."We want to make it clear to you that this constitution is for Tanzanians and not for you. So please make sure you don't take part in giving your views," he told them.

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