4 October 2012

Tanzania: DCs Asked Not to Intimidate Citizens in Constitutional Review

Photo: IRIN
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ACTIVISTS have expressed disappointment over the presence district commissioners at meetings to collect views on the new constitution, saying the move does not allow people to express themselves freely.

The Chairman of the Tanzania Constitution Forum (TCF), Mr Deus Riobamba said in Dar as Salaam that a survey conducted by the forum found out that DCs have intruded the meetings and sometimes have gone to the extent of intimidating people.

"In some areas district commissioners have threatened people not to give views that intend to ditch the post of district commissioners in the new constitution and others have even demanded to be asked for permission for meetings to be held," he said.

Mr Riobamba who was flanked by several activists said that the forum was pleased by the way the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) has been handling its meetings and that the second round collection of views has shown big improvements. "The commission has improved on the area of relations with citizens who share their views, unlike in the first round where the commission members used to ask tough questions.

This time around they have improved and to a large extent people feel freer in giving their views," he said.The CRC Chairman, Judge Joseph Warioba recently warned government leaders not to interfere with the exercise of collecting views on the new constitution to allow wider participation of citizens.

Judge Warioba said that if such leaders stay away from such meetings citizens would be free to air their views, including those that call for the abolition of certain government posts. "There could be some people who do not want certain leadership posts to continue being in place such as that of the district commissioners. If it happens that a DC is present in the meeting, it will affect the exercise," he said.

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