20 November 2012

Tanzania: Constitution Review Board Urged to Reflect Views of Zanzibaris

Photo: The Daily News
President Jakaya Kikwete (left) speaks to a government official (file photo).

Zanzibar — THE Constitution Review Commission (CRC) has been challenged to ensure that the country gets a constitution that reflects calls and wishes of Zanzibaris and Tanzanians in general.

"We have started getting worried about the outcome of our opinions. We want justice and fairness to prevail for all in the on-going exercise to collect views and ultimately to have our voices heard and respected," Mr Ali Mohamed Bakar said here over the weekend.

Bakar was among several Zanzibaris who turned up at Bwawani Hotel where the "Zanzibar Constitution Council- Baraza la katiba," organized awareness forum aiming at educating people on how to give views.

Mr Seif Ali Iddi (not the vice-president), Mr Thabit Mohammed Saleh, Ms Rahma Mwalimu Omar and Ms Shara Khamis were other speakers at the forum who prayed that the next constitution should provide full economic autonomy for Zanzibar. "Let us have Zanzibar and Tanganyika and later agree on areas of cooperation by signing a contract (Union contract) to be overseen by a commission to be formed later.

I argue that majority of Zanzibaris need more freedom from the Union," Mr Saleh Mohamed from the State University of Zanzibar (SUZA) said. Saleh also raised concern over political leaders particularly Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) who have been asking party fans to stick to the two-government structure (or the current structure), while the Civic United Front (CUF) has joined together to drum support for new format of union (Contract Union) similar to that of the European Union (EU).

The main speakers at the forum chaired by lawyer Mr Salum Tawfiq were Mr Saleh Mohamed and Prof Abdul Sharif who urged Zanzibaris to be calm and give their views without fear to the CRC members. Prof Sharif emphasized that Zanzibaris want to see a constitution that is people-driven and not one which is political party and government inclined.

CRC's last session in Zanzibar Urban-West region started yesterday and is pencilled to run through to December 20, 2012. The exercise has already heard individual voices from other regions of Zanzibar.

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