21 November 2012

Tanzania: Katiba Review Team to Build Its Capacity

THE Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) has highlighted three areas which it plans to undertake capacity building measures for its members so that they make informed decisions.

Speaking to the delegation of the Nairobi-based Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa (OSIEA) in Dar es Salaam, the CRC Chairman, Joseph Warioba, said that the measures were aimed at enabling CRC members to make informed decisions as they prepare draft constitution.

The OSIEA delegation led by its Director Ms Binaifer Nowrojee and accompanied by its Tanzania Programme Officer Ms Shamshad Rehmatullah and its Board Member Prof. Chris Maina Peter paid a courtesy call to Mr Warioba at his Dar es Salaam office and discussed various ways of collaboration.

The meeting was also attended by the CRC Secretary, Mr Assaa Rashid and his Deputy Mr Casmir Kyuki. According to Mr Warioba, the capacity building measures will cover three areas namely types of electoral systems, state ownership in the management of natural resources especially land and social security.

Apart from the three, Mr Warioba also said his Commission was ready to work with other stakeholders in area of public education especially during constitutional review for a stage, currently scheduled for June 2013, when common representatives of wananchi will discuss the draft constitution.

On the electoral system, Mr Warioba hinted that the CRC was receiving conflicting views from members of the public on the best type electoral system that was democratic but also affirmative.

"You know that currently we have over 350 Members of Parliament (MPs), some under special seats ... as we collect views from members of the public, we receive conflicting views on these," said Mr Warioba explaining that some people want the special seats retained in the new Constitution while others propose for their abolishment.

"We are looking at what type of electoral system is democratic and also affirmative," he said adding that it was crucial for members of the Commission to be well informed before drafting anything on the issue.

On management of natural resources, the CRC Chairman said according to the opinions the CRC is receiving so far, ownership and allocation of land and other natural resources was critical and the CRC members needed to be well informed especially on areas of public participation and decision making processes on natural resources.

Commenting on the areas, Ms Nowrojee said her firm was ready to support the CRC in realising its plans and requested for detailed proposal.

"We are ready to support all these plans as we have done in other countries. We basically assist what you ask for. We have no position and you will have to vet for the experts we propose," she said adding that her firm was in favour of using local and regional experts in capacity building initiatives they support.

Responding to the offer, the CRC Chairman said he was pleased to receive the offer and directed the CRC Secretariat to prepare detailed proposal for the OSIEA.

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