12 December 2012

Tanzania: Insecurity Affects Katiba Meeting in Zanzibar

Photo: Fadhili Akida/Daily News
President Jakaya Kikwete (center), Zanzibar President Ali Mohamed Shein (left) congratulate each other following their landslide victories as the ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi Chairman and Vice-Chairman.

Zanzibar — MEMBERS of the Constitution Review Commission (CRC) failed to hold a meeting here, allegedly after receiving threats.

The team led by Professor Mwesiga Baregu cancelled the meeting at Mpendae area, after a group of youths questioned the legality of giving their opinions at that area.

A similar move was taken by the CRC team last Monday at Magomeni suburb. "We have witnessed some chaos in some meetings, as rival youths purportedly from Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) and Civic United Front (CUF) turn-up at the forum venue early to take front seats.

This has caused complaints which led to the cancellation of the meeting," said Khamis Hassan, a resident of Mpendae. Normally if one occupies a front seat, he/she has chance to air views. The meetings last for only three hours from 9.00 a.m. to 12.00 p.m, and 2.00 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the afternoon hours.

According to Prof Baregu and other members of the CRC team, any Tanzanian at any place can give opinion only once, but some people in some constituencies are opposed to that system. Anti riot police were called at the Mpendae area, and arrived shortly as people left peacefully from 'Bint-Amran' grounds. One person was reported injured by unidentified people.

When reached for comment, the Regional Police Commander (RPC) Aziz Juma said the incident had not been reported to his office. CCM members and their leaders are allegedly supporting the current union structure, while CUF members are reported to be calling for union reforms, to allow more Zanzibaris enjoy their sovereignty.

Speaking at the function to mark Human rights Day in Zanzibar, the Isles Attorney General Mr Othman Masoud observed that CRC work was almost useless because politicians have "hijacked" the exercise. He said that the collection of opinions was meant to let people free while giving their opinions, but people are now giving views according to the demands of their political leaders.

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