20 December 2012

Tanzania: CRC Winds Up View Collecting Exercise in Zanzibar

THE Constitution Review Commission (CRC) on Tuesday concluded its first exercise of collecting views from people through public forums, as supporters of rival parties CCM and CUF bragged to each other of having dominated the forums.

CCM is defending the current Union structure comprising two governments, while CUF is for change, saying Zanzibar should have its full autonomy. "I believe the data collected from all forums, those supporting Zanzibar's full autonomy are more than those suggesting retaining the current structure," Salum Haji, a CUF supporter said as his rival Fatma Omar from CCM says 'we have won.'

Prof Mwesiga Baregu who led the team which concluded public forums in Zanzibar on Tuesday, said "It was a challenging experience in Zanzibar. It was obvious politicians interfered with the exercise by directing their followers of what to say particularly on the issue of union."

The issues of the Union dominated all the forums with little attention on other areas like how should it appear in the next constitution on leadership, health, social needs and agriculture. Some of the rare interesting views from the Constitution Review Commission (CRC) forums in Zanzibar included that, in future, "if the president is a man, the vice has to be a woman."

"Tanzanians should prove that they need gender balance in all positions including the highest post in the country. It is high time we have equal representation in decision making groups and we need the new constitution that promotes gender balance," said Ms Salama Omar.

Presenting her views to the CRC on what should be in the future union constitution, she argued that there were no reasons women should be few in top positions in the country and that equal representation is the solution in solving challenges facing women.

"Women are facing many challenges including poverty and violence because we are not well represented and therefore our voices and views are not considered in policy making," Salama said. Ms Mamu Faki is also of the views that land should be owned by the government to have proper control over it.

"I think all land in the country should be owned by the government so that we share it properly," she said. Faki said that if the government has full control over the land, with workable planning, conflicts over land will be minimized. "With proper management and corruption free allocation, everybody may be happy," he observes.

CRC has been organizing a series of public forums for people in Zanzibar Municipality to air their views in the process towards having a new union constitution before the next general elections (2015). The CRC timetable to collect views through public rallies is scheduled to end next Tuesday.

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