ZANZIBARIS can now air their opinions directly on proposed bills before the laws are discussed and approved by the legislators, the Acting Clerk of the Zanzibar House of Representatives, Mr Amour Mohamed Amour, said on Friday.
Briefing reporters on the dramatic change in the laws process, Amour said the aim is to widen participation of the public in the making of laws in Zanzibar. According to the clerk, the two-week collection of the views starts immediately and ends on January 4, 2013; a week before proposed bills are tabled for discussion in the House (session begins on January 10, 2013).
"We have four bills to be tabled in the next session, but we want input from the people. This is the beginning of our plans to allow more people have their say about the proposals, in addition to the traditional Representatives of the House speaking entirely on behalf of the electorates," Amour said.
He named the proposed bills as "an Act to amend the Zanzibar Maritime Transport Act No. 5 of 2006'; an Act to establish the Zanzibar Shipping Corporation and an Act to provide for the establishment of the Zanzibar Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) and a 'bill to amend the political parties (Grand of Subvention) Act No. 6 of 1977."
"Copies of the bills are available at the government press and at the House. We can provide a copy to whoever wants. We want many people from both Pemba and Unguja to give views," emphasised the legal counsellor of the House, Mr Mussa Kombo, asked the media to motivate people.
Kombo said increased participation of the public will help in guiding the legislators when debating the bills in the House and "since the idea is new not many people may show-up, but we need to encourage them to use the opportunity." Mr Himid Choko, Public Relations Officer (PRO) said at the meeting that already the House has started involving different stakeholders in discussions on various issues and bills brought in the House.