8 January 2013

Tanzania: Parties Tout Private Candidature

THE ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) and Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema) have suggested that the new Constitution should accommodate the presence of a private candidature in presidential and other political posts during national general elections.

The two parties, which met with the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) on Monday in Dar es Salaam, however, differed on the structure of the Union and conditions for the private presidential candidature.The Chairman of the CCM delegation that met with the CRC, Mr Andrew Chenge, told reporters soon after the closed session with the commission that his party has presented at least five key issues.

He could not mention them on grounds that such issues were basically the property of the Commission for the time being, but hinted that one of the key recommendations was about private candidates.According to him, while the party is supporting private candidature, it has recommended that such candidates should be restricted on how they would operate in the new proposed electoral system.

"We have submitted our recommendations and one of them is about the private candidates whom we think -- if agreed in the new constitution -- should be monitored on how they can effectively operate and run their political activities in some areas," he noted.

On the Union structure, Mr Chenge said that his party was supporting the current two tier government system which embraces the Union and the Zanzibar government.

On their side, Chadema presented a number of issues to the commission particularly on the new constitutional system that addresses accountability and good governance. The Party's team Secretary, Mr Tundu Lissu, said that his party supports private candidature.

He also stated that Chadema was recommending for a three tier government system, opposing the existing system.Mr Lissu mentioned the three governments as the Government of Tanganyika, the Government of Zanzibar and a smaller Union government that would handle seven issues, including defence and security.

Mr Lissu was of the view that it was high time provincial governments were introduced in the country and named the proposed new areas to replace the current regions.He mentioned them as Western Nyanza Province, Eastern Nyanza Province, Lake Tanganyika Province, Central Province and Eastern Province.

Others are North Coast Province, South Coast Province, Southern Highlands Province and National Capital Province of Dar es Salaam.

"We have recommended that all leaders in the proposed provinces including the mayors be elected by the people and that the provinces should be economically viable," he said.

On the size of the Parliament, he said, should have not more than 300 elected members while the Cabinet members should not exceed 20.The new constitution according to Chadema, should also restrict presidential powers especially in appointments and his immunity be abolished.

On the election of the Union president, Mr Lissu said the Union President should be elected by a group in the new government structure and will not be given the mandate to declare wars.On the eligible age for the presidential candidate, Chadema, according to Mr Lissu, suggests for candidates who reached 18 years of age to be allowed to contest for the presidency since the constitution endorses them as mature enough to execute their constitutional rights.

Meanwhile, the CRC decided to run closed sessions where the media were not allowed to attend contrary to common practice when the commission is collecting views from people.The Commission's Deputy Secretary, Mr Kasmir Kyuki, explained to reporters that the decision was reached based on the sensitivity of the sessions.

"Normally such meetings are not open to the media because among others the Commissioners ask a lot of sensitive questions whose answers need to be well digested before they reach the public," he said.Mr Kyuki said that some of the issues raised by the wananchi during constitutional views were to be clarified by the political parties to clear some doubts.

But CHADEMA through Mr Lissu have the views that CRC meetings should be transparent and be covered by the media.

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