9 January 2013

Tanzania: Opposition Wants Fixed Number of Ministries

THREE opposition parties have recommended that the new constitution should stipulate a specific number of ministries that the government should have.

It was also suggested that the new constitution should come up with a national council for religions, whose tasks will include solving religious conflicts, as opposed to now where there is no specific body to handle such matters.

The three parties, the National League for Democracy (NLD), Chama Cha Kijamii (CCK) and Alliance for Tanzania Farmers Party (AFP) noted that with a specific number of ministries, presidents will not be able to form new ministries at will.

Although he did not suggest a figure, the NLD Chairman Dr Emmanuel Makaidi said the new constitution should clearly state how many ministries there should be to avoid increasing government expenditure when expanding ministries.

He expressed concern whether the new constitution will make any different from the old one, since some of the commissioners in the Constitution Review Commission (CRC) were among those who prepared the current constitution. "It will not be a new constitution but an improved one, because some of the commissioners that participated in formulating the current constitution which has been described as bad, are also in the current commission," he noted.

The party also suggested that the new constitution should state or come up with decisive factors on how Members of Parliament and councillors should be removed from their posts when they fail to fulfil their duties.

CCK Chairman, Mr Constantine Akitanda said that since there have been many complaints against the Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar; the new constitution should allow the public to decide on the issue through referendum.

Mr Akitanda also noted that the new constitution should institute a bicameral legislature with two chambers, noting that currently there is no authority that controls parliament.

"With an upper house and a lower house, all decisions sifted through before they are implemented, to avoid shortcomings such as the issue of workers and pension funds," he explained.

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