18 January 2013

Tanzania: Malecela Touts Bicameral Legislature in New Katiba

TANZANIA should introduce a bicameral system of parliament so issues of national interest can be debated exhaustively by the legislature, former Premier Mr John Malecela has counselled.

The retired statesman shared his views with the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) in Dar es Salaam when he met with members of the commission.He advised that the new constitution should pave way for Tanzania to adopt a system like that of India where parliament has two chambers, an upper house and a lower house.

"A bicameral legislature with two chambers will help in making sure that issues are thoroughly digested and debated and legislators make sound decisions," he said.He added that female representation in parliament is vital and called on the decision to have 50 per cent of women represented in the legislature to be enshrined in the new constitution as well.

"Some people object to having special seats but they are very crucial for women, after all Tanzania signed the Beijing declaration which calls for 50 per cent of female representation in parliament," he said.Mr Malecela, however, noted that there should be strong systems in place to ensure that all special seats MPs are nominated on merit and are competent enough to carry out their duties.

On presidential powers, the elderly statesman recommended that the powers should remain intact."Saying that the president has too many powers is misplaced. Who would you think rather we give such powers to? Those powers certainly cannot be bestowed on the judiciary or the legislature, they should remain within the executive," he said.

Meanwhile, the CRC Chairman, Judge (rtd) Joseph Warioba, said that the commission has hitherto met with 80 different groups and that the exercise is continuing smoothly."We expect to cover all groups by the end of this month. We have also met various dignitaries who are still in office and those who have retired," he said.

CRC has also clarified reports that it has refused to accept views on the new constitution from some institutions, noting that the claims were baseless.According to a statement issued yesterday by CRC Secretary, Mr Assaa Rashid, some newspapers reported that views submitted by the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) on Tuesday were rejected by CRC members at the Karimjee Hall in Dar es Salaam.

"The Commission wishes to inform the public and other institutions that CRC has never turned down opinions from anyone and it has no such powers to do so," he said.

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