5 February 2013

Tanzania: Katiba Team Enters Compiling Phase

AFTER receiving views from members of the public, various institutions as well as former and current leaders, the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) is currently analyzing the observations ahead of a draft constitution slated for May, this year.

The Chairman of CRC, Judge (Rtd) Joseph Warioba said the draft constitution will be published in various newspapers in accordance to Article 83 of the Constitution Review Act of 2012. "This will enable citizens to read through the draft before it is discussed in constitutional assemblies scheduled to start in June, this year," Mr Warioba told a news conference in Dar es Salaam.

Members of the constitutional assemblies will be elected by the people from the grass-roots level and will be expected to discuss the sketch of the constitution and present the views of the people who elected them.

For one to be a member of the assemblage, he or she must be a literate citizen of Tanzania above 18 years of age and must also be a permanent resident of the respective area, Mr Warioba noted.

The CRC started mid last year to collect views from individuals and completed the exercise on December 19, last year. Between January 7 and 28, this year the commission held meetings with a number of prominent former and current public leaders in addition to organizations such political parties, religious and government institutions from Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar.

"In general, we were very successful in our meetings and I would like to extend my gratitude to all people who participated in the process," he acknowledged. Regarding the constitution assemblies, Mr Warioba said the commission has finalized guidelines on appropriate and democratic means of electing members of the gatherings. He said the guidelines will be circulated countrywide.

According to the guidelines, every ward in all regions in Tanzania Mainland excluding Dar es Salaam will be represented by four members. The members will join elected and special seats local councillors to form district constitution assemblage.

"In Dar es Salaam, every ward will have eight representatives who will team up with local councillors to form a district assembly. In total therefore, there will be 18,169 members of district assemblies in Tanzania Mainland," Mr Warioba, former Prime Minister and a respected lawyer, told journalists.

In Zanzibar, there will be 13 district constitution assemblies to be made of three members from every shehia (ward) as well as elected, special seats and nominated local councillors. This will make a total of 1,198 members in the Islands.

After members of the district meetings have gone through the draft it will again be presented to the Special Constitutional Assembly to be discussed, Mr Warioba explained. Meanwhile, President Jakaya Kikwete is tomorrow expected to grace the Tanzania Law Day celebrations to be marked at the High Court's premises.

Chief Justice Mohamed Othman Chande told journalists that this year's celebrations will carry the theme; 'The Rule of Law and its importance in the country.' According to Judge Chande, the event will be also attended by other leaders including Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms Anne Makinda. The Law Day marks the commencement of provision of judicial services in the country.

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