7 October 2013

Tanzania: Chadema Urges JK Not to Endorse Constitution Bill

THE opposition Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA) has appealed to President Jakaya Kikwete not to endorse the Constitutional Review Bill.

Addressing Journalists in response to President Kikwete's monthly speech, Chadema's Singida East Member of Parliament, Tundu Lissu said President Kikwete should honour his statement in his monthly public address by allowing negotiations to take place.

Mr Lissu, who is also the Opposition Chief whip, said if the president ascends to the Bill, the final document will not carry the nation's interests but that of individuals and groups.

In his monthly public address on Saturday, President Kikwete underscored the need for consensus to resolve the impasse on the Constitutional Review Bill (2013), noting that every single detail of controversial item was negotiable for the well-being of the nation.

Mr Kikwete said views from the opposition MPs could be discussed and perhaps prevail but the walk out, in Parliament was not proper. The Bill was recently passed in the absence of opposition legislators.

"The presence of opposition legislators in the House could give them the opportunity to participate fully in the discussion leading to passing the Constitutional Review Bill (2013). Matters which should be determined in Parliament cannot be resolved through other means like demonstrations or civil disobedience as proposed by the national leader of Chadema, Mr Freeman Mbowe," Mr Kikwete said.

The President insisted that consensus was the best option in resolving the standoff, otherwise Tanzanians would not comprehend the motive behind the intended violence as the focus was for the nation to have a new constitution.

He requested leaders of CHADEMA, CUF and NCCR-Mageuzi to exercise restraint and employ wisdom the same as it happened when the government and all other stakeholders held discussions to resolve the dilemma that cropped up in the process leading to the enactment of the Constitutional Review Act.

"To plan is to choose. I call upon all stakeholders, individuals and institutions to opt for peaceful negotiations for sustainable peace, stability and unity in Tanzania. We (government) are ready to take the path.

Mr Lissu during the press briefing yesterday noted that if the president endorses the constitutional review bill, it might plunge the countries into conflicts similar to those witnessed in Zimbabwe and Kenya before both countries had enacted their new constitutions.

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