Dodoma — TANZANIA is making history today when President Jakaya Kikwete will inaugurate the Constituent Assembly (CA), as the country gears towards rewriting its constitution to replace the 1977 one.
The president arrived here on Thursday ahead of the historic event, which will be attended by both serving and retired national leaders, including former presidents and prime ministers, among other invited guests.
The event will also be attended by former Union First Lady, Mama Maria Nyerere and former Zanzibar First Lady, Mama Fatma Karume, widows of founders of the United Republic of Tanzania, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere and Sheikh Abeid Amani Karume, respectively.
Mr Kikwete's address to the CA is in accordance with the assembly's Standing Order number 75 (1) which provides that either the President of the United Republic of Tanzania or the President of Zanzibar should address the House.
The Head of State is expected to make the address at 4pm, during an occasion that will take two hours until 6pm, according to the Clerk of the CA, Mr Yahaya Khamis Hamad. "Invited guests are expected to be seated in their designated areas by 3pm.
The event will be preceded by a session of the CA at 3:10pm, which will be adjourned at 3:20pm to give time to officials to welcome the president," the CA Clerk told reporters.
The president will on arrival be received by the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the assembly, Mr Samuel Sitta and Ms Samia Suluhu Hassan, respectively, as well as the Clerk and Deputy Clerk of the CA, Mr Hamad and Dr Thomas Kashililah, accordingly.
The Head of State will thereafter be led to the podium for special greetings and inspection of a special parade to be mounted by members of the police force at the Bunge Grounds.
In another development, the Zanzibar House of Representatives has never issued a common stand with regard to how the structure of the union in the new Constitution should be, it has been said.
Chief Disciplinarian Salmin Awadh Salmin said that it was not possible to come up with a common stand from a parliament composed of members from the two parties, all with different views. He added that the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) made a wrong interpretation in stating that Zanzibar supported a three-tier government.
"Opinions of the ruling CCM party are known -- that we stand for the two-tier government despite some hurdles that we are optimistic shall be solved with time. Civic United Front (CUF) is for a 'treaty' union. Who says that Zanzibar supports three-tier government?" he questioned.
According to Mr Salmin, who is Constituent Assembly (CA) member, problems facing the current two-tier government union structure can be solved, adding that the "Draft Constitution does not guarantee that obstacles to union shall be solved under the three governments."
Mr Salmin insisted that Tanzanians living on the Mainland and those in the Isles have established bonds that could be affected if the current union structure changes.
"What we need is unity and solidarity in addressing our differences," he said. He insisted that the two sides of the union should now be moving from a political union to economical union that should be aimed at improving people's social lives.
Mr Salmin wondered why the Warioba Commission failed to adhere to the terms of reference that wanted the commission to carefully address the United Republic of Tanzania coherently."
"The Warioba Commission changed the name 'union' and replaced it with word 'federation.' That was against what was stipulated in the terms of reference," he claimed.
Another member, Prof Ibrahim Lipumba, urged his colleagues to keep aside their political differences while discussing the Draft Constitution.
He insisted that the union between two countries should be used to build solidarity among the people. "We should be transparent because our union should be maintained under the structure that shall benefit our people," he said.