26 April 2014

Tanzania: Ukawa Walk Out Dismays Kikwete

PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete has expressed dismay over a decision by some members of the Constituent Assembly (CA) to walkout of the august House and urged them to return and continue with the process of rewriting the basic law of the land.

Mr Kikwete also condemned the use of abusive language amongst some members of the House across the political divide, saying such actions did not fit in the calibre of a public leader.

"I was so disappointed with the walkout by some members of the assembly. They ought to go back to the CA since I believe any difference that arises there can be solved by the members themselves," Mr Kikwete said.

Adding: "I join other people who have spoken before me to urge the members to return to the House and continue with the process.

They should not miss out this opportunity." Even though the president did not mention the members in question, he was apparently referring to members of the UKAWA group who stormed out of the CA on claims that they were being segregated and insulted by other members.

UKAWA is made up of CA members from mainly three opposition parties, namely Chadema, NCCR-Mageuzi and CUF, in addition to some few members from the group of 201.

"By walking out of the CA, the members are being unjust to the people who elected them and those who proposed them for nomination to the assembly," he remarked.

Mr Kikwete made the remarks in Dar es Salaam in his address to the nation through youths who have been involved in demonstrations countrywide in support of the Golden Jubilee of the Union between Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar.

President Kikwete advised members of the CA to use systems and regulations in place to iron-out differences among them for a better constitution that will serve generations to come.

"I believe the Steering Committee and the Reconciliation Committee of the House are in a better position to address issues raised by the members," Mr Kikwete urged.

Regarding a decision by the UKAWA members to protest the CA and take it to the people, Mr Kikwete stressed that any issue in the assembly should be addressed by the House rather than the people.

"Time will come when the public will be involved in the process through referendum, it is not the right time to involve the people at this stage," he stated.

President Kikwete also said it was 'absolutely unacceptable' for members of the House to use abusive language on founding fathers of the union, Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere and Sheikh Abeid Amani Karume.

He expressed concern that some members have been insulting the late leaders despite commitment of the two in emancipating the two parts from colonialism and improving the welfare of the people.

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