23 August 2014

Tanzania: CA Sub Committee Reports Progress On Thorny Issues

Dodoma — THE sub-committee of the Constituent Assembly (CA)'s Steering Committee that was formed to work on four thorny issues contained in the second draft constitution has already resolved two of the matters in question.

Not going into details, the Chair of the sub-committee, who is also the Vice-Chairperson of the CA, Ms Samia Suluhu Hassan, mentioned Kadhi courts and dual citizenship to be among issues that have so far been resolved.

As the 12 committees of the august House continue to discuss 17 chapters of the draft, four tricky topics cropped up, prompting the CA Chair Samuel Sitta to form the sub-committee in a bid to amicably resolve them.

They include dual-citizenship, Kadhi courts, joint union financial commission as well as the structure of the union parliament. "It should however be noted that the work of the sub-committee is not intended to overrule debates in the committee but rather strike a consensus for the better future of our country," the soft-spoken politician said.

Adding; "After working and resolving the four subjects in the sub-committee we will then present our recommendations to the Drafting Committee for consideration in the proposed constitution."

On the other hand, she was confident that the 12 committees will finish discussing the chapters of the draft constitution before the end of next week.

Regarding the two-third majority quorum from Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar that is required into passing motions, Ms Hassan noted that some of the committee had failed to beat the quorum due to their structure since they have few members from Zanzibar.

Meanwhile, meeting with some members of the Tanzania Fishers Union (TAFU)on Friday, Ms Hassan said there was still time for various groups to present their views towards improvement of the second draft.

"We don't have restrictions since the law (the Constitutional Review Act) is silent but Standing Orders of the CA allow us to incorporate new observations," she explained in response to queries from journalists on whether it was proper for people to continue bringing new ideas.

She explained further that the CA has powers to add new chapters in the draft constitution, noting that the august House has already received new chapters on land, natural resources and local government authorities.

The TAFU members had presented 17 topics that they want to be incorporated in the envisaged new constitution to safeguard interests of fishing communities in the country.

Among others, TAFU's Coordinator and Spokesperson Sijaona James, said fishers want to be allowed to own land in areas they operate as well as rights to be represented in the National Assembly and Zanzibar's House of Representatives.

"We also want to have rights to be given subsidies in terms of equipment for fishing and fish farming and rights to be compensated when there are changes in legislation and policies that might affect our operations," Mr Sijaona, flanked with other TAFU members, explained.

According to Mr Sijaona, fishing is a livelihood for over 10 million people across the country. He complained however that the potential of the industry was not fully exploited.

In response, Ms Hassan thanked the TAFU members for their inputs but was quick to state that not everything that they have proposed would be included in the proposed constitution.

She noted that even as there are 10 members representing fishers in the CA, the number was insufficient to represent the views of all fishing communities in the country and thus a need for more ideas.


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