25 August 2014

Tanzania: MP Mulls Challenging CA Session Legitimacy

Dodoma — OPPOSITION MP for Mpanda Urban Saidi Arfi (Chadema), who is also a member of the Constituent Assembly (CA), is contemplating to file a case at the High Court to challenge what he describes as the legitimacy of the ongoing session of the August House.

Mr Arfi, a former National Deputy Chairman of Chadema, is among a handful of opposition MPs who have defied a stance by their parties to boycott the CA, lamented that if his counterparts from the opposition had not boycotted the session they would have helped to block any move to alter the draft.

"I am still consulting with my lawyers to file a case but am yet to make a final decision. I would want the court to clarify whether it is right for the CA to make changes in the second draft constitution compiled by the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC)," he told journalists on Sunday.

According to Arfi, what the CA is currently doing is making major changes in the current constitution of 1977 rather than making a new constitution.

"Nevertheless, I don't regret my decision to attend the ongoing CA going by debates in the committees," Mr Arfi stressed. He was, however, happy that there are four new issues which have been incorporated in the second draft constitution.

They include rights of farmers, livestock keepers and fishers to own land, rights to health, food and clean water as well as rights to social security and housing.

Regarding the structure of the Union, Mr Arfi said going by discussions in the CA committees it was obvious that the envisaged new constitution would maintain the current structure.

"Most of the committees here are proposing establishment of one union parliament with three chambers one for Tanzania Mainland, Zanzibar and the apex chamber for Union which almost suits three-tier structure proposed in the draft," he explained.

There is also another recommendation that the president of the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar be pronounced as the Vice-President of the United Republic of Tanzania to give him/her required status in the international community.


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