The Constitutional Review Commission has started receiving views from the public to help it identify crucial areas of focus, saying most suggest review of state organs and institutions, leaders and government bodies’ legitimacy.
Chairman of the Commission, Judge Joseph Warioba said this when he met with journalists to brief them on preparations and progress towards the new constitution making process.
He called for people’s opinions on four areas, namely citizens powers, coordination of government activities, human rights and national pillars which according to him would help the team to meet Tanzanians’ expectations in writing the legal document.
Judge Warioba said the team is ready for work, adding that it will start with eight regions namely Dodoma, Tanga, Kagera, Shinyanga, Manyara and Coast region in Tanzania mainland while in Zanzibar it will begin with South Pemba and South Unguja.
“The aim is to ensure all Tanzanians air their views…but due to the country’s geographical position it will be difficult to meet everyone. We are going to use different ways to receive and work on all the opinions”, said Warioba.
He said apart from public rallies there will be a system of receiving opinions from Tanzanians living outside the country through mobile phones, emails, social networks and the post office. He called on citizens to suggest important issues to be included in the constitution instead of airing complaints.
He said before collecting public contributions the commission would wish to conduct civic education whereas it has received 500,000 printed copies of the current Union Constitution, 10,000 of the Zanzibar Constitution and 500,000 copies of the Constitutional Review Bill of 2012. He said the copies have been put in simple language to enable people to easily understand them.
Warioba said they have split into seven groups, each of which will make four trips to different regions between June and December this year. He said every group will work for a month in each region.
According to Warioba, the second phase of opinion collection will be done through Constitutional Councils where Tanzanians will be asked to air their views to the councils.
“The commission will work in transparency…Tanzanians should not fear to give their views”, he noted.
Members of the Commission were named by President Jakaya Kikwete on April 6th this year.
Kikwete named retired Chief Justice Augustino Ramadhan as the Vice Chairperson, as well as 30 other members, 15 from Tanzania Mainland and 15 from Zanzibar.
The President named Assaa Ahmad Rashid as the Commission’s Secretary, to be assisted by Casmir Sumba Kyuki. The former previously served as Permanent Secretary in the Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ministry, while the latter was Principal Draftsman in the Attorney General’s Chambers.