The structure of the Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar was on spotlight in the National Assembly yesterday with the opposition asking the government to explain how it will treat public views on the issue.
Presenting opposition view on the budget estimates for the Ministry of State in the Vice President’s Office (Union Affairs) tabled by Minister Samia Suluhu Hassan, opposition spokesman Tundu Lissu said it was evident that public views on the subject would not be treated fairly as the Constitution Review Act, 2010 wants the envisaged Constitution to safeguard the existing structure of the Union.
According to Lissu, though the Chairman of the Constitution Review Commission (CRC) Judge Joseph Sinde Warioba has urged individuals to give their views over the matter, he was sure their opinions would not be respected as the Act already laid boundaries to the matter.
Section 9 (2-1) of the Constitution Review Act 2010 states that “The commission shall adhere to the national values and ethos and shall, in that respect safeguard and promote the following matters:- the existence of the United Republic, the existence of Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary, the republican nature of governance, the existence of the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar, national unity, cohesion and peace.”
Lissu said for a number of years Zanzibaris as well as some politicians from Tanzania Mainland have been calling for holding of a referendum to resolve the issue, but some CCM heavyweights and the government have always swept the calls under the carpet.
He said the emergence of groups in Zanzibar such as Uamsho is a continuation of the same desire that has been given strength by the amendments to the Zanzibar Constitution of 1984 in 2010 that declared Zanzibar a sovereign state.
He said faulted the government for accusing Uamsho group of seeking to break the Union, saying it was Zanzibaris themselves who amended their Constitution that declared their territory a sovereign state under CCM heavyweights and union government officials’ watch.
He said the Zanzibar Constitution also brands the Zanzibar government president as Commander-in-Chief who heads Special Forces such as Anti- Smuggling Unit (KMKM), Prisons and the Economic Builders Brigade, Fire Services and Valantia.
The same amended Constitution also does not compel Zanzibar president to consult Union president when he wants to review districts and regions boundaries as it was the case before the amendments.