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African constitutional experts in Dar to share experience

8th May 2012
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Tanzania Centre for Democracy (TCD) chairman James Mbatia

Constitutional experts from different parts of Africa are meeting in Dar es Salaam to share experience with Tanzanian counterparts on constitutional review related issues.

Tanzania Centre for Democracy (TCD) chairman James Mbatia told reporters yesterday that the meeting brings together representatives of all political parties and members of the constitutional review commission.

“We want to learn from them and use their experiences at this moment when we are in the process of writing our new constitution,” Mbatia said.

The African constitutional experts are from Kenya, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Ghana.

“We want to see how far they had gone and how they had solved the constitutional challenges in their own countries,” Mbatia said.

Later during ‘Mini Regional Symposium on Taking the Tanzania Constitutional Reform Process Forward’ which involved over 40 participants, Mbatia mentioned the reasons why they decided to pick the four countries.

“Ghana is taken as the role model of democracy in Africa, while Kenya, Zimbabwe and Malawi have been selected because of their experiences on constitutional review crises,” he noted.

He said the aim of TCD is to ensure that Tanzanians gets the best constitution that will be the answer to the various challenges the country is facing.

Speaking at the meeting, the Civil United Front national chairman, Prof Ibrahim Lipumba said it is a good idea to learn from other countries so that Tanzania may not repeat the mistakes done by other in the process of writing the new constitution.

Prof Lipumba said Tanzanians have got enough time to collect their opinions on the kind of constitution they want, adding that the meeting is intended to bring together political parties for the purpose of sharing experiences from other countries.

“The experience that we are going to get here will help us in educating our people on the importance of taking part in the new constitution making,” he said.

He added that the four countries have rich experiences because they went into crises before they started rewriting their constitutions.

Despite the challenges, he said, countries like Kenya and Zimbabwe managed to meet the targets.

For his part, Dr Sengondo Mvungi, who is a member of Constitutional Review Commission, said the process of writing a new constitution will make a new Tanzania.

“Tanzanians should be brave and creative in crafting fundamental rules that will determine how they want to live and be governed,” he said.

Early this month, the Constitutional Review Commission chairman, Joseph Warioba, pleaded with President Jakaya Kikwete and the groups that proposed his name to give him and his team total independence as they execute their duties.

The former Prime Minister and Attorney General said they don’t want any pressure to be heaped on the Commission since they will be committed to integrity and competence.

Justice Warioba assured the public that the Commission’s responsibility to collect views from wananchi will hinge on strengthening national unity.

“On behalf of the Commission I want to assure that we will use all our integrity and capability to implement the intended goals …we will make sure that we have good strategies which will enable us to reach as many people as possible,” Warioba had said.

He further called upon wananchi to turn up in big numbers to air their views to enable the Commission to know what they want.

Besides he pleaded with them to collaborate with the Commission at all levels in giving out their opinions which will contribute positively to the writing of the country’s new fundamental law.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
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