The Constitutional Review Commission chairman, Joseph Warioba, has 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.
The commission chairman, who started his work on Monday, was speaking in Dar es Salaam yesterday at a ceremony to receive the office to accomodate the team.
Chief Secretary Ambassador Ombeni Sefue handed the office over to the Commission on behalf of President Jakaya Kikwete and Zanzibar President Dr Ali Mohamed Shein.
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 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.
Moreover, he urged the media to assist by educating the public on the entire process of collecting public views saying once the constitution is ready the Commission will distribute it to the people to enable them to know it.
Warioba stressed: “Knowing the Constitution and educating other people is the responsibility of all Tanzanians and not the Commission alone.” For her part, Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Cellina Kombani said that the process of collecting public views is not meant to distort basics of national unity, but to improve the country’s sovereignty, adding that people’s views will be highly respected.
She also noted that the process is not meant to disrupt the prevailing peace, stability and harmony, but is for strengthening all the good things for the future of the country.
Kombani added that this opportunity of involving the two parties in the Union in the entire processing of writing the new constitution will be fully utilised to build good relations between them in the process of implementing democracy. She further noted that in the past Constitution commissions were formed by the President but currently the system has changed as the people are more involved in their formations.
He called upon the public to build the culture of reading the Constitution and assured that the government through her ministry would continue to educate the public on this important document.
Zanzibar’s Minister for Constitutional and Legal Affairs, Abdulkarim Bakari, however, insisted that the Commission should assume the responsibility of informing the people on the new constitution and the weakness of the present one.
“For us we are going to cooperate in the opinion giving exercise so as to get what we want, but we insist that time limitations must be taken into account since the number of the people who may wish to give out their views is likely to be very big,” he said.
The Commission is expected to complete its work by October next year and prepare the draft document for tabling in the Constitutional Assembly.