Arusha Non-Governmental Network (Angonet) has proposed review of the Constitutional Review Act, 2011 in order to meet people’s expectations and get enough views.
Briefing reporters in Arusha at the weekend on what transpired on regional public debates on constitutional matters, Angonet executive secretary Peter Bayo said despite the government’s spirit on the matter more was still needed to have a better law.
He said the current Act needed a lot of amendments to meet people’s expectations, rights and give enough room for people to express their views on what they wanted to be in the constitution.
The Angonet official also pushed for more civic education among members of the public, so that they could become well informed about matters of importance.
“We want people to be empowered in different ways and at all levels from national to grassroots level,” he said. His comments came just a few days, when MPs in Dodoma debated the Constitutional Review Act, 2011 amendments.
During the debate, legislators were divided on the proposed amendments to the Constitutional Review Act, 2011 seeking to substitute district commissioners with Local Government Authority directors in coordinating public opinion gathering, when the exercise begins.
Commenting on public debate on the constitution making process in all seven Arusha districts, Angonet facilitator Anna Mghwira said many people stressed the need for the process to be held in a transparent and participatory manner.
“Many people out there are very concerned about the entire process of coming up with the country’s constitution, hence they asked for having enough room for them to participate,” she said.
According to Mghwira, people in all districts have expressed the need for them to be involved in the constitution making process. She said people had appealed to the government and relevant authorities to ensure people’s views were taken into consideration.
“Constitution is a very important legal document, hence its making process should be carefully designed to meet people’s demands,” another facilitator Petro Ahham said, adding that people were concerned about the duties of a representative like an MP.
“They argued that the forthcoming constitution should clearly state that an MP is supposed to be neutral and free from being given extra duties like being elected a minister or regional commissioner,” he said.
Angonet has organised some public debates in Arusha municipality, Arusha Rural, Arumeru, Monduli, Longido, Karatu and Ngorongoro districts and at least 1,200 people have aired their views.