Tanzania Constitutional Forum Chairman, Deus Kibamba

The Constitution Forum (Jukwaa la Katiba) has called for thorough amendments to the Constitutional Review Act, 2011. “We have come across a ‘Bill for an Act to amend the Constitutional Review Act, 2011’ which is due to be presented in the National Assembly.

“The bill touches on only two sections (6 and 18) ignoring the rest of the sections which need overhaul,” said the Forum’s Chairman, Mr Deus Kibamba. Mr Kibamba who was speaking in Dar es Salaam on Sunday noted that the Bill now intends to have political parties’ representatives in the Constitutional Review Commission contrary to the public outcry.

“Section 6 (5) of the Constitutional Review Act, 2011, indicates that political leaders will not feature in the constitutional review committee by virtue of their positions. “This section is good and should remain as it is, but the bill now proposes to have it the
other way round which is against the interests of the public,” he said.

According to him, there are about 10 sections in the Act which need to be amended and that moving a bill with only two sections was unfair. He said members of the forum met the Parliamentary Committee on Justice and Administration last Friday where they expressed their dissatisfaction over the bill.

“The Bill, for example in section 18 (6), demands that ‘the commission may allow organizations, associations or groups of persons to convene meetings in order to enable its members to air their views on the Draft Constitution and forward them to the commission’ “Giving the commission such powers is illogical,” he said.

Elaborating further, Mr Kibamba added that giving such powers to the commission would go against the constitution which gives freedom to seek and disseminate information. He said that the freedom to convene meetings and gather information from members of the public should be ultimate.

In another development, Mr Kibamba commended President Jakaya Kikwete for listening to the views of stakeholders on the need to amend the Act. Efforts to reach the Attorney General, Judge Frederick Werema, and the Minister for  constitutional and Legal Affairs, Ms Celina Kombani, proved futile as they did not pick up their phones.

By ABDULWAKIL SAIBOKO, Tanzania Daily News

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