Controversy dogs Tanzania's draft constitution‏

Many now claim that the two-thirds vote from Zanzibar was "cooked" to meet the legal requirement

Controversy dogs Tanzania's draft constitution‏

World Bulletin/News Desk

Tanzania's new draft constitution, which is yet to be put to referendum, has already run into hot water, with some members of the Constituent Assembly (CA) complaining they never endorsed it as alleged by the authorities.

"I did not participate in any way in adopting this proposed constitution," Ambar Hamis, vice chairman of the National Convention for Construction and Reform (NCCR)-Mageuzi, an opposition party, told Anadolu Agency by phone from Dar es Salaam.

Hamis found his name on the list of Assembly members who had supposedly voted to approve the draft charter before it was handed over to President Jakaya Kikwete last week.

Thomas Kashililah, deputy secretary-general of the Assembly, confirmed the "mistake."

"It's true he [Hamis] did not vote for all three days of the voting exercise," Kashililah told AA. "His name was wrongly included on the voters' list."

"We noted that mistake when we were going through the list. We are working on that matter to clear the atmosphere," he said.

Kashililah, who is the clerk of the National Assembly, said his office had also found the names of members of the Union of People's Constitution alliance, which has boycotted Assembly sessions since April.

"We found the same flaws. That is why we did not distribute the books of members list showing how they voted during the proposed constitution handing-over celebration," he said. "The printing will be ready by Wednesday."

The Assembly was made up of 640 members, including 357 members of the parliament of Tanzania, 82 from the Zanzibar House of Representatives and 201 appointed by President Kikwete to represent various segments of society.

The document needed two thirds of the vote, representing each of the mainland and Zanzibar, to pass the Assembly.

Announcing the vote results last week, Kashililah said 147 Zanzibar representatives had voted in favor of the document – one vote more than the required two-thirds quorum.

He added that at least 331 Assembly members from the mainland had also approved the document.

The Assembly convened on February 18 to discuss and vote on a new draft constitution tabled by the Constitutional Review Commission, which had been tasked with drafting a new national charter.

It adjourned its meeting on April 25 to allow parliamentary debates on the state budget before resuming on August 5 through October 4 when the voting on the draft constitution was done.

Controversy

Many now claim that the two-thirds vote from Zanzibar was "cooked" to meet the legal requirement.

"There are so many questions on the validity of two-third votes from Zanzibar," Faustino Sungura, the NCCR's acting secretary-general, told AA by phone from Dar es Salaam.

"We have just realized they [Assembly officials] have planted the names of even those who did not attend the sittings from April and did not vote," he said.

Sungura said the new findings had shown that even those who had voted against the proposed constitution, especially from Zanzibar, had their "no" votes turned to "yes" votes.

"All of these acts, which are against democracy, have been done in order to justify two-third votes from Zanzibar," he asserted.

The country's main opposition parties, which boycotted the Assembly meetings, have already announced plans to hold demonstrations against the draft constitution.

Last Mod: 14 Ekim 2014, 15:46
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