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Tanzania: Stop Hijacking Constitutional Debate, Samia Tells Politicians

DAR ES SALAAM: PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan has lashed out at politicians for hijacking the constitutional change debate.

Dr Samia, who was addressing the National Political Parties Council and other democracy stakeholders on Monday, chastised some politicians for dragging Tanzanians into such debates.

The president was categorical that no person or any political outfit can claim exclusive rights to the document, maintaining that it was a property of every Tanzanian.

“The constitution is everyone’s property, whether you affiliate to a political party or not, or any other religious belief,” said the president.

Dr Samia noted with concern on how some selfish politicians were turning Tanzanians into parrots, through politicking the constitutional debates.

The president described the document as more than a book that houses morals and ethical standards of a political community.

She further called upon the politicians to shun drawing lessons and experiences from other countries, in drafting the Tanzanian constitution.

“Politicians have a role of creating awareness of the document and not drawing examples from other countries, we shouldn’t go about rallying Tanzanians to get a new constitution when they aren’t even familiar with it,” she said.

In the same vein, the president wondered how some politicians claimed to have respect for the constitution while despising the holy books.

“You cannot pretend to hold the constitution dear to your heart, at the same time ignoring the Bible and the Quran.”

Last year, President Samia appointed a task force to review the political situation in the country and the team, among other recommendations, proposed the revival of the constitution writing process after the 2025 General Election.

The CCM Central Committee in its June 22, 2022 meeting directed the government to look into ways of reviving the process.

President Samia also convened a meeting of senior government officials at Chamwino State House in Dodoma to discuss the process’ revival and amendment of election-related laws, including the National Electoral Commission (NEC) and Political Parties (PPs) acts.

In March, this year the then Minister for Constitutional and Legal Affairs Damas Ndumbaro said the government had increased the docket’s 2023/2024 budget by 9bn/ in a bid to revive the new constitutional-writing process.

According to Dr Ndumbaro the funds will also be utilised for the amendment of election laws and for the reforms of the National Electoral Commission (NEC).

In May, this year, the Head of State instructed the Registrar of Political Parties, Judge Mutungi to convene a special Political Parties Council meeting for stakeholders to evaluate implementation status of Task Force’s recommendations.

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