This year is critical for decentralization in Tanzania. In January 2014, President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania said, “Tanzania will have their constitution before the end of 2014, if all goes according to plan”. (Daily Monitor)
The second draft of the Constitution was released to the public on the 30th of December 2013 by Tanzania’s Constitutional Review Committee (CRC). The draft proposes a three-tiered government with separate administrations for the mainland and Zanzibar and an umbrella unity government. The draft, which contains 271 articles, also proposes the formation of an independent commission to appoint government executives, through it preserves the president’s authority to make appointments as well. (All Africa)
The CRC Chirman Joseph Warioda and Zanibar President Ali Mohammed Shein said that a major rethink of union issues was required for the present system to work effectively. Joseph Warioda said, “We need to have a three-tiered government system – Each side should have its own government that will handle its own affairs”. He also mentioned that more than 61% of Tanzanians from the mainland favored a three-tier union, 13% wanted one government, and 24% opted for the current two-tier system. After CRC listened to what people said, they have settled for three governments. (Africa Review)
Not all people agree to the proposal. In Zanzibar, 34% of people who said the current two-tier system should be retained, 0.1% proposed a single government, and 60% preferred a treaty-based union. Mr. Warioda argued that Zanzibar was already a sovereign state since it has its own constitution, flag, national anthem and its own government (Africa Review). Also, the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party favors the current two-government setup, and in March 2014, the new constitution still faces their opposition. One assumption is, if the new three-tier structure is to be applied, then it would be easy to remove the CCM from power. (Shout Africa)
The new constitution also matters in terms of gender equality. Women Fund Tanzania sees the new constitution with the power to transform the lives and protect the rights of millions of women. Therefore, they presented recommendations including equal representation in parliament and all other levels of decision-making bodies. (The guardian)
Although the discussion will continue, the decision as to whether or not Tanzania adopts the revised constitution will be determined by a referendum later in 2014. These important next steps may help push for more equal participation of women in politics and may help to create more decentralized, participatory local governance in Tanzania.
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