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First Draft of the New Constitution

Roundtable Discussion with CSOs

On June 3rd, 2013 the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC), also known as the Warioba Commission, issued to the public the draft of the new Constitution, inviting more inputs to the documents, which is going to make sweeping changes in the country’s socio-economic and political landscape. Responding to the invitation, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) and Jukwaa la Katiba Tanzania jointly organized a one-day expert roundtable discussion on the First Draft of the New Tanzanian Constitution.

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One of the main issues raised during the morning session was the question and all possible implications of the proposed 3-tier government. This included the question whether it would be better to push for a fast completion of the reform process or in contrary to delay this process in view of the 2014/2015 elections. Another important point which received much attention was the one of Union issues which have in the draft been reduced to only 7, leaving it up to the other two Constitutions-to-be to decide on the matters.

There was agreement among the participants that the draft of the new Union Constitution should include important issues like natural resources, land, seas and governance structure or to at least provide some principles and guidelines on these matters for the Constitutions of Mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar which have to be developed after the Union Constitution.

The afternoon session consisted mainly of a short but deep personal analysis of strengths and weaknesses of the draft by Deus Kibamba followed by an intense Q & A session. This provided participants with deeper insights into the new draft. There was agreement among the participants that the draft looks progressive and promising, but still has some shortcomings. Kibamba called it “a very good start”. Participants agreed that from now on civil society should work on the shortcomings of the draft (content) on the one hand, and on the further process (amendment of the reform law, constitution of the constitutional assembly etc.) on the other hand in order to protect and further develop the draft.

It was agreed that it would be most effective and practicable to first identify gaps and shortcomings of the current draft for the new Union Constitution and do the best to influence and improve the draft in the best possible way before it comes to the referendum in April 2014.

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