Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Initial Reactions to draft constitution of Tanzania

The first draft of the proposed new constitution of Tanzania has to a large degree captured crucial and fundamental issues that affect our nation. The unveiling of this draft has not only signaled a new dawn, but also reignited in us the values and ethos that make us who we are. We are at the brink of prosperity. I believe in Tanzania, the land of great people, minds and plenty. This blog shall from today, examine in detail specific sections of the proposed draft and critically evaluate the proposals therewith. As pointed before, writing a new constitution and the process itself is a sign of expansive democratic space in Tanzania. We do not take this lightly, we gladly thank the Almighty for his merciful graces. 

The Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) led by retired judge Joseph Warioba, yesterday unveiled the first draft of the proposed new law after months of extensive collection of ideas, proposals and opinions. Warioba pointed out that there were 1942 meetings which were attended by 1.3 million people. A sneak preview of the proposed law, indicates that a substantial amount of effort went through the process. Here are some of the key highlights:

1. The Federal Type of Government (Serikali ya Shirikisho) between two states; Republic of Tanganyika and Peoples' Republic of Zanzibar.
2.  The emphasis that Kiswahili remains the national and official language of communication in all public and government sectors. That English can be used as an official language when need be.
3.  The Gifts of the nation (Tunu za Taifa); They shall include; humanity, patriotism, integrity, unity, transparency, responsibility, and national language. These define who we are.
4.  Ethics and leadership of public servants. A critical section that will curb corruption, graft, nepotism and embezzlement of public money.
5.   Bill of rights- This champions the rights of every Tanzanian, regardless of gender, race, social status, religion, and physical condition. More expansive and detailed. 
6.  Citizenship: Dual Citizenship omitted
7.  Structure of the Union: A Federal Type with three governments:                            
  • Government of the United Republic of Tanzania
  • Government of the Revolutionary Zanzibar
  • Government of Tanzania mainland.  
N/B: The structure of the Union shall be discussed in subsequent articles in this blog.
8. The Executive: Not more than fifteen ministers and their assistants. The Ministries shall be in line with the provisions of the constitution and the government in place.The Minister must have attained at least a university degree and will not be an MP from the union parliament, mainland parliament or representative from the Representative Council of Zanzibar. 
9. Parliament: Key areas; There shall be a Union Parliament. An MP shall have a 3 term limit of 5 years, after which he shall be ineligible to run. A recall clause. An MP can be recalled by his constituents if they see he/she is not working as mandated.
10. There shall be a Union Judiciary made up of a Supreme Court and Court of Appeal.
11. An Independent Electoral Commission shall be instituted.
12. There shall be a Ethics, Leadership and Responsibility Commission.
13. There shall also be a National Commission on Human Rights.

Add-ons: Union Matters
  1. Constitution and Authority of the United Republic of Tanzania
  2. National Security of the United Republic of Tanzania
  3. Citizenship and Immigration
  4. Money and Central Bank of Tanzania
  5. Foreign Affairs
  6. Registration of Political Parties and;
  7. Taxation of commodities and revenues that do not have tax resulting from union matters.

More on the Draft Constitution in subsequent postings.

See draft of the Proposed Constitution and Further reading here.


  1. If this Constitution is to repeal the Constitution of 1977, what set of constitutional rules will thereafter govern the Government of the Republic of Mainland Tanzania?

    Patrick McAuslan

    1. Dear Patrick, sorry for the delayed response. Tanzania mainland will have its own constitution to be prepared after the draft constitution passes the referendum test.