The Constituent Assembly resumes tomorrow after a three months hiatus. Intrigues during the first CA sessions saw a section of members under the Umoja wa Katiba ya Wananchi (UKAWA) umbrella, decide to walk out of the sessions in April. The UKAWA group which is made up of the opposition parties, CHADEMA, NCCR, CUF and other like-minded members have claimed that CCM has hijacked the process and are pushing for a party agenda. Mediation efforts aimed at convincing UKAWA to return to the sessions have failed. Both sides have taken strong unwavering stances. UKAWA have vowed not to return unless the CCM members agree to only discuss the contents of the proposed constitution draft.
|UKAWA Leaders. From left; J.Mbatia, F.Mbowe and I.Lipumba|
The President has been accused of jeopardizing the process when he deliberately decided to take party sides during the inauguration of the CA. He has now traveled out of the country. Analysts have argued that the president, as the symbol of national unity, could have placed national interests ahead of party interests in the constitution debate. The president is attending the US-Africa summit in Washington. It was widely expected that he could have used his position to broker the standoff in the Katiba process.
The prospects for a new constitution now look bleak. Academics and policy practitioners are even proposing a halt to the Katiba process. However, this comes with alarming caution that going to an election without a new constitution could spell disaster in Tanzania. Comparatively, Zimbabwe and Kenya post-poll violence in 2008 was as a result of going to an election after a constitution fallout.