Tanzania’s more internationally-minded political thinkers watched Scotland’s Independence Referendum last week with much interest. The question on everyone’s lips was this: what does the decision made by Scottish voters to remain part of the United Kingdom mean for Zanzibar and the United Republic?
It is a reasonable question, because the similarities between Scotland’s relationship with England / the UK and Zanzibar’s relationship with Tanzania mainland are strong. The two smaller, once-independent nations both have understandable resentment towards the bigger, dominant partner in their unions. Constitutional oddities mean neither England nor Mainland Tanzania have their own parliament, while Scotland has a parliament and Zanzibar has a “revolutionary council”. There are oil and gas revenues to argue over in both cases, and endless disputes about who is subsidising who. And Britain’s relationship with the European Union is not that different from Tanzania’s uncertainty about the East African Community.
But though the question may be valid, the answers have been very mixed. Continue reading →
It is arguably the key question facing Tanzanian politics in the short term: does CCM have the numbers? Can they ignore the opposition, and force their will upon the next draft of Tanzania’s constitution?
The constitutional review process limps onwards, amid widespread scepticism. Ukawa (the coalition of Chadema, CUF and NCCR, the leading opposition parties) has withdrawn its members from the Constituent Assembly (CA), complaining that President Kikwete and CCM were not listening to their concerns, most particularly on the two-government / three-government issue. This leaves a chamber dominated by CCM members, plus most of “the 201” – those appointed by the President to the assembly – and just a couple of others.
Without Ukawa, there is little doubt that CCM can write the next draft of the constitution however they want. More tricky, however, is whether they can pass it. Continue reading →
Justice Warioba: “Of the almost 38,000 citizens who gave their views on the Union, 19,000 expressed an opinion on the form of the Union. The breakdown of these statistics show that on the mainland, 13% supported One Government, 24% supported Two Governments and 61% supported Three Governments. In Zanzibar, 34% supported Two Governments and 60% supported a contract-based Union, and 0.1% (25 people) supported One Government.”
President Kikwete: “There are those who claim the Commission’s statistics don’t show the truth. They say that the information of the Commission shows that 351,664 Tanzanian gave their views to the Commission. Of them, 47,820 citizens (13.6%) were unhappy with the form of the Union and raised the issue. 303,844 citizens (86.4%) didn’t see the form of the Union as a problem, which is why they didn’t raise the issue at all. So people are asking how today 13.6% of all Tanzanians who gave their views has become the majority of Tanzanians!”
They’re talking about the same data. How many people gave their views to the Constitutional Review Commission? How many people discussed the Union question? How many supported which form of the Union?
A referendum is coming up next year in Scotland, with a simple question proposed: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”
And in Tanzania, a referendum on constitutional reforms is also imminent. After a long public consultation process, a draft new constitution for Tanzania was published in June. It will be revised further, and then probably some more, but eventually Tanzanian citizens will decide whether or not to adopt the new constitution.