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The Chanzo Morning Briefing – May 17, 2022. 

In our briefing today: Speaker Tulia declines to sack 19 former CHADEMA members, cites court injunction; Jussa calls for national consultative conference to rid Tanzania of constitutional impasse; Voluntary or Not? Maasai People Explain Their Views on ‘Relocation’ Exercise; China, Germany and UK establish consulates in Dodoma.   

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Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Monday, May 16, 2022.

Speaker Tulia declines to sack 19 former CHADEMA members, cites court injunction

Speaker of Parliament Tulia Ackson on Monday dealt the opposition CHADEMA party a huge blow after she rejected its call to sack from the lawmaking body the nineteen Special Seat MPs after the party stripped them of the party’s membership after accusing them of indiscipline and violating the party’s directives.

Speaker Ackson cited the injunction filed at the High Court by the nineteen former CHADEMA members that seek to challenge the manner with which they were sacked from the opposition party.

“The parliament cannot interfere with the process that is going on at the court,” Dr Ackson told lawmakers in the capital Dodoma on Monday. “Until the court announces its ruling, I’m obliged not to announce that the nineteen CHADEMA Special Seat positions are open.”

The nineteen senior female leaders, who were the bulwark of the CHADEMA’s Women Wing (BAWACHA), fell from grace when they accepted the National Electoral Commission’s (NEC) appointment as Special Seat MPs at a time when the party had decided to boycott the positions as part of its protests against the results of the 2020 general election.

CHADEMA said then that it did not forward the list to NEC and when the 19 women leaders were summoned to the party’s Central Committee to clarify the matter they never showed up. Instead, they went to be sworn in as MPs by the then Speaker Job Ndugai.

Following their firing from the party, the nineteen women leaders appealed the Central Committee’s decision to the party’s General Assembly that took place from May 10 to May 11 in Dar es Salaam. But a total of 413 members, an equivalent of  97.6 per cent, of the 423-member assembly voted in approval of the central committee’s decision to sack the women.

But on May 13, 2022, Mr Mnyika confirmed on Twitter that the letter informing the parliament of CHADEMA’s decision to sack the Special Seat MPs from the party had already reached Dr Ackson’s office.

CHADEMA Secretary-General John Mnyika could not immediately be reached to comment on the Speaker’s decision after his phone went unanswered.

“It is important now that Speaker [Tulia Ackson] respects and implements legal and constitutional requirements [by sacking the MPs from the House],” Mr Mnyika said in a Twitter post.

The nineteen women leaders in question include Halima Mdee, Hawa Mwaifunga, Grace Tendega, Jesca Kishoa, Naghenjwa Kaboyoka and Tunza Malapo.

Others are Cecilia Pareso, Sophia Mwakagenda, Anatropia Theonest, Salome Makamba, Stella Fiao, Agnesta Kaiza, Hawa Mwaifunga, Felista Njau, Kunti Majala, Asia Mohamed, Conchesta Rwamulaza, Ester Bulaya, Esther Matiko Nusrat Hanje.

The High Court in Dar es Salaam on Monday ruled that the 19 MPs will continue serving until their application for a permit to file an objection to their expulsion is heard and ruled.

Jussa calls for national consultative conference to rid Tanzania of constitutional impasse

Member of the opposition ACT-Wazalendo party’s central committee Ismail Jussa has called for the National Consultative Conference that he thinks will be responsible for ridding Tanzania of the current constitutional impasse that is pitting key political actors against each other.

Mr Jussa, who once served as House of Representative in Zanzibar, made the call during a meeting with the presidential task force that interviews key stakeholders on ways to improve multiparty democracy in Tanzania. Monday was the turn of Mr Jussa, among other key players.

“We need to find ways that will get us out of the current [constitutional] deadlock that started during the Constituent Assembly,” Mr Jussa told the task force, according to the summary of his contribution seen by The Chanzo. “The way through which we can rid ourselves of this deadlock is convening the National Consultative Conference.”

Mr Jussa, who was a member of the Constituent Assembly, said the conference will involve various important groups that will work together in finding consensus on major issues that are contested as far as the content of the New Constitution is concerned.

“Whether Tanzania needs the New Constitution or not is no longer a debatable issue,” Mr Jussa, who is a lawyer by profession, reiterated the arguments that he has made on numerous occasions. “The New Constitution is needed now because all constitutions [that Tanzania] has ever had were not the result of citizens’ participation.”

Tanzania needs a New Constitution that is a result of citizens’ opinions as collected by the Constitutional Review Commission, Mr Jussa added.

He also suggested the formation of the Constitutional Experts Commission that would reconcile what is contained in the second draft of the constitution with the consensus that will be reached at the National Consultative Conference and prepare a Draft Constitution that will then be forwarded to the Constituent Assembly.

The idea of forming the Constitutional Experts Commission was also presented to the task force by the Tanzania Constitutional Forum, a Dar es Salaam-based think-tank on constitutional issues, which outlined a four-step process that it thinks can deliver the New Constitution before the general election of 2025.

Jussa said that the process of the New Constitution should go hand in hand with the process that seeks minimum reforms in the electoral system in the country.

He said this is important so that if the New Constitution is not delivered before 2025, legal and regulatory reforms that are important to deliver free and fair elections will come in handy.

The minimum reforms include the amendment of the National Elections Act and the Political Parties Act, among other laws, and align them with the international best practices on electoral management.

On the question of the Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar, Mr Jussa said: “The question of the Union should be resolved by sending the matter to the people of Zanzibar and Tanganyika where through a referendum they will decide whether or not they want the Union and if they do of what structures.”

Apart from Mr Jussa, the Rwekiza Mukandala-led task force will also have the opportunity to meet with veteran journalist Jenerali Ulimwengu on Monday who will also share his opinions on the best way to organise multiparty democracy in the country.

Voluntary or Not? Maasai People Explain Their Views on ‘Relocation’ Exercise

Some Maasai people from Ngorongoro have come forward to criticise the manner in which the ‘relocation’ exercise is being implemented, claiming that all indications point to a direction that the exercise is far from voluntary as authorities have repeatedly claimed.

The criticism of the exercise took place during a discussion between Maasai from Ngorongoro that was hosted by a local online media outlet whereas reports of corruption and intimidation were said to accompany the entire exercise of ‘relocating’ Maasai people from Ngorongoro to Handeni, Tanga.

One of those who took part in the discussion is Lushipa Lyeni, a Maasai man from Ngorongoro, who pointed out that the ongoing exercise has every quality but not of being a voluntary one.

“You call a decision voluntary when a person decides to leave of his/her own free will, without being provided with anything. When you leave after being convinced that it is good to do so. Without being bribed. That’s what voluntary looks like,” he said.

But as far as people leaving Ngorongoro is concerned, that’s not what is happening, he added.

“There is a bribe involved,” Lyeni alleged. “That is why you find that people who leave do so and go beyond that by saying bad things about the [Maasai] community. Also, most of these people [who leave] are those without livestock. They are people who just came to Ngorongoro and established settlements there. They are not people who are indigenously from Ngorongoro.”

This, however, is in sharp contrast to what the government said on March 11, 2022, that only people who will willingly offer to move from Ngorongoro will be relocated to Handeni where they will be provided with the land for housing and animal rearing.

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said then that a total of 86 households, with over 453 people, have registered themselves, ready to move from Ngorongoro to Handeni.

The government seeks to ‘relocate’ Maasai and other indigenous people from Ngorongoro, arguing that their continued existence there puts the UNESCO-inscribed World Heritage site at high risk of losing its status.

According to the government, the number of livestock and of people have increased on the site, putting it at the risk of losing its status.

But according to Kasale Ng’wana, another Maasai who spoke during the discussion, the number of livestock in Ngorongoro that the government claims does not reflect what actually exists on the ground.

“What happened is that authorities have identified a number of no-go areas for livestock within Ngorongoro,” he says. “This explains why now it is very normal to find livestock along the roads. The number of livestock seems very big because of this imposed condition.”

Pakaso Lemuna, another Maasai man from Ngorongoro, called the claim that the Maasai are responsible for threatening the destruction of Ngorongoro “a holly lie.”

He said that a Maasai never build a house near a source of water or cuts down trees for charcoal.

“If there is anything that will lead to the death of Ngorongoro is the arbitrary investment that is taking place within Ngorongoro, like building big hotels around sources of water,” Lemuna explained. “If you go to the [Ngorongoro] Crater today, there are more than thirty roads. That is what will kill Ngorongoro.”

Lemuna wants the government to stop harassing his community leaders who hold different opinions from that of authorities when they decide to make those opinions public.

Ng’wana, on his hand, sees no problem with the government supporting people who leave voluntarily from Ngorongoro and relocate to Handeni.

“But this support should not come at the expense of those people who chose to remain in Ngorongoro,” he explained. “People who remain should not only be provided with basic social services but also their fundamental human rights should be respected.”

China, Germany and UK establish consulates in Dodoma

Deputy Minister for Constitutional and Legal Affairs Geoffrey Pinda said Monday that three countries have set up consulates in Dodoma following the government’s decision to move its base in the region.

Mr Pinda named China, Germany and UK as the country that have made the decision.

Mr Pinda made the revelation when he when responding to Mr Ussi Salum Pondeza (Chumbuni-CCM) who wanted to know the number of countries that have established their embassies in Dodoma since the government’s decision to relocate.

Mr Pinda said the government continues to mobilise other countries to set up their embassies in Dodoma.

He mentioned that a number of international organisations have set up their offices including the United Nations (UN) organisations including UNDP, UNICEF, UN Women, WFP, WHO, UNFPA, FAO, IFAD, UNAIDS, UNCDF and UNIDO.

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