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CCM Drums Up Demands for New Constitution

The party says the New Constitution is needed for the larger national interests.

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Dar es Salaam. After months of saying that the New Constitution is not the top priority for many Tanzanians, the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) seems to have started realizing the urgency around the demands for the New Constitution in Tanzania.

The party’s secretary for publicity and ideology Shaka Hamdu Shaka told journalists in the capital Dodoma on Wednesday that the second longest-ruling party in Africa sees the need to revive the stalled constitution-writing process for the “larger national interests.”

“CCM is emphasising the need for the New Constitution in the country given the current context,” Mr Shaka read the party’s National Executive Committee’s (NEC) resolutions. President Samia Suluhu Hassan chaired the NEC’s meeting which sat Wednesday, June 22, 2022, in Dodoma.

“[The government] should find better ways that would enable the revival of the stalled constitution-writing process and complete the writing of the New Constitution for the larger national interests,” Mr Shaka added.

Mr Shaka said that the writing of the New Constitution is important given the ongoing dialogue in the country aimed at achieving political reconciliation among Tanzania’s key political players.

He hinted that the latest CCM’s position on the issue of the New Constitution is specifically the result of the ongoing engagements between the party, opposition party CHADEMA and the government.

CHADEMA, through its national chairperson Freeman Mbowe, has held at least three meetings with President Samia in the last three months in what appears as the party’s strategy to lobby the Head of State to revive the constitution-writing process.

These engagements are independent of the process led by the presidential task force on political reconciliation that CHADEMA has boycotted, saying it lacks the legitimacy to lead such a process.

The proposals tabled by the task force want the government to revive the stalled process after the 2025 general election, suggesting that now the focus should be directed towards reforming Tanzania’s electoral management laws to ensure free and fair elections.

CHADEMA, on its part, has been insisting that the New Constitution is required now, and that Tanzania should go to the polls in 2025 under the New Constitution. Wednesday’s announcement by CCM means that CHADEMA’s influence has so far been able to penetrate the former’s corridors.

In his announcement on Wednesday, Mr Shaka sounded more like an opposition politician than a publicity secretary for the ruling party. For example, he even advocated for the freeing of all people currently facing political-influenced prosecutions.

A few days ago, a ruling party politician would hardly acknowledge even the presence of those people in Tanzania.

“We would like to guarantee other political parties in Tanzania that CCM will continue to promote democracy [in Tanzania] without affecting our unity, peace and solidarity,” Mr Shaka said. “It is our hope that these parties will also continue to cooperate with us in that mission.”

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