Dar es Salaam. A senior official with the opposition CHADEMA party told The Chanzo that he is hopeful that the much-need New Constitution will be available before Tanzanians go to the polls in 2025.
Twaha Mwaipaya, who is CHADEMA Youth Council’s national mobilisation coordinator, shared his hopes on Thursday, July 28, 2022, during an exclusive interview with The Chanzo at the outlet’s office in Msasani, Dar es Salaam.
“The fact that now people who blocked the process for the New Constitution now speak of the need to have the New Constitution is no small step,” Mwaipaya said of the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM). “These people said the New Constitution is not their priority. This is a big step.”
CCM’s secretary for publicity and ideology Shaka Hamdu Shaka told journalists in the capital Dodoma on June 22, 2022, that the second longest-ruling party in Africa sees the need to revive the stalled constitution-writing process for the “larger national interests.”
READ MORE: CCM Drums Up Demands for New Constitution
But Mwaipaya said that this gesture from the ruling CCM does not mean that they in CHADEMA will now seat back and relax. He says that CCM has given the opposition party just another reason to press forward with the demands.
“We are not satisfied as a party,” said Mr Mwaipaya during the interview with The Chanzo. “We will continue mobilizing Tanzanians on the need for the New Constitution in this country for we are convinced that that is what Tanzania needs at the moment.”
CHADEMA’s Youth Council, known as BAVICHA, has been touring the country, organising conferences on New Constitution, sometimes facing arrests and detention by the police.
Speaking on the main challenges that face Tanzania’s security organs, including the Police Force, Mwaipaya, who has more than once found himself in trouble with the law enforcement agency, said lawlessness is what describes police’s behaviour in Tanzania.
He said that police arrest people without telling them what crimes they are being accused of; they detain people beyond the 48-hour timeframe allowed by police regulations; as well as prevent their family members and lawyers from having an access to the accused.
Mwaipaya himself is a case in point when it comes to police detaining people with their families and lawyers not knowing where they are being detained and for what reason.
On July 4, 2022, CHADEMA had to file a habeas corpus at the High Court in Dodoma seeking Mwaipaya be freed or produced to the court.
“If you can arrest and detain me, a high-profile political figure, without my family, my party and my lawyers knowing my whereabouts, what happens to ordinary Tanzanians who do not have a platform like I do?” wondered Mr Mwaipaya. “We need to look at the police and decide if we want to maintain it that way.”
Mwaipaya thinks the solution to all these problems is the New Constitution that will replace the current 1977 Constitution that he says gives the President too much power that sometimes makes her careless about what people say or wants.
Still, he thinks that reforms in the police force do not have to wait until the New Constitution is written.
“We can shift from having the Police Force to having the Police Service,” says Mr Mwaipaya. “We can also address these challenges by having Police Service Commission. This would investigate complaints filed against members of the police force unlike now where they’re investigating themselves.”
Mwaipaya is also not optimistic that President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s appointment of a 12-member committee to advise her on the best ways to reform Tanzania’s justice system will deliver something good to Tanzanians.
“If the committee is to be meaningful, it should have advised President Samia that her choices for [the Inspector General of Police] IGP [Camillius Wambura] and [the Director of Criminal Investigations] DCI [Ramadhan Kingai] were wrong,” said Mr Mwaipaya. “These two people have been implicated in serious human rights violations.”
Mwaipaya said as a justice-loving Tanzanian himself, he was disappointed by the appointment of Wambura and Kingai, adding that if President Samia’s actions were informed by what people thought of her decisions she would have revoked their appointments.
“But that seems not to be the case,” said Mr Mwaipaya. “It is yet another reason why we need the New Constitution that would address issues like this one.”