Saturday, December 4, 2010

We demand a new constitution now!

Maybe she was being starry-eyed after being sworn-in as a new cabinet officer in the ministry of constitutional affairs last week. The brand new minister, Celina Kombani rejected the need for to overhaul the Tanzanian constitution branding the call for it “pedestrian.”

Privately I doubt if she lives in such a cloud-cuckoo land not know the overwhelming call for a new constitution. I gather she said that such talk is “pedestrian” which I wonder if the reporter wanted to equate with the Kiswahili – maneno ya mtaani.

“Let them come with something concrete in writing, showing which sections (of the constitution) have problems, why and suggest the alternative. The government should not be forced to respond to these sensitive issues through reading newspapers.”

Do I detect am tinge of pooh-poohinh of newspapers and the media in Aunt
Celina’s dismissal? Because I suspect that her ladyship is implying that
what is read in the papers ought not to be trusted or taken into serious
consideration. Only those words uttered in official circles are ‘serious’ and intelligents while the rest of us are bull-shitting! Only they can think and have the monopoly of brains.

If there was no need form constitutional review and reform why did the Prez, Jack Mrisho himself, think that the heavyweight issued merited a whole ministry? He should have made her a minister for something else.

Strange. For, at the same time opposition MP for Wawi, Hamad Rashid
Mohammed of the Civic United Front (CUF) has cautioned against the now
tired tactic of government pussy-footing to escape from responsibility.

Mr. Hamad said that his party has filed more than three letters to the
Government talks over constitutional changes nothing has been done: “Who
does not know the long cry of having a new constitution, we wrote a letter to
President Kikwete when he took over the office in 2005, and likewise to
former President Benjamin Mkapa but nothing has been done.” He said
That the ninth parliament he prepared private motion but was not given
a chance either.

Academics, politicians and the public at large have been clamoring and
calling for a review of constitution and everyone knows that – except Aunt
Celina. She thinks all that is “pedestrian.”

Which makes one wonder – was there a need for a whole ministry of
constitutional affairs? If so – then what is her job description then?
Maybe to tell Tanzanians that there is no need for a new constitution. So we got ourselves a brand new ministry of constitution affairs to tell us that we don’t need a new constitution! No wonder we have a bloated cabinet.

I hear that the minister cautioned that if not handled properly, it could
plunge the nation into serious problems.

Indeed. Dismissal and pooh-poohing of such matters of national importance
as “pedestrian” does not bode well for Bongo. Or, maybe Aunt Kombani
was a bit excited and loudly thinking with her mouth.

The minister further claimed that the craving for a full review of the
constitution was not in the interest of citizens and the government. It
reminds me of statements I used to read during the cold ideological wars between eastern European and capitalist countries,
of the 50s and 60s. Then you got those statements from the ministry of

Today, I would wish that politicians should check their gearing systems,
before engaging their mouths. The demand for a new constitution is real. It should not, at any moment, be treated as a gift from politicians to the people of Bongo who voted for them in the first place!

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