Wednesday, December 29, 2010

MP to seek people’s views on law review

Dar es Salaam. Ubungo MP John Mnyika (Chadema) intends to make public his draft of a private motion on the country’s Constitution for people to provide views on its improvement.
He expressed his intention yesterday when he submitted a letter of information to the office of the Clerk of the National Assembly on his plan to table a private motion in the next Parliamentary session to be held in February.
The letter with reference number OMU/BJMT/01/2010 was received by the acting Clerk of the Assembly, Mr Eliakim Mrema. “As an institution we have received the letter and normal procedures will be followed,” said Mr Mrema.

Regulation number 55 (1) of parliament requires an MP to inform the Clerk on plans to table a private motion at least a day before the start of the meeting.
But, Mr Mnyika said he decided to forward the letter one month before the parliamentary session to give room for public debate on the motion to be tabled.

After formally informing the Clerk as required by Parliamentary regulations, Mr Mnyika said during the first week of January the draft would be published in the media and its hard copy made available in his office.
“I need people to contribute their views on how they would want the motion to be because this is a public matter through a private motion,” he said.
He explained that the forum would give the public an opportunity to point out shortcomings in the current Constitution and why they think there is a need for a new Constitution.
He said the public could send their opinions physically to his office or forward them to his email address: or through phone number 0783552010. In addition, in the second week of January Mr Mnyika intends to hold an open forum for stakeholders to brainstorm on the draft of the motion.

So far, Mr Mnyika said, he had identified about 90 shortcomings in the current constitution.
“Imagine, out of 152 Sections of the current Constitution, I have discovered 90 shortcomings, but I need people also to express their concerns,” he pointed out.
Following the existence of numerous weaknesses in the current constitution, Mr Mnyika said, the country would not want the amendment but a new document altogether.
Explaining some of the deficiencies, he said the current constitution gives the President excessive power of appointment without authorization.

“For a democratic nation like ours, the president should not perform such powers,” he argued.
He also said the current constitution denies independence to government institutions as their top officials are appointed by the President. Among them are members of the Judiciary, National Electoral Commission as well as the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB).
On the other hand, he continued, the change in the Zanzibar Constitution forces a review and rewriting of the Union Constitution.

His move of forwarding the private motion follows several concerns from his constituents who asked him to push for the matter.
It was also triggered by the recent pronouncement by Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda that he would advise President Jakaya Kikwete to form a team to consider demands for the new constitution

Source: The Citizen-27/12/2010

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