21. Open letter to Rt. Honourable Members, 5th Parliament, Tanzania (edited since 2014)

Dear Sirs/Mesdames,

Firstly, many congratulations on your election/appointment to the 5th Parliament, Tanzania. It must be a great honour to sit in such an august body. I do understand that you are a people of experience and integrity and that you appreciate the need for a truly democratic process. Such a process is, of course, upheld by the constitution and you are collectively responsible for administering that constitution.

However, I believe that you now face a supreme challenge – that is to rise above your own political party affiliations and loyalties to ensure that the draft constitution, written under the commendable and intelligent guidance of Judge Warioba and formulated with the best interests of all Tanzanians in mind, is duly implemented.

To date it seems that party-political dogma has been exerting far too much influence on the proceedings. The to-ing and fro-ing from the various groups only reflect party pressures on those who have been appointed or elected to freely and fairly represent Tanzanian citizens. The politically biased deliberations and interventions of many of the constituent assembly members in the past has coloured the proceedings with party-political interest rather than with the interests of the Tanzanian people whom you represent. I’m sure I am not the only visitor to  your fair country to have expressed these thoughts.

It must be seen by all that a constitution written through the lenses of party-political dogma can only serve that portion of the population aligned with that one political party. It cannot represent the whole of the population. I believe that Tanzanians as a whole deserve better. Yes, you do have an existing constitution, a fact of which your president reminded everyone recently. Perhaps now that Tanzania is 50 years old and on the verge of becoming a middle income country, it is time that all Tanzanian citizens are given the respect that they so long for as well as a more representative ‘mother law’.

From time to time constitutional reviews are necessary of course. Even the USA continues to review its constitution. I’m reminded of the controversy surrounding the 2nd amendment, for instance – the one which allows all Americans to defend themselves by militia and guarantees that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Surely here is an example of a constitutional amendment that has grave consequences for American society. And the gun lobby is currently a politically motivated force in American society.

Remember, party-political interests only serve party members, not the population as a whole. Party-political interest in Tanzania, especially with reference to the ruling party, CCM is driven by self-interest ingeniously disguised as the will of the people. It is no such thing. It is propaganda engineered to serve the interests of CCM only. The CCM grip on power seems now to be fixed and party members are not ready to give it up. Such power, for such a long time (since the inception of multi-party democracy) can only be a corrupting influence. History has proved time and again that this is a failed political paradigm. One only needs to look at the post-independence history of the sub-saharan continent to see the that one-party systems of government are doomed to failure.

From your position in the ‘Bunge’ it is therefore of greatest concern to everyone that you steer a path that does not cater to the interests of a single party, keeping in mind always the will of the people of Tanzania as a whole.

We all wish you good luck and good grace in carrying out your responsibilities.

From a concerned visitor.

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About johnderonde

UK-based charity worker in Tanzania
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