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Zanzibar in constitutional amendment meet on Monday

In Politics on August 9, 2010 at 12:04 pm

The historic handshake and meeting between President Amani Karume and Maalim Seif Sharif Hamad at the State House on 5 November, 2009 that brought political harmony and reconciliation and ushered a new era of rebuilding the ancient state of Zanzibar.

By Issa Yussuf in Zanzibar

9 August 2010

AN extra-ordinary session of the Zanzibar House of Representatives starts here on Monday to amend the constitution that will pave way for the formation of Government of National Unity (GNU) after the October general elections.

The House Clerk, Mr Ibrahim Mzee said here over the weekend that Reps would discuss and approve a new clause in the constitution that stipulates; “Zanzibar is one of the two countries that form the United Republic of Tanzania.

He added that Section 1 and 2 of the Zanzibar Constitution, which has been identifying Zanzibar as “part of the United Republic of Tanzania,” will be deleted.

The GNU also aims to increase the number of women special seats from the current 30 per cent to 40 per cent.

In the proposed constitutional amendment, there is also a new clause that empowers Zanzibar President to divide Zanzibar into new regions, districts or any administrative areas, according to guidelines set by the House of Representatives. Currently, only the Union President is vested with powers to divide any part of the Island in consultation with the Zanzibar President.

It is also proposed that the position of “Chief Minister be deleted in section 33 of the Zanzibar Constitution and replaced by Second Vice- President who will be a leader of the government business in the House of Representatives and take over as a President in case the sitting President fails to continue with duties due to any reason including death.”

The President, who will come from the winning party, will have to appoint two Vice- Presidents within seven days after taking oath of office. While the First Vice- President will not be required to be an elected member of the House, the second Vice- President must be an elected member of the House of Representatives from the wining party. After 14 days in office, the President will be supposed to form a cabinet based on proportional representation in consultation with both Vice- Presidents (VPs).

Under the new arrangement, the President remains with absolute powers in decision making in the government including appointment of Principal Secretaries “and both vice-presidents will be answerable to the President.”

The GNU follows a long process that was made possible through a referendum held on July 31, this year, following political reconciliation which was initiated last November by President Amani Abeid Karume and the Civic United Front (CUF) Secretary General, Mr Seif Sharif Hamad, in efforts to bury political conflicts which emerges in every general election. The referendum was approved on 66.4 per cent mark in favour of GNU.

Source: Daily News

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