The ongoing debate on the new Constitution can, to a large extend, be rightly viewed as a political move aimed at serving a political agenda.
Yes, political agenda is part of it because Constitution making is a political process, much as it does not exclude other agendas.
Therefore, political issues on the Constitution are not only part of it, but a tip of the iceberg.
There are many other issues that also need equal attention so that in the end, a nation can get a good Constitution that serve the purpose for which it was made for many coming years.
The different issues and agenda to be enshrined in the Constitution include, among others, socio-cultural, economic, political, administrative, health and demographic issues.
The above issues are very important if the new document so made is to rightly assume the status of mother of all laws of the land.
However, such a status can only be attained if the new document will have succeeded in reflecting the entire vision, mission, desires and motives of the nation and its people at large.
Again, the foregoing can only be attained if Constitution making process is made participatory, that Tanzanians from all walks of life are allowed to air their views.
In a nutshell, this is not an exercise meant for legal experts as some people would like us to believe much as legal experts can participate in the process as individuals, part of the citizenry entitled to air their views.
Therefore, the Constitution making process demands nothing short of inclusiveness, the participation of all citizens regardless of their background and social status.
The core ideas on what should be included in the new Constitution must come out from the people with the legal language and other technicalities being left to legal experts.
But that should only take place after the people have spoken on what they want to be included the all-important!
For instance, some of the things that will have to be looked at critically in the present process include the question of education.
Although education is fleetingly touched in the present Constitution, however, it does not bind the government in any way when it comes to the provision of education to the populace.
Therefore, this has to change in order to make the government of the day legally responsible to the people in matters relating to education.
For it is an open secret that for a nation to forge ahead, its people must be well educated, hence the need for Tanzanians to bind their government, through the new Constitution, to make provision of education mandatory.
In fact, our neighbours to the north, Kenyans, have already done that under Article 55 (a).
Health is another thing that demands an intervention from the the planned Mother Law.
In the past, there have been numerous attempts by successive governments to improve health delivery services with varied success.
However, one of the main reasons why such efforts failed to bear any meaningful fruits lay on the fact that no one could take the government of the day to court for failing to provide health services.
However, the situation would have been different had health been embedded in the Constitution.
The government’s failure to provide health to the people would not have been an option!
Tanzania has come up with numerous legal instruments to deal with various diseases.
For instance, the country has already in place HIV/AIDs (Prevention and Control) Act of 2008, Mental Health Act of 2008 and Occupation Health and Safety Act of 2003.
But for these Acts to be effective, they have to carry not only the legal force, but should make their enforcement mandatory.
And in the say way, the question of taking care of the elderly who are 60 and above, children under five and expectant women, ought to be viewed in the new Constitution.
On the other hand, harmful traditional practices that include, among others, genital mutilation, would be outlawed in the new Constitution and those which help to enhance the wellbing of the nation such as successful traditional medicine would be given legal force in the new Constitution.
In the same vein, the different laws which have been put in place to curb bad practices such as early marriage, rape to mention just a few, will be strengthened for the benefit of the nation.
It is the hope of many Tanzanians that the present exercise will provide an opportunity to come up with a Constitution that will take care of problems relating to albino killings for whatever reason, the killing of old men and women based on superstitious beliefs and so on and so forth.
An accent on the foregoing is very important because although the country already has in place the Witchcraft Act of 1928 (Revised 2002), the government has failed to stamp out such killings!
It is extremely important for those appointed by President Jakaya Kikwete to serve in the Katiba Team and Tanzanians in general to bear in mind that the new Constitution, demands a wider perspective in its making process.
As long as both parties keep the foregoing at the back of their minds, the daunting exercise before them would be easy to deal with.
©Michael Dalali, 29th May, 2012