By Florence Mugarula, The Citizen Reporter
- Mr Mbowe was speaking during the opening of a two-day party Central Committee (CC) meeting to discuss the proposed Katiba and the forthcoming local government and general elections.
Mr Mbowe was speaking during the opening of a two-day party Central Committee (CC) meeting to discuss the proposed Katiba and the forthcoming local government and general elections.
He told the CC members that Chadema and other members of the Coalition of Defenders of the Peoples’ Constitution (Ukawa) who teamed up to push for the draft constitution--as proposed by the Judge Warioba Constitution Review Commission--have given up hope that President Kikwete will initiate meaningful national dialogue and deliver a result that will unify the people.
Mr Mbowe said he was disappointed that President Kikwete failed to keep his word and honour agreements with opposition leaders that were negotiated earlier.
“We have given up on President Kikwete,” Mr Mbowe said. “He is a man who does not honour binding agreements and cannot therefore be trusted.”
If Mr Mbowe is to be believed, the Head of State has wavered several times under pressure from his party. “It is difficult to reach consensus with President Kikwete,” he added. “He is not static on agreements. He acts in the interest of his party and not the public.”
The Chadema boss accused President Kikwete of saying one thing in public and another in private. They would agree on something, he added, only for the President to change his tune the next day. Members of the Tanzania Centre for Democracy reportedly met President Kikwete to discuss issues related to the Constituent Assembly stalemate and agreed that there should be no referendum until after 2015 general election. But the ruling party stands accused of going back on its word and making approvals without consulting partners, including the proposed constitution.
According to Mr Mbowe, the document in hand does reflect the will of the majority of Tanzanians. On Saturday, President Kikwete challenged those opposing the proposed constitution to show him their version of an ideal constitution. He was speaking in Mwanza, where he was on a three-day tour of the Lake region.
The President argues that the proposed mother law has accommodated the views and interests of virtually all sections of society. A constitution of such quality cannot be dismissed out right, he adds.
Yesterday, Mr Mbowe maintained that the remarks made by President Kikwete and other CCM members are clear evidence that the government is looking for loopholes to conduct the exercise after 84 days of receiving the proposed constitution. “It is now clear that CCM is looking for an excuse to hold the referendum before the 2015 general election, but I can assure you today that Chadema is going to oppose any move related to forgery,” he said.
TCD and President Kikwete agreed that local government elections be held in February 2015 but Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda announced a few days later that the elections would be staged in December. “Mr Pinda announced a new schedule six says after our meeting with the Head of State,” Mr Mbowe said. “This means our meeting and discussions were pointless.”
According to him, the proposed constitution that was handed to President Kikwete last week was slanted in favour of the ruling party and some individuals. “There are some people in this country who think they are better and more deserving than others. They believe that CCM has the power to decide on behalf of others but it cannot act in isolation in this matter,” he added.”Every mwananchi, including political parties, are stakeholders.”
The Chadema boss warned that should chaos erupt in the country, CCM and its leaders will be held responsible by virtue of not honouring agreements and ignoring consensus.
He also accused the government of coming up with local government election rules that are not easily understood, presumably in anticipation of rigging the local government polls. “The voters are required to write the names of the candidates, their political parties and draw political party logos,” Mr Mbowe said. “This is unfair and shocking.”
Likewise, the candidates are expected to fill forms stating their names, political parties of choice, party logos, district council logos and many more details. Difficult conditions have been set to disqualify some candidates, according to Mr Mbowe, especially those in the opposition.
Issues that top the Chadema CC agenda include appointing members of the board of trustees and district and regional secretaries. The way forward on the Katiba process will be up for discussion as will be the Controller and Auditor-General’s report on party finances. A review of the state of politics in and outside the country is also on the cards.