Is appointment of Ally the end of push for a new Katiba?
Tanzania President Magufuli appoints key proponent of a new constitution to top party position
The appointment of Dr Bashiru Ally as the Chama cha Mapinduzi secretarygeneral is being viewed as a victory for President John Magufuli over those calling for constitutional reforms. Dr Ally has been one of the most vocal advocates of the push for a new constitution, which President Magufuli has said is not among his priorities.
Dr Ally, a political scientist and lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam, took over the position after the resignation of Abdulrahman Kinana on Monday, and has now promised to toe the party line.
“My position on a new constitution as secretarygeneral of the ruling party will be different from that of an analyst. As an analyst, I was free to air my views even if they seemed to go against the party’s agenda,” he told reporters on Thursday.
Previously, Dr Ally has called for a new Katiba, saying the current constitution falls short of addressing national consensus. He said that when it was written in 1977, the country was under a one-party system, and despite some changes to it to embrace multipartyism, it is still inadequately reformed.
“The Nyalali Commission was clear about this and recommended a new constitution in 1991. But politicians, keen to cling onto power, dilly-dallied. Even in 1995, Mwalimu Nyerere mentioned some rifts in our nation’s fabric and one of them was the constitution; we cannot go on without a new one,” he once said in a television talk show.
“There is the issue of the Union structure. I think it is going to be contentious in the next stages because if we don’t agree on the structure of the country it is going to be difficult to agree on the constitution,’’ he added. ‘’Hopefully, we are going to resolve it but with difficulty. If we maintain a three government structure, then we will kill the Union. If we want to keep the nation united, we should not be simplistic. It will be a hard question in the next stage.”
The Nyalali Commission of February 1991 was a presidential commission set up under the leadership of then-chief Justice Francis Nyalali to collect the views of citizens and make appropriate recommendations on whether the country should adopt a multiparty or single party system. Based on its report, the Constitution of Tanzania was modified to accommodate multipartyism.
President Magufuli has in the past appointed strong voices championing a new constitution to senior government and party positions. Dr Ally joins other constitutional reforms activists such as Professor Palamagamba Kabudi, who was appointed Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, and CCM publicity and ideology secretary Humphrey Polepole.
Both Mr Kabudi and Mr Polepole were members of the Constitutional Review Commission led by Justice Joseph Warioba, and campaigned for the country to push for a new Constitution. A constitutional referendum was planned but never materialized, with authorities saying it stalled due to issues of voter registration: It has since been shelved.
After his election, President Magufuli said that a new
My position on a new constitution as secretarygeneral of the ruling party will be different from that of an analyst.” Newly-appointed CCM Secretary General Bashiru Ally
Chama cha Mapinduzi party delegates. Tanzania President John Magufuli appointed Bashiru Ally as secretary general on Monday.