Citizen voting rights in upcoming constitution

By Noah Lusekelo

The vice secretary of the Demokrasia Makini political party Nuru Kimwaga has urged political leaders who have the opportunity to contribute to the rewriting of the constitution to use this chance for positive reforms.

Since August 5th 2013, there have been ongoing meetings involving committees of the constitution, law and management with different stake holders and political parties in Dar es Salaam.

“The bill is good and constructive for the development and the needs of the citizen because if it will become a law it will give chance to the citizen to participate in different conclusion by voting for the argument put forward by the government” Kimwaga said.

Mr. Shoka Hamisi Juma, who was the representative of Alliance for Democratic Change (ADC), said that the referendum should address how the people of Zanzibar are going to be registered in the permanent book of voters of Zanzibar and that of United Republic of Tanzania. It should also address the means that will help the people from Zanzibar living in Tanganyika to become involved in the general election in Zanzibar, and how those from Tanganyika living in Zanzibar are going to become involved in general election in Zanzibar.

The minister of state policies, coordination and parliamentary affairs, Mr. Willium Ngereja, said that when he was presenting those ideas to the committee he said that the bill will give an opportunity to the citizens to vote for the agreement and ultimately allow the new constitution to be useful to Tanzanians.

“This bill involves six issues which are The name of the bill of referendum, The presentation bill of referendum, Voting for referendum and The participant, The agreement of the constitution and The general Instructions” The minister added.

The chair person of the committee Pindi Chana said “the stake holders who we are going to meet with them are needed to prepare themselves by passing through the the information concerning the bill of referendum in order to understand what they are going to contribute instead of contributing on the issue they are not aware of.”

She mentioned that there are other groups that will contribute to the bill before it is reviewed in the upcoming parliamentary meeting, which is going to be held at the end of this month. These consist of various religious groups, NGO’s and laws departments from the university.

The vice chair person Mr. William Ngereja also addressed an area of concern which is to help citizens directly in the formation of the bill. He said, “the paragraph 43:1 shows how the people who are out of Tanzania for different reasons like economic, social and health problem and those who are in hospital for treatment are going to be registered and participate in general election.” This will ensure that those who cannot be physically present will still be able to vote.

The bill also provides an opportunity of those who do not have the ability to read and write, and is working to ensure that they are able to vote through the assistance of a trusted individual to select the candidate of their choosing on their behalf. If the trust individual violates this responsibility against the voter’s interest, then they would be punished with a fine of up to 2.0 million Tsh and up to three years in jail.

This bill is primarily concerned with providing an opportunity to citizens to vote for the upcoming rewriting of the constitution and to ensure that all citizens receive equal access and opportunity to voting rights in their country.

Noah believes in advocating for children’s right to education and believes that parents are responsible for ensuring this right is recognized. As a journalist, Noah hopes to become the voice of the society and to be an advisor of human rights.

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