He said in Dar es Salaam at a meeting called by Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) for 130 media stakeholders from across the country. The meeting constituted of the MCT Constitutional Council, which brought feedback from six zones on the Katiba draft.
Speaking at the event, retired Judge Warioba, at length, noted that there was still a vacuum in the ongoing public and media discourse with reports on the constitution draft currently more significantly focusing on the country’s administrative structure, powers and other political matters.
He said the discussions exuded silence on issues that touch the larger section of the public. “Many more issues that touch the people were raised, you should go beyond the power structure, go to the fundamentals -- the basic needs of a common Tanzanian. Power is nothing, he said, adding that in the countrywide meetings, which were carried out ahead of the draft, people touched, with passion, issues like land, education, health, economy and nation’s vision.
According to him, when his commission was going round the country gathering public views, the larger section of people raised many issues, including ownership and valuation of land, social security for the elderly people, relations between communities and investors, national parks, access to quality education and social services.
He also said that agriculture, which is the backbone of the country’s economy, including employing the majority population, was given special emphasis by the people. “People also spoke so much about land and we realised how important land is to the ordinary person,” he said.
He said people spoke about health and felt the health system is two sides, with the rich having access to top healthcare while the poor only access lowly funded public health centres. ‘‘These are the issues we should raise,” he said, adding, “This is because if the people would feel the Katiba does not represent their views, then its implementation would be difficult,’’ he said.
He also asked the constitutional councils to discuss issues within boundary of the draft constitution. “We should not go in the reverse by introducing fresh ideas away from the current draft. If one thinks that a fresh idea should be introduced, he or she should justify and would be hard,” he said.
On his view regarding input from the media, he said: “We expect journalists to give their opinions with regard to freedom of expression but also give their feelings as common citizens.’’ He said media has been central in giving the public the platform to exchange varying views on the constitution and in the process communicating.
He asked media to continue its role so that the final product of the constitution is good and implementable. He however said media and the public are giving so much weight on power structure but muting many other things that are central and were raised by ordinary people like land issues.
He asked media to write about everything so that the public can use the platform to communicate and exchange debate on their varying views.
Presenting proposals from the media fraternity, MCT’s Regulation and Standards manager Ms Pili Mtambalike noted that a clause in article 30 of the proposed draft constitution, which provides for freedom of expression and the right to information, was criticised as an impediment to the very rights it is supposed to facilitate.
In their proposals, media practitioners, trainers and stakeholders singled out clause 4 of the article which subjects it’s utilization to a legislation to be enacted with the objective of protecting national security, peace, national values, rights, privacy and the freedom of other people as a claw-back clause.
Some participants suggested the clause should either be removed altogether or amended by improving the wording to be positive.