The Times of Tanzania
Eastern Africa News Network, Breaking News Tanzania

Tanzania needs special laws to protect ancestral lands

Tanzania needs a special law in the proposed new constitution, which will specifically be enacted to protect ancestral lands in the country.

Speaking during a public debate in which residents of Arusha were contributing their views regarding what they expected from the new national constitution draft, Advocate Matojo Mushmba Cosatta pointed out that in Kenya, the land belonging to indigenous pastoral communities is protected by the country laws.

Advocate Cosatta explained that securing their ancestral precincts was the best way to safeguard the rights of marginalized communities in addition to protecting the country’s remaining customs and traditions.

The Tanganyika Law Society (TLS) organized an open discussion forum and public debate to collect views, ideas and suggestions from various residents of Arusha, regarding the writing of the proposed new constitution.

Among the issues raised was the ongoing countrywide debate on the union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar, which Advocate Alute Mughwai warned that, once each part secedes politically, there will be no country called Tanzania left to exist.

He cautioned people to tread carefully on the union subject.

On her part, Paralegal Vicky Kimaro reminded the audience that many Tanzanians call for a new constitution, but very few of them have even read the current document, which means most people lack the basic understanding of what is being proposed.

Reacting to that, a student of law at the Saint Augustine University, Stellah Aaron added that, many ordinary people, especially those living in rural areas believe that issues regarding constitutions are reserved to politicians and political parties only.

Peter Bayo from the Arusha Non-Government Organization Network (ANGONET) and Petro Ahham also representing civil societies admitted that the powers bestowed on the President by the current constitution was rather too much.

High Court Advocate and former President of the Bar Association of the Mainland Tanzania, Francis Stolla took the delegates of the Public Debate through a brief review of the 1977 National Constitution and what it entailed.

“The current constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania stipulates that ordinary citizens are the basis of the country’s governance and reserve the ultimate rights to decide what is better for the country,” he stated.

Another High Court Lawyer, Advocate Idd Mandi who participated in the previous Judge Joseph Warioba constitutional commission, guided the delegates during the one day discussion process held at the corridor spring hotel.

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