- Says constitution writing ought to be conducted in consensus
UNION structure remains one of the most contentious issues that dominate debate on the envisaged new constitution, with proposals including federation, single, two or three-tier government systems.
But, the current two-tier government is the best and most suitable Union structure for Tanzania, if you ask Ambassador Amina Salum Ali, a seasoned diplomat and politician.
“The one-government, if you ask me, is out of context; and the moment you try the three-government structure, you have broken the Union. So, we remain with the two-government, which is the best and unique, globally,” she argues.
She admits some union related problems but says, “They are not that serious to warrant change of the structure.” Ambassador Amina accuses some politicians of tarnishing the union image for their selfish interest.
“We, Tanzanians, have blood relation; Zanzibaris and Mainlanders are one and the same,” she says, “It’s mainly politicians who make noise on the union because of their selfish interest.”
Ambassador Amina, speaking to Tanzania Standard (Newspapers) Limited’s (TSN) editorial team, which she hosted for an exclusive interview at her Mbweni home in Unguja recently, described Tanzania union as the best and widely admirable in the world.
Captain Salum Ali Rashid’s fourth born supports demands for the new constitution but cautions some individuals and groups seeking to hijack the process.
“The constitution is not a personal property; neither person nor group of people can claim ownership of the document,” said the fourth born in Captain Salum Ali Rashid and Gheda Ferej Tousir’s family of seven children–four girls and three boys.
When the constitution changes become inevitable, the process ought to be conducted in consensus. “Constitutional changes or writing must be agreed by the people for the interest of the people–all stakeholders must have their voices heard through official forums,” maintains the former African Union’s Permanent Representative to Washington DC-headquartered United Nations.
She encourages stakeholders to come together and harmoniously deliberate on the best constitution they need because no single group of people can succeed to write the constitution of the country through speaking to itself.
“We don’t need violence; we need constructive talks and consensus on key issues,” Ambassador Amina counsels people whom she accuses of making noises on the streets but refrain from official forums.
She specifically reminds the opposition: “Grow up and make constructive inputs in the constitution debate.”
Ambassador Amina cautions that the constitution is the sacred document, which demands sobre, wise and settled minds to prepare. “…This is the country’s basic and fundamental law that lays down the executive, legislative and judicial institutions; it describes the functions of each and distributes powers among them.”
She commends Union President Samia Suluhu Hassan and Zanzibar’s Dr Hussein Mwinyi for their exemplary leaderships though some people, especially in the opposition, she says: ” …haven’t grasped their philosophies.”
She makes reference to Dr Samia’s 4Rs, which she advises opposition to strive to understand for “their own good.”
Since she assumed office in March 2021, President Samia coined the 4Rs–Reconciliation, Resilience, Reforms and Rebuilding–philosophy as her necessary tool in addressing the contemporary issues that haunt the country’s social, political and economic systems.
Ambassador Amina appreciates the president’s bold determination to transform the country through effective delivery of social services and execution of development projects but pities the opposition camp, which she believes “Haven’t grasped Dr Samia’s philosophy.”
“The opposition still needs support to clearly understand the 4Rs because they don’t seem to have grasped the concept well,” she says, adding: “It’s through execution of this philosophy now we see mutual understanding among Tanzanians and resumption of political rallies, which were banned for years.”
The two-time presidential candidate has trust on President Samia as the best captain of the ship–Tanzania–which, she says, is sailing towards social and economic prosperity.
The 67-year-old retiree vied for presidential post in 2015. When Ambassador Amina on May 21, 2015 declared her intention to vie for the union presidency, majority of the people dismissed her as just another time waster with nothing to offer in the fierce inter-party, male dominated race.
“Some dared calling and discouraging my candidature; some wrote in newspapers that I was not serious, I was lying, I was just giving it a trial,” recalls Ambassador Amina, reaffirming: “But, inside me, I was firm and determined on my mission.”
And, to the surprise of her critics, she made it to the top three. The 2015 inter-party presidential race arguably goes into history as the most competitive, with almost 40 aspirants seeking Chama Cha Mapinduzi’s (CCM) nomination to the top office.
From civil service to politics and diplomacy, Ambassador Amina left an indelible impression of exemplary performance in public offices.
“I was always serious; I never entertained nonsense at work,” beams Ambassador Amina.
A strong believer in management by walking around (MBWA) style, the diplomat sees the Union as unshakable and will always remain strong.