Ministry prioritises constitutional writing

THE Ministry of Constitutional and Legal Affairs has identified 30 priorities for the fiscal year 2023/2024, the most important of which is coordinating the new constitutional writing process.

Damas Ndumbaro, the minister in charge of the docket, indicated that other priorities include raising public awareness of constitutional issues, as he presented the ministry’s proposed budget estimates for the fiscal year 2023/24 yesterday in the August House.

Additionally, he stated that they would concentrate on putting the Mama Samia Legal Aid Campaign into practice for the general public across the nation, amending the election and democracy laws, and submitting reports to 16 forums and meetings on human and people’s rights at the regional and international levels.

The minister outlined the important priorities in his ministry’s 2023/2024 budget where he asked lawmakers to approve 383.6bn/- in recurrent and development expenditures consecutively.

After a lengthy debate that was only concluded during yesterday’s morning session, the budget was then unanimously approved by all MPs without dissent.

Presenting the budget, Dr Ndumbaro said that in the next financial year, his ministry would also implement a program to use the Kiswahili language in the provision of Justice in the Country.

“We will also submit three country reports on the implementation of the three Human Rights Conventions that the government has ratified during the next fiscal year,” he added. “We will also continue to translate the laws of the country into Kiswahili.”

In addition, the minister stated that his ministry will continue to strengthen justice delivery systems in the coming fiscal year so that justice is available to all in a timely manner, as well as strengthen alternative dispute resolution systems by establishing and operating a dispute resolution centre.

According to him, the ministry will continue to strengthen the system of monitoring the country’s natural resources, as well as the use of ICT in the provision of legal services in the country, also the construction of Integrated Justice Centres (IJC) and the provision of education to the public on constitutional issues and the rule of law.

Abdullah Mwinyi presented a report on behalf of the Governance, Constitution, and Legal Affairs Committee Chairperson, and advised the government to increase public legal education programmes so that people could understand their rights as well as their responsibilities.

In order to increase the level of collections in the Ministry and its institutions, he said it was also essential for the government to come up with strategies for establishing a variety of sources of income.

“The Committee commends the government’s efforts to continue setting a budget to implement more projects using local funds and reduce the use of foreign funds as much as possible

“We also advise the Ministry to continue raising the development budget to enable institutions under it to build office buildings and alleviate the lack of office space,” he continued,” he noted.

He said the recurrent expenditure budget in the 2023/2024 fiscal year has increased by  53.9bn/- equal to 62.13 per cent compared to 2022/2023 where spending within the budget limit was 86bn/-.

Mr Mwinyi says that the committee has taken note of the fact that one of the causes of the budget increase is its recommendation that the government hire more people to work in the institutions under the ministry, particularly the National Prosecution Office, the Office of the Attorney General, and the prosecutor general.

Another reason, he said was for the Ministry’s decision to set a budget to start the process of a new constitutional writing process as its first priority for the year 2023/2024.

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