The ‘we want new constitution’ dragon rears its head again

Tony Zakaria

WELL, well. I thought we had gone over this already and put it to bed. Given the economic and social challenges ahead of us you would think we have enough on our collective national plate. Right? No.

Cries for we need a new constitution have been getting louder recently. And when such cries are not coming from the wilderness but from the men of the cloth, believers and worshipers are bound to take notice.

We have shortages of teachers and health workers in some districts because those that were recently fired had questionable paper qualifications.

Perhaps under the current constitution we can only employ native Tanzanians even if they steal medicines and charge parents extra for tutoring their offspring on the sidelines of normal . We have Tanzanians in the hospitality industry who do not understand the importance of basic courtesy and service with a smile.

Were they forced to take up these jobs? Such fake service gives Tanzania a bad name. Yet we keep harassing hotels and travel franchises to employ wababaishaji - I don’t have a good English word for this - to the detriment of both domestic and external tourism.

What did the late Den Tsiao-Ping say that made such a huge impact on the great leap forward of China? It doesn’t matter the colour of the cat as long as it catches mice.

Did the Chinese change their constitution in order to make possible to employ grey, blackand yellow mice in their quest to industrialise and move China rapidly to where it is now? Maybe not.

To paraphrase the late premier, a Rwandese nurse can make a male Tanzanian patient heal quickly, just as a Ugandan engineer can supervise the construction of an airport terminal in time and with standard of work acceptable internationally.

It is not the nationality that does good works. If it is the constitution barring us from bringing in the best brains to build a Tanzania that can stand proud in future, let us get rid of it soonest.

We have heard how fellow Tanzanians stood idly by while natural wealth of the land was shipped out in container loads and diamonds and gold from our soil were airlifted out without ordinary citizens smelling the dust.

Could a new constitution have helped to make such offspring of the land patriotic so that they would put national interest above personal gain?

Maybe a new constitution would have barred our frequent flier executives from holding board meetings and negotiations in world capitals such as Washington, London, Dubai or Tokyo instead of back here at home? Who does not love the smell of new clothes? I can bet a printed new constitution will smell just as fresh as new, crisp banknotes.

And the architects of it can thump their chests in congratulatory mood for a job well done. But will a new constitution cure the arrogance of pastoralist tribes who claim the right to graze their millions of cattle inside protected national parks and farmland planted with crops? When we get around to making that brand new constitution, there is a few things I would like it to do for me.

One, allow for multi-partner marriage. I would like for us Tanzanians to populate East Africa. With our peaceful nature and good looks that will be a good thing. You see the new generation wants to have everything like now, now.

A young handsome hubby and an older automatic cash machine. We can make this reality legal by having the option to have two or three husbands. Then there will be no need for DNA paternity tests and court cases for child support.

And since having a sugar mama has become fashionable in the land of the Kilimanjaro, young men so inclined can have a older wife to complement the resources of a younger Miley Cyrus. It is by working together that we can achieve much more than individually. I need the recall clause back in any new constitution.

I have not seen my member of parliament since we voted two years ago. The roads in my neck of woods are so full of potholes, you need a wooden back to survive been driven over them. Just 300,000/- could fill up the municipal grader with diesel to smoothen NSSF, Oasis and Valentine roads among others.

My MP has gone AWOL for two years, and the ward office could not tell me how to rein in the missing-in-action MP. A new constitution should make it illegal to have new provinces and districts. Look at Kilimanjaro region.

Rombo is for Warombo, Hai for Wamachame, and why have Same and Mwanga if not to divide the Wapare into rival branches? May the Wagonja and Wambaga love each other forever.

The excellent work done by our founding father Mwalimu Nyerere has been eroded by these division along tribal/factional lines. Maybe we can add a few more districts instead of new provinces being created. Current provinces should be reduced to a maximum of 20, otherwise no new constitution.

Having more districts and provinces just increases the government burden of building offices, paying salaries and buying more cars. The USA with 323 million population has 535 parliamentarians in Congress composed of 435 representatives and 100 senators. And 50 provinces in an area ten times the size of Tanzania. And massive wealth to boot. Why with hardly 50 million people we have 350 MPs?

This should be addressed in a new constitution. Too many cooks spoil the broth, siyo? They play mathematics. Divide their efforts, multiply their differences, add enemies and subtract political friends. Do you believe current MPs can agree long enough to add a new constitution? Maybe with instructions from the clergy.

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