The constitutional commission to be formed by President Jakaya Kikwete will be tasked to print five million copies of the current constitution to be distributed countrywide, the House was told yesterday.
The ministry responsible for onstitutional affairs would print another 200,000 copies of the constitution to be distributed to institutions, colleges, universities and secondary schools. The move is said to help Tanzanians read and understand the constitution before engaging in the process of forging a new one.
Minister for Constitutional and Legal Affairs Celina Kombani said this when responding to a supplementary question from Dole MP Sylvester Mabumba (CCM), who asked whether the government had conducted a research to know the number of Tanzanians who were aware of the current constitution, and whether there was a plan to print extra copies to enable wananchi read and understand it.
Kombani admitted that a small percentage of Tanzanians was aware of the constitution and that only a few of them could read and understand it. He said though most of the people could not read and write, they were allowed to participate in all crucial debates and discussions on issues going on in the country.
She said ignorance would not be used to bar anyone from participating in the ongoing constitutional debate.
“Those who don’t know how to read and write will fully engage in the process of getting a new constitution,” she noted.
According to her, available statistics showed that between 2002 and 2007 almost 71 per cent of Tanzanians were able to read and write. She said in rural areas about 70 per cent knew to read and write while in Dar es Salaam 92 per cent knew how to read and write.
She however said the ministry had set up some strategies to educate the public on several issues relating to the country laws.