This is my first English language blog entry since I was nominated by President Jakaya Kikwete to the Constituent Assembly in February. And I do not intend to spend any time discussing events that took place so far. Instead I want to point out one pertinent matter or idea that I believe we should all embrace inside and outside the Assembly.
How we got here or this far in this historic process of writing a new constitution can be a topic to fill tomes of books but what I would like us to focus on is not the past but rather the future. Consider this: despite the fact that this Assembly consists of delegates who did not vie nor were we elected by citizens to be part of the Assembly, there is an interesting mix of delegates, albeit mostly favoring the powers that be. But who would have thought that someone as controversial as Reverend Mtikila will be part of this Assembly? Many delegates are uneasy and even fear Reverend Mtikila who has published his paper calling on the dissolution of the Assembly. Yet despite his avid stance on the revival of Tanganyika, Reverend Mtikila has taken the oath to be faithful to the United Republic. There are pastoralists, farmers, religious leaders and many others. Another interesting personality is Esther Milimba a Maasai woman from the pastoralist community, who in her full Maasai outfit represents the bold, industrious women of Tanzania. Then there are the elders including Kingunge Ngombale Mwiru –a stalwart CCM member and functionary with a wealth of historic information, but there is also the octogenarian John Lifa Chipaka who was political rival of Nyerere since the 50s and jailed for charges of attempted coup d’etat. These two elders have a totally different experience and view of history that may prove valuable in this process.
What we all have to realize inside and outside the Constituent Assembly is that we have a historic opportunity to finally transform our nation and get it right! We have been experts at criticizing and complaining about many things and here we have this unprecedented chance to act on it. This is the chance to unleash the potential of our people, our youth; to overhaul the system that has held back our development; to ensure that services are delivered properly to all citizens; to ensure that we have a well informed and educated citizenry… what we dreamt about can become reality.

But this can only happen if collectively and individually we put aside our cynicism and bring back our idealism. This is the second awakening of Tanzania .. let us aspire and dream big! In the words of the Founding Father Mwalimu Nyerere: “That is the way we ought to look at this constitution. We got to have a little amount of faith…. Democracy is a declaration of faith in human nature”. Call me naïve, call me an idealist but I have a lot of faith in human nature but most importantly I have a lot of faith in Tanzanians.. it is this faith of mine in the incredible generous and patriotic spirit of the citizens of Tanzania that our movement of #ChangeTanzania  has become a movement that cannot be ignored and that has given me this responsibility to represent the people of Tanzania. So I believe and trust, I have faith in the individual and collective nature of Tanzanians, let’s make history by changing our course and create a better future founded on equality, freedom and justice.

Maria Sarungi Tsehai
Maria Sarungi Tsehai

An activist and advocate for change in Tanzania. Promotes positive change and education particularly for women. Known for launching the #changeTanzania hashtag on Twitter.

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