From July 7 to July 11, 2008 a fact-finding mission to Burundi organized by KcK sought to explore the possibilities of networking between Burundian civil society and its counterparts in the region. The aim was to strengthen citizens’ participation in the advancement of good governance and democratic development within Burundi and the East African Community (EAC). The fact-finding mission was organized against the backdrop of Rwanda and Burundi joining the EAC at the Fifth Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State of the EAC held in June 2007 in Kampala, KcK, as a regional CSO, saw the need for an inaugural fact-finding mission to Burundi to assess the nature and functioning of civil society in the country.
The mission met a cross-section of CSOs, the media, academia, officials of selected institutions, government departments and the donor community. The mission provided a strategic opportunity to open critical debate with these stakeholders, on issues affecting civil society, their respective roles and the governance challenges facing Burundi. The mission found civil society in Burundi to be fairly active with a vibrant media and trade unions, although unlike NGOs, the relationship between the media and the Burundian government somewhat fell short of what is expected in a democratic society though it had reportedly improved compared to previous years. Donor–civil society relations in Burundi were quite good. It was therefore recommended that civil society should take advantage of the improved relations with government to engage them more effectively with a view to agreeing with the government on a formalised mechanism for dialogue and conflict resolution between the two.
The mission team comprised the following members: Mr Mahadhi J. Maalim, (Tanzania, Zanzibar), Principal Secretary, Ministry of State (Presidents Office) Constitutional Affairs and Good Governance, Zanzibar (Head of mission); Prof. Charles Gasarasi, (Rwanda) Research Professor, Centre for Conflict Management, National University of Rwanda; Dr Tulia Ackson, (Tanzania Mainland), Lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of Dar es Salaam; Mr Collins Odhiambo, (Kenya) Advocate, Head of Programs & Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Constitution and Reform Education Consortium (CRECO); Hon. J.M Aliro Omara, (Uganda), Advocate, former Commissioner, Uganda Human Rights Commission; and Ms Edith Kibalama, Executive Director, KcK, provided logistical support.
East African Community
The goal of the fact-finding mission to the East African Community conducted fromMarch to June 2005 was to contribute to the implementation of a rights-sensitive approach to citizenship and identity in the East African region. The objectives of the fact-finding mission were two-fold, namely to: subject the first principle of people-centered cooperation in the East African Community Treaty (Article 7) to critical scrutiny in order to contribute to the evolution of a truly inclusive and rights-sensitive East African Community; and to assess the effectiveness of legal and policy frameworks for regional integration in East Africa with reference to citizenship and identity.
In spite of the fact that the concept of citizenship is an extremely contested one and more often used as a weapon to deny people their fundamental entitlements and protection, within the region, lamentably, the East African Community Treaty is silent on the issue of citizenship. While the East African Community Treaty professes to be committed to the free movement of capital (Article 86), it is more equivocal on the free movement of people, relegating this right to the second stage in the evolution from a Customs Union to a Common Market. It was therefore important to analyse whether in pursuance of the first principle of people-centered cooperation (Article 7), the people are indeed the true beneficiaries of the cooperation and what can be done to make the East African Community build on their experiences in order to evolve a truly inclusive and rights-sensitive Community. Again, there are numerous laws that are of nuisance value to East Africans such as tourist and student visa fees of East Africans within East Africa, which need to be scrapped.
There are also various positive policy decisions, which have been taken at the East African Community level but have not been implemented and which require to be tracked down, publicized and acted upon. In view of the above, the Fact Finding Mission was deemed particularly relevant and timely at this stage in the development of the Community given the decision by the Heads of States to Fast Track towards the Political Federation. The Fact Finding Mission was also considered necessary as a way of minimizing the so many crises of identity and exclusion that have characterized the history of the region - a region which has witnessed more than its share of ethnic tension, mass expulsion and rabid discriminatory treatment against different categories of people over the years.
To this end, the Mission placed focus on marginalized and excluded groups who traditionally do not have a voice even within the communities in which they live, among them migrants, fisher-folk, small scale traders and transporters, students, refugees and cross border communities who ply the porous borders of the three countries in the region. Further, the Mission also explored the various strategies used to address the contemporary regional tensions relating to citizenship and identity in East Africa.
In addition, the Mission addressed questions of inclusion and identity, for purposes of setting the context of people's expectations about regional integration. In particular, how the East African Community has addressed issues of citizenship and identity, for while there have of recent not been any large-scale expulsions, the periodic round-up of aliens targets the citizens of each country, even as the three governments pay lip-service to the idea of regional cooperation, equal treatment of their respective citizenry remains a challenge. Based on the principle of good governance enshrined in Article 6, overall the Mission explored whether the manner in which citizenship, nationality and identity issues are addressed enhances social justice, equal opportunity, gender equality as well as the recognition, promotion and protection of human and people's rights.
The ultimate aim of the Mission at the East African Community was to take audit of the developments at the East African Community and to analyze the East African Community's social impact and preparedness in responding to citizens needs and rights. At the East African Community, the key questions of inquiry included what programmes the East African Community had undertaken to implement the principle of people centredness. What else needs to be done to involve the people of East Africa in the EAC programmes and to therefore make the East African Community more meaningful to the lives of the various people of East Africa. Members of the Fact-finding Mission were from Kenya, Tanzania mainland, Zanzibar and Uganda.
The mission team comprised the following members: Prof. Rev. John Mary Waliggo, member of the Uganda Human Rights Commission and Head of Mission (Uganda); Hon. Miria Matembe, Member of the Pan African Parliament and Member of the Parliament of Uganda (Uganda); Ms. Katindi Sivi from the Institute of Economic Affairs, Nairobi (Kenya); Dr. Sifuni E. Mchome, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania); Mr. Abdullah Juma, a Journalist and Deputy Managing Director, Zanzibar Leo Newspaper (Zanzibar); Ms. Judy Kamanyi, Executive Director Kituo cha Katiba (Uganda); Ms. Maria Nassali, a Consultant (Uganda) and Ms. Edith Kibalama, Programme Officer, Kituo cha Katiba (Uganda).
The Fact-finding Mission to Kenya on the constitution review process (Sept 2001) was conceived out of genuine concern for East Africa as a region, and the need to offer regional support to Kenya to succeed in its noble quest for progressive constitutional change. The primary objectives of the mission were to provide a mechanism and neutral forum for self reflection and critical debate and to use Kituo cha Katiba's(KcK) regional placement as a conduit of negotiation between government and civil society.
The Mission held meetings with various people including Ministers, religious leaders, civil society groups, leaders of political parties, academia, the media, the donor community and the Kenya Constitution Review Commission. The Mission emphasised the importance of a people driven constitution-making process, necessitating a process of nation-wide civic education and consultations and a democratically elected Constituent Assembly to debate the views collected. This warrants, the imperative of sufficient time, financial resources and freedom of speech and assembly.
The Mission further underscored the need for the Commission to work as a team in professionally discharging its national duty to the people of Kenya. The Fact Finding Mission to Kenya has been appreciated as one of KcK's most important achievements, since inception. The mission to Kenya was headed by The Chairperson of the Uganda Constitutional Review Commission, Prof. Frederick Ssempebwa.
Following the constitutional impasse in Kenya characterised by suspicions and sharp divisions amongst political factions, and in the wake of the upcoming December 2007 elections, KcK sent another mission team to Kenya in June 2007 to provide a neutral forum amongst stakeholders to generate consensus on and commitment to acceptable minimum standards necessary for ensuring that the elections would be peaceful. The Team headed by Hon. Justice Joseph Warioba a former Justice of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) and former Tanzanian Prime Minister, met with various stakeholders including government officials, officials of the Electoral Commission, religious leaders, women, youth, civil society representatives etc.
The Mission team noted the need for constructive dialogue and a clear demonstration of political will by the Kenyan government; and need to address the underlying currents of ethnic issues that are likely to undermine reforms in Kenya. The Team recommended that the constitutional review process be embarked on after the December 2007 elections to give ample time for deeper reflection on whatever proposals there may be for the new constitution.
The mission team comprised the following members: Hon. Justice Joseph Warioba (Tanzania) former Judge of the East African Court of Justice in Arusha, Tanzania; former Judge of the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea in Hamburg, Germany; member of the Board of Trustees of the Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation; president of the Governing Board of the International Ocean Institute and former Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania; Prof. Saida Yahya-Othman (Tanzania Zanzibar) Associate professor, Department of Foreign Languages and Linguistics, and Director of Research and Publications, University of Dar es Salaam; Fr. Albert B. Byaruhanga (Uganda), Member of the Uganda Joint Christian Council and executive board member of the Inter-Religious Council, Kampala; Hon. Sarah Bagalaaliwo (Uganda), former member of the East African Legislative Assembly and Board member of Kituo cha Katiba; and Ms. Caroline Murimi, Programme Officer, Kituo cha Katiba (KcK).
From June 21st to 25th 2004 and July 21st to 24th, 2004, Kituo cha Katiba (KcK) undertook a Fact-finding Mission and Follow-up Mission respectively, on the tripartite relationship between civil society, donors and the state in Rwanda.
The goal of Mission was to assess and review the tripartite relationship between the state, donors and civil society in re-building the nation, and as a basis for fostering peace, reconciliation and nurturing lasting development. It was also hoped that the Mission would facilitate a process of dialogue in order to enhance a mutually beneficial relationship for all parties.
The objectives of the Fact-finding Mission were to: initiate dialogue with all stakeholders with varied interests and differing views in order to form a rational opinion over the tripartite relationship between the state, donors and civil society; document the progress, challenges and lessons learnt and their impact on the relationship between the State, donors and civil society; contribute to the building of a network of civil society by collectively identifying common issues and mutual areas of interest that shall form the basis of future collaborative work in Rwanda at the East African regional level; provide a regional dimension for civil society in Rwanda by enabling critical actors in the region to share experiences, and learn from each other’s mistakes and best practices; to provide a mechanism and neutral forum for civil society, activists, academics, government officials and the donor community to engage in dialogue, self reflection and critical debate over the development paradigm in Rwanda and to critique intra-civil society relationships specifically between network organisations, and their membership, international organisations and national organisations and community-based organisations (CBOs).
The draft Mission Report was disseminated at a workshop on October 29, 2004 at Hotel Inter-Continental Kigali. The objectives of the Dissemination Workshop were to: present the collective findings of the Mission for further deliberation and input by the people of Rwanda; and to provide a mechanism and neutral forum for activists, academicians and politicians to engage in dialogue, self-reflection and critical debate over the Mission Report.
The issues and comments raised during the Dissemination Workshop were duly incorporated in the Mission Report, which formed the basis of discussion at the Follow-up Experts' workshop held on February 23rd to 24th, 2006 at Hotel Gorillas, in Kigali Rwanda. Participants at the Follow up Experts’ Workshop comprised of eight (8)Rwandans and four (4) East Africans from Kenya, Tanzania mainland, Tanzania Zanzibar and Uganda. The main objectives of the Follow- up Experts’ workshop were to: thoroughly scrutinize the Draft Mission report by clarifying factual information on dates, actual events, and sequence of events; commenting on language of the report, its chapterisation in terms of content, general flow; providing a general update on key/new developments in terms of law and policy since the Mission took place; dialogue over possible strategies of addressing some of the challenges outlined in the Mission Report, pointing out specific actions to be undertaken by government, civil society, donors, etc, and to provide a forum for the East African Experts to share East African experiences, which would inform the process of forging the Way Forward. Thus the Follow-up Workshop was a consultative exercise not necessarily intended to collect new information but to clarify and build on the views collected during the Mission.
The comments of the Follow-up Experts' Workshop were incorporated in the Mission Report, which was translated into Kinyarwanda. The translation of the Report into Kinyarwanda is because it is the most widely spoken language in Rwanda, and would allow a wider readership as well as stimulate societal debate on it. The published Report therefore has both an English and Kinyarwanda version in the same volume.
Kituo cha Katiba organized the Fact-finding Mission in two legs; the first to Unguja Zanzibar, which was undertaken from July 13th – 16th 2009. The second was undertaken in Tanzania Mainland from 23rd – 28th August 2009. The Mission also subsequently visited Pemba from April 19th - 20th, 2010.
The Mission met a cross section of key stakeholders from Tanzania Mainland, Zanzibar (Unguja) and Pemba including government officials, parliamentarians, members of the judiciary, academics, civil society including human rights, women and youth nongovernmental organisations, religious leaders, the media, to mention a few.
The main objective was to examine areas of tension relating to the Union between Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar with respect to enhancing Zanzibar’s role in the East African Community (EAC) processes and to devise ways and means of resolving them.
The Mission set out to examine the Union and gather the views on it, both in Zanzibar and on the Mainland, to establish the problems associated with the Union, and the Union question related to the East African integration process. On the basis of the views expressed by Tanzanians on the issue, the Mission came to the conclusion that there are problems associated with the formation, structure and management of the Union. Many of these problems remain unresolved and are the basis for the dissatisfaction and grievances on many aspects of the Union including its legality, the two-government structure, the expansion of the list of Union matters, the sharing of Union benefits and costs, the threat to Zanzibar’s identity and international dealing and to some extent the loss of the Tanganyika identity. The Mission also concluded that in spite of these problems the majority of Tanzanians not only accept the fact of the Union but would not want to break it and would like the Union to continue. The Mission also concluded that the majority of people both in Zanzibar and on the Mainland would like to see changes in all the aspects of the Union stated above in order to have a just and equitable Union, which genuinely represents the interests of both sides of the Union.
The mission team comprised the following members: Hon. Augustine Ruzindana (Uganda), former Inspector General of Government, former Member of Parliament and immediate former Chairperson of the African Parliamentarians Network Against Corruption (Head of Mission); Mr. Vincent Ndikumasabo (Burundi), Lecturer, Constitutional & Judicial law, University of Lac Tanganyika, former Judge of the Supreme Court and former Member of Parliament; Prof. Godfrey Muriuki (Kenya), Professor of History, University of Nairobi; Ms. Justine Mirembe (Rwanda), Consultant, Lawyer practising in Kigali; Ms. Florence Batoni (Rwanda), Communications and Peace Building Expert; Prof. Frederick Jjuuko (Uganda), Professor of Law, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda (Secretary to the Mission); Ms. Edith Kibalama, Executive Director, Kituo cha Katiba provided logistical support.
In April 2002 Kituo cha Katiba organised a Fact-finding Mission to Uganda, with the aim of seeking mediation between the two political groups and to offer some insights on how to avert the dismantling of the constitutional order in Uganda. The 1995 constitution of Uganda contains several progressive provisions such as a strong Bill of Rights with increased capacities for enforcement, and various provisions relating to popular representation and restriction on the arbitrary exercise of executive power. The above notwithstanding, entrenched in the 1995 constitution is the no-party Movement system of government, based on individual merit rather than on organised political action.
The proponents of the multiparty political system in Uganda argue that the Movement system is detrimental to democracy and the protection of fundamental civil and political rights. Thus, the restriction of political parties under Article 269 of the constitution has implications for the fundamental human rights to freedom of assembly, association, and expression. On the other hand, the proponents of the Movement system argue that it has the constitutional right and mandate of the people of Uganda as determined by the 2000 referendum on political systems. This controversy dominated the presidential campaign to such an extent that the president established a Constitution Review Commission. The mission was appreciated by the majority of respondents, who agreed that the political system is so central to the stability of Uganda that the situation should not be allowed to become conflictual, with no mechanism for peaceful dialogue. A minority denied the possibility of any impending crisis, but maintained that what was at stake was an unresolved debate.
The goal of the fact-finding mission was to seek a mediation between the two political groups and to offer some insights on how to avert the dismantling of the constitutional order in Uganda. It is hoped that the mission will facilitate a process of dialogue and tolerance and provide a forum for the amicable solution of the tensions in the country, as well as offer regional support for the current constitutional review process. In other words, the fact finding mission(s) was conceived out of genuine concern for East Africa as a region and the need for Uganda to succeed in its quest for progressive democratic order.
To initiate dialogue with all stakeholders with varied interests and differing views in order to form a rational opinion about the constitutional process in Uganda; To provide a mechanism and neutral forum for activists, academicians and politicians to engage in dialogue, self reflection and critical debate over constitutional development in Uganda and act as a conduit of negotiation between government and civil society; To provide regional support for constitutional development in the Uganda; To enable critical actors in the ongoing processes in the region to share experiences and learn from each others mistakes and best practices.
It was in the above spirit that Kituo cha Katiba organised a fact finding mission comprising distinguished personalities from Tanzania and Kenya, which took place from 15 to 19 April 2002. The delegation consisted of: Prof. Haroub Othman (Tanzania), Professor university of Dar es Salaam; Chairman, Zanzibar Legal Services Centre; and former UN Chief Technical Adviser, Office for the Promotion of Good Governance, Liberia. Head of the fact finding mission; Hon. Fatima Magimbi (Tanzania), former member of Parliament of the United Republic of Tanzania for Chake Chake Constituency in Pemba and Official leader of the Opposition in Parliament; Prof. Kivutha Kibwana (Kenya), Professor of law, University of Nairobi and Executive Director of Centre for Law and Research International (CLARION): Ms. Kagwiria Mbogori (Kenya), Executive Director of the International Commission of jurists, Kenya Chapter (ICJ-K); Mr Thomas Mihayo (Tanzania), Secretary General East Africa Law Society and President Tanganyika Law Society; Mr John Kiarie Njoroge (Kenya), Co-ordinator justice & Peace programme of the Catholic Archdiocese of Nairobi.
Kituo cha Katiba participated in the Fact-finding Mission to Zanzibar, under the auspices of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), with the objective of investigating the human rights violations that followed the October 29, 2001 elections on the island.
The principal goal of the mission was to critically examine the Muafaka agreement as a basis for fostering peaceful constitutional development in Zanzibar, as well as assessing the progress made by the Muafaka initiative in Zanzibar. The mission interacted with a cross-section of people representing the broad spectrum of political views on both the general state of constitutional development and on the Muafaka process in particular.
The delegation met with government officials, the joint Presidential Supervisory Commission (JPSC), members of both the governing and opposition political parties, a former president and chief minister's, current and former Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) members, officials of the judiciary, NGO activists, academics, Parliamentarians, civil service retirees, religious leaders, youth, the media, the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) and donors. The mission held interviews at Pemba, Unguja and Dar-es-Salaam. Our findings are mainly concerned with issues of a constitutional or governance nature.
The main recommendations of the mission were:
- There needs to be a comprehensive discussion of constitutional and governance issues in Tanzania that encompasses both the current constitutional instruments, as well the content of laws and regulations that do not pass the test of constitutional muster.
- It is essential to have a frank, candid and comprehensive discussion of all aspects of the union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar, with a focus not only on what the union was intended to be, but also on what it has actually evolved into, and in which direction the people's of Tanzania and Zanzibar want it to develop.
- There is a need for the comprehensive intra-Zanzibari dialogue focusing on specific aspects of Zanzibar's constitutional and governance arrangements and specifically those issues (such as citizenship) that have the tendency to promote feelings of xenophobia and political persecution.
- Mechanisms for civic and political education, and especially for the promotion of greater citizenship participation need to be put in place in Zanzibar.
- The Muafaka Process is commended for providing a positive dispute settlement mechanism as well as a tool for progressive negotiations. The dialogue among the top party leadership should nevertheless be replicated at the village level.
- The independence of the judiciary should be entrenched in the Constitution, through ensuring security of tenure and the creation of a credible and independent Judicial Service Commission. CUF and CCM need to be more tolerant and appreciative of each other as political competitors. The Mission emphasizes that there is an acute need in Zanzibar to move away from the 'winner take all' attitude.
The mission to Zanzibar was headed by Hon. Abubaker Zein, a member of the Kenya Constitutional Review Commission.