As we rewrite our Constitution, a feat few nations have achieved, a glimpse down memory lane is in order, and what better way to relish Tanzania’s history than to take a look at one of its major historic sites, Bagamoyo, the oldest town in the country.
A famous Kiswahili saying goes: “If one does not fix a crack, they will have to rebuild a wall.” It is in the context of the wise saying that amendments have been made on the constitution whenever it was perceived to be developing cracks, wrought by advances in social, economic and technical development.
When the cracks are just too many and form a web that chokes the very people it was meant to protect, then the entire constitution is brought up for review. That is precisely what is going on at the nation’s capital Dodoma.
The Oxford journal notes: “The past few decades have witnessed a global sweeping trend toward constitutional review. This development is arguably one of the most important phenomena in late 20th- and early 21st-century government.”
Meanwhile, the Bagamoyo District Tourism Officer, Obeid Chaula reported recently that wide spread depreciation and even collapse of the town’s major historic sites is affecting tourism in the area.
He warned: “…if the buildings are not rehabilitated with immediate effect, our tourism sector will be greatly affected in the not too distant future.”
At the moment, even though more tourists are visiting Bagamoyo yearly, the number of days and sites that they visit while in the ancient city is decreasing. Currently they spend on average only two days, lamented Chaula.
Among the major issues being revisited in the ongoing constitutional review is a central pillar of the nation, the Union.
When a cornerstone of the very existence of the nation, the United republic, becomes flimsy, no longer able to bear the weight such that opinions and notions toss it about like a leaf in the wind, then it is obvious that the pillar is about to collapse.
We salute our fellow Tanzanians, all 44,928,923 of us, for stepping up to rehabilitate the country’s central pillar before it collapses, pulling down with it the nation, as has most sadly happened in many a fighting nation, principally around the African continent.
The constitution, the nation’s mother law, expresses the will of the people, their collective dos and don’ts, without which then there is no law and as we know a lawless community in no time plunges into an abyss of destruction.
Founded at the end of the 18th century, though it bears structures dating back to the 13th century, Bagamoyo was the original capital of German East Africa and was the most important trading port along the East African coast.
Today, it is a world heritage site that is however full of cracks, shaking and already several structures have collapsed.
While tourists are increasingly flocking there, they are discouraged by the ever decreasing number of sites open to visit.
So as we undergo this historic endeavour to rewrite our constitution, let us include therein laws to preserve our historic sites before they collapse out of existence.