THE NEW CONSTITUTION SHOULD ABOLISH PRIVILEDGED REPRESENTATION TO ENCOURAGE EQUITY – ACTIVISTS
Activists from different organizations, ministries, higher learning institutions, within the country have suggested that the New Constitution should remove the system of having Special representation of women in the parliament and establish a new one which will recognize the equal representation of women and men in different leadership positions.
Speaking during the Gender and Development Seminar Series (GDSS), that took place at the TGNP grounds in Mabibo on the 23rd of July, 2014, activists said that the current system of having special representation of women in the parliament is bad because it demoralizes and undermines women, which affects their performance as leaders
The facilitator of the seminar, the founder member of TGNP Ms. Aseny Muro said that Tanzania needs to improve the system of having a gender balanced representation in all levels of leadership. She also said that Members of Parliament who have been appointed by the president through special representation arrangement should have the authority to make decisions as opposed to the current situation where they can not make decisions about their constituencies like their fellow Members of parliament who have been elected by citizens
“There should be a Gender balance in all levels of leadership. We want to see an equal number of male and female government officials from village level to ministries and government departments. Increasing the number of Women Members of Parliament itself will not make a difference if many government officials are men. This is because government officials are the ones that make decision when it comes to the issue of resource allocation.
Ms. Muro added that, if the Second Draft Constitution will be adopted, the system of having special representation for women in the parliament will have to be abolished since the Draft Constitution requires two Members of Parliament in a constituency, one male and one female. Incase the Draft Constitution will not be adopted, then the special sits arrangement should continue to be implemented.
While speaking on behalf of his fellow participants, Hancy Obote said that the New Constitution should recognize the 50/50 ratio between men and women leaders that is free from conditions and which is fair. He said that the rule of having 50/50 ratio of men and women representatives in the parliament should continue so as to strengthen the voices of marginalized groups in decision making bodies. However, he said that the system of having special sits for women in the parliament should be removed.
Sophia Wambura from The Women’s Constitution Forum (Jukwaa la Wanawake na Katiba) said that, according to the population statistics of 2012, 51 percent of Tanzania’s population are women. Thus, in order to have an image depicting our nationality, there should be a 50/50 ratio of women and men leaders.
Anna Kikwa from TGNP also said that the system of having special representation in the parliament was introduced with the aim of encouraging women to contest for leadership positions. If the New Constitution will adopt a section of having a male and female representative for a constituency in the Parliament, then the special sits should be removed.