Women’s Position in Tanzania 2015 General Election

By: The YWCA of Tanzania

First time in the history of Tanzania we have women in the top government positions, Hon. Samia Suluhu Hassan who is the newly elected Vice President and Hon. Dr. Tulia Akson Mwansasu who is a newly elected Deputy Parliament Speaker of the United Republic of Tanzania.

This is considered as an achievement after a long struggle to reach gender equality and balance in decision making organs. The Tanzania’s general election was conducted on 25th October 2015. It is the fifth (5th) election since the beginning of multiparty system in Tanzania. People were voting for the President, Members of Parliament and councillors.

The fact that women are the majority of voters and play the important role in the general election as they have more power in choosing leaders who will advocate for their rights. This is supported by testimonies we got from various women and youth that “the courage shown by Hon. Anna Mghwira to compete with very powerful politicians for Presidency is admirable” Asha Mohamed a young woman from Dar es Salaam. “One day I want to run for presidency but I will start with running for Member of Parliament, because I want to show the world that women can do it all” said Jennifa Alphonce a young woman from Dar es Salaam.

The number of women candidates’ has significantly increased over the past five years where by the last election in 2010 there were only 191 women candidates running to be members of parliament, but in 2015 the numbers have increased to 238 women candidates.

The increase of numbers of women is due to the government reaffirming its commitment to the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Beijing Platform for Action, following the Beijing conference.
However, still there are barriers discouraging women to run for different categories in the elections. These challenges are limited funding to facilitate campaign process, cultural aspects where majority of women are not trusted by community members if they can be leaders, patriarchal systems and gender roles which sometimes limit women to participate fully in campaign process within our society, just to mention the few.
It is a high time to call for positive support for women, so that more of them can run for different posts during the elections. YWCA of Tanzania through Enabling Economic Empowerment is advocating for women and youth to be proactive citizens and take charges of their own challenges to bring changes in their own communities. Through the project thirty two (32) youth where 18 were female and 14 male were trained to become internal observers during the general election on 25th of October 2015. Two young girls were trained by the Nation Election Committee (NEC) as trainers and later they trained their fellow youth to become internal observers.