16 December 2012

Tanzania: Gender Balance Touted for President, VP Posts

Photo: Lauren Everitt/AllAfrica
Young Masai women perform in traditional dress.

IN some of the rare successful forums of the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) held in Zanzibar, residents have opined that in the future if the president is male, the vice president should be female, and vice versa.

Such views have been rare in Zanzibar because of the issue of the union, were followers of Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) and Civic United Front (CUF) are constantly competing to have their followers have the most say in the hope that the CRC will consider majority voices in its final draft.

"Tanzanians should prove that they need gender balance in all positions including the highest office in the country. It is high time we have equal representations in decision making groups, and we need a new constitution that clearly promotes gender balance," said Ms Salama Omar.

Presenting her views to the CRC on what should be in the future union constitution, she argued that there were no reasons why there are still few women in top positions in the country, and that equal representation is the solution in solving challenges facing women.

"Women face many challenges including poverty and violence because we are not well represented and therefore our voices and views are not considered by policymakers," she said. Another resident, Ms Mamu Faki was of the view that land should be owned by the government to have proper control over it.

"I think all land in the country should be owned by the government so that we share it properly," she said. Ms Faki said that if the government has full control over the land, with workable planning, conflicts over land would be minimized. "With proper management and corruption free allocation, everybody may be happy," she observed.

CRC has been organising a series of public forums for people in Zanzibar Municipality to air their views on the process towards having a new union constitution before the next general elections in 2015. The CRC programme to collect views through public rallies is scheduled to end next Tuesday.

However, all forums in Zanzibar have been dominated by the issue of what should the structure of the union between Zanzibar and Tanganyika in the future. There have been conflicting views, which sometimes turn emotional and violent.

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