AS the country moves towards October general elections, people have been assessing the performance of the outgoing political leaders on how they have fulfilled their promises.
They have also been assessing how party election manifesto met people's expectations in the past five years. When senior officers of the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) met here recently under their umbrella ANGOZA, they thanked the Union and Zanzibar governments for their efforts to solve some social, economic and political challenges in the country.
They also expressed optimism for a better future - the next five years. Their views were also based on assessment on individual CSOs conducted by the ANGOZA which was part of the 'Data Driven Advocacy (DDA)' project supported by the PACT-Tanzania, USAID, and Freedom-House aimed at pushing for improvement of laws and policies for the interest of the public.
Under the project the CSOs through 'working group' identified areas that need further improvement and advocated for the changes. The focus was on improving: Civic Space; Women & Children, Youths, and People with disability; Press freedom; and Private sector.
According to Mr Hassan Khamis Juma- Director, Association of Non-Governmental Organizations in Zanzibar (ANGOZA), fifty CSOs were asked to give their views on the implementation of DDA project and their expectation for 2020/2025 as the countries prepares to have new leaders after the General elections.
Mr Juma said two methods: primary data (surveys) were each CSO was required to answer questions by filling Questionnaires provided, and secondary data (documents analysis) were applied in getting views/data collection by five 'data enumerators.'
The majority CSOs interviewed were from Mjini-Magharib Region (34 per cent of 50) followed by Kusini Pemba and Kaskazini Pemba regions (20 per cent), Kaskazini Unguja region- 14 per cent, and Kusini Unguja region 12 per cent.
He said areas covered in the survey include good governance, poverty reduction, Rights for special groups (Women, Youth, Children, Elders, and People with disability), environment protection, Policy analysis and advocacy, and services delivery.
Findings from the survey shows that despite CSOs satisfaction with government initiatives to improve people's lives, they have great expectations for the next five years are in areas that are directly linked to people's normal life, 'living no one behind' as far as good governance, economic freedom, youth employment, environment protection, and unity are concerned.
The CSOs observed that the future development should involve all, including special groups as they often face the challenge of isolation, neglect, and denial in decision-making; accessibility to better health care, education and water; economic freedom; Youth employment; promotion of peace; environment protection; and Unity.
He said, "About 22 per cent of the interviewed CSOs expressed hope that within the next five years, members of the special group: Women, the Youths, Children, the elderly, and people with disabilities will be involved in the development programmes."
'Leaving no one behind' is the UN motto in achieving sustainable development Goals (SDGs)-2030. The development goals also include government national plans that involve or consider gender equality in economic opportunities, and in decision making bodies.
ANGOZA Coordinator Ms Asma Ramadhan Simai says CSOs have the views that good governance remains important to be considered in daily life at work places and in public institutions. It is the hope of CSOs that there will be improvement in rule of law, respect of human rights, involving people in all national issues, transparency and accountability.
It is also to the expectation of the organizations that corruption in getting basic rights will be controlled along with ending Gender Based Violence, particularly abuse of children and women.
As regards to service delivery, the CSO note there are significant improvements in the area but noted there are rooms for improvements in particular among health care service providers who need to avoid bias, favouritism and being rude to patients.
Employment: unemployment remains a national and global burden among the youth, as majority end in streets idle after graduating from higher institutions. Some of the youth are in drugs business, armed robbery, and other criminal offences. CSOs are looking forward to see this social burden ends or highly minimized.
Peace and stability: CSOs have great hope that everyone in collaboration or support to the government to ensure the current peace and stability prevails for the next five years and beyond. Government should provide enabling environment such as respecting human rights and engaging people in decision-making, for maintaining peace.
Environment protection is among crucial issues in the development of the country, and therefore CSOs want to see workable measures in environmental conservation to stop ruining it. This has been emphasized in MKUZA programme; it just needs emphasis in implementation.
The evaluation report and meeting of CSOs shows that the organizations have great hope that in the next five years there will be improvement in people's welfare if leaders who will form the next government after the October this year General elections, will be committed.
The incoming leaders must take 'onboard' issues regarding the development of the country including people forming special group, and everyone will be happy to see all areas of Zanzibar and Tanzania mainland remain peaceful before, during, and after the polls.
ANGOZA's Mr Hassan Said Salum says CSOs play a vital role in enabling people to claim their rights, promote rights based approaches, in shaping development policies and partnerships, and in overseeing their implementation.
"As we move towards election campaigns full of promise, the CSOs would be happy to see that contenders who will later become leaders to consider the views from CSOs, and allow the organizations to operate freely," said Salum as he thanked the DDA project sponsors.