Speaking yesterday when he met with leaders of the Tanzania Constitution Forum (TCF) Fauna said that it was not ZEC’s responsibility to encourage people vie for political positions.
He also wanted Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to inspire, motivate, mobilise and facilitate women to participate in political issues by giving them confidence as well as supporting them financially to vie in constituencies.
According to him, ZEC does not have the capacity to create an environment for the participation of special groups within political parties but it is the parties themselves that are responsible for appointing women, youth and people with disabilities to vie various positions.
He said that women also have legal rights to vie for any leadership position from grassroots to national level, what is needed is for them to decide and be ready to contest.
He noted that political parties are the major gatekeepers in determining which candidates have qualifications to vie for election. They play a critical role in enabling or blocking women’s participation in decision-making processes, so they must ensure they increase the number of women in those positions.
“In the forthcoming general election, we want you (political parties) to help women in terms of skills and knowledge as well as financial support. It is better to have a special Fund that will help them raise money for campaigns, many of them are not economically viable to compete in elections,” he added.
He said without doing so, the percentage of women’s representation in parliament, council of representatives and councilors will remain low.
Speaking during the meeting Deus Kibamba said that TCF under the coordination of Ushiriki Tanzania is working to ensure that there is good representation of special groups in political positions.
“Although there are constitutional clauses and regulations, which prohibit the discrimination of special groups, the implementation has been poor. ZEC has the potential to influence the participation of the groups in the forthcoming general elections,” he said.
Kibamba urged ZEC to improve the data system so as to enable the availability of statistics of special groups’ participation in elections.
For her part, Salma Saadat, Zanzibar vice chair for Ushiriki Tanzania called upon ZEC to ensure that it prepares enough election tools for people with disabilities.