More women have been nominated by political parties to contest for constituency seats in the upcoming 2020 general elections than in any other election in the history of Tanzania’s multiparty politics, The Chanzo analysis has revealed.
Three parties have fielded parliamentary candidates almost all over the countries. They are the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party, Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema) and Alliance for Change and Transition (ACT – Wazalendo).
Collectively, the parties have nominated 672 candidates of which women are 102, an equivalent of 15 per cent of the nominees.
Perspectively, this is an increase of 5 per cent in women participation in constituency elections if one compares the number of women candidates for the 2015 general election.
In that election, there were about 651 parliamentary candidates of which 67 were women. This was 10 per cent of candidates vying for the parliamentary seats during that election.
But our analysis shows that there is more to this story.
During the 2010 general election, CCM had 239 candidates of which 24 were women, Chadema had 179 Candidates of which 25 were women, the Civic United Front (CUF) had 182 candidates of which 14 were women, according to data from the National Electoral Commission (NEC). Respectively, this is equivalent to 10 per cent, 14 per cent and 8 per cent of the parliamentary seat candidates appointed by the parties.
In case you are wondering about the status of ACT-Wazalendo, the party was either not existing then or unknown.
As for the 2015 general election, the ruling CCM had 264 candidates of which 24 were women, Chadema had 184 candidates of which 13 were women, ACT-Wazalendo had 203 candidates of which 30 were women, according to data from a joint report by United Nations Women, Tanzania Gender Networking Program (TGNP) and Women Fund Tanzania (WFT).
This is an equivalent of nine per cent, seven percent and 15 percent of the candidates respectively.
For the upcoming general election slated for October 28, 2020, the ruling CCM nominated a total 264 candidates where 22 are women. Main opposition party Chadema nominated 200 candidates of which 52 are women. On its hand, opposition ACT Wazalendo nominated 198 candidates of which 24 are women. This is equivalent to eight percent, 26 percent and nine percent respectively.
It is against this background that the 2020 general election is seen as significant as far as women participation in politics and public leadership is concerned.
This is the view of Dr Victoria Lihiru, a gender activist and law lecturer at the Open University of Tanzania (OUT).
In an interview with The Chanzo, Dr Lihuri, who has written extensively on the topic of women and politics, said: “The fact that we had 37 per cent of women in the past [eleventh] parliament [shows that] other women were inspired by their fellow women who were in the parliament.”
Ms Imani Hatibu, a lawyer and gender activist, shares a similar opinion. She told The Chanzo in a recent interview that:
‘There has been awareness-raising campaigns conducted by various actors, State and non-state. The goal has been to encourage women to go and vie for political spaces. Also many [women] are motivated by fellow women who won positions in different political spaces during the previous general election.”