Source: Tanzania Daily News
WOMEN in the country are likely to win overwhelming voters' confidence in the coming General Elections if the findings of a recent survey are anything to go by.

A survey titled "Assessment of the State of Local Democracy in Tanzania from Gender Perspective," has indicated that women are increasingly perceived as keen challengers of their male counterparts for political posts from now on.

Announcing the outcome of the survey on Tuesday, two researchers (Dr Alexander Makulilo and Dr Lupa Ramadhani) from the Department of Political Science and Public Administration of the University of Dar es Salaam, said that 76 per cent of the respondents showed more confidence in women than men in political leadership.

"The purpose of the survey was to determine the level of electability of women and the finding is quite contrary to prevailing conversional wisdom that "a woman's fiercest rival is another woman," said Dr Makulilo.

Conducted in eight districts of Kisarawe, Kondoa, Kilolo, Hai, Lindi Rural, Bariadi, Urambo and West in Zanzibar as a random sample, the survey also showed the likelihood of many men (48 per cent) voting women into office than the possibility of voting for fellow men.

Electoral data, however, according to the research, show that female candidates who contest with the backing of strong political parties have higher chances of being elected.

Launching the report, the Deputy Minister for Community Development, Gender and Children, Ms Ummy Mwalimu, said that the discussions basing on the report findings will help the government formulate more gender and policy-based actions towards women's involvement in decision-making processes.

She said that experience has increasingly shown that women are ready to take part in senior political and administrative positions now than before. She added that women are even on producing a president or a Prime Minister in the coming elections.

The deputy minister said that the government is committed to encouraging more women to participate in active politics and other senior posts because they are ready and capable.

She insisted that without gender equality it was difficult to achieve true democracy. She pledged on behalf of her ministry to create an enabling environment to facilitate the initiative.

Earlier, the Senior Program Manager for the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), Ms Rumbidzai Kandawasvika-Nhundu from South Africa, said that the report recommendations and stakeholders' discussions should be forwarded and incorporated in the new constitution currently in the making.

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