Source: Tanzania Daily News
Female members of the Constituent Assembly came up in arms on Tuesday, demanding female candidates for the posts of the assembly's chairperson and deputy chairperson.

Drama arose when the constituent assembly was discussing section 8 of the assembly's standing orders, which among others, detail about election of the assembly's chairman and deputy chairman.

The women stood up chanting "tunataka haki yetu" meaning "we want our rights" when Ezekiel Wenje stood up to contribute to the deliberations saying that it would be inappropriate if the candidates are chosen based on their gender.

"We should elect a person according to their capacity to do the work and not because of gender," he said prompting all women to stand up at the same time singing and waving their hands.

This move prompted the male members of the CA to stand up chanting the same slogans also demanding their rights.

Before the drama unfolded CA member Christine Mzava had suggested that gender should be considered when electing the chairperson and deputy chairperson.

A member Jasmine Tizeba stressed that if the chairperson is male, his deputy should be female. In response, CA member Magdalena Rwebangira, said it would be difficult to change what had clearly been stated in the law that if the chairman is from the Mainland the deputy should be from Zanzibar or vice versa.

Ms Rwebangira explained that the issue of gender will be considered in electing chairperson and deputy chairperson of the CA communities.

This point did not augur well with the views of Ms Lediana Mng'ong'o who went on to stress that gender parity should be part and parcel of election the chairperson and deputy chairperson, noting that his has also been clearly stated in the draft constitution.

"It is not right to say that the issue of gender will only be considered when electing the chairpersons and their deputies in the assembly committees and leave out top positions in the assembly..," she stressed.

In trying to clarify the committee explanations Mr George Simbachawene said at the level the CA is the committee or the assembly cannot go back and change the law to include the issue of gender. "I am not sure if I will be understood on this issue, but its not possible to have three types of ratios because the third automatically excludes the others.

"The law clearly says that if the chairperson comes from Mainland the deputy should come from Zanzibar. We cannot have a third ratio of gender, unless we change the law which at this point will be difficut," he explained.

At some point CA member Dr Asha-Rose Migiro, who is also the Minister for Constitution and Legal Affairs, said although the Constitutional Review Act is clear on the two ratios, it (the law) has not excluded women from vying for the two positions.

Ms Anna Abdallah levelled the blame of enacting the law with oversight to Members of the National Assembly. "We must blame ourselves for this oversight but we need to agree by convention that women candidates who meet all the criteria should participate and they should be chosen according to their capabilities.

"However, at every point of leadership there should be male and female," she explained. The Interim Chairman, Mr Kificho, said that there should be proper forms for both groups and that laws should be taken into consideration.

Meanwhile responding to questions from journalists after a press conference the Minister of State in the Vice Presidents Office (Union Affairs), Ms Samia Hassan Suluhu said her long service of over 10 years in the government gives her enough experience to run the Constituent Assembly if given the opportunity.


Go to top