Source: Tanzania Daily News
A grouping of civil organizations, Women Coalition on Constitution Issues, has praised the recent move by the Constituent Assembly to vote a man and a woman as chairperson and deputy, respectively.

In a statement released in Dar es Salaam, the deputy Executive director of the Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (TGNP), Ms Lilian Liundi, said the Constituent Assembly had so far been exemplary in illustrating gender balance in running business in the House.

"The network, with over 50 members, has received with gratitude results from the members' election of the chairperson and deputy chairperson which illustrated gender balance," she noted.

She said although the Constitutional Review Act had not provided for consideration of gender balance in electing leaders of the Constituent Assembly, the members had used wisdom to build a sound foundation for gender balance in decision-making bodies in the country.

"For us, it's not about having a man and a woman as chairperson and deputy respectively, but also the maturity and strength of members of the Constituent Assembly in seeing the truth that the issue of raising the voices of women and men is sensitive, especially when building on reconciliation in constitution making," she said, adding:

"We congratulate those who were elected, Mr Samuel Sitta (chairperson) and Ms Samia Hassan Suluhu (deputy chairperson) for being trusted in those important posts."

She observed that the women's coalition on the constitution recognised their competence in those posts and hoped that they would offer guidance in the CA deliberations and would be firm when leading the CA in passing clauses that build a strong gender balance foundation.

"We expect to see gender balance in the new constitution, which is not just about increasing women participation in various leadership positions, but also balance aimed at building a foundation for the development of the majority of citizens who are women across the country.

She also hoped that wisdom of the two leaders and their advisors would be used in standing for gender balance in committees that would be formed, while taking experience and skills into consideration.

"The aim is to see that all men and women raise their voices equally in passing clauses in the constitution," said Ms Liundi.

The coalition also congratulated women members of the CA for standing together and cooperating, resulting in the new development.

The coalition termed the development as exemplary and urged that the same spirit be in play as various committees sit to discuss various clauses of the draft constitution.

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