MPs call for electoral laws amendments 

LAWMAKERS have suggested on amendment of some provisions of the electoral laws to make it obligatory for a presidential candidate to pick a running mate of the other gender from the other side of the Union.

The proposal was contained in recommendations given during a two-day workshop to members of the Parliamentary Committee on Governance, Constitution and Legal Affairs, which came at a time when Tanzania is preparing to conduct its local government election next year and general election in 2025.

The workshop organised by National Democratic Institute (NDI) in collaboration with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and Omuka Hub intended to equip parliamentarians with knowledge to boost participation of women, youth and persons with disabilities in the country’s political affairs.

They advised that there must be a specific section in the National Election Act, Cap 343 2010, that should read as follows ‘Where the presidential candidate in accordance with section is a male, the running mate shall be a female hailing from the other side of the Union’.

The lawmakers called for timely update of the voter’s register book, improvement of the election management system and take on the election act amendments.

Speaking during the workshop, Omuka Hub Executive Director, Ms Neema Lugangira, who is also a Special Seats legislator for CCM, called for classification of the constituency fund allocation so that women, youth and persons with disabilities can engage fully in politics.

“Women have contributed to ensure the constituency subsidy are availed to foster development in our respective areas, the government must earmark classification and share for women, youth and persons with disabilities to increase their participation in politics” said Ms Lugangira.

Currently, the constituency fund is managed by Members of Parliament who won through constituency voting and not special seats parliamentarians.

She urged that the law must be clear on gender violence in politics as the current law state that a candidate will be disqualified if proved guilty of gender violence.

They also analysed and proposed the improvements to the laws of Political Parties Act, Electoral Expenses Act and internal party democracy and its impact on inclusion with regard to candidate selection models and quota models.

Ms Najma Giga (Special Seats, CCM), who is also Chairperson of Parliament proposed to change the candidate selection system within the political parties, including their constitutions and their rules and to increase the number of women during nomination process.

Speaking on the discussion about challenges facing women, Nkasi North lawmaker, Aida Kenan said there is need to establish a law to deal with those who humiliate women candidates during election campaigns.

“Those who are found guilty of using abusive language during election campaign should be disqualified from the race,” said Kenan.

She also proposed that the law should set an equal number of female and male candidates within political parties.

Speaking during the workshop, the Committee Vice-Chairman, Mr Florent Kyombo said after learning of the loopholes in the law, Members of Parliament will be in a better position to make informed amendments when the bills are tabled.

“When the bill will be tabled, we have been given the knowledge and awareness of the election laws and registrar of political parties among others, we will be giving objective opinions that will address the gender gaps,” he said.

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