THE National Electoral Commission (NEC) has been advised to come up with the best system of getting women into special seats and other decision-making positions if the country wants to attain gender equality.
The advice was given by Open University of Tanzania (OUT) law lecturer, Dr Victoria Lihiru, during breakfast debate organised by Policy Forum at British Council Auditorium in Dar es Salaam.
Dr Lihiru said the implementation of a special seats arrangement for women in Tanzania, which was first introduced 35 years ago, was not giving women the right and proper opportunity to make decisions on who they wanted to choose due to the stereotype of women and male dominance in political parties.
She said NEC should think of the best ways of promoting equitable gender inclusion.
"Special Seats women representatives are subjected to political party bureaucracy before they can get an opportunity to assume leadership positions.
NEC has no guidelines to ensure there is equal representation or accountability is observed. This should change if as a nation we aim at getting tangible results of promoting 50:50 gender representation," she said.
She added that, on the other side, even those few women who luckily assumed a representation role, were not accountable anywhere–neither to citizens nor to voters-which minimised competency in graduating from special seats to contesting and be voted for.
The law lecturer went on advising NEC must come up with an enforcement mechanism to ensure women's special seats’ representation was rotational if Tanzania had to attain the equality of having men and women at decision-making level.
"For 35 years, women representatives have failed to help the country get rid of setbacks to progress."
The don was nevertheless positive that if NEC improved ways of selecting women who assumed special seats’ representation, the equality dream might be attained.
She cited an example of the Vice-President, the Deputy House Speaker and some women ministers who were currently or sometimes back found their way into politics through special seats.