POLITICAL parties have been advised to prepare women for leadership positions before the next General Election so that they vie for them with confidence.
The advice was made here by ‘Mtandao wa Wanaume wa Mabadiliko” (Male pro change network) group during a joint meeting with officials of the Tanzania Media Women Association, Zanzibar (TAMWA, ZNZ) which was held at TAMWA’s office to assess the state of participation of women during 2020 General Election.
The male group of 22 from Unguja and Pemba, who include supporters of various political parties, gender experts and religious leaders, was set up 3 years ago to encourage the community to accept women as legitimate and capable leaders just like men.
The Chairperson of the group Mr Mohammed Jabir Makame raised concerns over systems in political parties that denies or frustrates women to seek leadership positions at different levels including constituencies.
“Women are given the opportunity to run for the constituencies during the general election without being prepared in their parties, so it is not easy to win the constituency,” Makame said, suggesting that political parties should first prepare potential women, within the remaining period, before general elections.
He also said that previously, women were afraid to run for constituencies, but after being encouraged, many turned out to as it witnessed in 2020 when 435 of them showed interests with 216 contesting.
Mr Omar Mjaka Ali, a member of the group said that apart from women readiness, they also face financial constraints, which led to their failure to win in constituencies, because right from the start of the electoral process, funds are required like paying for nomination forms and campaign expenses.
“We learned a lot from our movement to educate the community to accept women as leaders including understanding the laws, and religious teachings. It is a fact that religion does not bar a woman to be a leader,” he said.
Statistics show that so far, women in decision-making bodies, especially for contested positions, are very few as according to the 2020 elections, women in the councils were 25; House of Representatives eight; and MPs in union parliament) four, from Zanzibar.
During the meeting the group advised the Tanzania Media women Association- Zanzibar (TAMWA, ZNZ) and other stakeholders to continue providing opportunities to empower women and young women to enter into leadership.
They said that it is better to continue to provide education to the community to accept potential women, who can become leaders and do away with the misconception that “Culture and religions) is a barrier to women to take leadership roles.
The Male change group has been working under the program to empower women in politics and leadership (WPEL) which is implemented by Tanzania Media Women Association- Zanzibar (TAMWA- ZNZ).