Stakeholders puh for more youth in elective posts

DODOMA: STAKEHOLDERS working to protect youth legal and political rights have touted for a comprehensive legal framework that will see a greater percentage of young persons clinching elective posts, among them, a ten-year term limit for Members of Parliament (MPs).

They also suggest that 30 percent of political positions at all levels be occupied by youth, as they equally want 30 per cent of the government subsidy that political parties receive to be allocated to youth-centred empowerment initiatives.

They were speaking here during a dialogue on Youth-Centred Legal Reform Recommendations that sought to discuss recommendations crafted by the youth-serving organization and youth in political parties to ensure the representation of youth in the ongoing legal reforms process with parliamentary youth caucus and youth champions in the National Assembly.

The dialogue came as the 13th parliamentary session kicked off in Dodoma on Tuesday. The stakeholders convened under the auspices of Ajenda ya Vijana, a consortium of eight youth-serving civil society organisations and Ushiriki Tanzania, a coalition of 22 organisations working to ensure youth participation in the country’s leadership.

Also in attendance was the parliamentary youth caucus of the National Assembly, led by Deputy Minister for Energy, Judith Kapinga. The caucus was represented by youth members of the National Assembly.

Presenting the key issues for legal reforms with a specific focus on the youths’ agenda to inform inclusive governance, the national coordinator of Ajenda ya Vijana, Ochek Msuva, said the young persons were pushing for reforms in the Political Parties Act to provide for youth representation in all political parties’ governance organs by 30percent.

Other reforms, he noted, were allocating 30percent of political parties’ subventions for youth empowerment programmes, providing requirement of at least 50percent of party nominated candidates should be youth in all elections.

We also want youth included in political parties’ council at least by 30percent as well as mandating the National Electoral Commission (NEC) to supervise both Local and General elections, he added.

According to him, the young persons were arguing their case basing on the fact that the 2022 Population and Housing Census shows that nearly 70 per cent of Tanzanians are below the age of 35.

Despite this being the case, stakeholders are complaining of unsatisfactory youth representation in the country’s leadership, something which leaves many of the challenges facing them unaddressed.

The stakeholders gathered in the capital city with the support from USAID through the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the Swedish Christian Democratic International Centre (KIC).

The youth organisations also want the age at which a person can stand for a leadership position to be lowered from 21 to 18, arguing that if someone can vote, they can also lead.

“However, they face multiple barriers, including institutional, social, cultural and capacity-related political constraints,” he noted.

Monday’s conference occurred in the context of the expected amendment bills into several key electoral laws that the government will table in the November parliament conference.

The step will be in line with President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s agenda of undertaking key electoral reforms as part of building reconciliation among key political players in the country, including opposition parties.

Samia’s reforms also aim at improving multiparty democracy that faced several challenges during the previous administration, which saw it banning political rallies by opposition parties, seriously hampering their growth and ability.


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