WiLDAF calls for stronger legal provisions to protect women in politics, elections

DODOMA: THE Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF) has called for improved legal system to protect women against all forms violence during election and political activities.

Advocate Anna Kulaya, the National Coordinator for WILDAF made the call in Dodoma recently while submitting recommendations before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Governance, Constitution and Legal Affairs during a public hearing to collect views for the three proposed electoral bills.

The Bills which were tabled were tabled for the first reading in the House in November last year include the National Electoral Commission Bill 2023, the Political Parties Affairs Laws (Amendment) Bill 2023 and the Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Government Elections Bill 2023.

Advocate Kulaya stressed that, Violence Against Women in Politics and Elections (in particular sexual harassments) deters many women to contest for political leadership positions.

She added that, the on-going reforms should take due regards of the situation and ensure the legal frameworks provides maximum protection to women for more inclusive democratic processes.

WILDAF has called for review of Section 6B of the Political Parties Affairs Bill to require political parties to set robust mechanisms through envisioned gender and social inclusion frameworks to address Sexual Harassment and other forms of Violence Against Women in Politics and Elections.

Moreover, WiLDAF has recommended Section 60 (1) of the Presidential, Parliamentarian and Councilors Elections Bill to include gender-based violence and discrimination as one of the reasons that can disqualify a candidate for elections.

They have also made a call for amendment of Section 37 of the same Bill to include gender based violence and discrimination as one of the violations that can be used to contest a candidate to be nominated.

Another recommendation is for all of the Bills to ensure that the definitions sections include definitions of terms and concepts such as sex, gender, gender-based violence, and gender- based violence in elections. The call is part of the recommendations submitted by WILDAF at the Parliament in Dodoma during the public hearing to receive recommendations on the three electoral bills tabled by the government last year.

In 2023, the government tabled three bills in the Parliament in a bid to improve the electoral process in the country following a long-time outcry by stakeholders. Tanzania is expected to conduct its local government elections later this year and its general Elections next year.

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