ZEC heightens gender mainstreaming strategy

THE Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) says it is on gender mainstreaming strategy to have more women engaged and get involved in election processes.

ZEC Director Mr Khamis Kona Khamis revealed this at a meeting with gender activists in Zanzibar over the weekend.

He said it was a time stakeholders lobbied for reforms in the commission’s composition including staffing during elections.

Senior officers from activist groups: Tanzania Media Women Association (TAMWA-Zanzibar), Zanzibar Female Lawyers Association (ZAFELA) and Journalists for Development Association (WAHAMAZA) met and discussed with the ZEC officers on the need to promote gender equality in election process at all levels.

Gender mainstreaming is a strategy to achieve equality between women and men, and it involves the integration of a gender perspective into the preparation.

“Despite some challenges, we have been considering gender balance in the commission. For example all our ZEC officers in Unguja North Region are women. However we need to increase women participation,” the ZEC Director Mr Khamis said.

He commended the gender activists for pushing for gender equality in ZEC and other staffs, on temporary and permanent jobs, during elections time.

“The activists, CSOs, and NGOs are doing good work of reminding us about gender equality,” he said.

TAMWA-Zanzibar Director Dr Mzuri Issa Ali said that equal participation of women and men in political and decision-making processes at all levels was important in achieving development goals including the Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

“It is high time ZEC ensured gender equality is taken into consideration during appointments within the electoral body and also encourages political parties to create an enabling environment for women to participate in all election processes,” Ms Ali said.

On legal perspective, activists Ms Jamila Mahmoud from ZAFELA and Ms Hawra Shamte from WAHAMAZA appealed to ZEC to look into whether electoral law and regulations hinder or discourages women from contesting political positions.

The activists lobbying visit to ZEC is linked to the implementation of ‘Strengthen Women in Leadership (SWIL)”, a four years project (2020-2023), which is under the auspices of Norwegian Embassy in Tanzania.

The project aimed at increasing participation of women in democratic processes and leadership at all levels of the society so that women will be regarded as active and vibrant actors in leadership processes.

It is being implemented by TAMWA-Zanzibar, ZAFELA, and Pemba Gender and Advocacy Organization (PEGAO). It aims to enhance 6,000 citizens mainly women through 100 national and local CSOs and continuously embark on taking actions individually and collectively towards the promotion of the democratic process and women leadership.




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