They aired their views recently when speaking at a public dialogue meeting held at Msuka village in the district. Organised by Tanzania Media Women Association (Tamwa-Zanzibar), the meeting was geared towards encouraging women irrespective of socio-economic background to vie for different political leadership posts.
The meeting is part of the ‘Male Change Agent Team (MCAT) campaign, which is designed to change people’s mindsets towards women full participation in political decision making bodies in the Indian Ocean archipelago.
Mariam Seif Khelef said: “As women here, we’re committed to play a key role in ensuring that the number of women in political leadership is increased to more than 50 percent.”
According to Mariam, by encouraging their fellow women get leadership positions, it will be a milestone, which in turn would help them to address various challenges facing the community.
“My hope is that women play a key role in socio-economic development, hence if they are in key decision making bodies, it be easier for the country to register development. That’s why we want to support them in every level of leadership,” she says amid applause.
“We’re going to work as a team to ensure that women get into the electoral process and support them for the betterment of the entire community,” said Maulid Saleh Omar.
She added: “We have been electing men leaders for years, but nothing has changed, they haven’t helped us in solving our problems. Our roads are still in bad shape and our schools still have myriad challenges including lack of teachers. So, this is our turn and we’re all prepared to support our fellows,” Maulid said.
According to her, most of the men, once elected they move into other areas, where they end up marrying another women leaving their families and voters helpless.
She however suggested the need for educating more girls in the area, who will be ready to vie for different positions in future.
Yusuf Abdullah Ramadhan, secretary of the Zanzibar Imams Association (Jumaza) also used the platform to encourage women to get ready for the forthcoming elections.
“I would like to see more women contesting for political positions in isles, but they must make sure they adhere to the Muslims ethics,” he added.
Asha Mussa Omar, Tamwa-Pemba programme officer said that despite various efforts taken to encourage women vie for leadership position, the response has been low, thus calling upon them to be confident enough and take leadership positions for the country’s socio-economic development.
She wanted women who will succeed to be leaders in various areas to focus on solving people’s problems especially children rights.
Speaking at the official launch of the women election guidelines in recently, Tamwa-Zanzibar board member, Rukia Mohammed Issa urged political parties to endorse more women for different positions since they have the same rights as men.
She underscored the need for gender participation socio-economic, religious and political matters, hence the need for them to be given chances. She said men should be agents of change by assisting to encourage women to vote for women as well as give positions to women candidates.
Some of the participants including religious leaders said that every religion allows women to participate in elections, and that it insists on women to be given leadership opportunities.
Tamwa-Zanzibar director, Dr Mzuri Issa also called on political parties to use their various platforms to encourage women to support women candidates likely to take part in the coming 2020 general elections.
She highlighted the need for women to support women candidates.
According to her, the number of women who participated in elections in 2020 was low despite the fact that most of the voters were women.
Dr Mzuri urged women to recognize their value and the role of women leaders. She said once women support their counterparts there will be a good number of women leaders after the 2020 general elections.
“We aim at improving the number of women candidates in the coming elections”, said Dr Mzuri.
According to UN Women Tanzania, 1,039 women form Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar vie for the Parliament and the Zanzibar House of Representatives in the October 25th 2015 elections were more than 12,000 candidates.
Tanzanian law provides for “special seats,” with 30 per cent reserved for women appointed by political parties, based on proportional representation.