Tanzania makes progress towards gender equality
THE new parliament of the United Republic of Tanzania to be sworn in this week will include almost 30 percent women members. The Tanzanian parliament, the Bunge, has been increased to 324 members, made up of 232 members elected on December 14 with the remainder appointed.
There are 75 seats guaranteed for women, representing an additional 30 percent of the number of elected seats.Ten members are appointed by the Union President, and five seats are occupied by members of the Zanzibar House of Repres-entatives. The remaining two seats are reserved for the Attorney General and the Speaker of Parliament. The 75 women members are appointed by the National Electoral Commission drawn from lists submitted by the parties in parliament, and based on the number of votes won by the parties represented in parliament.
Most of these seats will go to Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), which easily won the parliamentary elections, taking 206 of the elected seats, that is almost 90 percent of the elected seats. CCM presidential candidate Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete also won the presidential election with 80,2 percent of the popular vote. Opposition parties won seven parliamentary seats on the mainland, with five going to Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema) and one each to the Tanzania Labour Party (TLP) and the United Democ-ratic Party (UDP).
Some of the constituency seats were also won by women, including most of the 19 CCM women candidates, thus bringing the total of women in parliament to 28-29 percent of the total 324 seats. CCM won more than double the number of constituency votes of the combined opposition candidates, often far higher in individual constituencies. CCM also swept all parliamentary and council seats in Dar es Salaam, including seats such as Temeke, previously seen as opposition strongholds. Some 70 percent of registered voters turned out at the polls.
The picture was more divided in the semi-autonomous region of Zanzibar, where the southern island of Unguja returned all but one member from CCM while the northern island of Pemba returned a full slate of 18 opposition CUF members to the Bunge. This means the total number of elected seats for the opposition in the Bunge stands at 26, and the next leader of the opposition in parliament will come from Pemba, as CUF failed to win a single seat in mainland Tanzania.
The previous CUF leader in parliament lost his seat to CCM in the northern mainland constituency of Bukoba Urban. The Union election in Zanzibar was a mirror image of the local elections held there on October 30 for the Zanzibar House of Representatives, with CUF winning all but one seat on the southern island while CUF swept the seats in Pemba.
The United Republic of Tanzania was formed in 1964 by two independent states of Tanganyika and Zanzibar with the objective of building a unified society based on freedom, human rights and peaceful existence. Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous region of the Union that also elects a local president and a parliament. The latter enacts laws except on constitutionally decreed Union matters, such as foreign affairs, home affairs and defence. CUF has refused to accept the election results in Zanzibar despite the approval of local, regional and international election observers, including the Southern African Development Community, the African Union and the Commonwealth.