Tanzania: Gender and election facts

Tanzania: Gender and election facts

Date: May 13, 2015
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– The country’s national elections will take place later this year (2015)- Tanzania’s last opportunity to meet the target of 50% women in political decision making.

– Tanzania adopted a mixed electoral system, with women able to run for the openly contested seats, and be awarded an additional 30% of seats on a PR basis in accordance with the strength of each party. With 36%, it already has a high representation of women in parliament. Tanzania has a Constitutional quota, and this is being raised from 30% to 50%.

– Tanzania has a unique hybrid system aimed at circumnavigating quotas in a FPTP system. All seats are contested on a FPTP system. Women and men are equally entitled to participate in these elections, although in reality men are the majority of candidates and winners. However, in addition to the FPTP seats, 30% seats are distributed to parties on a PR basis for women only. This system does not directly infringe anyone’s constitutional rights and is therefore less open to contestation. Last year, learning from the Tanzania experience, Lesotho adapted the reserved quota in its FPTP local electoral law to the mixed system used in Tanzania. This offers key lessons for other countries in the region, most of which have a FPTP system. Zimbabwe is the latest country with a FPTP system to adopt the Tanzania model of allocating additional seats to women on a PR basis. This shows that a mixed system and quotas help to rapidly increase women’s political participation.

– While voter registration data is available it is often not disaggregated by sex. However in Tanzania, where it was disaggregated, women constituted the majority of those registered to vote. This shows that women are keen to participate in public life.

– Read more in the 2014 SADC Gender Protocol Barometer.

This article formed part of a gender, media and elections training offered by GL in collaboration with the University of Dar es Salaam. Students wrote articles during and just after the 2014 Local Government Elections in Tanzania in order to put into practice gender sensitive and responsive elections reporting.


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