Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians converge in Arusha
Over 100 Women Parliamentarians from the Commonwealth countries are in Arusha for a two-day sensitization workshop to discuss strategies geared towards boosting their participation in electoral processes. Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania, H.E. Samia Suluhu Hassan opened the workshop, Sunday, October 27, 2019.
H.E the Vice President was emphatic that time had come for society to invest in the political participation of women and for them (women) to be fully involved in decision making processes across the broad spectrum of society as part of development.
The Vice President assured the participants of Tanzania’s commitment to the women’s agenda saying they (women) were “natural leaders” committed among other things, to the agenda of peace and are generally driven to make the world a better place.
“Tanzania through the leadership of H.E. Dr John Pombe Magufuli, remains committed to this agenda. In recent years, we have steadily increased the numbers of women in leadership. Currently, the number of women in Parliament accounts for one hundred and forty five out of three hundred and ninety three Members which makes female representation at 36.9%,” H.E. Samia Suluhu Hassan said.
“This makes Tanzania to rank number 5 in Commonwealth countries in terms of the number of women in Parliament”, H.E. the Vice President added. H.E. Samia Suluhu Hassan also informed delegates that her country’s equally impressive trust of women in senior government positions.
“Tanzania has entrusted the Vice Presidency to a woman, which has never happened before. It is a huge honour for us Tanzanian women and me personally that I carry this enormous task on behalf of all women in the country”, she said.
The Vice President however remarked that more needed to be done to increase the number of women in political office.
The EALA Speaker, Rt Hon Martin Ngoga called on the continent and the globe generally, to put in more effort, and create enabling environment to allow for women to fully participate in electoral processes and leadership positions.
“Parliaments have an obligation to initiate and support legislative frameworks that shall not only ensure increasing presence of women in decision making bodies, but also streamlining policies of women empowerment, upon which, we can sustainably and gradually close the gap we have in gender parity. The status quo, the situation as we stand, is in itself a deficit in our democracies”, Hon Ngoga said.
“We have to change it and so in our time as leaders”, Rt Hon Ngoga added.
The EALA speaker maintained that there was an increasing need to put in place correctional policies to change some of the gaps and challenges that have continued to disadvantage women from taking prime positions in leadership. Rt Hon Ngoga informed the workshop that despite the global benchmark of the gender rule, much more could still be done to improve the situation.
According to the EALA Speaker, at country level, the Republic of Rwanda tops the region and possibly the globe, with women legislators accounting for 61.25% of the total (49/80). United Republic of Tanzania stands at 36.9% (145/393), while the Republic of Kenya pegs women’s leadership in the House at – 21.7% (76/349).
On its part, Republic of Uganda has 34.86% (160/459), Republic of South Sudan, 28.4% (109/383) and Republic of Burundi, 36.36% (44/121).
“When you look at the regional parliamentary perspective, ECOWAS Parliament is pegged at 25/115 which accounts for about 21.7%, while at EALA, we stand at 40% (22/54)”, Rt Hon Ngoga informed the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians.
The two-day sensitization workshop is been attended by women legislators from Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia and Malawi. Other delegates are coming from South Africa, Ghana, Cameroon, Nigeria, Lesotho and Eswatini among others.
Also in attendance are EALA Members, Hon Ndangiza Fatuma and Hon Pamela Simon Maassay.
NOTES TO THE EDITOR
The Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) Africa Region is an Organ established under Article 15 of the CPA Africa Region Constitution, with a view to promoting gender equality and equity in the work of the CPA. CWP is mandated to hold seminars and workshops in accordance with its calendar of activities.
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