Despite constitutional and international measures, women, youth, and PWD are underrepresented in Tanzanian politics. From 1985 to 2020, 95% of Tanzanian women in parliament were selected under special seats (temporary special measures-TSM). Women are underrepresented in politics in part due to the majoritarian electoral system, political parties acting as gatekeepers, corruption, and electoral violence, lack of economic clout, culture, and insufficient civic education. Intra-party and inter-party nominations favor male candidates. Women, youth, and people with disabilities are frequently viewed as unqualified. “Hawauziki” in Swahili means “They have no electoral market value”.
Since Tanzania doesn’t allow independent candidacies, political parties control nomination and candidacy. Women’s candidacy may be hindered by male-dominated nomination processes within political parties, especially in the face of intense Intra-party competition. During Intra-party and election campaigns, some female candidates face gender discrimination. The representation of women in TSM is also low. Special seats relegate women to the status of second-class representatives who lack access to electoral resources and constituency funds.
Young women with disabilities in Zanzibar have the potential to become future government leaders; they must be empowered and equipped with leadership skills. State and non-state actors must increase their efforts to mentor disabled young women in life skills, good governance, and values-based leadership. Stigmatization, inadequate infrastructure, and poverty prevent the majority of people with disabilities from attending proper education. PWDs' socioeconomic marginalization has serious consequences. Disability- related incompetence limits political resources. According to anecdotal evidence from the 2015 elections, nominees with disabilities were routinely stigmatized by their peers. The Zanzibar National Disabilities Council condemns discrimination and mistreatment of people with disabilities.
CSOs, researchers, and policymakers are unable to evaluate policy initiatives for lack of data on voters and candidates disaggregated by disability status. Thus, JUWAUZA with funding support of USD 59,996 from USAID via NDI's ERA Fund, proposed to implement a 12-month open, inclusive, impartial and equitable project aimed at increasing political parties' commitments to gender equality, disability mainstreaming, and legal reform activism.
To achieve sustainable results, four political parties (CCM, CUF, CHADEMA and ACT-Wazalendo) will participate in the project’s implementation. The project will involve and utilize the local knowledge of CSOs, OPDs, women’s organizations, and advocates for disability and gender equality to promote gender equality and disability inclusion among political parties and the general public. The project will complement existing electoral support and women’s political participation initiatives. The project will collaborate with political parties, the Zanzibar Election Commission, the House of Representatives, media organizations, community service organizations, and community women. The project advocates for women’s issues and rights in order to promote women in political leadership. To promote women’s issues on the political party’s agenda, both conventional and novel methods will be employed. The project will necessitate the testing and documentation of advocacy tools for future use in similar endeavors.