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Tanzania ruling party constitution is now up for major changes

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzania’s ruling party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), begins its one week extraordinary meetings aimed at making major changes in its constitution and some of its standing regulations.

The series of meetings in the political capital Dodoma will climax on Sunday when the party convenes its extraordinary general congress, which is mandated to approve the changes.

Among the changes announced by CCM Chairman and Tanzanian President John Magufuli last year included not allowing a party member to hold more than one leadership post, be it within the party or outside.

This has already forced some changes within the party with some top leaders announcing their decision not to contest for leadership posts which they were holding now.

There are a number of CCM leaders who are currently holding two leadership positions either in the party or within the party and in the government.

The changes would force party wings to also amend their constitutions in order to align with the CCM constitution.

Under the proposed changes, the number of members of the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) will be reduced from 388 to 158.

Also the number of members to the party’s Central Committee (CC) has also been trimmed from 34 to 24.

Apart from those who will become CC members by virtue of their positions, there will be only six CC members to be elected by NEC, three from Mainland Tanzania and three from Zanzibar.

Earlier, CC comprised of not more than 14 members elected by NEC as well as not more than five members appointed by the national chairman.

The changes also seek to reduce the number of party official meetings.

Under the new arrangements, NEC will now meet after six months as opposed to four months under the current regime.

The extraordinary general congress is also expected to prepare and release a time table for the party elections to be conducted later this year.



Tanzania NGOs call for review of laws impeding women’s development

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzania’s Association of Non-Governmental Organisations on Wednesday marked the International Women’s Day by appealing to the government to fast track the process to review laws that provide limited access of women to participate in economic activities.

The NGOs, dealing with the protection of human rights, also said they were not happy with the fall in the number of women appointed in various administrative posts.

Naemy Sillayo, a representative from the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC), said the government’s plans to build an industrial economy will not succeed if there will be no gender balance.

She said lowering the number of women in executive and political positions denied them their right to contribute in building the national economy.

“If we were to count the number of female Members of Parliament we will find them occupying only 30 percent of the entire number of the MPs,” said Sillayo.

“And again we have only four women in the cabinet out of 19 ministers,” she said.

“Despite government efforts to develop an industrial economy, gender inequalities still persist and in most cases women are the victims,” she added.

Rebecca Gyumi, founder of the Msichana Initiatives Association, said it was high time the government respond to various social and economic challenges in the country in order to empower women.

Anna Mgwhira, Chairperson of the Alliance for Change and Transparency (ACT-Wazalendo) opposition party, urged women from all walks of life to keep exploring opportunities that would earn them income at the same time raising their voices against gender discrimination.

“As we mark this year’s International Women’s Day, we challenge gender inequalities and ensure women of all ages benefit from policies and programmers that promote equality, and respect the human rights of women of all ages, abilities and statuses,” said Mgwhira.

Mgwhira, who contested in Tanzania’s presidential race in the 2015 general elections, said empowering women was a cross-cutting issue that needed intervention from public and private sectors.

She appealed to financial institutions to loosen lending conditions to enable women acquire loans to enable them engage in entrepreneurship activities.



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