Tanzania: New Constitution: TAWLA Advocates Women`s Recognition
In the wake of continued activist campaigns for women’s rights, the Tanzania Women Lawyers Association (TAWLA) has voiced for recognition of women in the new nation Constitution whose process is underway countrywide.
The remark was made yesterday in Dar es Salaam by TAWLA chairperson, Magdalena Rwebangira during the workshop with consultative stakeholders when launching the Gender Forum Consolidated Report on mainstreaming gender in the constitution making process.
Ms Rwebangira stated that “in the constitutional review process there are some vital issues that should be incorporated by the constitutional commission,” listing them as women's rights to own land and labour.
Other aspects are rights of citizenship, removal of traditional repressive laws, provisions on reproductive health, sexual violence and equal representation in decision making bodies, these being some of laws that should be built into the new constitution.
The new constitution should clearly state the equality of women and men in all aspects of life for national development and more effective systems in public service delivery, etc.
A senior official of the High Court of Tanzania, Sivangilwa Mwangesi stated at the gathering that it is crucial for the gender platform to be associated with other partners in social, political and economic spheres for these recommendations to be realized.
By doing so it will help to engage people in civic education on women’s rights, their importance in the new constitution, integration and participation in various debates and forums that will include stakeholders’ involvement in creating a coalition of women for a strong network, the judicial official noted.
After a drawn out demand by social organizations in Tanzania for a new constitution, finally on December 31, 2010 the President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete officially announced that there was a need to review the Constitution and have a new one which would lead the nation in the next 50 years.
Human rights activists and other stakeholders involved in community mobilization have raised issues of importance to the constitution review commission that should be accommodated in constitution amendments or re-enactment.
The commission is headed by former Prime Minister Joseph Warioba assisted by the retired Chief Justice Augustino Ramadhan. It is supposed to have its report ready by October 2013 whereas the new Constitution is expected to in place by April 2014.