In a remarkable nationwide initiative spanning from July 21st to August 3rd, 2023, the Tanzanian Centre for Democracy (TCD) orchestrated an intensive training program for youth hailing from various political parties. The primary goal of this program was to enhance the understanding of the nations electoral system and empower the youth with the skills to dissect the intricate laws governing political and electoral processes.
This inclusive endeavor brought together enthusiastic participants from key Tanzanian political parties, including Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM), Civic United Front (CUF), Alliance for Change and Transparency (ACT Wazalendo), and National Convention for Construction and Reform (NCCR Mageuzi). Spread across ten regions, these training sessions were conducted in Mwanza, Mara, Kagera, Kigoma, Katavi, Dodoma, Iringa, Mtwara, Ruvuma, and Dar es Salaam.
To ensure the success of this ambitious program, TCD deployed its dedicated staff and members of the TCD Technical Committee, enabling simultaneous training in all ten regions. The training schedule was as follows:
1. Dodoma: July 21st - July 23rd at TBA Hall
2. Mwanza: July 22nd - July 24th at Royal Residence Hotel
3. Iringa: July 24th - July 26th at Gentle Hill Hotel
4. Kigoma: July 24th - July 26th at Nzimano Hall
5. Kagera: July 24th - July 26th at Nyumba ya Vijana Hall
6. Katavi: July 26th - July 28th at Levina Hotel
7. Mara: July 27th - July 29th at Dream Garden Hall
8. Mtwara: July 29th - July 31st at Naf Apartment - Korosho Hall
9. Ruvuma: July 31st - August 2nd at SACCOS-CWT Conference Hall
10. Dar es Salaam: August 1st - August 3rd at Karimjee Hall
To deliver comprehensive training across these regions, TCD collaborated with experienced consultants and engaged its own staff to facilitate the sessions. The training methodology incorporated diverse approaches, such as PowerPoint presentations, sharing training materials, group discussions, group presentations, and interactive question-and-answer sessions. Additionally, WhatsApp groups were established to facilitate information sharing among participants.
In each region, participants actively engaged in discussions, sharing their experiences and insights with one another. These lively exchanges ignited passionate debates on a multitude of topics related to youth participation in politics. Throughout these dialogues, valuable lessons were drawn, strengthening the resolve of the participants to actively contribute to their nations democratic processes.
The training program accomplished its mission, equipping young Tanzanians with the knowledge and skills needed to navigate the political and electoral landscape. As these newly empowered individuals return to their communities, they carry with them the potential to drive positive change and contribute to a more informed and engaged citizenry. This initiative exemplifies the transformative power of education and collective action, demonstrating that when youth are equipped with knowledge, they can shape the future of their nation.
TCD Empowers Youth: Advocating for Electoral Reforms and Political Inclusivity
In a bid to empower the youth of Tanzania, the Tanzanian Centre for Democracy (TCD) recently conducted an extensive training program spanning the crucial areas of the National Election Act, Political Parties Act, and the Electoral Cycle. This initiative, which took place from July 21st to August 3rd, 2023, aimed to deepen the understanding of young political leaders and equip them with the knowledge and skills necessary to engage effectively in the democratic process.
National Election Act Issues
The participants raised several pressing concerns regarding the National Election Act, including:
1. The necessity for an independent election commission that ensures the selection of staff is neutral and inclusive, not dominated by the government.
2. A call to enforce the nomination of special seat candidates within political parties, promoting transparency and democracy.
3. Advocating for a reduced age requirement for youth to contest parliamentary and councillorship positions at 18, and for the presidential age requirement to be recognized at 30.
4. A plea for the inclusion of independent candidates, enabling youth outside political parties to contest.
5. A call for the establishment of an independent electoral commission to employ staff at the district, constituency, and ward levels.
6. Suggestion to create specific dispute resolution commissions at the constituency level.
7. Proposal for Local Government Elections to be supervised by the National Electoral Commission rather than the Prime Ministers Office.
8. The need to amend the law to remove opposed candidates in elections.
Political Parties Act Issues
The issues raised regarding the Political Parties Act include:
1. Ensuring the independence of the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP) through the establishment of an independent panel or commission.
2. Rephrasing regulations on civic education to encourage and monitor civic education without imposing limitations.
3. Reviewing provisions related to political party coalitions to support democratic growth and the right to association.
4. The removal of unnecessary regulations to streamline the process for effective implementation.
5. Advocating for civic education in schools and universities as a compulsory subject to enhance understanding of democracy.
6. The appointment of the Registrar of Political Parties through a process involving all political parties, rather than being appointed by the President.
7. Enforcing the election of young leaders to higher positions within political parties.
8. Monitoring the candidate nomination processes by the Registrar of Political Parties and directing political parties to include a quarter system of youth nominated through political parties.
9. Inclusion of provisions in the Election Expenses Act to support youth candidates during election campaigns.
Electoral Cycle Issues
Concerns and recommendations regarding the Electoral Cycle include:
1. Advocating for greater youth involvement in political and electoral reform processes.
2. Strengthening youths understanding of country politics, policies, and national development to increase their participation.
3. Encouraging political parties to avoid unnecessary disputes and collaborate to advocate for national interests.
4. Promoting awareness among youth to engage in political processes through sports and arts.
5. Financial support for youth candidates during campaigns to overcome financial barriers.
6. Encouraging increased political tolerance among youth within political parties.
7. Sensitizing youth to participate in political activities, including voter registration, voting, and contesting in leadership positions.
8. Building trust between youth and party leaders.
9. Promoting the effective use of digital technology in branding and campaigning.
10.Advocating for fairness and cooperation among youth leaders.
Success Stories from the Trainings
The training program has already yielded positive results, with young leaders gaining a deeper understanding of their roles and responsibilities in the electoral process. Participants expressed that the discussions helped them recognize the various phases of electoral periods and activities. Notably, some participants were unaware of key institutions such as the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP) and its functions, highlighting the need for ongoing capacity-building initiatives.
Additionally, the initiative sparked a recommendation for online training platforms, enabling more youth from member political parties to participate. A WhatsApp group has been formed, where participants are sharing experiences and information, planning future online training sessions. TCD is committed to supporting this initiative, recognizing its potential to make a lasting impact on youth engagement in democratic processes.
In conclusion, the TCDs training program has laid the foundation for a more informed and engaged youth population, poised to shape the future of Tanzanian democracy. These passionate individuals are now armed with the knowledge, skills, and determination to advocate for electoral reforms, promote inclusivity, and drive positive change in their nation.
The journey towards a more democratic and equitable Tanzania has just begun.