Women in Mbeya eagerly wait for the new Constitution


MBEYA - In a platform to collect feedback and suggestions on the new constitution draft organized by Amani Foundation of Life Organization in Mbeya region through the funding from the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS), the participation of women became a surprise side story.

To their astonishment, men were largely out-numbered by women.
“I am eagerly waiting for the new constitution. I used to be a bit ignorant about the process but things have changed altogether. Now I know my rights and I have participated fully in the process,” said one woman, Huruma Asajile who is a resident of Nande.
Among issues discussed during the forum were that a new constitution clearly defines the word ‘person’ to mean a man and a woman in a bid to promote gender equality.
The participants have also suggested significant changes in the electoral systems with the aim of giving women more political presence in a new constitution, whose draft was presented in June this year for public scrutiny.
Debating the proposed law members of the forum said the draft constitution in its present form has overlooked important gender elements. They observed that although article 46 of the draft constitution guarantees some women’s rights it doesn’t fully address the issues that affect women.
“We do not want only one article explaining everything about gender, we need them covered broadly in the constitution,” said Huruma.
However, members of the forum said gender equality was an important issue in the new constitution because without it women would still be oppressed.
But in a rejoinder, men did not want to be left behind. They suggested the new constitution to protect the rights of men, and hence alleviate ‘domestic violence against men’ which isn't always easy to identify, although it can be a serious threat.
They said domestic violence against men can be manifested in many forms, including sexual and physical abuse, threats of abuse; therefore the new constitution should also be able to address the matter.

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