CSOs Directors: CSOs are dynamic, essential in Elections

CSOs call for Inclusion of Marginalized Communities in Upcoming Elections

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) promote citizen participation and accountability in the electoral processes through engagement with electoral authorities and its stakeholders for the enhancement of democratic governance.

This was said during the CSOs Directors Forum discussion: The role of Civil Society in Democratic Elections. The Event organized by Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) brought together over 80 CSO directors from Dar es salaam and nearby regions for dialogue and capacity strengthening of CSOs on democratic elections.

The session aimed to enhance information and knowledge on election laws and processes among CSOs in the country, increase opportunities for collaboration and partnership building among CSOs, election management institutions and other election stakeholders. Lastly, Improve CSOs interventions in election process in the country.

‘‘The protection of rights of citizen holds the key in enhancing democratic processes in an inclusive society. Today’s meeting creates space for General elections stakeholders to discuss the role of CSOs in democratic elections focusing on the upcoming General Elections 2020. CSO supports the development of democratic electorate by increasing inclusiveness, transparency, accountability and build public confidence in the election processes.’’  said Francis Kiwanga, FCS Executive Director.

According to Mr. Kiwanga FCS is a long-standing supporter of civil society engagements in democratic processes in the country. ‘’FCS has supported CSOs to provide civic education, engagement with electoral authorities, oversight of electoral process and enhance the inclusion of marginalized communities in election processes. In the year ending 2019, we made a call for proposals for Disabled People Organizations to apply for grants to strengthen the participation of People with Disabilities in the 2020 General Elections. FCS’s consistent engagement in this area has provided a unique experience and expertise.

The session panelists included officials from National Electoral Commission (NEC) Mr. Emmanuel Kawishe, Mr. Maternus Mallya, Coordinator from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Mr Inspector Issa Asali,  Anna Henga from the Tanzania Civil Society Consortium on election observation (TACCEO) Chairperson from Shirikisho la Vyama vya Watu wenye Ulemavu (SHIVYAWYA) Ummy Nderiananga and Shalika Mayunama from Tanzania Gender Networking Programme TGNP Mtandao

Mr. Kawishe provided an overview of election Commission’s plans for the upcoming general election, election stakeholder’s mode of conduct, the role of CSOs in election processes in terms of Voter and Civic education, election observation and the selection criteria. A representative from The Ministry of Home Affairs in the Police force discussed their role in promoting peace and participation of citizens during elections. TACCEO on the other hand discussed on the role of CSOs in monitoring and observation of election processes and opportunities for local election monitoring. Lastly, SHIVYAWATA, United Nations Association (UNA) and TGNP provided their views on the Participation and inclusion of People with Disability, Youth and Women in election processes