By Elias Mhegera – One main challenge for politicians in Tanzania as the country is approaching General Elections in October 25th next month is the predetermined place for the youngsters. Shout-africa.com registered itself in two separate activities by students in tertiary institutions of education and there were the same demands; social transformation.
On August 29th at the Ubungo Plaza there was a workshop for the youngsters to deliberate on their fate in the wake of the forthcoming General Elections. The debate could depict one element that the happenings were reflecting their election manifesto and that there is a real demand for tangible commitment of politicians and their plans in dealing with the demands of the day.
Speaking during the opening of the workshop was Ms. Margaret Mliwa, Country Manager, of an NGO, Restless Development who said that youngsters must claim for their space in the dispensation of democracy in Tanzania.
“You have a role to play in your country according to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), you must see an opportunity to foster a new generation today, well equipped with skills to lead, and shape the future of Tanzania, to monitor and bring government’s accountability,” she counseled.
She boasted that her organisation has done a lot to boost the confidence of the youngsters for the past 22 years, and that this has enabled them to find amicable political solutions. “I must admit that today youngsters are appreciated as engineers of macro-economic growth and development of Tanzania in general,” she concluded.
Speaking on behalf of his cohorts was Saddam Khalfan, Accountability for Voting Officer who said that the priority for the youths now is awareness and to see what they can expect from the forthcoming government. “What we are expecting to get as youngsters is employment opportunities, best education, health care and transportation which can ease development programs,” he commented.
He affirmed that the previous experiences have indicated that the common trend is for the youths to be driven by politicians, a trend that they are determined to get rid of.
He advocates for involvement of youngsters in the discussions of policy issues, a value that has never existed before since the existence of Tanzania as a nation.
But in his support is Ms. Hapiness Mushi a volunteer at the Restless Development offices who says that political manifestos by the youngsters in order to streamline their programmes in their campaigns are self explanatory and adequate.
“We have to demand politicians to speak on our behalf’s because every truly youngster has a vote but it must be well worked upon. “We must understand in the first place what is driving the government to do whatever is conducted,” commented Mushi.
“We need to understand first the main focus of elections rather than being dragged by payoffs which is a common denominator. We need to know how they need to conduct reliefs; we need to understand the nature of policies from other parties, on issues like transportation and tourism.
Another participant at the workshop Oscar Kimaro appreciated that the use of social media has been a significant too for galvanizing the youngsters who shares a vision of what is their position in the mainstream administration of the country.
Amongst the priorities that youngsters demand from the forthcoming government are: tax exemption and reliefs to the small scale projects that are established by them through private entrepreneurship.
Others priorities are institutionalizing of strict rules in contract for the youths in employment, also to curb the rate of abuses for the youngsters whenever they are seeking jobs.
On the issue of curriculum to be revised in order to reflect the harsh unemployment situation so that they can face such challenges positively due to what is going on the ground.
Moreover, their Election Manifesto also for reduction of subjects in schools and replace the theoretical ones with the practical ones.
They demand improvement in the area of arts which can create more employments for them. Apart from that there should be special funds for supporting the entrepreneurial youngsters.
They are striving for more efforts in order to enhance gender parity, more engagement of the civil society organizations. They also want to be incorporated in the diplomatic forums.
In this strategy there would be an involvement of these youngsters in international trade through provision to them of subsidies, awareness education, and marketing strategy. The youngsters have a number of issues that they demand from contestants and this could determine election results during the General Elections to be conducted on 25th this year.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics 2002 and 2012 Population and Housing Census, youth population in Tanzania with 15-35 years in percentage are 35.1 in the whole of the Union Government, 34.9 for Mainland and 42.2 for Zanzibar.
In a separate encounter an NGO which stimulates people’s voices, Twaweza has revealed the results of its research that was conducted this year which says that out of the 1,335 interviewee sample only 51 percent have trust in the National Electoral Commission, 38 are undecided, 9 percent do not trust the electoral body.
Further the research reveals that 46 percent considers presidential quality to be based on policy issues, while 54 percent considers as issues like tribe, religion, education and other related matters. The research was conducted involving 75 percent of the sample from the rural setting, while the remaining 25 is from the urban setting.
The policy issues of the strong presidential aspirant have not differed so much as the main problem lies in the scarcity of resources in order to implement plans that are already in the Government pipeline.
Citizens also believe that the elections will be free and fair and that their choices and priorities will be respected. More than eight out of ten (82 percent) believe that their vote will count regardless of who they vote for.
But almost two out of ten (18 percent) think that those in power will break rules to win if needed. A large majority (65percent) also believe that the candidate with the best policies will win, compared to 35 percent who think that the candidate with the most money will win.