Whom are you speaking for? Obstacles to participation encountered by special-seat councillors in Tanzanian Local Councils

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Gender and Women Studies
Abstract With the implementation of the special-seats programme at the local level of the Tanzanian government, special-seat representatives experience obstacles similar to those experienced by their counterparts in the Tanzanian parliament – the national level. It was established that because of these obstacles, the participation of these women councillors – defined as the attempts they make to affect decisions – is rather low compared to elected male and female councillors. This article focuses on the context in which special-seat councillors have to do their work and how this could partly explain the low participation. It addresses how the special-seat councillors function in practice, and how this compares to the functioning of councillors elected from the wards. The insights into their functioning are derived from data collected from four councils, observation of the meetings, and interviews with councillors between 2012 and 2014. The authors conclude that an improvement of accountability mechanisms would be important for increasing the participation of the special-seat councillors and propose three changes in the organization of the special-seats programme to bring this about.
This is an open access article published by the Rivera in Gender and Women Studies 5(1):3 of 2023.
Obstacles to Participation, Election and Selection of Councillors, Roles and Tasks of Councillors, Accountability Issues-Councillors, Special Seats, Representation-politics