Dar es Salaam. Teddy Ladislaus was busy preparing to sit her end of semester University Examination (UE) when she heard the good news that she had been appointed as member of the National Constituent Assembly.
The Assembly, scheduled for next week in Dodoma, will scrutinise the second Draft Constitution prepared by the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) under the chairmanship fo Judge Joseph Warioba.
“A friend was following the announcing of the names on television that day…I had no idea and was busy making preparations for the exams,” she says adding, “He called…I was shocked and excited, but did not want to show it openly to my friends who were also very excited.”
At 22, Ms Teddy is already making a name for herself at the national stage, after President Jakaya Kikwete appointed her last week among 201 Tanzanians to join 357 members of Parliament and 80 Representatives from Zanzibar in the all-important convention in the history of the country.
The third year Bachelor of Science in Information and Communication Technology student at Mzumbe University now says she has been given huge responsibility: To represent other Tanzanians in the Assembly. Her main role in the Constituent Assembly, she says, will be to speak the voice of the youth.
“We are going to make a Constitution for all Tanzanians…I will represent them.”
Ms Teddy says she will advocate the voice of the youth to be heard and that she is going to Dodoma to push for an inclusion of a clause that will give the youth a platform to present issues of their concern. She wants the youth’s voice heard through the National Assembly.
The youthful and vibrant student says it was about time the country recognised the role the youth can play to bring the desired changes. She wants the education curricula from the lower to the higher level to prepare the youth to build the nation.
“I will address all these issues when the time comes…the youth need to be assured of getting employment and the years spent in internship should be recognised as experience, unlike now where employers unfairly want fresh from college applicants to be experienced.”
She also thinks that the provision that parliamentary candidates should have attained 21 years was unfounded since if at 18 years one is allowed to vote, there is no reason why one should not contest an election.
Born in Dodoma in 1992, Teddy has already travelled in different parts of the world representing the youth in different forums.
“Being a leader in different positions within my university and the community at large I have learnt and experienced expertise in leadership and managerial skills and thus I am confident and determined when it comes to attaining a specific vision,” she says.
“These youth parliament sessions and other youth events have built my confidence and ability to stand firm and deliver my arguments towards a certain discussed matter,” she says confidently adding,
“I have started walking my talk and paving my way forward to ensure that I attain my long-time dream in a pre-determined period of time.”
Ms Teddy likes activism and volunteerism, the two activities which have been her work since her days in Nanyuki, Kenya where she went for her Primary Education and St Mark’s and Loyola Secondary Schools in Tanzania where she attained her ordinary level and advanced secondary education.
“I have been participating in youth clubs and organisations for years now with the aim of sensitising the youth and women, to empower them and make them stand as their own voice… talking to students on different topics that prepare them to cope up in the competitive world.”
Currently, she is the country director and volunteer for the Catholic Youth Network for Environmental Sustainability in Africa (Cynesa) in emphasising and talking to all youths concerning environmental conservation as far as religious teachings are concerned.
Having sat and spoken in different youth conferences, the youthful Assembly member believes she has the daring spirit to attain certain objectives.
“I always want to help in transforming the mind sets of Tanzanian youth and make them see the responsibility they have to act at their individual level,” Teddy confidently says.