Women special seats, presidential term limits mark 1985 elections

Wednesday April 15 2020


By William Shao and Ibrahim Yamola

Dar es Salaam. The 1985 elections were conducted after some key new changes had been made in the Tanzanian political landscape.

The changes were brought about by the new Elections Act, 1985, which repealed the Elections Act of 1970. The 1970 law was the first ever comprehensive election legislation in Tanzania.

One of the most important of these was putting into action promises made since 1980 of allocating at least 10 per cent of parliamentary seats to women under the Special Seats arrangements. The percentage of Special Seats has been incremental as years went by reaching 37 per cent in 2015.

So after the October 27 General Election which accorded the United Republic of Tanzania its second President, 15 women were selected to join hold the Special Seats. The seats replaced the 20 regional parliamentary seats that had existed since 1975. The national seats, accorded to members of CCM party wings, remained in place.

Constitutional changes

Changes that took placed before the October 27, 1985 polls were also brought about by the fifth amendments of the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania of 1984.


These changes limited presidential terms to two five years. The changes, adopted by Parliament in March 1985, also put a system of two Vice-Presidents that would work as follows; if the Union President was from Zanzibar as was the case with President Ali Hassan Mwinyi, then the Prime Minister, to be appointed among the Mainlanders, would be the First Vice President and the Zanzibar President would be the Second Vice President. If, according to the constitutional amendments, the Union President came from the Mainland then the Zanzibar President would be the First Vice President and the Prime Minister, the Second Vice President.

Elections Act of 1985 also increased competitive parliamentary seats from 106 to 119. The 15 Special Seats MPs and the 15 national MPs from the ruling party’s Wings were selected on November 2 during the first seating of the Parliament at the Karimjee hall in Dar es Salaam. The same seating also selected Adam Sapi Mkwawa as the Speaker of Parliament. 60 contestants applied for the Special Seats but only 30 were short listed and interviewed by MPs who met as the party committee.

Each of the five party Wings- Women, Youth, Cooperatives, Labour and Parents- submitted six names for the 15 National Seats.

The 30 women who were short listed for the 15 Special Seats were Zaitun Fadhili, Thereza Olban Ali, Ashura Abeid Faraji, Lucy Lameck, Getrude Mongella, Dora Bantu, Mwanamkuu Makame Kombo and Fatuma Said Ali. Others were Mosi Tambwe, Elizabeth Mwakatobe, Zaina Rashid, Mpaji Juma, Asha Chiliko, Edith Kapinga and Hulda Kibacha.

And yet others were Zainabu Matovolwa, Fatma Said Jadi, Corona Busongo, Elizabeth Minde, Monica Kuga and Amina Salum Ali, who currently serves as minister for Industry, Trade and Markets in the Zanzibar government.

Others included Zaidabu Kawawa, Joyce Benjamin Hamisi, Zakia Meghji, Amina Feruzi, Venus Kimei, Jito Ram, Tatu Ali Abdallah, Mary Luwilo and Minael Mdundo.

Those who were elected Special Seat MPs through votes by elected MPs were, from Zanzibar; Fatma Saidi Ally (143 votes), Tatu Abdallah (122), Amina Salum Ali (114), Thereza Olban Ali (110) and Ashura Abeid Faraji (105).

From Tanzania Mainland; Getrude Mongella (98 votes), Mosi Tambwe (87), Zaituni Nyapili (71), Zakia Meghji (68), Dr Zainab Gama (66).

Women who failed to get the seats included, From Zanzibar, Amina Saad Ferizo (71 votes), Jito Ram (70 votes) and Mwanamkuu Makame Kombo (67). From the Mainland; Corona Busongo (66 votes) and Lucy Lameck (60 votes).

Eda Sanga former director of the Tanzania Media Women’s Association (Tamwa) is of the view that the establishment of Special Seats gave women a voice.

“Historically women were sidelined and so increasing the number of women in Parliament made it possible for various issues concerning women to be raised,” she tells Mwananchi in an interview.

National MPs

The CCM executive committee short listed the following to contest for National Seats through party Wings were, from Cooperatives; Phillip Mtaki Ndaki, Leonard Kaboboye, Mambo Musa, Catherine Mbiki, Shehe Hamad Hamisi and Elia Nyambo.

From Parents Wing; Gibbons Mwaikambo, Meshack Maganga, Thabita Siwale, Ally haji Ally, Ali Ameir Mohammed and Salome Nyiti. From Youth; Anne Makinda, Pascal Mabiti, Sukwa Said Sukwa, Khatib Hassan Khatib, Edward Lowassa and Venannce Ngulla.

From Labour Unions; Joseph Rwegasira, Daudi Mwakawago, Ismail Saleh Ismail, Zahran Mohammed Nassor, Mboni Cheka and Peter Nyamuhokya.

From the Women’s Wing; Salama Khamis Islam, Yasmin Esmail, Hasham Aloo, Margareth Jia, Judith Jumaa, Lea Seme and Mwanamkhasi Soud.

National Seats results

No contests in the Women Wing was elected. Six were from Youth Wing, five from Parents’, one from Cooperatives and three were from Labour.

The names of the winners were, Youth; Anne Makinda (170 votes), Sukwa Said Sukwa (159), Edward Lowassa (117), Venannce Ngula (114), Mabiti (96) and Khatib Hassan Khatib (90).

Parents’ Wing; Mwaikambo (162 votes), Meshack Maganga (139), Siwale (127), Ali Ameir Mohamed (89), and Ally Haji Ally (84). Labour; Rwegasira (121 votes), Mboni Cheka (119)and Daudi Mwakawago (87).

From Cooperatives Philip Ndaki 101 votes.

Makinda, who would go on to become Speaker of the National Assembly said contesting for National MP seats was not an easy feat. It required addressing all MPs to ask for their votes.

“Contestants were being elected in accordance to their capacity that is why some party Wings had more MPs than others. This required the party Wings to submit the names of those who can explain themselves well in Parliament,” Makinda says.