Tanzanian President John Magufuli was convicted for comments that girls who give birth should not be allowed to return to school. An online petition has been launched and a pan-African women’s organization is mobilizing to ask the president to apologize and withdraw his comments.
Magufuli warned schoolgirls at a rally by saying “Know that this is the end of your studies if you are carrying a pregnancy.” A law passed in 2002 authorizes the expulsion of pregnant schoolgirls. The law stipulates that girls may be expelled and excluded from school for “offenses against morals” and “marriage”.
Women’s rights groups have recently urged the government to amend the law. But this could be an unrealizable dream because, for President Magufuli, young mothers would be a source of distraction if they were allowed to return to school. He stated :
“After making some calculations, they would ask the professor in the classroom to let them out to breastfeed the baby.” He added that men who are engor- ging schoolgirls should be imprisoned for 30 years and that they should use the same energy To make agriculture in prison
President Magufuli also criticized the rights organizations that are trying to push the government to revise the law.
“These NGOs should go out and open schools for parents, but they should not force the government to take back the students.
“I give a free education for students who have really decided to go to study, and now you want me to educate parents? “
A BBC correspondent in Tanzania, Sammy Awami reports that these comments were applauded by some Tanzanians. While a Human Rights Watch report notes that at least 8,000 Tanzanian girls drop out of school every year because of pregnancy.