Tanzanian President Wants Women to Give Birth to More Children

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Tanzanian President John Magufuli has advised Tanzanian women to stop using contraceptive methods and give birth to more children because Tanzania needs more people.

Although the Tanzanian president himself has only two children, he said it was very important to reproduce and that couples who refused to give birth to more than two children were lazy and did not want to work.

He also alleged that those who advised Tanzanian women to use contraceptives were dishing out bad advice; the work of foreigners he said.

According to the president of the East African country at a public rally on Sunday;

“Those going for family planning are lazy … they are afraid they will not be able to feed their children. They do not want to work hard to feed a large family and that is why they opt for birth controls and end up with one or two children only.

I have travelled to Europe and elsewhere and have seen the harmful effects of birth control. Some countries are now facing declining population growth. They are short on manpower.  

You have cattle. You are big farmers. You can feed your children. Why then resort to birth control? This is my opinion, I see no reason to control births in Tanzania,” he concluded.

The President’s speech was however not taken kindly by the rest of the country. Tanzanian lawmakers criticised the comments, saying they weren’t consistent with Tanzania’s national policy.

According to Cecil Mwambe, a federal lawmaker, the country’s health insurance scheme can only accommodate a maximum of four children per family.

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The Speaker of Parliament Job Ndugai however tried to clarify the import of the president’s speech on his behalf saying the comments were at best advisory and did not represent an official governmental position on birth control in the country.

Tanzanians on social media were also incensed by the speech, pointing out in their hundreds that women had a right to choose any method of contraception they chose and also had a right to family planning information as enshrined in the Maputo Protocol; a charter for women’s rights in Africa.

Coincidentally, the Tanzanian president chose to make his speech during the 15th year anniversary of the Maputo Protocol, an African charter that spells out the Health and Reproductive Rights of women that President Magufuli must uphold which include; the right to decide whether to have children, the number of children as well as the spacing of children.

Tanzania currently has a population of 55.5 million people, according to the World Bank, against 10 million Tanzanians when it gained independence in 1961.

The United Nations has predicted that Africa’s population will double to around 2.5 billion people by 2050.

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