John Mongella, a regional commissioner in Tanzania, has announced that pregnant teenagers will be arrested and charged to court, local news portal The Citizen learnt.
Speaking on Monday, Mongella said pregnant teenagers have a tendency to not divulge who it was that got them pregnant.
They should be taken to court, he said, and should be forced to testify and name the persons who impregnated them.
”There have been a tendency of pregnant school girls not to mention the name of a person who impregnated them. This is a challenge when one is required to testify in court.”
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Directors and district commissioners in the Mwanza region have been ordered to locate all pregnant schoolgirls and take them to court.
History of ban on pregnant school girls In Tanzania
In June 2017, Tanzanian President John Magufuli upheld a 2002 law that banned pregnant schoolgirls from returning to school after giving birth.
Both the upholding of the law and the move by Mongella have been described as an infringement against the human rights of the girls.
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The President also added that men who impregnated schoolgirls should be imprisoned for 30 years.
Tanzania’s ban on pregnant girls attending state primary and secondary schools dates back to 1961, when the country secured its independence from Britain, though it does not extend to private schools.
More than 55,000 Tanzanian schoolgirls have been expelled from school over the last decade for being pregnant, the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) said in a report in 2013.
Some wealthier families are able to send their daughters to private schools but the majority end up looking for casual work.
READ ALSO: “I was laughed at…. I was scorned.” – Waje On Being A Teen Mom
Hypocrisy against pregnant schoolgirls
The president was under criticism for granting pardon to prisoners on Saturday to two child rapists who were sentenced to life in prison.
Congolese musician, Nguza Viking alias Babu Seya and his son Johnson Nguza alias Papii Kocha were sentenced to life imprisonment in 2010 after they were found guilty of raping and defiling ten primary school pupils between the ages of six and eight in 2003.
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There were cheers after the announcement of their release while child rights advocates questioned the decision which did not take the victims into consideration.
Tags: John Magufuli, John Mongella, Pregnant teenagers
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