Authorities in Tanzania are considering publishing the identities of all married men on a website run by a state agency as part of efforts to curb cheating and protect young women from “unnecessary heartbreaks.”
Dar es Salaam regional commissioner, Paul Makonda, who disclosed this on Monday, August 12, said: “I have received a lot of complaints from young women. Many women from Dar es Salaam region have been deceived many times, and they have had enough.
“Men have been promising to marry them, then later, they ditch the ladies and this is something that is humiliating,” the regional commissioner said.
“These cunning men have left many women nursing heartbreaks and emotional bruises. You’ll find a young man successfully wooing a woman, making her leave every other thing that she does, hoping that the man will marry her, not knowing that he is, indeed, conning her.
“If you look at the laws that we have in the country, there is a clause that protects women, who were promised marriages, only to be used and dumped. We want to use that clause to bring sanity in relationships.”
If adopted, all married people would be required to register their marital statuses with the region’s database agency. Any woman who has been promised marriage can then access the database to find out if the man who has made that promise is already married or not.
“In that database, all the marriages, including Christian, customary, Muslim, those filed at the registrar of marriages, will be registered.
“We want to reduce the cases of men conning women in the name of love and marriages.
“We are planning to meet the State agency in charge of the citizens’ database. Once that meeting is done, you, who lied to a woman that you will marry her, but ended up using and dumping her, be prepared, we are coming for you,” Makonda said.
This development comes after Tanzanian women were recently pressurised to produce more children when the country’s president, John Magufuli reiterated the need to have a higher birth rate to boost the economy.
Magufuli, who had earlier spoken against contraceptives, believes women should “set ovaries free” and give birth to more children to turn the East African country into a regional powerhouse, a move critics say would rather worsen poverty and inequality.
Tanzania is home to some 55.5 million people, according to the World Bank, an increase from 10 million when it gained independence in 1961. The country also has one of the world’s highest birth rates – around 5 children per woman while figures from the UN Population Fund, UNFPA, indicate that the population is growing by about 2.7 percent a year.
Most young people do not have jobs while most public schools and hospitals are overcrowded.
Most women in Tanzania use contraceptives to curb the high rates of births, but Magufuli is against that, saying that the country needs more people to build the economy.
This is the same president who upheld a controversial 2002 law in 2017 that bans pregnant schoolgirls from returning to school after giving birth. He also supported the order to arrest all pregnant schoolgirls to serve as a deterrent.
In January 2018, the authorities arrested five pregnant schoolgirls and their parents. They explained that the arrest was to ensure that they testified against those responsible.
The other reason behind their arrest was to end the growing teenage pregnancies in the country, prevent other girls from engaging in sexual activities and get the girls to testify against the culprits who are on the run, district official Mohammed Azizi told local media.
The country continues to deny its citizens human rights as the media, opposition parties and musicians have all been victims of the regime which has formulated laws that stifle dissent and violate freedom of expression.
Unfortunately, women are the most affected in Tanzania as the men propose the laws and they only have to obey.
This June, women became the target of certain unpopular decisions by the Magufuli administration after announcing moves to impose a tax on wigs and hair extensions.
Finance Minister Philip Mpango, in his budget speech in parliament, announced a 25 per cent tax on imported wigs and hair extensions and a 10% tax on those made locally. He said that these were part of measures aimed at increasing government revenue.
Those in support of the levy said it will make women keep their natural hair, but critics, largely women, felt the decision is mainly to hurt them.
“People love artificial hair. Why of all the things that could be taxed did they opt for wigs?” a popular Tanzanian importer of wigs, Annasatasia Sigera asked while speaking with the BBC.
For others, the measure could ruin relationships, as most men in Tanzania are used to seeing their wives with wigs and extensions, a trend that many young women have embraced.
Tanzanian women were also up in arms against the government’s decision to scrap the exemption on value-added tax placed on sanitary towels. Finance Minister Mpango explained that since that exemption was introduced, consumers had not benefited as businesses refused to reduce their prices, but women described the measure as unfair.