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Tanzania’s married men database to curb infidelity

November 01st, 2019
by:Bob Koigi
located in:Tanzania
tags:Africa, infidelity, marriage, Muslim, Tanzania

The Tanzanian government is considering establishing a database of all married men in the country as it seeks to stem what it says is increasing infidelity in the conservative East African nation.

According to the Regional governor of the capital city Dar es Salaam, Paul Makonda, the database would be made public and would also insulate potential brides and single women from exploitation and heartbreaks from married men who lie to them. The database would be contained in a website that would contain the married men’s names and photos and would capture all forms of marriage including religious ceremonies, and those filed at the registrar of marriages.

“Numerous women have come to me with complaints of men who have pretended to be single and promised to marry them, only for them to leave them with children they had fathered and abscond from their parental duties. This has to stop,” said Paul in a press conference. He further justified his latest campaign insisting that a dysfunctional family translates into a broken society and a failed nation.

But his campaign has drawn sharp criticism from men who insist that the same yardstick should be extended to women for it to qualify as fair.

Human rights activists and lawyers have also challenged the legality of the directive arguing that it infringes on the privacy of men and violates the provisions of marriage statutes.

“The campaign by the Regional Commissioner is an affront to the right to privacy and the respect of marriage as an institution between two people and which should be treated as a private affair. Creating that database is not only an illegality but a mockery of the basic human rights,” said Sana Swaleh a human rights activist based in Dar es Salaam.

The establishment of the controversial database is the latest in a series of campaigns being pushed by the regional governor in his quest to enforce sexual morality.

Last year he called on the public to volunteer names of suspected gay people in Dar es Salaam and announced his plans to set up a task force that would round up all homosexuals and arrest them with a view to providing them with counselling. He reiterated that he was not afraid of facing any criticism from the international community and was only concerned with avoiding ‘angering God’. His directive saw many gay people and activists go into hiding which attracted global condemnation. The government would later disassociate itself with the campaign insisting that the utterances were not the official government stance.

But as opinion become divided over how practical execution of the latest pronouncement will be, it has brought to light the growing differences between liberals and conservatives in a country that has closely guarded its traditions and culture even as it continues to attract foreigners that are reshaping the locals’ approach and views on some of the issues traditionally branded as taboo.

“Tanzania and by extension East African countries have jealously guarded their traditions but the implosion of technology that is fast connecting the region’s people to the outside world and the growing interaction with the outside world thanks to tourism and trade is fast eroding these beliefs and replacing them with modern lifestyle. It has created a friction between the modernists and traditionalists like Paul Makonda who are keen on protecting religion and tradition”, said Salma Rubisha a sociologist from Mzumbe University in Tanzania.

At the heart of this collision is the institution of marriage that touches on fidelity and children upbringing in a region that places high premium on the two.

In neighbouring Kenya, the governor of the capital Mike Sonko ignited a storm when he went on his Facebook page providing a number through which women who were in a relationship with deadbeat fathers including politicians, senior government officials and businessmen to provide details which he would publish publicly in a name and shame campaign. The governor revealed that he had received over 2,000 messages from women who blamed top politicians and business leaders of domestic violence and child neglect.

"From today all great women of this country, if there is an MP, Senator, Governor, civil servant or businessman who has impregnated you and denied responsibility send me their details we expose him and seek DNA tests when he's still alive," he wrote.

Article written by:
Bildschirmfoto-2014-10-08-um-19.29.13
Bob Koigi
Author, Contributing Editor
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The heartbreaks from married men who lie to them.
“Numerous women have come to me with complaints of men who have pretended to be single and promised to marry them, only for them to leave them with children they had fathered and abscond from their parental duties. This has to stop.”
But his campaign has drawn sharp criticism from men who insist that the same yardstick should be extended to women for it to qualify as fair.
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