Source: Tanzania Daily News
Dodoma — THE government has admitted that gender violence remains a big problem in the country with 6,000 cases reported in 2013 alone.

The Deputy Minister for Community Development, Gender and Children, Ms Pindi Chana, told the National Assembly that the government will take stern measures against culprits.

She was responding to the question by Ms Rukia Kassim Ahmed (Special Seats - CUF) who wanted to know government plans in bringing to an end gender violence especially against women who have to a larger extent been affected psychologically.

She quoted a USAID report of 2013 which indicates that 40 per cent of women in the country have fallen victim to gender violence including rape and beatings, and out of the 44 per cent of married women have gone through both beating and rape.

Ms Ahmed also wanted to know whether the government was sincere in bringing to end the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

Ms Maida Ahmed Abdallah (CCM) wanted to know whether the government was making consideration of increasing the severity of the punishment.

"The problem is big, the government should consider harsh punishment such as life imprisonment to those found guilty," she said.

"Raping is a criminal offence and its punishment ranges between 30 and life imprisonment, the government will ensure that offenders are punished heavily," Ms Chana said.

The minister further said that gender desks will be strengthened and be spread countrywide to allow women report such cases, adding that in 2013 in Dodoma municipality 71 cases were reported.

"By December 2013 a total of 417 gender desks were established in the country. Issues related to gender violence have been incorporated in the courses taught in police colleges," she said.

She added that FGM is also a criminal offence, adding that since the matter is cultural, the government has taken various measures including finding alternative activities for those whose livelihood depended on such activities.

So far, more than 10,000 students and 6,620 community members have been trained to create awareness on the harm caused by FGM.

Despite government efforts to eliminate the practice some people continue it in a shroud of secrecy mainly in Mara, Dodoma, Kilimanjaro, Singida and Manyara regions where adult women and children aged between six and 20 years undergo the harmful ritual.

Although there are sustained sensitization efforts and legal curbs that aim at eradicating the practice, incisors (ngariba) are still at work, mutilating children and women secretly.

A recent survey shows that the practice is mainly prevalent in ten regions on the Mainland. The prevalence of FGM in Arusha and Manyara regions stands at 81 per cent.

In Dodoma 68 per cent women are mutilated while in Mara the rate is 44 per cent; Kilimanjaro (37 per cent); Iringa (27 per cent); Singida (25 per cent); Tanga (25 per cent) and Morogoro (20 per cent). Dar es Salaam appears to have the smallest rate at 5.4 per cent.

The Deputy Minister for Community Development, Gender and Children, Ms Pindi Chana.

The Deputy Minister for Community Development, Gender and Children , Ms Pindi Chana.
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