Source: Tanzania Daily News

POLICE gender desk has called on the government to make amendments of the Marriage Act of 1971 so that it can be friendly to both sexes.

Tanzania's Marriage Act of 1971 sets the minimum marriage age for girls at 15 years with parental consent and 18 for boys. It permits the marriage of 14-year-old children when a court is satisfied that special, although unspecified, circumstances exist.

The call was made over the weekend by Police Trainer, Inspector John Simtowe during a seminar for journalists to build their capacity on reproductive health organized by Marie Stopes Tanzania (MST).

Inspector Simtowe said the law is unfriendly to 14-year-old girls because it allows them to be married while they are still young.

"A girl aged 14 years is still too young to get married because she is still in school... if she gets married she will definitely fail to fulfill family responsibilities," said Simtowe.

He said if a girl starts a family by the age of 14 years she will likely have ten kids by the time she approaches 30 years due to a lack of awareness on reproductive health.

He said by recognizing the importance of reproductive health issues the Police Force has formed partnerships with the community so that people can be aware of various laws such as the Marriage Act of 1977 and the Law of the Child Act of 2009.

However, Inspector Simtowe said the police were taking measures to improve service delivery and how to handle cases related to children.

He said the gender desk programme was launched in 2007, now with a total of 400 desks at police stations across the country.

"Earlier, highlighting the importance of the training, MST Marketing Manager, Esther Shedafa said the workshop was important to journalists because they are important stakeholders in helping to raise awareness about reproductive health in society.

" Reporters have been giving priority to other issues in their works, giving less importance to reproductive health matters, so we encourage them to consider reporting reproductive health issues with a view to enriching and raising awareness to the entire community," said Ms Shedafa.

According to Shedafa, when journalists are well informed they will help to educate the public through various media platforms, reducing child abuse-related cases and deaths.

The two-day seminar drew participants from police gender desks from Mwanza Arusha, Dar es Salaam, Iringa, Mbeya, Kahama, Musoma and Makambako and Zanzibar, among others.

Go to top