Tanzania: New Directives On GBV Fight Issued in Z'bar

IN the wake of rise in gender based violence, President Hussein Ali Mwinyi has issued new directives to the government executives to make self-assessment on how they reinforce efforts to free the Island of the scourge.

"We should not conclude that we have failed in our plans which were set in January this year against abuse, let us reorganize ourselves in order to win the war," President Mwinyi here yesterday at the launch of a database on Gender Based Violence (GBV).

"Based on some testimonies, it is clear that executives under the portfolio, have not done their job... they should assess themselves before the situation runs out of control in the country," he said.

The event held at Sheikh Idris Abdulwakil Hall was organized by the Zanzibar Female Lawyers Association (ZAFELA) in collaboration with JUWAUZA, ZBC, TAMWA, ZAFYCO, ZLS, ZLSC, FAWE Zanzibar, and ZWA with support from FCS, LSF, KAS, and THRDC.

The President said that there have been a lot of questions on how the government plans are being executed, adding: "People are asking whether they have failed." Dr Mwinyi vowed to lead the battle against GBV, calling upon all respective authorities and institutions such Police, Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), and Judiciary to join forces with the public to end all forms of abuse in Zanzibar.

He said that, it is distressing to continue getting reports about human rights violation and GBV involving executives and law enforcers, who are corrupt.

The President said that, since GBV is a cross-cutting issue, all people, Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and government executives should join forces to end it in the society. Before launching the new 'system of data collection' aimed at minimizing duplication, several victims of sexual violence especially rape victims narrated their ordeal in search for justice in the whole process beginning with police to courts, and how the raped children have developed psychological problems.

ZAFELA chairperson Ms Sofia Abbras, and her Director MsJamila Mahmoud informed participants that normally they record about 100 cases of GBV annually, but this year alone (January to June), they have so far recorded more than three hundred and the data from Zanzibar Legal Service Centre (ZLSC) is five hundred, an indication that abuses still persists in the Islands.

ZAFELA mentioned challenges contributing to delays in addressing GBV as lack of enforcing, policies, and guidelines, and lack of accountability insufficient budget or lack of fund allocation for GBV in many government institutions, and delays in accessing justice.

They called upon the President to push for reforms along with regular evaluation on GVB interventions and consider possibilities of forming a 'special National ant GBV Commission or taskforce.' Representatives from development partners spoke at the forum pledged continued support to the government and NGOs to end GBV.

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