AS Tanzania prepares to mark the 60th anniversary of independence this year, President Samia Suluhu Hassan has tasked Chama Cha Mapinduzi Women’s Wing (UWT) to assess the country’s success in liberating women economically, politically, and intellectually.
She issued the directive at UWT Week celebrations held to honour the union’s founding leader, Bibi Titi Mohamed.
“You can work with other organizations to prepare a report that outlines the government’s involvement in liberating women economically, politically, and intellectually over the last 60 years,” she said.
Tanzania would be in an excellent position to know where to devote more effort once this information is provided, she added.
UWT, she says, was founded to empower women politically, economically, and intellectually. “Let us now assess whether this goal has been fulfilled in 60 years, and if not, what are the weaknesses and what can be done to address them,”
She noted that the rise in acts of violence against women and children in the country is something that some women have contributed to by supporting such acts of violence, and she urged women to unite against such acts of violence.
“It’s unpleasant to witness a fellow woman being abused, and some ladies take pleasure in her humiliation simply because the perpetrator is your brother, father, or uncle. It’s time for us to put an end to these practices,” Ms Samia remarked.
Bibi Titi, according to President Samia, is a key voice in the liberation effort through the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU).
Bibi Titi, she said, travelled around the country as the leader of TANU’s women’s wing, mobilizing both women and men to join the party that led to Tanganyika’s independence in the early 1960s.
“She became a member of the Legislative Council during the transition to full independence, advocating for improvements in the welfare of all citizens. Her focus in the parliamentary debates was on rural development and equal access to jobs, education, and healthcare, with a specific focus on women in general and the girl child in particular,” she said.
Bibi Titi became the junior minister for Community Development and a strong champion for people-centred development and gender equality after the country gained independence.
“We cannot discuss the struggle for independence led by the father of the nation, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, without discussing Bibi Titi,” she said, adding that Bibi Titi’s vision of the fight for the rights of the girl child and women predated even the vision of Western countries.
President Samia stated that it is critical for women in the country to assess if they are living up to her legacy.
“Researchers and writers should consider writing more about her role in the freedom movement since there is still a lot that needs to be written for people to recognize her contribution to the independence struggle,” Ms Samia said.