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Oppressive customs subject women to pain, says widow

ONGOING oppressive customs coupled with poverty, illiteracy and ignorance of the law are subjecting many women to go through unspeakable conditions in the society.

That was said recently by ‘Tuinuane Widows Group’ member, Stella Maveka, noting that the society should change its view and conception of who a widow is in its midst.

Talking to the ‘Daily News’ Ms Maveka said that the Dodoma-based Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) 'Tuinuane Widows Group' should be heeded in condemning traditional practices which isolate widow's on property rights and sometimes evict them from their homes.

"Nevertheless, authorities have failed to help poor women perhaps struggling with small scale business in the streets.

It is disturbing,” added Ms Maveka being a widow, while appealing to the Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children Dr Faustine Ndugulile to intervene in their fate.

That was when Dr Ndugulile was presiding over a training organized by the organization on how to assist such women.

"Local government authorities have been consistently confiscating our goods ... this doesn't help in our already existing and unsolved problems," she noted.

Although, the government has been at the frontline of helping women and children against gender based violence, society cultural perception about women is still poor.

Reached for a comment, the ministry's Department of Children Director Ms Mwajuma Magwiza acknowledged that some oppressive customs are still a challenge.

"The government has been working with other stakeholders and I urge communities which still practice these oppressive customs to immediately abandon them," she said, while citing them as sexual cleansing and child marriage among others.

Ms Magwiza further said that such practices are also  leading to HIV infections and discourage women in their efforts to contribute in social and economic development of the society.

On her side, Association of Widows in Tanzania, Eastern Zone Coordinator Mariam Aswile called upon couples to ensure that they write their wills to protect their family members from painful experience.

"Everyone is either an expected widow or widower, it is therefore imperative to take precaution measures while you have time," she advised.

Reports indicate that between 7 and 16 per cent of women in the world have faced gender based violence ranging from losing their property to sexual violence soon after their husbands’ die.

PRESIDENT John Magufuli yesterday described the 699.2bn/- Kigongo-Busisi ...

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Author: SYLIVESTER DOMASA in Dodoma

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