DODOMA: THE government is finalising procedures to come up with specific legislation that will address all forms of Gender Based Violence (GBV) in the country.
Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (Policy, Coordination and Parliamentary Affairs), Jenista Mhagama revealed this over the weekend, noting that, the process is at an advanced stage.
Currently, GBV in the country is being addressed through numerous laws and policies.
Ms Mhagama was concluding a debate on the three electoral reform bills which were unanimously endorsed by the National Assembly on Friday.
They are the National Electoral Commission (NEC) Bill, 2023, the Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Government Elections Bill, 2023, and the Political Parties Affairs Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2023.
Responding to lawmakers’ demand to include a provision in the Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Government Elections Bill 2023, to recognise Gender Based Violence (GBV) and harassment in polls as election offences, the minister said although the government has accepted the proposed amendment, there is a need to come up with a robust system that will help to curb all forms of GBV in the society.
She said that the government through the Ministry of Community Development Gender, Women and Special Groups had started working on the legislation.
“Since GBV is a serious concern, the government has decided to come up with a specific law that will oversee all issues related to violence whether in elections, marriage, or any other areas and each segment will have its clause to manage it,” Ms Mhagama said.
She said the Ministry of Community Development, Gender, Women and Special Groups has already submitted the bill to a team of experts under the Inter-Ministerial Technical Committee (IMTC).
“We are waiting for the committee’s approval so that other processes could proceed. We wish this law to be enacted before the general election slated for next year to ensure a fair and friendly environment for contestants,” she said.
Speaking during the launch of 16 days of activism against the GBV campaign in November last year, Minister for Community Development, Gender, Women and Special Groups, Dr Dorothy Gwajima said GBV costs families, communities and the nation as a whole.
“According to UN Women statistics, violence against women costs two per cent of the global economy. It is our collective responsibility to stop violence so that our economy can grow effectively,” she said.
Change, according to Dr Gwajima, begins at home, and everyone should take action to eliminate violence.
“Everyone should be a change agent, rather than waiting for others to do so,” she said.
According to the minister, the government has taken several steps to eradicate GBV, including signing agreements at regional and national levels to end all forms of discrimination against women, as well as developing a five-year National Plan of Action to End Violence Against Women and Children (NPAVAWC 2017/18 – 2021/22).
“Another NPAVAWC plan has already been evaluated and the stakeholders have given their opinions and it has been worked on, we are in the final retreat and the women’s and gender development policy has also come out and we hope to launch it in January next year,” Dr Gwajima noted.