VP highlights areas of focus on legal aid campaign

VICE-PRESIDENT Dr Philip Mpango on Saturday launched Mama Samia Legal Aid Campaign in Ruvuma Region, highlighting key areas which require more attention during the execution as including Gender Based Violence (GBV).

During the launch, Dr Mpango pointed out other areas in which the campaign should focus namely resolving land disputes, labour and employment disputes, inheritance litigation cases, implementation of court judgments, awareness creation on people with disabilities and addressing conflicts between farmers and herders among others.

During the inauguration, there were provisions of legal aid services which will run for nine consecutive days in all councils starting from the ward and village levels.

As Ruvuma became the fourth region to be reached by the campaign after Dodoma (in April), Manyara (May) and Shinyanga (June), Dr Mpango said the campaign has been taken to more than 100,000 people in the country.

“So far, Mama Samia Legal Aid Campaign has reached more than 100,000 citizens, of which 78,543 are women, and 62,791 men, and the government’s ambition is to reach 75 per cent of citizens by 2026,” Dr Mpango unveiled.

Regarding Gender Based Violence, Dr Mpango said there is a significant increase in acts of GBV in the country, adding that statistics show women and children are the major victims of violent acts.

“According to the information I have received recently from the Ministry of Community Development, Gender, Women and Special groups, between January and December last year (2022), there were a total of 12,163 incidents of GBV which involved 2,101 boys and 9,662 girls,” VP said.

He added that statistics show many incidents of violence involved rape (6,335), sodomy (1,555), and early pregnancies (1,557).

Dr Mpango said the campaign should focus on the area to ensure the victims get their rights, calling upon government security organs to continue taking strict legal measures against all suspects engaging in such evil acts.

About inheritance litigation cases, Dr Mpango said that there have been many cases on the subject caused by failure of people to write will due to local beliefs.

He encouraged Tanzanians to inculcate the culture of writing will   to avoid unexpected conflicts, directing the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs to increase efforts in providing education on how to prepare documents on inheritance issues.

In labour and employment disputes Dr Mpango said: “I have received many complaints from citizens being fired illegally at their workplaces, and being made to work overtime without pay”.

Dr Mpango instructed the campaign to focus on the area of labour dispute while reminding employers to comply with the labour law and contracts.

He also directed the responsible ministry for labour and employment to work on the complaints submitted by citizens before they turn into major disputes.

The VP said: “I would like to see this campaign giving priority on provision of education on the rights of people with disabilities, as there have been incidents of discrimination and bullying targeting such group.”

He directed the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs to cooperate with the Ministry of Community Development, Gender, Women and Special Groups to provide education to the public and manage the enforcement and implementation of the Persons With Disabilities Act, 2010.

Dr Mpango also suggested the campaign to focus on providing legal aid services in the land disputes since the land sector is overwhelmed with a number of conflicts.

“The land sector has continued to be plagued by many conflicts, and most of these conflicts are caused by failure to survey land in many areas, resulting in absence of land use plans,” he added.

He directed the Ministry of Land, Housing and Human Settlement Development to increase the speed of   surveying land and   planning urban settlements as well as collaborating with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism in identifying protected areas to avoid intrusion.

In a related development, Dr Mpango explained the main objectives of the campaign including increasing awareness among citizens on access to justice in general while mentioning the second goal as protecting and promoting justice through the legal aid system.

Accordingly, the campaign intended to improve access to justice to people who cannot afford it, especially women, children, the elderly, people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups.

He said the fourth goal of the campaign is to strengthen peace and stability and contribute to people’s development and social welfare.

According to him, the campaign will be extended for a period of three years from March this year to February 2026 and the campaign will be implemented in all regions of both Tanzania Mainland and Isles.

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