Africa Owes Tanzania a Pan-African Solidarity Amidst Repression, says FEMNET
Ahead of the general election in Tanzania to be held on the 28th October 2020, the Africa Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET) expresses concern on the shrinking civic and democratic space and increasing authoritarianism in Tanzania.
FEMNET representing over 800 women’s rights organizations from Africa is urging the United Republic of Tanzania to cease from the continued threats, harassment, intimidations and violation of human rights meted on individuals and organizations critical of the government. The independence and validity of the civil society and media is integral in building holistic and democratic states.
For months now, there have been reports of opposition politicians being arrested for organizing/attending meetings, women’s human rights defenders assaulted, media houses suspended and banned, activists criminalized, and NGOs repressed with endless regulations.
The use restrictive “law” to subvert the rule of law and only advance the campaigns and political engagements of the ruling party, completely disregards the constitution, jeopardizes human rights and democratic principles and deters the autonomy of the citizens to vote independently.
FEMNET’s Executive Director, Ms Memory Kachambwa points out “the state custodian is misusing state machinery to undermine, subjugate and repress its citizen and other key stakeholders to the advantage of the ruling party. It is extremely painful to watch a country which was once a beacon of freedom and symbol of peace accelerating to autocracy.”
Indeed, the use of government machinery to suppress its people and infringe on their fundamental human rights; including the freedom of choice, freedom of association and equal participation during elections is unlawful and unacceptable! “We are watching and won’t remain silent when Tanzania is bleeding and crying out for our solidarity”, says Ms Kachambwa.
We join hands to publicly condemn the resurging human rights violations in Tanzania and blatant disregard of international human rights commitments, including the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, which requires state parties to establish and strengthen democratic institutions, the rule of law, human rights and independent electoral systems.
FEMNET calls on the judiciary and the National Electoral Commission (NEC) in Tanzania to boldly and fearlessly ensure that;
- Structures are put in place to protect voters from all forms of intimidation, discrimination and corrupt practices that undermine people’s rights to vote for the leaders of their own choice.
- Impunity and election malpractices that affect the authenticity of election results must be documented, investigated and prosecuted.
- No violations of human rights of citizens is permitted, particularly all forms of violence against women and human rights defenders, and where they are observed mechanisms for addressing them are in place and functional and the perpetrators are severely punished.
- The elections are free, fair, transparent and are held in a violence-free and corrupt free environment.
African women and girls urge Tanzania’s President John Magufuli to respect the right of every Tanzanian to equally and democratically participate in choosing to support and vote for the leaders of their choice. He must ensure that his government respects, promotes and protects human rights prior to, during and after the elections.
Finally, FEMNET calls on regional bodies including the East African Community and the African Union to mount pressure and ensure that Tanzania complies with its national and international obligations including the protection of individuals and their fundamental rights of freedoms of expression and association.
For more information and/or to request for an interview please contact FEMNET’s Ag. Head of Communication Rachel Kagoiya on email email@example.com and cellphone +254 110 901 551
The African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET) is a pan- African, feminist and membership-based network based in Nairobi with over 800 members across 50 African countries. FEMNET envisions an African society where gender equality is achieved and women and girls enjoy all their rights and live in dignity. FEMNET exists to facilitate and coordinate the sharing of experiences, ideas, information, and strategies for human rights promotion among African women’s organizations through networking, communication, capacity-building and advocacy at the regional and international levels.
Since inception in 1988, FEMNET has strategically positioned herself as a convener, organizer and facilitator on dialogues around critical issues including women’s involvement in governance and leadership, promoting women’s economic justice, advocating for women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights, ending gender-based violence and harmful practices (such as female genital mutilation and child marriage) and strengthening the women’s movement in Africa. www.femnet.org
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