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120+ Organizations Sign On A Letter Congratulating Her Excellency, President Samia Suluhu Hassan

Your Excellency President Samia Suluhu Hassan, the sixth president of the Republic of Tanzania since her independence in 1961. Your Excellency, being the 10th in line of African women Heads of State, we the women and girls of Africa rise with you as you re-write the history and herstory of women in leadership not only in Tanzania but in Africa.

Hongera sana mtukufu Rais!

We stand tall with you knowing very well, this herculean task to lead the republic of Tanzania is indeed befitting to you. We are inspired; we are encouraged by your ascension to power paving way for the multitudes of women in Tanzania and Africa as a whole; we are determined to join hands with you as women of Africa to achieve what is mutually beneficial for all of us.

Hon. President Samia, from Cairo to Cape town, we know for a fact that you have taken up a mantle that is challenging and strenuous. We know you occupy a space that  is tedious and phenomenal.  But we know too  that  you are absolutely up to  the  task because indeed from your illuminating experience in public service spanning over three decades, you have a proven track record, grit and resilience.

You are not afraid of thorns!

Your Excellency, the Swahili are right to say; msasi haogopi miba! Indeed, the hunter is not afraid of thorns! You President Samia have displayed in your gentle valor and persistence in public service that you are not afraid of any thorns….of  any challenges whatsoever! Your presidency has trail-blazed women in political leadership in Tanzania and disrupted the status quo giving us all women of Africa the defiance to soldier on for equality in leadership and political participation. May we never tire to push for the liberation of all women and girls. May we never be afraid of the thorns!

Your Excellency, President of the Republic of Tanzania, your swearing in did not only come at a significant time during the global women’s month when the world commemorates the International Women’s Day on 5th  of March, but also a time when we are reflecting on the review of the 25  years of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for  Action (BDPfA)  which revealed that there are still huge gaps in realizing the rights of women and girls in. all their diversity that  deter them from enjoying their  fundamental rights as equal citizens. Despite this rather depressing reality, your presidency Hon. Samia that has revitalized our hope for a world of possibilities for gender equality and  women’s meaningful participation in political leadership.

Historic presidency

It also  goes  down  the  history  books your  Excellency, that  your  swearing-in has happened during the 65th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) whose   priority   theme   centered  on “Women s full  and effective  participation  and decision-making in public life/ as well as the  elimination of  violence/ for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. Indeed, we as African women and girls see it fit that this timely theme should form part of your manifesto in ensuring that the voices of women and girls of Tanzania are heard and amplified in all the decision-making spaces.

Hon. President, the women of Africa and the world at large want to affirm that your rise to power is not a coincidence. You are aptly the steward to advance Tanzania’s and Africa’s agenda for  this  season. Tanzania has come a long way to  free  itself  from colonialism and dictatorship to attain independence. We evidently acknowledge the indelible contribution  by the founding Father of the Nation Mwalimu Julius Nyerere in liberating Tanzania from colonial oppression and inculcating the spirit of Pan-Africanism throughout the Continent.

Fly by your own wings!

Despite these notable feats, we note that gender equality is still far from being a reality and progress on women’s full participation in decision-making is still negligible. We are cognizant of the fact that we as African women come from patriarchal societies where people still believe  that  men  are  naturally  leaders and  women  are  considered the “weaker sex”. In this regard Hon. President, we know that there are those who already regard you within these lenses, incapable of leading the great people of the Republic of Tanzania. As forward-thinking progressive women of Africa, we scoff at their disdain and doubts on your  ability to  lead and we tell them to  wait and see because; ki/a ndege huruka kwa bawa lake! (Every bird flies by its own wings).

Your Excellency, this is the time to soar on your wings like the eagle that you are and

We believe in your steady stance to steer Tanzania on the path to economic growth, equality and  social stability. Please, with  us cheering you  on, do not be afraid to dismantle ingrained patriarchal barriers and perceptions. Go right ahead and transform Tanzania to the echelons of pan-African equality and greatness!

Your Excellency, as you have calmly but firmly  cautioned the “doubting  Thomases”, naysayers, and those who take your soft-spoken nature as a sign of weakness, let your leadership prowess shock the patriarchy to the core and assertively prove them wrong by  liberating Tanzania from  autocratic and patriarchal leadership. We the African women and girls will be right behind you!

Your gentle disarming boldness must manifest in your call to action on some of  the existing and persistent retrogressive measures.

Mheshimiwa Rais do not relent, do not be silenced, speak with the authority bestowed upon you by the constitution of the Republic of Tanzania and the power of your office.

Call out atrocities and detrimental policies and practices that subjugate the fundamental freedoms and human rights of the people of Tanzania by upholding the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women), the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol)  and many other human and women’s rights policies and legal frameworks that Tanzania has already signed-up to.

Your Excellency, we know that you indeed understand the struggles for the liberation of Africa’s women and girls; we know you have personally encountered the detrimental barriers and challenges to gender equality both in your individual pursuits as a woman and from general observation in Tanzania. This is why Honorable President, we are encouraged by your leadership and shared vision for the liberation for Africa’s women and girls.

We laud  your  recent  directive to  lift the  ban and free the media  in  Tanzania. Indeed, the media is our gatekeeper, our eye beyond the borders that should have the freedom of expression in addressing pertinent matters that are of public interest.

We are equally inspired by your urgent action to constitute a committee of experts to analyze and advise the government on precautionary measures to protect the people of Tanzania from the scourge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Your Excellency, it  is in this regard that  we, the African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET), a pan-African membership-based network of over 800 women’s rights organizations and individual from 50 African countries and the diaspora look forward  to  your next  one hundred days in office hoping and urging for urgent action on the following critical areas of concern:

  1. Strengthen institutional mechanisms leading, shaping and coordinating gender equality in Tanzania by granting  substantial mandate, human  and financial resources to advance gender equality. We urge you to consider having a fully-fledged ministry of gender and women affairs, one that is well-resourced and dedicated to mainstreaming gender in line with the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BDPFA).
  2. Return to school policy for pregnant girls. We know that education is an equalizer and should not be used as a tool to discriminate. Likewise, pregnancy should not be treated as a poverty sentence for young girls. Revoke the ban on teenage pregnancies that criminalize girls and make schools accessible for them and realign their destiny. The urgent quest to return these young girls back to school should be a priority for your government without delay.
  3. Grant rights for civil society organizing. Civil Society play an integral role of influencing developments and governance of a country. While Tanzania is lauded for defying the high dependency on foreign aid; an act worth emulating across the continent, we are alive to the fact that Tanzania Government cannot operate in isolation at the expense of its citizens who are forced to survive on limited access to resources  and  risk  infringement  of  their  fundamental  rights  and freedoms under the guise of patriotism. We have noted with great concern the steady shrinkage of civic spaces to exercise their democratic right and speak out against injustice for the people of Tanzania, especially during the last elections. Your Excellency, lawfare is a short-lived convenience tool of the oppressor with lasting repressive impacts on the oppressed. FEMNET and many other human rights and civil organizations are knocking at your door to be granted access to advance your vision for Tanzania and Africa through  greater collaboration and partnerships with civil society organizations.
  4. Strengthen the  spirit  as  well  as  the  practice  of  multilateralism   by ensuring that  critical actors including government, civil society, women’s rights organizations and academia are present and meaningfully contribute to shaping the governance agenda and processes at the African Union, United Nations and other regional and global governance multilateral institutions.
  5. Patriarchy in  the  decision-making  organs  of  Tanzania  is  appalling, intimidating and a threat to the development of the country. The glaring under-representation  of  women  in  the  cabinet  and  other  key  appointment positions  that  is  persistently  effected  by  systemic  socio-cultural barriers  are achieving gender equality. Your Excellency, there is need for urgent solution to ensure equality for all and to leave no one behind.

Your Excellency, African women from  all  the  55  African countries  are  standing  in solidarity with you. You are indeed destined to lead in this historic period as the  10th African woman head  of  state thus making your  presidency all the  while  significant especially as an ambassador for Africa’s women and girls. Currently, Africa has only two women serving in  such a high hierarchy. It is our conviction that one day we shall achieve  50:50  representation  of  women  in  leadership  in  Africa.  Until  then your Excellency, together with Her Excellency, President Sahle-Work Zewde of Ethiopia, you carry our valid ambitions for a better Africa because when women lead, development is guaranteed and the  quality of life for  all women and men is improved thus indeed Women Must Lead!

Today we stand in your shadows and cheer you on vehemently as we set you up for success. We know for a fact that your leadership has great potential to open up  even more spaces for women not in Tanzania but in Africa as a whole because Your Excellency, Fanikio huzaa fanikio! (Success begets success).

We wish you immeasurable SUCCESS!

In Solidarity!

Signed by:-

 

FEMNET Board of Directors

FEMNET Secretariat Staff

FEMNET Members

1.Adeline OkothFEMNET SecretariatKenya
2.Alice MarangaFIDA KenyaKenya
3.Anastasia Mbewe MhangoRetiredZambia
4.Angelina UgbenYoung Women in Politics Forum (YWIPF)Nigeria
5.Anifa KalombolaFaith-Word in ActionRépublique Démocratique du Congo
6.Anika JDAmplify Girls AfricaKenya
7.Anny Ngoy KapengaARSF (Action pour la Réinsertion Sociale de la Femme)RDC (République Democratique du Congo)
8.Asenath Kaimuri NyamuRural Community Development AgencyKenya
9.Astou SillahReseau de developpemznt et de communication de la femme senegalaiseSenegal
10.Auxilia Bupe PongaMEMPROWZambia
11.Barry Aminata ToureAMASBIFMali
12.Betsy NamisiPoised ConceptsKenya
13.Bibyshe Mundjo TakubusogaActions pour la Réinsertion Sociale de la Femme “ARSF”République Démocratique du Congo
14.Bintou KANTEONG PROMODEFMali
15.Blandina BobsonOxfamKenya
16.Boubacar Hadiza RhissaA’SOIFGabon
17.Bushrah BalogunYoung Women In Politics Forum, Abuja chapter, NigeriaNigeria
18.Catherine KamauWangu Kanja FoundationKenya
19.Chantal KambiwaSERVITAS CameroonCameroun
20.Chinedu BrownW4W; He4She Abiai StateNigeria
21.Chinwe OnyeukwuWomen AfricaNigeria
22.Christina KwangwariSelfZimbabwe
23.DanielHope Raisers InitiativeKenya
24.Debora OtamboKisumu Medical and Education TrustKenya
25.Deborah Igwo JohnYoung women in politics AbujaNigeria
26.Delphine Nana MekounteCEFEPROD/ECOSOC (Centre Feminin pour la Promotion du Developpement)Cameroun
27.Diane Mariame KoneCAFOMali
28.Dorothy NjemanzeDorothy Njemanze Foundation (DNF)Nigeria
29.Dorothy OtienoFEMNET SecretariatKenya
30.Dr. Regina Degadjor, D.Hu.GROOTS International GhanaGhana
31.Ebere IfenduWomen in Politics ForumNigeria
32.Elisa ComéREMACMozambique
33.Elizabeth AgbontaenSumekay Nigeria LtdNigeria
34.Elsie AlexanderPutting Women First/TrustBotswana
35.Erastus K. RotichFEMNET Individual MemberKenya
36.Esther Hindi MallimASWHANNigeria
37.Esther KimaniZamara FoundationKenya
38.Faith PhiriGirls Empowerment NetworkMalawi
39.Fatou DioufCAEDHUSenegal
40.Gladness MunuoCrisis Resolving CentreTanzania
41.Gladys Nhekairo MutukwaZambia National Women’s Lobby GroupZambia
42.Gloria EdetWomen in Politics ForumNigeria
43.Halima Abba Ali ZaidFEMNET SecretariatKenya
44.Hannah KendiFEMNET SecretariatKenya
45.Hellen NachilongoMwananchi Communications LimitedTanzania
46.Innocent GrantYoung and Alive InitiativeUnited Republic of Tanzania
47.Issembe Victoire epouse Lasseni DubozeFondatrice ONG ASOIF, Présidente du Réseau Panafricain des femmes pour la Culture de la Paix; 1ère femme candidate à la Présidence de la République en 2009 au GabonGabon
48.Iyom Josephine AnenihWomen Foundation of NigeriaNigeria
49.Jane MutisyaCareermanagement centreKenya
50.Jeanne Nzuzi NsambaComite National Femme et DeveloppementRépublique Démocratique du Congo
51.Jill AnamiFEMNET SecretariatKenya
52.Joanne OportAfricans for Mental HealthUSA
53.Josephine Aska OderaFederation of Deaf Women Empowerment Network- Kenya (FEDWEN- K)Kenya
54.Josephine N AnenihNkata Ndi Inyom IgboNigeria
55.Josephine WangariFEMNET SecretariatKenya
56.Joy NwagbaraUTO FoundationNigeria
57.Joyce ChepkorirFEMNET SecretariatKenya
58.Judy KamanyiUWONETUganda
59.Julie OkiroFEMNET SecretariatKenya
60.Juliet MsosaGENET MALAWIMalawi
61.Juliet WereWomen’s International Peace CentreUganda
62.Kate DuruEchoes of Women in Africa InitiativeNigeria
63.Kennedy Odhiambo OtinaFEMNET SecretariatKenya
64.Kigen KisorioReprodrive CBOKenya
65.Laura OrigaFEMNET SecretariatKenya
66.Lois Auta-UdonkantaNetwork of Women with DisabilitiesNigeria
67.Loretta AhuokpemeOur Lady of Perpetual Help initiative (OLPHI)Nigeria
68.Lovetee WaynawhereSpoon Group of CompaniesLiberia
69.Mandisa MonakaliIlitha LabantuSouth Africa
70.Manirambona GorethSYNERGIE DES PARTENAIRES POUR LA PROMOTION DES DROITS DE LA FEMMEBurundi
71.Margaret Mbirawomen concerns centerKenya
72.Maria MalomaloMwana PwoAngola
73.Maria WanzaCommunications ConsultantKenya
74.Mariama KatambéCONGAFENNiger
75.Member AdiguveWomen in politicsNigeria
76.Mildred NgesaPan African Transformational Leadership CoachKenya
77.Mirabel EdozieSouth-South Professional Women Association (SSPWA)Nigeria
78.Miracle OluwafemiFAME Foundation for Women and Girls EmpowermentNigeria
79.Monde Mwala GwabaGeneral member of the Public but a Gender and Human Rights Specialist and AdvocateZambia
80.Mwanahamisi SinganoFEMNET SecretariatTanzania
81.Naji Moulay lahsenCIDH AFRICAMorocco
82.Nancy GitongaFEMNET Board MemberKenya
83.Nelly LukaleHope in Action Network KenyaKenya
84.Nelson BandaZambia National Men’s Network for Gender and DevelopmentZambia
85.Nicole MalobaFEMNET SecretariatKenya
86.Nigerian Women Trust FundNigerian Women Trust FundNigeria
87.Nkechi katchiyoung women in politics forumNigeria
88.Okeke JulieWomen Initiative For Peace and Good GovernanceNigeria
89.Onyinye Joy MamahHeroine women foundationNigeria
90.Oumou Bolly DIALLOONG PROMODEFMali
91.Pamela Juma OgaloCulture OfficeMigori
92.Pamela MatagaroNational Steering Committee on Peace Building and Conflict ManagementKenya
93.Patience MandishonaPakasipiti ZimbabweZimbabwe
94.Patricia Blankson AkakpoNETRIGHTGhana
95.Patricia NdhlovuYoung Women’s Christian Association, ZambiaZambia
96.Princess Hamman-ObelsInitiative for Research, Innovation and Advocacy in DevelopmentNigeria
97.Prof Adaeze NwuzorEbonyi State chapter Chairperson Nkata Ndi Inyom Igbo (NNII)Nigeria
98.Prof. Joy OnyesohPower Woman MagazineNigeria
99.Professor Uche AzikiweWidows LifelineNigeria
100.Racheal OukoForum of African Women Educationalists – FAWEKenya
101.Rachel KagoiyaFEMNET SecretariatKenya
102.Rhoda hamisi obonyoHoperaisersKenya
103.Rose ReubenTanzania Media Women’s Association (TAMWA)Tanzania
104.Rukayya AbdullahYoung women in politics forumNigeria
105.Ruth OlooOxfamKenya
106.Sally ChiwamaZAMWAZambia
107.Salma AbdulwaheedNigerian Women Trust FundNigeria
108.Sarah Hlupekile LongweZambia Association for Research & DevelopmentZambia
109.Sesilia ShirimaYoung and Alive InitiativeTanzania
110.Severina LemachokotiSamburu Women TrustKenya
111.Shamiso Faith Varaidzo ChigorimboGender LinksSouth Africa
112.Sifisosami DubeInternational IDEASouth Africa
113.Sophia NgugiIndividual MemberKenya
114.Sylvia KeruboFEMNET SecretariatKenya
115.Tafadzwa MuropaFEMNET Individual MemberZimbabwe
116.Tandi PilaniMake Every Woman CountUnited Kingdom
117.Theresa KambobeZambia National Women’s Lobby GroupZambia
118.Tigist AlebachewNew Millennium Women Empowerment      Organization /NMWEO/Ethiopia
119.Toure Fatoumata ToureRDL/AFEFMali
120.Ukemeobong EkongOnyx Foundation AfricaNigeria
121.Wangu KanjaWangu Kanja Foundation (K)Kenya
122.Whitney MulobelaNGOCCZambia
123.Winnie MaruForum for Young Women in PoliticsKenya
124.Winnie MusondaInnoveta ConsultantsZambia
125.Winny ChepkemoiKenya Land AllianceKenya
126.Yegon SamwelFEMNET Individual MemberKenya
127.Zahra SaidSouth Sudanese Network for Democracy and ElectionsSouth Sudan
128.Zuwena KhatibIPP MEDIA-The GuardianTanzania

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