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.
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:
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
FEMNET Board of Directors
FEMNET Secretariat Staff
|1.||Adeline Okoth||FEMNET Secretariat||Kenya|
|2.||Alice Maranga||FIDA Kenya||Kenya|
|3.||Anastasia Mbewe Mhango||Retired||Zambia|
|4.||Angelina Ugben||Young Women in Politics Forum (YWIPF)||Nigeria|
|5.||Anifa Kalombola||Faith-Word in Action||République Démocratique du Congo|
|6.||Anika JD||Amplify Girls Africa||Kenya|
|7.||Anny Ngoy Kapenga||ARSF (Action pour la Réinsertion Sociale de la Femme)||RDC (République Democratique du Congo)|
|8.||Asenath Kaimuri Nyamu||Rural Community Development Agency||Kenya|
|9.||Astou Sillah||Reseau de developpemznt et de communication de la femme senegalaise||Senegal|
|10.||Auxilia Bupe Ponga||MEMPROW||Zambia|
|11.||Barry Aminata Toure||AMASBIF||Mali|
|12.||Betsy Namisi||Poised Concepts||Kenya|
|13.||Bibyshe Mundjo Takubusoga||Actions pour la Réinsertion Sociale de la Femme “ARSF”||République Démocratique du Congo|
|14.||Bintou KANTE||ONG PROMODEF||Mali|
|16.||Boubacar Hadiza Rhissa||A’SOIF||Gabon|
|17.||Bushrah Balogun||Young Women In Politics Forum, Abuja chapter, Nigeria||Nigeria|
|18.||Catherine Kamau||Wangu Kanja Foundation||Kenya|
|19.||Chantal Kambiwa||SERVITAS Cameroon||Cameroun|
|20.||Chinedu Brown||W4W; He4She Abiai State||Nigeria|
|21.||Chinwe Onyeukwu||Women Africa||Nigeria|
|23.||Daniel||Hope Raisers Initiative||Kenya|
|24.||Debora Otambo||Kisumu Medical and Education Trust||Kenya|
|25.||Deborah Igwo John||Young women in politics Abuja||Nigeria|
|26.||Delphine Nana Mekounte||CEFEPROD/ECOSOC (Centre Feminin pour la Promotion du Developpement)||Cameroun|
|27.||Diane Mariame Kone||CAFO||Mali|
|28.||Dorothy Njemanze||Dorothy Njemanze Foundation (DNF)||Nigeria|
|29.||Dorothy Otieno||FEMNET Secretariat||Kenya|
|30.||Dr. Regina Degadjor, D.Hu.||GROOTS International Ghana||Ghana|
|31.||Ebere Ifendu||Women in Politics Forum||Nigeria|
|33.||Elizabeth Agbontaen||Sumekay Nigeria Ltd||Nigeria|
|34.||Elsie Alexander||Putting Women First/Trust||Botswana|
|35.||Erastus K. Rotich||FEMNET Individual Member||Kenya|
|36.||Esther Hindi Mallim||ASWHAN||Nigeria|
|37.||Esther Kimani||Zamara Foundation||Kenya|
|38.||Faith Phiri||Girls Empowerment Network||Malawi|
|40.||Gladness Munuo||Crisis Resolving Centre||Tanzania|
|41.||Gladys Nhekairo Mutukwa||Zambia National Women’s Lobby Group||Zambia|
|42.||Gloria Edet||Women in Politics Forum||Nigeria|
|43.||Halima Abba Ali Zaid||FEMNET Secretariat||Kenya|
|44.||Hannah Kendi||FEMNET Secretariat||Kenya|
|45.||Hellen Nachilongo||Mwananchi Communications Limited||Tanzania|
|46.||Innocent Grant||Young and Alive Initiative||United Republic of Tanzania|
|47.||Issembe Victoire epouse Lasseni Duboze||Fondatrice 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 Gabon||Gabon|
|48.||Iyom Josephine Anenih||Women Foundation of Nigeria||Nigeria|
|49.||Jane Mutisya||Careermanagement centre||Kenya|
|50.||Jeanne Nzuzi Nsamba||Comite National Femme et Developpement||République Démocratique du Congo|
|51.||Jill Anami||FEMNET Secretariat||Kenya|
|52.||Joanne Oport||Africans for Mental Health||USA|
|53.||Josephine Aska Odera||Federation of Deaf Women Empowerment Network- Kenya (FEDWEN- K)||Kenya|
|54.||Josephine N Anenih||Nkata Ndi Inyom Igbo||Nigeria|
|55.||Josephine Wangari||FEMNET Secretariat||Kenya|
|56.||Joy Nwagbara||UTO Foundation||Nigeria|
|57.||Joyce Chepkorir||FEMNET Secretariat||Kenya|
|59.||Julie Okiro||FEMNET Secretariat||Kenya|
|60.||Juliet Msosa||GENET MALAWI||Malawi|
|61.||Juliet Were||Women’s International Peace Centre||Uganda|
|62.||Kate Duru||Echoes of Women in Africa Initiative||Nigeria|
|63.||Kennedy Odhiambo Otina||FEMNET Secretariat||Kenya|
|64.||Kigen Kisorio||Reprodrive CBO||Kenya|
|65.||Laura Origa||FEMNET Secretariat||Kenya|
|66.||Lois Auta-Udonkanta||Network of Women with Disabilities||Nigeria|
|67.||Loretta Ahuokpeme||Our Lady of Perpetual Help initiative (OLPHI)||Nigeria|
|68.||Lovetee Waynawhere||Spoon Group of Companies||Liberia|
|69.||Mandisa Monakali||Ilitha Labantu||South Africa|
|70.||Manirambona Goreth||SYNERGIE DES PARTENAIRES POUR LA PROMOTION DES DROITS DE LA FEMME||Burundi|
|71.||Margaret Mbira||women concerns center||Kenya|
|72.||Maria Malomalo||Mwana Pwo||Angola|
|73.||Maria Wanza||Communications Consultant||Kenya|
|75.||Member Adiguve||Women in politics||Nigeria|
|76.||Mildred Ngesa||Pan African Transformational Leadership Coach||Kenya|
|77.||Mirabel Edozie||South-South Professional Women Association (SSPWA)||Nigeria|
|78.||Miracle Oluwafemi||FAME Foundation for Women and Girls Empowerment||Nigeria|
|79.||Monde Mwala Gwaba||General member of the Public but a Gender and Human Rights Specialist and Advocate||Zambia|
|80.||Mwanahamisi Singano||FEMNET Secretariat||Tanzania|
|81.||Naji Moulay lahsen||CIDH AFRICA||Morocco|
|82.||Nancy Gitonga||FEMNET Board Member||Kenya|
|83.||Nelly Lukale||Hope in Action Network Kenya||Kenya|
|84.||Nelson Banda||Zambia National Men’s Network for Gender and Development||Zambia|
|85.||Nicole Maloba||FEMNET Secretariat||Kenya|
|86.||Nigerian Women Trust Fund||Nigerian Women Trust Fund||Nigeria|
|87.||Nkechi katchi||young women in politics forum||Nigeria|
|88.||Okeke Julie||Women Initiative For Peace and Good Governance||Nigeria|
|89.||Onyinye Joy Mamah||Heroine women foundation||Nigeria|
|90.||Oumou Bolly DIALLO||ONG PROMODEF||Mali|
|91.||Pamela Juma Ogalo||Culture Office||Migori|
|92.||Pamela Matagaro||National Steering Committee on Peace Building and Conflict Management||Kenya|
|93.||Patience Mandishona||Pakasipiti Zimbabwe||Zimbabwe|
|94.||Patricia Blankson Akakpo||NETRIGHT||Ghana|
|95.||Patricia Ndhlovu||Young Women’s Christian Association, Zambia||Zambia|
|96.||Princess Hamman-Obels||Initiative for Research, Innovation and Advocacy in Development||Nigeria|
|97.||Prof Adaeze Nwuzor||Ebonyi State chapter Chairperson Nkata Ndi Inyom Igbo (NNII)||Nigeria|
|98.||Prof. Joy Onyesoh||Power Woman Magazine||Nigeria|
|99.||Professor Uche Azikiwe||Widows Lifeline||Nigeria|
|100.||Racheal Ouko||Forum of African Women Educationalists – FAWE||Kenya|
|101.||Rachel Kagoiya||FEMNET Secretariat||Kenya|
|102.||Rhoda hamisi obonyo||Hoperaisers||Kenya|
|103.||Rose Reuben||Tanzania Media Women’s Association (TAMWA)||Tanzania|
|104.||Rukayya Abdullah||Young women in politics forum||Nigeria|
|107.||Salma Abdulwaheed||Nigerian Women Trust Fund||Nigeria|
|108.||Sarah Hlupekile Longwe||Zambia Association for Research & Development||Zambia|
|109.||Sesilia Shirima||Young and Alive Initiative||Tanzania|
|110.||Severina Lemachokoti||Samburu Women Trust||Kenya|
|111.||Shamiso Faith Varaidzo Chigorimbo||Gender Links||South Africa|
|112.||Sifisosami Dube||International IDEA||South Africa|
|113.||Sophia Ngugi||Individual Member||Kenya|
|114.||Sylvia Kerubo||FEMNET Secretariat||Kenya|
|115.||Tafadzwa Muropa||FEMNET Individual Member||Zimbabwe|
|116.||Tandi Pilani||Make Every Woman Count||United Kingdom|
|117.||Theresa Kambobe||Zambia National Women’s Lobby Group||Zambia|
|118.||Tigist Alebachew||New Millennium Women Empowerment Organization /NMWEO/||Ethiopia|
|119.||Toure Fatoumata Toure||RDL/AFEF||Mali|
|120.||Ukemeobong Ekong||Onyx Foundation Africa||Nigeria|
|121.||Wangu Kanja||Wangu Kanja Foundation (K)||Kenya|
|123.||Winnie Maru||Forum for Young Women in Politics||Kenya|
|124.||Winnie Musonda||Innoveta Consultants||Zambia|
|125.||Winny Chepkemoi||Kenya Land Alliance||Kenya|
|126.||Yegon Samwel||FEMNET Individual Member||Kenya|
|127.||Zahra Said||South Sudanese Network for Democracy and Elections||South Sudan|
|128.||Zuwena Khatib||IPP MEDIA-The Guardian||Tanzania|