Tanzania’s ruling party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi, CCM; has backed its leader and the country’s president, John Pombe Magufuli, on the issue of banning teenage mothers from continuing their education in the public sector.
The President last week reiterated a government position that girls who got pregnant could not be accepted back into public schools. His view stoked a huge social media debate but the president said he was not backing down on the directive.
The party that brought him to power jumped into the fray on Thursday when its ideology and publicity secretary told the media that Magufuli’s stance was coherent with the party’s manifesto and that he had the CCM’s full backing.
The bible can't be interpreted by a pagan... this is our manifesto, and we are the only ones who can expound and interpret it correctly. The aim is to ensure that teen mothers get the same education but in other ways.
‘‘CCM fully supports President Magufuli’s statement on the matter and what he is doing to promote development in the country,’‘ the party spokesperson, Humphrey Polepole, told the press.
He disclosed that the party’s manifesto promised support for teenage mothers but through other means rather than returning to the mainstream system. He cited the Complementary Basic Education for Tanzania (Cobet) as an avenue teenage mothers could turn to.
‘‘The bible can’t be interpreted by a pagan… this is our manifesto, and we are the only ones who can expound and interpret it correctly. The aim is to ensure that teen mothers get the same education but in other ways,’‘ Polepole is quoted to have said.
A recent Human Rights Watch report revealed that Tanzania and Sierra Leone were the worst offenders in the area of denying teenage mothers education. It said that over 8,000 Tanzanian girls drop out of school every year due to pregnancy.