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Simba likens FGM to murder

Minister denounces FGM, warns perpetrators, The Minister for Community Development, Gender and Children Ms Sofia Simba has warned the public against practicing Female Genital Mutilation (FMG), equating the practice to murder.

Ms Simba told a news conference in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday, proven culprits would be liable to six months and a fine of 1m/-.

The minister was reacting to the on-going traditional rituals of mutilation and circumcision in Tarime District Mara Region, a deep rooted culture that contributes to high levels of maternal mortality in the country.

Activists had told the minister that FGM was being openly performed in various areas including Tarime and no action is being taken by the police.

The minister had earlier said that some of the reports presented to the ministry show that FGM has been abandoned by some communities following public awareness initiatives undertaken by the government, religious institutions and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).

However some of the stakeholders including the journalists opposed the reports saying that the police especially in Tarime District conceal the reports as they also take part.

Meanwhile, Tanzania Media Women`s Association (TAMWA) has commended some communities in Tarime district for abandoning FGM.

Tarime District Commissioner Mr John Henjewele, said some of members of the community have reportedly stopped FGM following public awareness initiatives.

In another development, President Jakaya Kikwete is today expected to open a three-day meeting on affairs of women from the Great Lakes scheduled to take place next Thursday at Kibo Palace Hotel in Arusha.

The meeting has been organised by the Ministry of Community Development in collaboration with UNESCO, UNIFEM and UNFPA.

According to Ms Simba, the meeting will be attended by the ministers of community development, gender and children from great lakes.

She said that the President of Zanzibar Dr Ali Mohamed Shein will close the meeting.