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Those who use birth control are ‘lazy’, says president

BIRTH CONTROL: Tanzania's president John Magufuli has called for couple's to stop using contraception (Image: Tanzania Government/Facebook)

JOHN MAGUFULI, the president of Tanzania, has said he does not see the need for the use of contraception in the country.

His comments have sparked outrage and attracted international criticism from women’s rights campaigners.

Magufuli made the statements at a rally in Meatu on Sunday.

“You people of Meatu keep livestock. You are good farmers. You can feed your children. Why would you opt for birth control? These are my views, but I don’t see any need for birth control in Tanzania,” local newspaper The Citizen reported he said.

The president, a father-of-two, said that people who opt to use contraception do not want to work hard to provide for a large family.

He added: “I have travelled to Europe and elsewhere and I have seen the side effects of birth control. In some countries they are now struggling with declining population growth. They have no labour force.”

Women in Tanzania have around five children on average, a figure that is one of the highest globally.

“The whole issue of contraception in Tanzania is a man’s decision. A woman cannot make her own decision to use contraceptives without the approval of the man,” Petrider Paul, a gender equality activist working in Tanzania, told The Guardian.

He added: “Most men will be boastful: ‘The president has said this, we should keep producing more children. Why should we use birth control?’.”

It is not the first time Magufuli has weighed in on the birth control debate.

In 2016, after the free education policy was announced in the country, he said that women could throw away their contraceptives as schooling was now free.

The 58-year-old has previously called for girls who get pregnant while they are still at school to be barred from being re-admitted once they have given birth.

It is understood that, despite Magufuli’s most recent comments, there will be no change to national policy on the issue.

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