In Summary

Their dignity is trampled upon and they are denied the chance to be the best they can be. Female circumcision, which is primitive and cruel, worsens the plight of girls.

Tanzania has the dubious distinction of having the highest child marriage rates in the world. This should embarrass us all. It is estimated that two out of five girls here are married off before they turn 18. Thousands drop out of school due to early motherhood, when many of them are barely more than children themselves.

They also experience medical and psychological complications associated with forced marriage and early motherhood. For many families, girls are simply commodities that bring in dowry. Their dignity is trampled upon and they are denied the chance to be the best they can be. Female circumcision, which is primitive and cruel, worsens the plight of girls. They are reduced to robots switched on by other people.

We welcome the signing in Dar es Salaam, on Tuesday, of a commitment between the government and development partners to end female circumcision and child marriage. We need all the artillery we can lay our hands on if we are to end the abuse of girls and their rights. We can do so by sensitising our people to abandon negative traditions and penalising those who break the law. We look forward to defeating the twin enemies and the false celebrations that come with them.