Broken Marriages, Homosexuals Rate At Increase in Zanzibar

Tomric Correspondent, TOMRIC News Agency (Dar es Salaam), 27 June 2001

Zanzibar—Members of the House of Representatives who are meeting here for budget sessions have expressed their concern over massive broken marriages and increased rate of homosexuals in Zanzibar, saying if left unchecked, the mal-practices will soon be the major causes behind the spread of HIV/AIDS in the Isles.

Heated debate started after getting ministerial reports indicating that both broken marriages and homosexual rates in Zanzibar were increasing at an alarming rate. The Youth, Employment, Women and Children Minister, Ms Samia Suluhu Hassan told the House that there has been an increase in cases of husbands abandoning their wives claiming that they were going to find jobs on Tanzania Mainland.

She could not disclose the figure of women abandoned, but she insisted that the problem has reached alarming proportions. She said the government intends to carry out a research to establish the root cause behind the massive wave of broken marriages in the Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous country estimated to have 800,000 population.

Runaway husbands usually don't take care of their wives and children, subjected them to difficulties, said Ms Hassan. Debating on HIV/AIDS issues, another representative, Ms. Rufeya Mbarouk said homosexuals are worse than prostitutes blaming those involved as the major cause behind the spread of the pandemic. They said although sugar daddies and prostitutes were prime conduits, people who engage in acts of sodomy were also the major culprits.

They urged for a need to carry out deliberate education programs to sensitize people on hazards of sodomy and HIV/AIDS. Others blame cultural events and beauty shows saying that HIV/AIDS infection in Zanzibar takes place during weekends since they are they days when women parade themselves wearing scanty and provocative dresses. They surprised that there are men with up to four wives having other concubines.

One her, part Ms. Hassan said her ministry would ensure facilitation of soft loans to women and youth groups to enable them to carry out their various production ventures, in additional to education programs.