Many Africa countries are undoubtedly facing an HIV/AIDS crisis that health officials are trying desperately to get under control. Tanzania alone was reported to have 1.4 million people infected with HIV in recent years. Yet, the country’s President John Magufuli urged women in the East African nation to halt taking birth control and get pregnant because more people are needed, the Citizen reports.
“Women can now give up contraceptive methods,” Magufuli said.
“Those going for family planning are lazy … they are afraid they will not be able to feed their children. They do not want to work hard to feed a large family and that is why they opt for birth controls and end up with one or two children only,” he said at a public rally on Sunday.
According to a 2015 World Bank report, about 70% of Tanzania’s population is living below the poverty level and living off a meager $2 a day. Tanzania’s population is roughly 53 million people.
Magufuli continued to encourage poor residents with his misguided rhetoric saying: “You have cattle. You are big farmers. You can feed your children. Why then resort to birth control?” he asked.
“This is my opinion, I see no reason to control births in Tanzania,” said Magufuli, who has two children.
“I have traveled to Europe and I have seen the effects of birth control. In some countries, they are now struggling with a declining population. They have no labor force.”
Magufuli told citizens that new district hospitals were on the way and said the government was investing in maternal health.
Controlling women’s bodies didn’t stop there. In another surprising revelation, Job Ndugai the speaker of the Tanzanian parliament, invoked a ban of women lawmakers from wearing short dresses, jeans, false eyelashes and false finger nails while serving in parliament.
“With the powers vested in me by the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, I now ban all MPs with false eyelashes and false finger nails from stepping into Parliament,” Ndugai said, just a day following Magufuli’s birth control comments.