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People Without Valid Birth Certificates Will Not Be Allowed To Get Married In Tanzania

ONLY people with valid birth certificates will be allowed to get married effective May 1, 2017,[9] it was declared here yesterday. Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Harrison Mwakyembe directed the Registration, Insolvency and Trusteeship Agency (RITA) to initiate a legal process to ensure that legal marriage is strictly restricted to only citizens with birth documents.[4]

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The directive has come just few days since the Ministry of State in the President’s Office, [2]Regional Administration and Local Government prohibited registration of pupils for Standard Four and Seven national examinations without possession of valid birth certificates.

Dr Mwakyembe issued the new directive on marriage here yesterday when addressing Morogoro District leaders, led by District Commissioner Regina Chonjo. State Attorneys and RITA regional officials also attended the meeting.[1]

Dr Mwakyembe gave a grace period of two months to May 1, insisting that from that date no any traditional or religious leader will be allowed to preside over a marriage involving people without birth certificates.

“Tanzania still lags behind on the registration of birth certificates, we are among the five worst performers among African countries on birth registration,” he charged, hinting that as per 2012 population census, only 13.7 per cent of Tanzanians possessed birth certificates, with Zanzibar’s birth registration standing at 75 per cent.

The minister said the directive aims at ensuring that the country achieves high rate of people with birth certificates.

“We need to educate the citizens on the importance of possessing these vital documents.” Dr Mwakyembe was optimistic that the goal of attaining 100 per cent birth registration will be achieved, [9]noting that the directive to RITA to ensure that effective May marriage will be reserved only for birth certificates’ holders will boost registration.

“I do direct RITA to consult its legal team and see how best we can incorporate birth certificates to marriage beginning May 01… Let this message be delivered to all clerics and traditional leaders presiding over marriages,” he noted.[5]

Dr Mwakyembe commended his counterpart in the President’s Office, Mr George Simbachawene for making birth certificate possession a mandatory requirement for sitting primary school national examinations.

He said Mr Simbachawene’s directive has so far boosted registration of children who had no birth certificates.

“I wish the same requirement applied to pupils registering for Standard One studies,” he stated.[12] The minister said Morogoro region has the lowest rate of birth registration in the country, citing the 2012 population census, which shows that Morogoro has 2.2 million people of whom only 11 per cent have birth certificates.

Briefing the minister, Ms Chonjo said although her district was facing serious challenge of equipment, it has recorded remarkable achievements on registration and issuance of birth certificates.[6]

Source: Tanzanian daily news

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